Evaluation of business Japanese textbooks: Issues of gender

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Japanese Studies, 2003, 23 (2), pp. 185 - 203
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While the Japanese business community continues to be perceived as male dominated, the majority of students of Business Japanese in Australian universities are female. This paper examines Business Japanese textbooks from both macro (social practices) and micro (linguistic discourses) level perspectives, using critical discourse analysis as an analytical tool, to assess the adequacy of the textbooks to be used in a primarily female student community. The analysis reveals that the textbooks present a stereotypical and exaggerated version of social practices of the Japanese business community, based on idealised native-Japanese norms. Female characters in the textbooks have less access to managerial positions, and fewer opportunities to participate in business, than in reality. The analysis also highlights the invisibility of non-Japanese female characters in the textbooks. Female students using the textbooks are not provided with role models or spaces to acculturate into. These textbooks do not grant adequate learning tools for non-Japanese female students. The paper calls for textbooks which provide more diverse perspectives of the Japanese business community, where non-Japanese female students are able to construct their own social identities accompanied by relevant use of the Japanese language. © 2003, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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