The study of culture in Japanese
Towards a more meaningful engagement with Japanese language studies
For many years the study of culture in Japanese as a foreign language (JFL) has relied on a teacher-centred, prescriptive approach introducing cultural characteristics and facts about Japan. Most syllabuses used in JFL programs in Australian universities have cultural, as well as linguistic aims. However, objectives for cultural studies are harder to define than for linguistic studies and are generally treated as something extra, or detachable. The study of Japanese culture and society is regarded as the responsibility of Japanese Studies (JS) and there has been little integration of the two. However, as awareness about the nature of language studies grows, there is a concomitant need for JFL to shift educational focus to more interactive, cross-cultural participation. This paper explores an alternative approach to the study of culture in JFL, with particular attention to material and topics.