Students’ Intercultural Communication Competence in Rural Areas of Japan


Most local governments in rural areas of Japan have been suffering from population decline. Local companies in the areas are supplementing the shortage of workforce by employing overseas students in the areas. Most Japanese students born and brought up there are expected to play important roles in local companies after graduation. It is predicted that intercultural communication competence necessary for those working in rural areas might be different from the competence necessary for those working in large cities like Tokyo. However, little is known about the characteristics of intercultural communication competence necessary for those working in rural areas. This study is motivated by the necessity of designing an education programme to develop students’intercultural communication competence for working in rural areas. To meet this necessity, this study examines how Japanese/overseas students work with people from different countries. The results of a survey conducted in one rural area show that (1) Japanese students have fewer opportunities of working with people from different countries; (2) Japanese people do not necessarily use languages as expected by overseas students; (3) the way overseas students deal with communication gaps is influenced not by the length of working with Japanese people in the area, but by their Japanese proficiency level and interaction strategies; (4) the length of working with people from different countries influences Japanese students’way of dealing with communication gaps. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of designing an education programme.

Author Information
Yoko Yamada, Niigata University, Japan
Gunyung Lee, Niigata University, Japan
Akira Sawamura, Niigata University, Japan
Yasuyuki Kishi, Niigata University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2018
Stream: Challenging & Preserving: Culture, Inter/Multiculturalism & Language

This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon