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'English as the Second Official Language of Japan?': Globalization, Hegemony of English, and Japanese National Identity
Unformatted Document Text:  English as the second official language 30 The proposal of English as the second official language of Japan triggered various responses from Japanese people. In this context, people expressed their national identity by asking and defining what language is and where the Japanese language and the English language are located. Japanese national identity was demonstrated through defining language as culture, language as a tool, appropriating English as the international language, and placing the Japanese language ahead or above the English language. Although some Japanese people opposed the proposal and others supported it, the opinions were consistent in the point that learning English was necessary for the Japanese, which showed the hegemonic position of English in Japan. People, however, presented their national identity through resisting, appropriating, and challenging the hegemony of English as well as feeling threatened by it and accepting it. By defining language as culture, people argued for both protecting and changing the Japanese culture. They attempted to deculturate the English language by regarding it as a tool or the global language in order to make English less threatening to their national identity. Prioritizing the Japanese language over the English language was another way of resistance. Some people demonstrated an imperialistic attitude against Asia as well as a parochial nationalistic or ethnocentric attitude, which is an implication of globalization as Barber (1996) argues. More and more people in the world will continue to learn English under globalization by thinking it natural, rationalizing the necessity of learning English in various ways, and coming to terms with their national/ethnic identities. In any circumstances, people try to find a way not to feel dominated. And that is what hegemony is all about. What is necessary is to be aware of the hegemonic power that the English language has in today’s world and at the same time be careful of becoming parochially nationalistic. Nationalistic sentiments in the nation-states such as Japan

Authors: Kawai, Yuko.
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English as the second official language 30
The proposal of English as the second official language of Japan triggered various
responses from Japanese people. In this context, people expressed their national identity by
asking and defining what language is and where the Japanese language and the English language
are located. Japanese national identity was demonstrated through defining language as culture,
language as a tool, appropriating English as the international language, and placing the Japanese
language ahead or above the English language.
Although some Japanese people opposed the proposal and others supported it, the
opinions were consistent in the point that learning English was necessary for the Japanese, which
showed the hegemonic position of English in Japan. People, however, presented their national
identity through resisting, appropriating, and challenging the hegemony of English as well as
feeling threatened by it and accepting it. By defining language as culture, people argued for both
protecting and changing the Japanese culture. They attempted to deculturate the English
language by regarding it as a tool or the global language in order to make English less
threatening to their national identity. Prioritizing the Japanese language over the English
language was another way of resistance. Some people demonstrated an imperialistic attitude
against Asia as well as a parochial nationalistic or ethnocentric attitude, which is an implication
of globalization as Barber (1996) argues.
More and more people in the world will continue to learn English under globalization
by thinking it natural, rationalizing the necessity of learning English in various ways, and coming
to terms with their national/ethnic identities. In any circumstances, people try to find a way not to
feel dominated. And that is what hegemony is all about. What is necessary is to be aware of the
hegemonic power that the English language has in today’s world and at the same time be careful
of becoming parochially nationalistic. Nationalistic sentiments in the nation-states such as Japan


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