The purpose of this book is show how research on families can be used to offer inspiration, suggestions, and guidance to intercultural families choosing to school their children in the regular Japanese school system. Each chapter is written by a parent or parents who are themselves researchers and thus bring their skills to the task of writing about issues which have affected their families, and are likely to affect other families in similar ways. There are also suggestions for other non-Japanese parents coping with similar issues.
The book is divided into three sections: The first, “Finding our own way”, deals with children’s and parents’ struggles with identity and inclusion in Japanese schools and society. The second, “Dealing with the Japanese school system”, offers narratives and advice on such topics as coping with homework and dealing with more than one school system, as well as what government-accredited Japanese overseas schools have to offer. The third section, “Coping with challenges”, examines the experiences of families where children are “different” because they have physical or intellectual challenges, or live with foster or adoptive families. The book concludes with a narrative about a family who made the decision to remove their children from the Japanese system entirely and send them abroad for schooling.
The authors of the chapters in this book are all current or former university faculty, living in different areas of Japan. Some, who live in highly-populated urban areas, have had ample opportunities to locate educational options for their children, while others, living in rural communities, have had to struggle to advocate for their children’s inclusion in mainstream classes. Their stories are all compelling and their advice is certain to be helpful to those planning to or already raising children in Japan. This book will also be of value to researchers and educators, particularly those with an interest in bilingualism, intercultural families, and cross-cultural issues, along with anyone wishing to learn more about contemporary Japanese society.