Japanese Ability of Indo-Chinese Refugees and Their Social Networks with the Japanese Society

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Mika HASEBE, Meiji Gakuin University, Japan
Japan had experienced to accept Indo-Chinese refugees since 1978 upon Cabinet approval. Since then, 11,319 people from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia had been admitted to resettle in Japan. Of that number, quite a few people decided to live in Japan with permanent resident visa. And their community now includes pensioners who have lived Japan for 40 years, as well as the second and the third generation.

One previous research shows that their ability of Japanese reading and writing, especially for Kanji is highly related to their employment status, either regular or irregular employment. However, longer period of stay in Japan does not necessarily lead to their good command of Japanese. Then what does make difference in Japanese ability?

In language acquisition, there are several factors will make a difference in its result, such as motivation or educational experience of the learners, or the method the learners take. In this research, however, I assume that learners having social networks with the host society will make differences in Japanese acquisition. Thus the aim of this presentation is to examine the role of social network with the Japanese society on acquiring Japanese.

The presentation will be on the data which is extracted from an on-going oral history collecting from Indo-Chinese refugees living in Kanagawa prefecture. Oral histories are mainly collected from the first generation and the second generation. The focus will be on their narratives on their way of language learning as well as their relation to the host society.

The presentation will conclude that especially for the younger second generation, the positive and proper ties with the host society will have a good effect on their educational and Japanese language attainment.