Interview with Kumiko Torikai – Part 3

Kumiko Torikai, Ph.D. is a professor and founding dean at the Graduate School of Intercultural Communication, at Rikkyo University, in Tokyo and a visiting professor at Kanda University of Foreign Studies. She is a lecturer/supervisor of the NHK multimedia program English through the News. She is a member of the Science Council of Japan, as well as councils and committees in the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Land and Transportation and the Cabinet Office. She is Former President of the Japan Association for Interpreting and Translation Studies and a former president of the Japan Congress/Convention Bureau. ELT News.com. Read more…

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Interview with Kumiko Torikai – Parts 1-2

Kumiko Torikai, Ph.D. is a professor and founding dean at the Graduate School of Intercultural Communication, at Rikkyo University, in Tokyo and a visiting professor at Kanda University of Foreign Studies. She is a lecturer/supervisor of the NHK multimedia program English through the News. She is a member of the Science Council of Japan, as well as councils and committees in the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Land and Transportation and the Cabinet Office. She is Former President of the Japan Association for Interpreting and Translation Studies and a former president of the Japan Congress/Convention Bureau.  ELT News.com. Read more…

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Interview with Kumiko Torikai

Kumiko Torikai is the Director of the English Language Program at Rikkyo University and has been a professor at the university since 1997. A graduate of Sophia University and Columbia University, Torikai has over 30 years experience as an interpreter and interviewer. ELT News.com. Read more…

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Geographies of the Eikaiwa Wonderland

Eikaiwa is a Japanese term that can be translated as “the activity of English conversation.” It is often used metonymically to mean an organization that teaches conversational English, particularly one of the big private English conversation schools. In Japan there are many hundreds of eikaiwa establishments. The largest companies are NOVA Intercultural Institute, GEOS, AEON and ECC (the Big Four). Each of these organizations has an extensive network of schools located throughout Japan and a network of recruitment offices abroad. The corporate history of AEON serves as a typical example of the historical growth of one of the bigger English schools. Founded in 1973, it had 25 branches in 1984. By 1989 this had increased to 149, and by 1997 there were 230. At that point, AEON employed over 2000 personnel, of whom about 500 were foreigners (AEON 1997). The other big schools exhibit similar patterns of expansion over this period (NOVA 2004, ECC 2004). Total estimates for eikaiwa sector size are unreliable; however, according to some sources between 400,000 and 700,000 students are attending eikaiwa at any one time. The University of Arizona. Read more…

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English language education in Japan

English language education in Japan began as early as 1600 with the initial contacts between the Japanese and Europeans. The for-profit markethas experienced a crisis of confidence in recent years following the bankruptcies of the major Nova and GEOS brands. Almost all students graduating high school in Japan have had several years of English language education, however most still do not have any command of spoken English. Wikipedia. Read more…

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Japanese Textbook Pollution: A disastrous ELT affiction

In the world of English language teaching (ELT) in Japan today we are witnessing a peculiar phenomenon, what I can only call “textbook pollution”, and it is to my shock and dismay rapidly undermining the whole basis and quality of ELT in Japan. Those who are involved in English-teaching there must know exactly what I am going to say in this essay, but for those who are not familiar with that world, it might appear rather extraordinary. I shall try in this short tentative essay to draw attention to what seems to me one of the most alarming diseases to be observed in ELT in contemporary Japan. The English Learning and Languages Review. Read more…

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English at work in Japan

This article by Kimie Takahashi discusses the decisions by companies such as Rakuten and Uniqlo to make English their company language. It looks briefly at the arguments in favour of this move, such as preparing Japanese companies for globalization, but also at some of the arguments against from both academics and business leaders. Language on the Move, 22 July, 2010. Read more…

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