In the age of what Gert Biesta calls subjectification, “the uniqueness of each individual human being,” the promise of citizens-as-subjects is to break with the ideal of the “good citizen” whose identity is inscribed by state and market. Making such a break involves “exposure to the experiment of democracy,” in Biesta's view. This essay argues that the promise is real but the danger is that subjectification becomes “identity politics” which erode the responsibility of citizens for society as a whole and generate bitter clashes as identities are manipulated by elites using social media and other technologies. “What is democracy?” is the question that marks the difference between subjects as co-creators and subjugation. To overcome the dangers and realize the possibilities of the age of the subject requires shifting paradigms from state-centered democracy to citizen-centered democracy. Citizen-centered democracy rests on conceptions of citizens as co-creators who undertake the collective, self-organized work of building society (which is a concept of the citizen which predates the modern state); and politics as pluralist, negotiation across differences. State-centered theories of democracy and associated ideas of the citizen and politics form the dominant paradigm today. Despite problems in Japanese political education such as passive instructional pedagogies, this essay argues that there are powerful resources in Japan's civic life and cultural history to push back against the dominant view and lay foundations for a paradigm of democracy as society. There is also current evidence of a shift from civic attachment to insular communities, bonding social capital, to what many theorists call “bridging social capital,” which I argue is better described as pluralist citizen politics. The essay describes the experiment in democratic pedagogies and conceptual innovation of a new paradigm at Tokai University. It calls for international collaboration on this paradigm of citizen-centered democracy.
This article considers the academic and practical implications of culturally responsive teaching and whiteness studies for the studies and practice of immigrant education in Japan. By reviewing what has been found and discussed about the teachers’ roles and their privileges in the studies of immigrant education in Japan, I argue that Japaneseness has been unnamed and made invisible, as well as culturally neutralized by the majority in the educational system. As the population becomes more diverse, I suggest that it is required to study how the image of “Japanese” and “Japanese culture” have been imagined and constructed in education, to deconstruct them and to put them into practice in teacher training.
The aim of this paper is to examine the possibility of how higher education can develop citizenship education within Japan. For this purpose, we will explore the background and history, the definitions, and the big picture of curricula as well as the goals of Tokai public achievement-style education as citizenship education, and its practices since the program commenced in 2017. Also, we try to identify successful key factors and some future challenges of citizenship education in higher education. As a result, we conclude that Public Achievement is not merely a set of educational methods, but a philosophy that values self-directed learning by individual citizens and encourages their authentic participation in creating a collective learning culture. To facilitate citizenship education further, the university also needs to create a learning culture to value this authentic participation of students, faculty, and staff in operating its organization and surrounding society.
This article explores the relationship between the freedom granted to teachers to shape curricula and the function of national standards. In recent years, many countries have begun to introduce standards-based reforms in education, such as standardized curriculums and high-stakes tests. As cultural diversity within schools increases, the tension resulting from catering to this diversity while maintaining standards is also rising. This article offers a comparative analysis of the educational theories and practices in the U.S. and Japan. In the U.S., debate and conflict between supporters of national standards and those of multicultural education have surfaced. In Japan, the government determines broad standards for all schools in order to ensure a fixed standard of education throughout the country. Thus, although the U.S. has a higher degree of cultural diversity than Japan, similar controversial issues will also face the Japanese educational system as school populations change rapidly due to the enrolment of children with diverse foreign heritages. Therefore, this article advocates the need for balance between the scope of regulation by the national government and the development of a citizenship education curriculum that uses teachers’ own initiative in the modern age, and has practical implications for educational policymakers.
Building upon the recent English-language scholarship (Kawaji, 2017, Miyazawa, 2015; Hiraoka, 2011) on the Japanese pedagogy movement of seikatsu tsuzurikata (“daily life writing,” hereafter referred to as DLW), this essay seeks to locate its significance within a broader global context. It is as much a polemic for why DLW should be better known outside of Japanese academic circles as it is meant to be a dispassionate, historical analysis of an education movement per se. The fact that such a large-scale, politically radical grass-roots education movement as DLW took place within Japan's highly technocratic and centralized educational tradition is intrinsically interesting. Greater international awareness of DLW can thus serve as a valuable touchstone for a broader reconsideration of 21st century education change. This essay highlights three ways that DLW complicates understandings of modern Japanese education as well as education development more generally. First, the spread of DLW in the 1930s reminds us that discourses of liberation and socio-economic empowerment proved surprisingly enduring, even during the supposed “dark-valley” era of prewar Japan. Second, the essay explores how DLW's critical pedagogy arose from a hermeneutical skepticism of “intent observations” that emerged from a humanistic (particularly Diltheyan) philosophical tradition distinct from the progressive, Anglo-American discourses that have come to dominate contemporary Japanese education (Takayama, 2011). Finally, this paper explores the subversive ways DLW de-centers conventional understandings of educational change, by noting how previously marginalized groups (in terms of geography, class and education status) generated compelling critiques of dominant education discourses. DLW's similarities with later, better-known, movements of critical pedagogy overseas suggest a globalized discourse of educational iconoclasm that is longer-lived and more geographically varied than is often recognized. To give overseas readers a better sense of DLW ideology, this essay includes extended quotes from key DLW writers and documents.
The so-called “Educational Opportunity Guarantee Act 2016” was adopted and established in the National Diet in December 2016. As is well known, it gained impetus through lobbying from people involved with alternative “free schools,” pursuing a stable position within the system, along with the night junior high school movement. This process, in which a discussion that shakes the foundations of public education as a whole was brought to the fore by the margins of the public education system, is extremely interesting. Elsewhere, the final text of the law is sharply distinguished from its original plan, and has been severely criticized by people involved in the movement. This paper focuses on the point among these that both in word and in deed, the concept of “diverse” has disappeared from the initial “guaranteeing diverse educational opportunities.” With guidance from the arguments of David F. Labaree, this paper interprets the process of this alteration (loss) as the triumph of formalism over actualism in education, a “victory” for the educational consumers who view public education as private property.