How did the English education start in Japan? A strong need to foster human resources to handle situations in the English language (instead of Dutch) arose from “the Nagasaki Harbour Incident” of HMS Phaeton in 1808. Facing a foreign power, the Japanese saw that a simple fact - nobody understood English - might have led Japan to a major crisis of extinction. The government at that time (Tokugawa Shogunate) suddenly realized this urgent task and launched a national project of retraining their Dutch translators/interpreters, Oranda-tsuji, into the English ones. Through the observation and exploration of this early stage to the establishment of the public system of English education, we can reflect on our current chaotic status, and try to predict the future. The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo are just around the corner, and the government is proclaiming the need of English-speaking Japanese.
Masako Nishikawa-Van Eester, Nishogakusha University, Japan
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
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