<<November 20, 2000>>
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Paul KAWACHI <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Carmen R. Alviar, Ph.D. <email@example.com>
David Levy <AXEL@conted.lan.mcgill.ca>
Steve McCarty <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Steven Donahue <email@example.com>
(1) It was my great pleasure to have met with you during the
in Manila last month.
My sincere congratulations to your receiving an award of the
for your very excellent papers;
(a) Democratisation of Access to Learning Opportunities: Opening
Global Education to Japanese Learners, (ATTACHMENT I) and
(b) What are We Doing to Initiate Intrinsic Motivation?: Current
of the Art (ATTACHMENT II).
(2) I have read both of them thoroughly with great interest.
During our mtg in Manila, you raised a question why Japanese
are slow to
adopt on-line distance learning. Paul's papers explain the reasons from
Frankly speaking, I was very disappointed with those Japanese
the University of Air who attended the AAOU conference in Manila
last month and also who attended the ICDE/ABED conferences in Sao
Paulo, Brazil last August. They did not present anything about
the web-based distance learning program which is the future of the
e-learning. This might be due to the facts that their university
is under the control of the Japanese Ministry of Education and
their analog (or digital) satellite broadcasting technology is
based on the one of NHK (an equivalent of BBC in England or PBS in
the US). They have perfected the broadcasting technology, but
they have not realized that the broadcasting technology itself has
already becoming outdated in the distance learning field and is to be
replaced with Internet technology for asynchronous interactivity
with web-based teaching platforms -- incidentally, in the US, the
use of analog satellite distance education has been declining to
only one third of the once peak-time usage.
This may be a similar situation as the Japanese Battleships
"Musashi" and Yamato" which were designed by Dr. Hiraga,
then the President of the University of Tokyo, as imitating
the Battleship Bismarck of Germany:
The Japanese Navy with six aircraft carriers lost the Midway
battle to the US with only two of them which had escaped the
Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor. This was because the Japanese
did not have radar with a Yagi antenna which was invented by
Dr. Hidetsugu Yagi, the late President of the Tokyo
Institute of Technology, my alma mater. In other words,
American won the battle with the use of Japanese technology.
Those Japanese battleships were just sunk by American
aircraft during Leyte (Philippines) and Okinawa battles.
Japanese say that the construction of those battleships was
one of three most stupid things Japan did during World
War II -- unfortunately, I don't know the other two.
(3) Although I appreciated your very scholastic approaches
use of statistical analysis of your research findings and their
interpretation with neuroscience, it might have been more interesting if
you could interpret them from the viewpoint of cultural differences
between East and West, since language is deeply inter-woven with culture.
Draft of Proposed Book
"Electronic Global University System and Services"
To be published by Idea-Group Publishing Company, Harrisburg, PA
Chapter 3: Section 1:
Rainbow Bridge Across the Pacific:
Slide show on the comparison of Eastern and Western cultures in
relation with functions of analog, digital and hybrid computers.
Without animation and voice, but with Japanese Kanji (Chinese)
In this I compared Eastern and Western cultures with a metaphor
global brain, and also inter-related them with Judeo-Christianity,
Islam, and Buddhism.
(4) I wholeheartedly agree with you that English has to be
taught in Japan
from pre-kindergarten age.
As you may know, Yukichi Fukuzawa, the founder of Keio University,
leading private university in Japan, said that when you import western
civilization, you have to also import western culture. And you may
also know that civilization is based on culture, and culture is
based on religion.
One of my uncles was the first dean of correspondence education
Keio University after serving the deanship of literature for
many years. I brought my idea of electronic distance learning to
him almost 3 decades ago, but alas, it was too early for them to absorb.
Incidentally, your paper termed that Japanese culture is highly
context, but no content. The New York Times, February 6, 2000,
said Japan has the hardware of the Western press, but there is no
software. The inside is EMPTY!!
Around the time when Fukuzawa established Keio University (or
that), the grandfather of my wife accompanied Tomomi Iwakura during his
mission tour of Europe and North America to learn western style
government organization for the newly established Meiji government.
After he studied journalism at the University of Michigan,
the Code of Education into English which was issued by Emperor Meiji.
He was then ordered to establish the Japan Times, the leading English
newspaper in Japan, by the then prime minister, Hirobumi Ito.
The founding father of the Meiji Restoration Government almost
ago tried to make English the Japanese language instead of using Kanji
(Chinese characters of Han Dynasty almost two millennium ago), but failed.
As you may know, Murasaki Shikibu wrote the Tale of Genji before
Shakespeare. Since then, (or even before it with Manyou-shu, the
collection of ancient Japanese Waka poems), Japanese language is
known as good for literature, but not for rational scientific and
technological thinking and writing.
My mother was an avid Waka poet and often contributed her
poems to Araragi, the leading journal of Waka.
With this failure of adopting English language, Japanese now
devastating stone wall, not being able to practice global online
electronic distance learning as your paper aptly pointed out. In a
sense, Japan is now facing the huge bill of this failure and negligence.
(5) My zeal of promoting Internet in Japan in the past quarter
century is to
cope with this forlorn Japanese situation. My hope is that the use of
Internet forces Japanese to use English, particularly for their email,
sooner or later.
Their email in Japanese cannot be understood by their global
colleagues anyway, thus limiting their global reach and
marketability, let alone global e-learning collaboration.
During my recent stay in Tokyo, however, I watched a TV program
with great interest which reported the use of English as the official
language among employees of Nissan (which management was recently
taken over by a Frenchman) and NEC, etc.
The use of Internet will then bring to Japanese the ultimate
democracy, i.e., participatory democracy (*), thus crumbling down
the millennium-old feudalistic societal structures.
(*) This may be realized when the experiments of voting
for this year's presidential election in Arizona and Alaska
will be perfected for wireless Internet cellular phone with
advanced encryption and security technologies.
Dr. Hironaka, President of Hiroshima University and Laureate
Field Award (equivalent to a Nobel prize in mathematics) during
his deanship at Harvard University, once termed me the "Ryoma
Sakamoto of this age." Sakamoto initiated the Meiji Restoration --
alas, he was then assassinated!! -- My close friend at the
University of Air then said to me "That is why you fled to New York!!"
(6) Man has to live for tomorrow, not yesterday. Science and
open the future. Japanese has to live with the advancement of science
and technology. For this they have to make English as the language of
the coming 21st century in Japan.
(7) Lastly, I would suggest that you contact David Levy, Steve
Steve Donahue -- you may form a team on English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching.
David has extensive experience of teaching English in China.
Many thanks for your recent msg -- it was my great pleasure
have met with you again in Tokyo.
Steve McCarty teaches English in Shikoku for many years --
came from Boston. He manages our web site, too.
Many, many thanks for your assistance during my stay in Tokyo.
Steve Donahue's E-Testimony for the US Congress' Web-based
Commission says that teaching pronunciation of foreign language can be
done better through web, rather than in face-to-face classroom.
Pls send them the copies of your two papers, if possible.
Excerpt from Abstract of Item (1)-(a)
This paper presents the difficulties faced by native Japanese
engaging in global education online courses provided in the English language.
These difficulties are attributed directly to cultural differences which are
investigated and found to be associated with the logographic nature of the
'kanji' components of the Japanese language, and by the language itself being
phonologically the narrowest in the developed world. Their English reading and
assimilation speeds and their interactivity online are correspondingly
negatively effected. The distinctive cultural dependency on visual forms
(reinforced by cramming and overload in secondary education) requires high
context / low content web-screens for online learning. Their desire
for consensus-reaching and their ability to act as 'connected' learners are
confounded by their cultural ambiguity avoidance. Implications may extend to
students from other cultures that use native logographic language such as
Chinese, Korean and possibly Thai.
<<November 21, 2000>> Removed here by T. Utsumi,
The findings suggested that the English language should be
early primary education in Japan, and by extension also into other logographic
cultures, as a simple and perhaps sufficient step to democratise access to
The increasing diversity of collaborative learners brought
together by global
education does not at present involve the interactive participation of
Japanese students. I define 'global' education as that provided through the
English-language medium for open learning at a distance using
computer-mediated communications. As the second leading economy in the world - with
cutting edge technology - one must wonder why the Japanese are not engaging in
online global education.
Among the various barriers to participation, language constitutes
personality and cultural barrier so far inhibiting their participation. This
study investigates this barrier and seeks to identify and disseminate
suggestions to facilitate the interactive participation by Japanese, which in
turn will enrich the learning experience for all participants around the world.
Excerpt from Abstract of Item (1)-(b)
Research into approaches to studying now informs much of our
practice in tertiary teaching and learning. This research is closely related
to the qualitative differences between deep and surface approaches described
by Marton and S‹ljÓ in 1976. The surface approach has since been associated
with a low level of understanding, poor-quality learning and weaker academic
outcomes; it has also been related to dropping-out. Consequently, open and
distance education is concerned with nurturing a deep approach. However, less
attention has been paid to measures for the primary seeding of intrinsic
motivation and a deep approach in students. Some students, particularly those
in Southeast Asia, may be culturally predisposed to or, through overload, at
risk of adopting a surface approach in their studying, and could benefit from
measures to initiate a deep approach.
This study reviews the literature on how intrinsic motivations
initiated in the student by the courseware. Here the term courseware is
employed to include the various interactions between the student and media,
student and tutor, student and other students, and student and content.
With respect to the design of content, measures could more
include (and stimulate) challenge, curiosity and fantasy. These factors have
been elsewhere identified in computer games and are worth building into
With respect to the pairwise or group interactions for collaborative
and for cooperative learning, no study has yet been reported on gender issues,
in particular, women's different ways of knowing through connected' learning
collaboratively. Connected learning is explored here in the context of
Japanese learners who may be seeking consensus but hold extremely high
ambiguity avoidance levels. In an environment of low structure and high
transactional distance, women may learn better by reducing transactional
distance and increasing shared dialogue.
<<November 21, 2000>> Removed here by T. Utsumi,
Gender differences in learning
Gender differences have been identified, with women (with exceptions)
so-called right-brain characteristics in empathetic elicitation, sharing and
valuing of each others' experiences and views cooperatively, and with men
(with exceptions) showing so-called left-brain characteristics in analytical
argument collaboratively. (Lyons et al. (1999) give a current overview of
learners being either right-brain' dominant, who are intuitive and prefer
informal unstructured learning environments and group discussions, or
left-brain' dominant, who are analytical, rational and objective. Generally, those
who are right-brain' dominant are women, while those who are left-brain' are
men, with the proviso that women are more flexible and can switch from right
to left.) Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger and Tarule (1997) report the
cooperative style in (Western) women sharing and borrowing opinions as
connected' learning. Connected learning was also reported in group
cooperative learning by Johnson and Johnson (1979 : 9-11) by exposing the
individual to different points of view to help gain a more objective
understanding through adding together the perspectives from others to one's
own. Thus there are the two interpretative processes for learning in a group
cooperatively (basically ; one through speaking, and the other through
listening). One of reinterpreting one's own understanding cognitively alone in
order subsequently to articulate and explain it to others. And the other of
reinterpreting and enriching one's own interpretation by combining it with
other perspectives from the group. Connected learning interactivities may thus
be at odds with the collaborative scientific process described by Crook (1997:
543). In particular, women may be more motivated to learn in groups than men.
Women have also been reported to be uncomfortable with men's conversational'
style and consequently de-motivated in mixed groups in online conferencing
Learning preferences among Japanese
The preferences of Japanese students towards the various learning
were investigated. Gender differences were investigated by open-response
questionnaire survey and by interviews, and the preliminary findings do not
suggest there are any gender differences in Japanese. Japanese men as well as
women were discovered to prefer connected cooperative learning, maintaining
harmony and seeking consensus through increased dialogue. This was attributed
to the Japanese affiliative culture with the highest known ambiguity avoidance
(Hofstede, 1980 : 122). Their reluctance to engage in (left brain) analytic
argument has been suggested to be due to their prowess in right-cerebral
visual intelligence caused by dependence on logographs for communicating
meaning in the Japanese language which is phonologically the narrowest in the
world (see Kawachi, 1999 ; 2000). Tobin (1995) also reported that in their
interactions, Japanese focused on building social empathy with the others in
the group, and not on self-expression.
List of Distribution
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Carmen R. Alviar, Ph.D.
Center for Educational Excellence (CEdEx), Inc.
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Website Map, home page in English | Japanese:
Online publications (Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library 4-star site), in Japanese
Asia Society "Asia Expert" database entry
Fundamental Projects of Dr. Takeshi Utsumi [Japanese-English]:
Global University System Asia-Pacific Framework, News and Links,
Mid-2000 Correspondence, e-Testimony to Congress and at their site
Broward Community College
Sister Cities: http://www.10tongues.com
* Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E., Chairman, GLOSAS/USA *
* (GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A.) *
* Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education *
* Founder of CAADE *
* (Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education) *
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* Global University System (GUS) *
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Return to Global University System Mid-2000 Correspondence