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October 16, 2011

[SSJ: 6907] Japan Fieldwork Workshop; International Preschools and Education Strategies; Nov. 4th,

From: David H. Slater
Date: 2011/10/16

Japan Fieldwork Workshop

Hiroki Igarashi
Sociology, University of Hawai`i at Manoa

Broadening Children's Choices for the Future in the Global Age:
Increasing International Preschools and Japanese Affluent Families' Educational Strategies in Tokyo

November 4th, 2011. From 5:30pm
Sophia University, Yotsuya Campus
Bldg. 10, room 301

In English (Japanese discussion welcome) Free; open to all

(Beers afterward at Irish Pub around the corner --beers not free)

My dissertation research project investigates the emerging movement for Japanese affluent families to send their children to "international preschools" in the past 10 years in order to have their children acquire "global cultural capital," which comprise fluency in English and cosmopolitan orientation, a newly valued form of cultural capital in the
globalizing field of education. International
preschools are private, expensive and non-accredited school institutions, with a presence of foreign teachers, that provide daycare for preschool children under an English-speaking environment. According to ALC (2009), the number of international preschools had drastically increased from 18 in 2002 to 312 in 2009 in Japan, particularly around big cities.

By capturing parenting involvement in children's education as educational (and parenting) strategies, this research examines how the proliferation of international preschools has affected patterns of families' educational strategies, such as cultural logics of parenting (Lareau 2003), school choice for their children, and the visions of their children's futures. This inquiry is important because of the rapidly globalizing nature of education and work where worldwide business corporations seek talent beyond national borders (Brown and Tannock 2009). To investigate, I have conducted ethnography in Tokyo and Honolulu, Hawaii since 2008 to current. I have interviewed 15 school directors and/or teachers of international preschools in Tokyo and 28 Japanese parents (particularly mothers) who have sent their children to international preschools. In addition, I am in the midst of doing a participant observation at an international preschool in Tokyo.

Although it is tentative, I have found a new cultural logic of parenting, not simply explained by Lareau's concept of "concerted cultivation," a middle class families' style of parenting to cultivate children's talents by organizing leisure activities. In the presentation, I would like to provide my tentative findings and the process of doing my fieldwork in Tokyo.

Hiroki Igarashi is a Ph.D. Candidate in Department of Sociology at University of Hawaii at Manoa, and currently a visiting research fellow at Graduate School of Education, the University of Tokyo.

David H. Slater, Ph.D.
Faculty of Liberal Arts
Sophia University, Tokyo

Approved by ssjmod at October 16, 2011 01:30 PM