Issues affecting the Development of Bilingualism within Japan-Based Biracial Children

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Issues affecting the Development of Bilingualism within Japan-Based Biracial Children

Damian J. Rivers, Japan

Damian J. Rivers has worked in Japan for a number of years and has a research interest in social issues associated with language development. .



Approaches to childhood bilingualism
Social considerations in childhood bilingualism
Bilingualism within Japan




Bilingualism and multiculturalism are two concepts which are taking on greater importance within Japan as we progress through the 21st century. The past decade has witnessed a number of shifting demographic patterns such as a rapidly aging society, the need to import foreign laborers from other parts of Asia, an increase in the number of foreign families living within Japan and a rise in the number of so-called ‘international’ marriages and the biracial children which such marriages have produced. As Daulton & Akinori (2000) illustrate - “in 1998 there were 29,636 new marriages between Japanese and foreigners (twice as many as ten years previously)” (p.32). These phenomena can be said to have had a significant impact on Japan’s ethnolinguistic infrastructure creating numerous implications for educational practices concerning language. Centralized around such issues, this short paper provides a brief overview of some of the most salient factors associated with the development of bilingualism within biracial children based within Japan through highlighting a range of complex social factors which can manipulate the successful acquisition of more than one language.

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