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Distance Education for Japanese Students Justin Patterson, Marisa Ruiz, Calesha D. Turner-Aaron University of Phoenix - Online Courseware Authoring EDTC 570 Dr. Andrea Edmundson, Facilitator May 14, 2007. Overview.

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Distance Education for Japanese StudentsJustin Patterson, Marisa Ruiz, Calesha D. Turner-AaronUniversity of Phoenix - OnlineCourseware AuthoringEDTC 570Dr. Andrea Edmundson, FacilitatorMay 14, 2007


Education is very important to the Japanese society, which began with the adoption of Chinese culture in the sixth century (Education in Japan, n.d.). The e-learning market within Japan is rapidly expanding, with course content more than double from $25 million in 1999 to $60 ,million in 2000. By 2110, the market is expected to reach $10 billion with the largest segment coming from the corporate market (Mosnaim, 2001).

cultural competency training japan
Cultural Competency Training Japan
  • Overview
  • Cultural color preferences
  • International perceptions of teachers
  • Global classroom interaction
  • Delivery of distance education
  • Graphics
  • Gender roles
  • Preferred music
  • Language barriers
cultural color preferences
Cultural Color Preferences

Before one can understand color preferences, one must realize the significance of the colors that are traditional to the Japanese

  • Yellow – a sacred color in the Far East, or treachery for those in the West.
  • Red- Passion
  • Orange- Knowledge and Civilization
  • Violet- Royal
  • Blue- Passive or Fidelity
  • Green- Restful and Fresh
  • White – Purity and Truth
  • Black- Gloom (Thompson, 1998)
cultural color preferences continued
Cultural Color Preferences(continued)

Below is a sample of traditional Japanese colors:

(Thompson, 1998)

Consider these choices and the aforementioned meanings when designing the course structure and layout.

international perception of teachers
International Perception of Teachers
  • Japan is a high power distance culture.
  • In high power distance cultures, the teacher’s position is highly respected and he/she is expected to strongly guide the student to knowledge.
  • Knowledge is often seen as being transferred from teacher to the student, rather than discovered or “constructed”.

(Aoki & Bray, n.d., p. 14)

international perception of teachers1
International Perception of Teachers
  • The desire for a professor who is an expert in his/her field would be likely in a student that sees the professor’s knowledge as an important factor in his/her success.
  • Disagreeing with or questioning those in authority is not common when high power distance is the rule.

(Aoki & Bray, n.d., p. 14)

international perception of teachers2
International Perception of Teachers
  • A “teacher centered” lecture format or a small group teacher led class is more conducive to this view of learning than a student-centered “teacher as facilitator” approach.

(Aoki & Bray, n.d., p. 14)

international perception of teachers3
International Perception of Teachers
  • The preference Japanese distance education universities have for designing their courses around video broadcasts of lectures may have less to do with a lack appreciation of the benefits of asynchronous modes of instruction than with a strong positive belief in the need of teachers to lecture in order to express character, moral authority and life wisdom.

(Aoki & Bray, n.d., p. 15)

global classroom interaction
Global Classroom Interaction

In today's global economic competition, we must regard lifelong learning as an instrument for raising the quality of life and workforce. Lifelong learning should be a key

national priority (Tuijnman 1996, p7).

global classroom interaction1
Global Classroom Interaction

We believe that open and distance learning certainly play a strategic role to meet the demands of lifelong learning as well as human resource development in an era, where globalization, technological change and population aging converged to produce a new situation (Tuijnman 1999, p7).

global classroom interaction2
Global Classroom Interaction

(Tsui, Zhang, Jegede, Ng, & Kwok, 1999, p.5)

global classroom interaction3
Global Classroom Interaction

(Tsui, Zhang, Jegede, Ng, & Kwok, 1999, p.7)

delivery of distance education
Delivery of Distance Education

As Japan’s education ministry currently allows universities credit for online courses (Brender, 2001), the best delivery for this form of education would be in the Web Based Training (WBT) format:


  • Video correspondence
  • Bulletin board-based virtual classroom
  • Downloadable video/audio lectures from saved correspondence
  • PowerPoint demonstrations, lectures, and instructions
  • Multisensory experience for learners
  • Grades and assistance remarks with quick turn around time
  • Japanese art covers a wide range of styles and media.
  • Painting is the preferred artistic expression.
  • Woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e produced colorful prints of everything from the news to schoolbooks.
  • While China is considered the teacher of art to Japan, the Japanese have developed their own, different style.
  • Japanese art can be seen as miniaturized, irregular, and subtly suggestive.
  • Japanese art reflects a natural flow, odd numbers, and a “pull” to one side giving a 3D illusion (Japanese Art, n.d.)
gender roles in japan
Gender Roles in Japan
  • You may be thinking that traditional Japanese society is still very conservative and patriarchal. Well, this very well may the case in some sectors, but it is changing in Japan as it has/is in most industrialized nations. In America since the late 1970s studies have shown that there has been a growing cultural shift in the perception of what occupational roles to which each gender may aspire. Traditional roles of nursing and teaching were highly chosen career paths for young women, but these roles have since opened up to a more balanced influx from both males and females.
gender roles in japan1
Gender Roles in Japan
  • Japan’s perceived patriarchal nature has been supported by institutionalized Confucianism. This religion teaches, among other tenets, obedience to authority and encourages a hierarchical society with men holding sway over women and children.
gender roles in japan2
Gender Roles in Japan
  • Traditional Japanese values such as harmony, solidarity and loyalty were reinforced when the country became a global technological leader. These vales found themselves being played out in gender roles that divided men and women between office and house work. Men were dedicated to their jobs which they often had at the same company for life, working in a team environment where loyalty was unquestionable. Women had dominion over the home, making all financial decisions so that men could devote all their energy to their jobs.

gender roles in japan3
Gender Roles in Japan
  • But over the past twenty years government statistics show that women have gradually been moving to work outside the home. Reasons for this include women’s rights movements and the need to maintain living standards. Most importantly, modern-day Japanese are putting off marriage or deciding to stay single. Most women cite the desire for marriage at some point but within an egalitarian household, while men desire traditional wives.
gender roles in japan4
Gender Roles in Japan
  • The Western idea of the macho male does not hold credence in Japanese society, Their Confucian sensibility seeks a more well-rounded male who is well-educated in literature and the arts and is physically well-trained. Another element in the mix is that women now outnumber men in higher education, and their numbers are climbing in the Japanese workforce.
  • Gender roles in Japan are only a part of the larger cultural system that is defined by group dynamics and obedience to a higher authority.
gender roles in japan5
Gender Roles in Japan
  • In the online classroom, it is important to keep the larger cultural context of groups in mind. Group projects and assignments done by consensus would be a natural fit for this society.
preferred music
Preferred Music
  • Japanese taste in music runs the gamut from traditional to pop music.
  • Gagaku:music which was performed at Court among the nobility.
  • Noh: Drama developed in 14th century with its own music called Nohgaku. there had developed the artistic Noh Noh is highly stylized and symbolic drama, and is usually performed by a few male actors and musicians (Japanese music, n.d.).
preferred music1
Preferred Music
  • Popular Music: The Japanese love of jazz was interrupted during WWII while it was banned. After WWII the Japanese resumed their interest in various musical styles ranging from samba to American jazz
  • In more recent times influence from the United Stated is arguably dominant. Rock, soul, and folk music from the U.S. are widely appreciated by the Japanese (Japanese music, n.d.).
  • For further information the following Web site is a good resource:

The shamisen is a Japanese three-stringed instrument

The shamisen isused for accompaniment of two types of vocal music: melodious singing and narrative singing.

Click on the following link for an example of shamisen playing:

j pop
  • Japanese pop or J-pop refers, in general terms to Japanese pop culture that is Western-influenced. Initially spurred on by rock n’ roll, the craze for pop music with a Western sound started in 1956
  • Initially cover bands created their own version of Western hits which inspired, arguably the future success of karaoke (J-pop, 2007).
japanese slang
Japanese Slang
  • Slang can easily have two or more different meanings to the untrained ear. To give you a sampling of the way the Japanese use slang, consider the following example:
  • Salaryman is the Japanese term for a going-nowhere white-collar worker. This word is pronounced in English by the Japanese to denote someone who is a cog in the system, and is being worked to death. This is just one of the many insights I am sure instructors of Japanese peoples may come across (Salaryman, 2007).

To close, it is the unique pieces of individual groups that make up a “culture.” For designers looking to develop materials for educating those in a foreign land, consider this competency and make it a point to explore the culture thoroughly. It will only make the eventual class that much more of a success!


Aoki, K., & Bray, E. H. (n.d., December 12). Learning styles of distance learners in Japan: Cultural considerations. Retrieved May 14, 2007, from

Brender, A. (2001) Japan Will Allow Universities to Grant Credit for Online Courses The Chronicle for Higher Education Retrieved May 13, 2001 from

Education in Japan (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2007 from

Japanese Art. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2007 from

Mosnaim, I. (2001) Gilat Communications to provide e-learning solutions to Interlect Japan The Street Retrieved May 13, 2001 from

Thompson, G. (1998) Retrieved May 14, 2007 from tm#Generalized%20Color

references continued
References (continued)

Tsui, C., Zhang, W., Jegede, O., Ng, F., & Kwok, L. (1999, April/May). Perception of administrative styles of open and distance learning institutions in Asia - a comparative study. Retrieved May 13, 2007, from

Tuijnman, A. C. (1996). The expansion of adult education and training in Europe: Trends and issues. Retrieved May 14, 2007, from

Tuijnman, A. C. (1999, June). International perspectives on lifelong learning. Retrieved May 14, 2007, fromhttp://www/