Toward an Integrated Approach to Teaching Japanese Language and Culture: A Knowledge Perspective

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This paper examines the concept of culture in the context of foreign language
education. We define culture as the whole knowledge related to the patterns of
thought and action shared by every person belonging to a society or a group.
Knowledge is the total of explicit knowledge, implicit knowledge, and tacit
knowledge. Both language and culture are included in knowledge; their nondetachability is expressed in phrases like language is a part of culture, two sides of the same coin, language is the core of culture, and languaculture. Researchers have
often pointed out that foreign language teaching should be linked to the social and
cultural contexts in which foreign languages are used. Some have also argued that
students, as ethnographers, can and should learn a foreign language and culture at the same time. We review theoretical and practical literature pertaining to learning
about culture in foreign language education, particularly focusing on H. Hosokawa’s
ideas regarding Japanese language education. We point out that implicit knowledge
and tacit knowledge are also necessary in culture education. Finally, a model is
presented to clarify the relationship between language and culture in language
education from the perspective of knowledge. Considering future trends, we predict
that the integrated study of language and culture will surely become a major issue in
the practice of Japanese language education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-299
JournalIntercultural Communication Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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