ESL Discussions

ESL Discussions, thoughts on Yukio Tsuda and English Study in Japan

Yukio Tsuda is a professor at the University of Tsukuba. He earned a doctorate in speech communication at Southern Illinois University.

In his ESL Discussions, Tsuda argues:

“English has its dark side that represents ruthless power.”

Tsuda doesn`t feel that having English skills is important for Japanese, (even though, he himself went to a lot of trouble to get them.)

Though I am an English teacher, I have always felt that Esperanto the international language designed to bridge the gap between peoples, was the fairest way to go. It hasn`t been widely used, accepted, nor studied however.

What have people like Tsuda done to promote it?

I haven`t done a thing. I am happy to teach English and feel it is the best option under the present circumstances. Unless every government in the world were to start teaching Esperanto from kindergarten, things will not change.

Tsuda makes my point, that students who study English will have an advantage over everyone else in the work force. I do not see this as a problem. However he does. He feels it will lead to a new kind of social discrimination between English speakers and non-speakers. I agree.

It will lead to preferential treatment for English speakers he cries. What he calls "social discrimination," I call opportunity. Japanese who can envision the future will prosper, but it is best to act now and have your children study English.

ESL Discussions - Japanese Companies & English Study

Nissan has insisted that all board meetings and important business meetings be conducted in English. Nissan`s non-Japanese speaking COO insisted upon this. The company increased support for English lessons and the ability to speak English became an important job qualification for managers.

Isuzu once owned its own English school (Crops Create), before ultimately selling it off. They used it to brush up the skills of their employees.

Fuji Photo Film and Mitsubishi Chemical where I have taught, makes English very important for those who may travel abroad. Employees of these two companies, must of course, attain a high degree of English skill before they can go on business trips or be transferred abroad.

At Johnson (Japan), being a subsidiary of the American giant, English of course was important for Japanese managers.

The above has gone on for many years. So it was not exactly news when Fast Retailing (Unikiro), and Rakuten made a splash in the Japanese media when they announced they were making English their official in-house language.

This really isn`t big news. It has been an ongoing process of internationalization in Japan for many years. Some companies recognize it before others.

I think it was great though, as these Japanese companies obviously understand where the future of the world is going. Perhaps by "making it," news, it will be a good thing for the further internationalization of Japan. A country that lacks it in my opinion.

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