This paper aims to examine the academic significance of the concept of ibasho (a place or community one feels at home), which emerged from the problem of truancy in Japanese society in the 1980s. Free schools were created as places ibasho for truant children. In the field of youth work, group-work-based youth organizations and youth centers were no longer attracting young people to these organizations. In 1992, the Ministry of Education issued a report on truancy, proposing to make schools ibasho for children. Widely studied in psychology, sociology, and architecture, the concept of ibasho has three elements: a place where one can feel safe, good relationships, and time factor. In order to clarify the concept of ibasho, a comparative study was conducted with the theories of human needs and identity. Ibasho is a refuge for the socially oppressed and a foundation for empowerment that enables them to transform society. Therefore, the theory of ibasho has been applied beyond youth issues to the fields of social welfare, gender, and community development. Finally, ibasho can contribute to social inclusion not only in Japan but also worldwide.
This study focuses on ibasho in Japan in the sense of free spaces for people with a history of hikikomori (social withdrawal) who have trouble in finding employment. The paper reviews previous literature on ibasho, and attempts to clarify the role that ibasho are expected to play in supporting these people. As a result of the analysis, six functions of ibasho were extracted. Specifically, (1) shelter and asylum, (2) interpersonal relations, (3) ibasho as a safe and secure place, (4) bridge to social independence, (5) resistance to dominant values, and (6) dilemmas with ibasho. In conclusion, we noted that ibasho is a concept that has immense possibilities in practice, although it needs to be refined before it can be used as an academic concept as it is.
Part-time high schools function as an important safety net for marginalized students, including immigrants, who are often excluded from society and mainstream education. Since 2015, drawing on the participatory action research (PAR) approach, I have collaborated with a high school and a Non-Profit Organization (NPO) to develop an extracurricular activity called One World (Multilingual Exchange Club), which aims to create ibasho (places where one feels comfortable, safe, and accepted) for and with immigrant youth, given their high dropout rate. This article focuses on this collaborative practice and examines how the club has functioned as an ibasho among immigrant students. Given the value placed on students' voluntary engagement under the guidance of supportive teachers during extracurricular activities, immigrant students were able to nurture a space where they could be free from others' eyes, even temporarily. The space also had an elusive culture that validated students' transcultural and hybrid identities, languages, and experiences, which led to their empowerment. By shedding light on the possibilities of the indigenous Japanese concept of ibasho and its practice, scholars and practitioners in Japan and abroad can develop critical questions and reimagine mainstream education to nurture immigrant students' sense of belonging.
“Accessibility” features promote inclusive education but do not guarantee it. Communication accessibility, such as sign language interpretation or note-taking, may facilitate the academic inclusion of deaf students in general classrooms but does not necessarily enable their full social inclusion. Whereas in general classrooms deaf students are often the only deaf person present, in co-enrollment programs a “critical mass” of deaf students is educated alongside their hearing peers. These co-enrollment programs may employ a wide range of communication modalities; however, sign bilingualism has the greatest potential to create a socially inclusive environment, because deaf and hearing children can communicate directly without mediation. In this article, I explore the potential of sign bilingual co-enrollment programs as pathways to belonging, or ibasho, in Japanese education. The analysis is based on existing research on co-enrollment practices across the globe, an in-depth interview and ongoing correspondence with one of the founding members of the first co-enrollment program in the world, as well as my long-term fieldwork with deaf communities in Japan. Based on these findings, I argue that sign bilingual co-enrollment environments go beyond cosmetic accessibility to true inclusivity, creating opportunities for peer interactions, meaningful communication, and belonging.
The purpose of this paper is to examine how life paths toward dreams are selected in relation to ibasho, taking the case of rock musicians. Previous studies have focused on the lack of ibasho and pointed out various problems such as unstable transitions. In contrast, this paper focuses on the possession of ibasho and clarifies the process by which it leads to unstable transitions. The data used was obtained from an interview survey of dream-following musicians.
As a result, it was found that musicians have multiple ibasho inside and outside school, and choose to pursue their dreams by complying with those ibasho; the ibasho inside school is club activities, and that outside school is live music clubs. They first started their musical activities through family influence and club activities, developing an ibasho inside the school. Then, in order to work in a more legitimate place, their activities overflowed the school. There, they gained new ibasho by meeting trusted colleagues and supporters, and chose the path of dream chasing with unstable transitions. Their life paths were strongly driven by the youth culture of rock bands, and their ibasho inside and outside school played an important role. In addition, they had the difficulties pointed out in previous studies due to the unstable transitions. However, they willingly took these difficulties upon themselves because they were “doing something they liked.”
The above findings show the paradox of not only following an unstable transition because there is no ibasho, but also doing so because there is one. The following problems have became clear; their difficulties were invisible and undertaken by themselves due to the characteristic of pursuing dreams. This is where attention should be paid by future youth support policy.
This study attempts to clarify Japanese youth participation policies' characteristics by analyzing four national youth policy documents in the 2000s. Compared with European youth policy, the article will investigate the challenges Japanese youth policy faces.
Though recent Japanese national youth policy sees young people as active agents for society, Japan's youth participation policies mostly employ educational and volunteering approaches. Today's youth policy has reconsidered the inclination to promote voting behavior; however, the documents seldom cover new forms of the youth-led political movement and structural changes in youth policy governance. The reflection of young people's voices has recurrently been considered important over the decades. Yet Japanese youth participation policies only listen to youth via the Internet and roundtables. On the other hand, the Council of Europe's co-management system enables young people to influence the European youth policy decision-making process. Failing to conduct structural changes may lead to youth policy without young people.
The concept of educationalization refers to the government's tendency to impose heavy responsibilities to solve social problems on the school system. In this paper, after briefly reviewing the concept of educationalization, I will show that it is a ubiquitous phenomenon in contemporary Japan through three cases. This will prove that school reforms intended to fix social problems are poorly resourced and powerless to change schools in general. This stagnation is due to (1) immature professionalism in educators, (2) loss of motivation for “conspicuous consumption”, and (3) the absence of ideals, beliefs, and values to be expressed in school reform. Elsewhere, another series of school reforms are much favored, well-funded and powerful in Japan. After posing anti-ijime policies as the best example, I describe and analyze the background of this type by introducing the concept of “officialization of school problems”. Strongly supported by school consumers, it has successfully received a hegemonic position. However, under the hegemony the relation between school and environment is over-simplified by the logic of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism. After comparing both types, we find a modest utility of educationalization: it could interrupt the perpetuation of hegemonic ideologies and make it possible to see the outer world in its complicated reality.
The purpose of this study is to analyze how immigrant children in Japan are included in the phenomenon of gakko kino no fukushika (Kuraishi 2014: 56) —henceforth “welfare-oriented schools”—by using the analytical framework of education-welfare. Fieldwork took place in an elementary school Japanese language class, along with interviews with immigrant mothers, a Japanese language teacher and a Filipino language supporter. The paper focused on three aspects of Filipino immigrants' lives: child neglect, dietary habits, and truancy. As regards education-welfare, this study has illustrated both the possibilities and limitations of teachers taking the “care” roles for immigrant children. Although previous literature has drawn a distinctive line between education and welfare specialists, in this study, the boundary was ambiguous as the Japanese language teacher considered herself a “social worker.” On the other hand, one of the limitations was that the teachers' dominant ideology of a “good” way of living excluded the logic of the immigrants.
Cultivation (shuyo) is not a translated term. However, neither has it been used consistently since the Edo period (1603-1867). Its “depth” is not visible simply from the “shuyo” theory of the Meiji period (1868-1912). This paper structuralizes the Edo and Meiji periods in synchronicity. In addition, it focuses on the translation of Western terms, in particular “cultivation,” and examines the surrounding areas. The points addressed are 1) relations with politics, 2) relations with morals, 3) differences from care for health (yojo), 4) differences from spiritual exercise (shugyo), and 5) differences from skill and performance (keiko). The practices of “non”-modernity cannot be summed up within the categories of modern education. Hints thereto are found in “discrepancies” within translation. This is an attempt to examine a unique Japanese educational tradition as understood within translation.
As public education faces multiple issues, including the surfacing of children's struggles in society and the formation of capabilities suited to the times, free schools are tasked with expectations for their role as a supplement to public education, leading to a change in the onetime structure of opposition. However, attention must be paid to the risk of forcing free schools into the position of troubleshooters for the issues in public education, given that their position in regard to school education remains unbalanced. Will the Act on Securing Educational Opportunities be able to bring about a “cultural/symbolic revolution” in public education?
As the research work of academic associations faces restrictions and reductions due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Japan Educational Research Association launched a jointly held participatory webinar series, “Pandemic and Education: What Should Be Done to Support Learning?” (4 sessions), through the JERA secretariat, Research Promotion Committee, and Public Relations Committee.