Study on Teaching and Learning Japanese as a Second Language in a Multicultural Society

Project Leader:SAKODA Kumiko
Professor, Center for JSL Research and Information, NINJAL
Research field:Japanese Language Education
Keywords:multicultural society, Japanese for living in Japan, second language acquisition, evaluation


In collaboration with a wide range of disciplines, such as research on second language acquisition, contrastive linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and corpus linguistics, this project conducts empirical studies on various issues in the education and learning of Japanese as a second language in a multicultural society. Specifically, we will investigate learners’ communicative competence to determine regularities in second language acquisition, which will become the foundation for future Japanese second language instruction and evaluation.

This project consists of five research groups

Group 1

Leader: SAKODA Kumiko
Topic: Research on the acquisition of Japanese as a second language in different learning environments

This group aims to investigate how learners develop their knowledge from input and how this knowledge is used in communication. The group will create a database of learners’ utterances and written compositions in order to analyze variation by learners according to their learning environments.

Group 2

Leader: USAMI Yo
Topic: Research on evaluation as an interactive act in society

When people evaluate the linguistic performance of others in daily life, there are likely to be individual differences in their evaluation schema (i.e. , evaluation criteria and evaluation methods) . For successful communication between people with different backgrounds, it is necessary to consider the different evaluation schema individuals posses.

  • For this reason, this study has the following objectives:
    1) to investigate the diversity of evaluation schema of, native and non-native speakers of Japanese
    2) to classify the schema, and
    3) to make clear the individual processes involved in the formation of evaluate schema.

Group 3

Leader: KANEDA Tomoko
Topic: Research on the content of Japanese as a second language

A major purpose of this study is to reconsider the level of the Japanese language that is necessary for non-native speakers to establish themselves as a member of the community. Based on previous research, such as the investigation of the actual use of Japanese by foreign residents by focusing on their lives, the present study will redefine the level of the Japanese language thereby creating a list of learning items essential for L2 learners, which will be helpful in designing courses for teaching Japanese as a second language.

Group 4

Leader: SHIMAMURA Naomi
Topic: Research on basic vocabulary for learners of Japanese

The purpose of this study is to compile a dictionary for learners of Japanese as an L2. The dictionary of “500 basic Japanese vocabulary for beginners” will be revised and 1500 additional tokens will be selected for the revised dictionary. In total, 2000 entries will be included.

Group 5

Leader: NODA Hisashi
Topic: Research on Japanese language and education for communication