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School of Education

Language, Discourse and Society Sociolinguistics

Various sociolinguistic perspectives surrounding English-only policy at Rakuten

Tomomi (Tommy) Cope University of Leicester School of Education MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL
(Published on February 8, 2013.)

Contents Introduction General expectations of Englishnization Sociolinguistic features in Japanese and Englishnization Major effects on Englishnization Language-based disparity and TOEIC Absence of authenticity and interpretability Hegemony and Cultural Identity (CI) Englishnization from globalisation to glocalisation Conclusion 3 4 5 10 10 11 16 17 17

Various Sociolinguistic Perspectives surrounding English-only Policy at Rakuten

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Introduction Although Japan is a monolingual country, the English language is compulsory in their schools (Sakamoto, 2012). Doyle (2010) asserts that English is used in Japan normally for communication with or from people outside Japan. For many people it is not even a normal event in daily life (2010, 87). Based on Kachrus three circles of English theory (Crystal, 2003), Japan is involved in the expanding circle, where they do not have a history of colonization by members of the inner circle, nor have they given English any special administrative status, but where the importance of English as an international language is recognised (2003). However, because World English exists as a political and cultural reality (Crystal, 2003, xii), English education [is] advocated as a socio-economic imperative pressured by the forces of globalisation (Rivers, 2012, 257) in Japan. Unfortunately, Japanese GDP as a portion of global GDP has been predicted to shrink from 12 % in 2006 to 3 % by 2050 (Goldman Sachs, as cited in Yee, 2012). This, coupled with a decreasing population, is scaring many Japanese businesses (Yee, 2012). The aforementioned have propelled Rakuten, Japans largest online retailer, to decide to go global to exploit the overseas market (2012), and a project called Englishnization has been launched (Mikitani, 2012).

Various Sociolinguistic Perspectives surrounding English-only Policy at Rakuten

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Englishnization was created by Mikitani, the chairman and CEO of Rakuten, as the means of shifting the official corporate language from Japanese to English (Rowan, 2012) as Mikitani believes that global expansion means speaking English (BBC, 2012). Mikitani thinks that Englishnization is also a challenge for the English education in Japan; 3000 hours at school is a major waste of time (Mikitani, as cited in Matsutani, 2012), and it is rare to find a Japanese student who, after six years of English, is able to engage in even a marginal dialogue with a speaker of English (Martin, as cited in Gil, 2010, 53). In this paper, this Mikitanis Englishnization project is examined from the sociolinguistic views by referring the local issues and the cultural value in Japan. General expectations of Englishnization As a businessman, Mikitani finds cooperative benefits in Englishnization. One benefit is the creation of a powerful synergy within the whole group via English as a global communication tool (Mikitani, 2012) which helps mitigate the ethnocentrism in Japan (Akaha, 1999, 173). Another benefit is faster access to worldwide information which in turn helps Rakuten thrive (Rao, 2001: Lerman, et al., 2012). Rakuten has acquired many subsidiary internet companies from US, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and China (Rakuten,

Various Sociolinguistic Perspectives surrounding English-only Policy at Rakuten

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2012), and Mikitani believes that the sharing the same official language removes the segregated glass ceiling (WSJ, 2010) perceptions among non-Japanese speaker employees, creating an international engagement(Rivers, 2012, 258) within Rakuten staff (Mikitani, 2012). Rivers (2012) explains international engagement is the position of English as a liberator of individual expression as well as a means of engaging with the world as an imagined entity beyond Japan (2012, 258). Mikitani hopes that English will enable his Japanese staff to be more accessible to outsiders as well as becoming more expressive to the world (Mikitani, cited as in Matsutani, 2012). Sociolinguistic features in Japanese and Englishnization As Crystal (2003) notes that [a] language is the repository of the history of a people. It is their identity. [] It is their legacy to the rest of humanity (2003 , 20), Japan possesses unique cultural values deeply associated with the Japanese language (Haghirian, 2010), and it is a crucial factor for the Westerners to understand these values when they work with traditional Japanese firms (2010). Mikitani recognises English as a more suitable business language than Japanese (Mikitani, 2012). Yee, the head of Englishnization project of Rakuten explains [Mikitani] wants staff to understand that they can break down all boundaries and barriers by using English, a language with very few markers of underlying power relationships. There is a power dynamic in the Japanese language that is immediately apparent. [] One of the
Tomomi (Tommy) Cope

Various Sociolinguistic Perspectives surrounding English-only Policy at Rakuten

first gambits in a conversation is to ascertain the power relationship at issue. First you have to clarify imply your age in a conversation; second, you voice your academic background or your bloodline, and because of that, the language in Japanese then shifts toward that relationship. This is very apparent to Japanese people; they are very conscious of it at all times. Moreover, Japanese business is characterized by a very, very strong hierarchical structure that is obvious in the language that is used (Yee, as cited in Neeley, 2011, 4). As Yee asserts above, there are the varieties of honorific discourse depending on the societal relationships among people (Moeran, 1988), and the implicit expressions are distinctive features in Japanese (Haghirian, 2010), and these linguistic features provide psychological restrictions to discourse (Midooka, 1990). 1. Keigo (honorifics) Japanese possesses degrees of the linguistic expressions based on societal relationship between the speaker and listener (Fujiwara, 2004). When people talk to their superiors, they use Keigo, a language difference from that which they use to communicate with those in equivalent or lower ranks (Midooka, 1990: De Mente, cited as Haghilian, 2010). Keigo refers to the distinctive style or speech or writing used to show respect to persons, and it is further divided into three categories: sonkei-go (respectful words), kenjo-go (humble words), and teinei-go (polite words) (Haghilian, 2010). Fukushima (2007) says the correct use of keigo is vital to a reputation of an

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individual and their organisation (2007). Basically, if someone wishes to start conversing in Japanese, they need to gauge the societal position of their listener quickly and utilize the appropriate level of honorific language. Misuse of honorific language can be fatal in anyones relationship, as someone who feels slighted may respond Kuchi-no kikikata wo shiranai ([he] does not know how to talk to other people) (Seward, 1992). Tameguchi (Okamoto, 2011), an alternative style of discourse which ignores traditional honorific language in Japanese, is very popular among younger generations. As Tameguchi ignores the honorific rules of Japanese, it is considered unprofessional and unacceptable in the business world. Japanese discourse has such a strict restriction of honorific rules, and in this respect, fair, non-hierarchically biased discourse is hardly established. 2. Avoidance of the First name Mikitani also orders all staff to wear a name tag with only their first name written on it and to call each other by their first names only at work (Mikitani, 2012). The aim of this is to remove the hierarchical markings of Japanese (2012). The summon style shifts depending on the power relationships between the speaker and the listener in Japanese (Midooka, 1990). At a traditional Japanese workplace, a superior can call a subordinate by his

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or her surname e.g. Suzuki-san (Mr. Suzuki). However, when someone uses a superior s surname, they either attach the superior s occupational title after it, e.g. Suzuki Kacho (Suzuki, Section-manager) or the subordinate completely omits the personal name of the superior, calling them by their occupational title, e.g. Kacho (Section manager) (Midooka, 1990). Toyama (1992) notes this omission originates from fear of a superior existence which possesses some power that is very similar to the fear of god (1992, 169). People sense the power of person A over B if person A calls person Bs first name instead of surname. That is the reason why Japanese people do not use the first names in business. In Japan, generally calling someones first name implies a special, intimate relationship between the caller and the receiver (1992), or the indication of some overwhelming power over the receiver s first name. Thus, peoples first names are not used at work, a stark contrast with the use of first names in Britain. Therefore, Mikitanis first names directive had a direct impact on employee relationships (Mikitani, 2012). 3. Wa and implicitness in Japanese language Hall and Hall (cited as Haghirian, 2010) defines the indirect expressions of Japanese language as a high-context communication, which comes from the idea of Wa,

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meaning keeping peaceful relations with others (Midooka, 1990). Midooka explains Wa is the idea the Japanese give the highest priority comparative with Westerners (1990). The high-context communication means that Japanese communication is considered to be highly dependent on contexts: every message is surrounded by some unspoken information that both communicators are supposed to understand (Hall and Hall, cited as in Haghirian, 2010). The message can only be correctly understood if both communicators share a context and know or sense what the other person intends to say (Kachru, 2008: Haghirian, 2010). A Japanese speakers maybe comment can be interpreted as no, as he expressed his feelings with honorific no in a less direct manner (Kameda, 2001: Haghirian, 2010). Conversely, Western communication is considered low context as the content is the exact message and there is no invisible message beyond the words exchanged (Haghirian, 2010: Stadler, 2013), such as no is always no to Westerners. In accordance with a low context style, Rakuten monitors the Japanese employees talking strategies by using a checklist (See Appendix 1) during an in-house meeting in English to eliminate the ambiguous expressions, as this feature can be observed even when they speak English (Fujiwara, 2004).

Various Sociolinguistic Perspectives surrounding English-only Policy at Rakuten

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Major effects on Englishnization 1. Language-based social disparity and TOEIC assessment Although Japanese hierarchical markings may have been eliminated as intended, a new hierarchy comes instead: the hierarchy based on English proficiency. Englishnization means Japanese language ban to many native Japanese speakers in Rakuten (Matsutani, 2010). Tsuda (as cited in Rivers, 2012, 256) complains that what greater anomaly is there than to be unable to communicate in your native tongue in your own country? Englishnization surely makes Rakuten a more attractive company to global talents(Yee, 2012) who have no difficulty speaking English, but, in return, Englishnization risks putting non-native English employees in more disadvantageous situations at work just because they are less expressive than before. However, the new hierarchism is not just based on the inferior feelings (Rivers, 2012) among people who think they are not very English literate. The disparity comes from the TOEIC scores (ETS, 2013). Rakuten has introduced the TOEIC testing system to assess the employees English proficiency (Matsutani, 2010: Rakuten, 2012; See Appendix 2). It is literary the key for the survival at Rakuten, as they need to mark a certain score for a certain position, and you need higher TOEIC scores to get promoted. Additionally, you may be demoted if you attain low scores.

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The use of TOEIC is also controversial as there are arguments that TOEIC is not comprehensive as a measurement of English proficiency (Chapman and Newfields, 2008). The scores are the result of the entire multiple-choice formatted test, and over half the questions in this test are focused on the sentence-level comprehension rather than the discourse-level (2008). 2. Absence of authenticity and interpretability The environmental difference between Englishnization and a historical colonization (Crystal, 2003) is a lack of exposures versus constant exposures. Autonomous correction by noticing which happens during natural interactions between native speakers (Tudini, 2003) is missing. Additionally, members who share the same cultural values mainly interact in the same language which therefore does not raise the awareness of interpretability (Katchru, 2008) at all. In Rakutens case, some sections have native English speakers, but many sections do not, especially the sections which are dealing with domestic issues (Matsutani, 2010). They consist mainly of native Japanese only and the absence of native English speakers creates the output-only situation with lacks authenticity. Considering the linguistic environment in Rakutens case, interaction practices are limited among non-native Japanese speakers which share the same cultural value, and

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implementation is carrying on without much exposure of the inner-circle(Crystal, 2003) English speaker. Consequently, the lack of authenticity affects the whole level of Smiths definition of Intelligibility (Smith, as cited in Kachru, 2008), especially on the level of interpretability (Kachru, 2008). Under these circumstances, interpretability, the highest level of Intelligibility, is difficult to improve as it relates to inter-cultural communication (2008). Toyoda and Harrison (as cited in Tudini, 2003) observed the nine categories of the cause of difficulty in communication between Japanese native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS): recognition of new word, misuse of word, pronunciation error, grammatical error, inappropriate segmentation, abbreviated sentence, sudden topic change, slow response, and inter-cultural communication gap (Toyoda and Harrison, as cited in Tudini, 2003, 152). Smith (as cited in Kachru, 2008) defines interpretability as the highest components of Intelligibility followed by intelligibility as the lowest level and comprehensibility as the next higher level (See figure 1). Kachru (2008) explains three levels of Intelligibility. The first two, intelligibility and comprehensibility refer to the level of sound and parsing of utterances into recognizable or plausible words, phrases, sentences, etc (2008, 310). Level 1, intelligibility, is being able to approximate a representation of sounds heard by

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writing them down. Level 2, comprehensibility involves assigning meaning to utterances, and parsing what one hears into words, phrases, sentences, etc. It is also the level of verbal interaction that leads to difficulties in conversations when someone suddenly uses a word in an unexpected context. Kachru shows an example of a blue seal as the collocation itself is intelligible, but the sentence His parents disapprove of his blue seal is a case of high intelligibility, low comprehensibility. In this case, blue seal means a foreign friend in Philippine English. Level 3, Interpretability is the level of a matter of construction that can be put upon verbal acts by interlocutors in social interaction (Kachru, 2008, 311). Kachru explains the highest level, interpretability as Beyond recognition of the medium and its elements (intelligibility) and recognition of meanings that may reasonably be assigned to words, phrases, and sentences (comprehensibility) within a specific context, addresses perceive the purpose and intent of an utterance (Kachru, 2008, 310). Kachru quotes the phrase Dinner is ready, and the child comes in, washes her hands, and sits down the dinner table as a clear indication she has interpreted the intent and purpose of her mother s utterance correctly (Kachru, 2008, 311). This is about interpretability. Culture can be defined as shared knowledge (2008, 311), i.e. what people must know in order to act as they do, make the things they make, and interpret their experience in the distinctive way they do (Quinn and Holland, as cited in Kachru,
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2008, 311). As figure 1 suggests, the greater the sociocultural difference between two people is, the lower the Intelligibility level score reaches. Interpretability is also a degree which indicates a different sociocultural expectation of what is appropriate behaviour in the situation (Kachru, 2008) between person A and person B. Interpretability depends on interaction, as less exposure to different sociocultural expectations reduces the degree of interpretability;

Socio-cultural difference

Level 3:

Interpretability

Level 2:

comprehensibility

smal
Level 1: ofintelligibility Figure 1: Three levels Intelligibility
(Smith, 1992, as cited in Kach (Smith, Smith and Nelson, as cited in Kachru, 2008)

Fig.1: The relationship between Socio-cultural differences and Intelligibility In Rakutens case, TOEIC may improve some intelligibility and comprehensibility to a certain extent, but as the test is not interactive, and the negotiation skills are not gained by the one-way input and without exposure of the
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people who possess different sociocultural values, improving the higher level, interpretability, which is associated with inter-cultural communication, is very difficult to achieve. One example observed at the cafeteria of Rakuten is Rice corner: Sorry, another serving is not accepted (WSJ, 2010; See Appendix 3a). The intelligibility and comprehensibility are high, but the expression resembles the discourse at bank, this card is not accepted. Native English speakers could come up with a better expression, such as One portion per person only. This discourse proves the case of lack of authenticity. Another signboard for milk in Rakutens cafeteria demonstrates an instance where interpretability is low: Milk: 80: What a great calcium-rich milk: Strengthen bones. Eliminating annoying. How do you like it with bread?? ( WSJ, 2010; See Appendix 3b) Kachru explains that the discourse sounds like English, so its intelligibility is high; but some of the information is difficult to recover, and therefore its comprehensibility is low (Kachru, 2008, 310). They would like to appeal the nutritious benefits of milk to recommend that people to drink it, but this discourse is peculiar. However, if translated back into Japanese, this sentence starts making sense instantly, as a typical Japanese discourse style: Karushium tappuri no miruku desu.(=This milk

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contains a lot of calcium.) [If you drink this, it makes] Honebuto.(=[your] bone strong).[and] Iraira kaisyou.(= it calms you down). Pan to issho ni ikaga desuka.(= Why you are not trying this milk with bread?) This proves that this discourse was uttered initially in Japanese, as Kachru (2008) notes in Japanese cultural values and conventions of polite behaviour that manifest themselves in the verbal exchange (2008, 316). Very low interpretability like this also proves the lack of authenticity. Mikitanis statement we are not requiring native level, but the courage to express what they want to say (Matsutani, 2012) is questionable, even though he made this comment to relieve the pressure of Englishnization, as this advice does not contribute to interpretability among his Japanese employees. Additionally, his comment is not relevant to the actual workplace. Rakuten, as an internet retailer requires the language-centered work process with a high degree of complexity (McAll, 2003, 238). 3. Hegemony and Cultural Identity (CI) Another issue is the fear of squandering of human resources as they heighten the likelihood that people who cant do their jobs, but speak English would be given higher evaluations than people who can do their jobs but cant speak English (Botting, as cited in Rivers, 2012, 7). Englishnization establishes a new hegemony (Friedman, 2000: Gotti, 2007) at the workplace and threatens the non-native English

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speakers Cultural Identity (CI) ( Tsuda, as cited in Rivers, 2012). A diagram which contrasts hegemony versus homogeny as cultural homogeneity (Friedman, 2000, 38) in Rakutens case is shown in Appendix 4. Englishnization as the denial of multilingualism risks establishing the monolinguistic view (Crystal, 2003: Gil, 2010), and places Japanese people in a difficult position as they struggle to maintain a sense of Japanesness and their CI (Kobayashi, as cited in Rivers, 2012, 265). Englishnization from globalisation to glocalisation In the long term, the role of English is expected to play not only within the global context, but also the glocal context (Rivers, 2012, 263) meaning English language skills will be highly valued within the domestic context (2012, 263). In other words, Rakutens experiment (Mikitani, 2012) would be a worthwhile exercise in increasing awareness of rapidity by which the forces of globalization are influencing domestic workplace environments(Rivers, 2012, 263). Rakuten English is developing in Rakutens local context (Stephens, 2011), and more autonomous or self-focused identities (Jensen, et al., 2011, 297) are challenging to Rakuten people. Conclusion Rakutens Englishnization is conducted according to the need to thrive as an

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internet business which is a part of going global trend. The project also aims to break the traditional Japanese ethno-central customaries and the hierarchical boundaries which are deeply associated with Japanese language itself. However, it raises new issues, such as interpretability issues as a result of the forced implementation of English which ignores the real circumstances within the workplace. The assessment of TOEIC scores creates a new hierarchy based on English literacy and the new standard threatens peoples CI. In the long term, Englishnization will be transformed from globalisation to glocalisation. The establishment of autonomous and self-focused identity will be expected by people in the workplace. More empirical research is needed to ascertain the benefits and deficits. Word: 3,269.

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75-99. Friedman, J. (2000) General historical and culturally specific properties of global systems. In Cultural Identity & Global Process, 15-41. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Fukushima, T. (2007) Simulation in JFL: Business writing. Simulation & Gaming. Gil, J. (2010) The double danger of English as a global language. English Today 101, Vol.26/1. 51-56. Cambridge University Press. Gotti, M. (2007) Globalisation and Discursive Changes in Specialised Contexts. In N. Fairclough, G. Cortese & P. Ardizzone (eds.), Discourse and contemporary social change, 143- 172, Bern: Peter Lang AG. Haghirian, P. (2010) Succeeding as a foreign manage in a Japanese firm. In Understanding Japanese management practices, New York: Business Expert Press, 125-135. Jensen, L., Arnett, J. & McKenzie, J. (2011) Globalization and Cultural Identity. In Handbook of Identity theory and Research, S.J. Schwartz et al.(eds). Springer Science and Business Media. 285-301. Retrieved January 12, 2013 from http://www. springerlink.com/index/V8K8143J53450X02.pdf. Kachru, Y. (2008) Cultures, contexts, and interpretablility. World Englishes, Vol.27,

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No.3/4, 309-318. Kameda, N. (2001) The implication of language style in business communication: focus on English versus Japanese, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol.6/3, 144-149. Lerman,K, Ghosh, R. & Surachawala, T. (2012) Social contagion: An empirical study of information spread on Digg and Twitter follower graphs. USC Information Sciences Institute, Marina Del Rey, CA, USA & Computer Science Dept., University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, arXiv:1202.3162. retrieved from http://arxiv.org/abs/1202.3162. Matsutani, M. (2010) Rakuten forces all workers to speak English by 2012. The University Times, Vol.3, August, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2013 from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/u_times/pdf/vol_03/ut_vol_03.pdf. Matsutani, M. (2012) Rakutens English drive ready to take full effect, chief says. In the Japan Times on line, June 30, 2012. Accessed January 10, 2013 from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120630a7.html. McAll, C. (2003) Language Dynamics in the Bi-and Mutilingual Workplace. In R. Bayley & S. Schecter (eds.), Language Socialization in Bilingual and Multilingual Societies, Clevedon : Multilingual Matters, Ltd.
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Midooka, K. (1990) Characteristics of Japanese-style communication, Media, Culture & Society, Vol.12/4, 477-489. Mikitani, H. (2012) Takaga Eigo (Just English): Englishnization. Tokyo: Kodansya. Moeran, B. (1988) Japanese language and society: An anthropological approach. Journal of Pragmatics, Vol.12/4, 427 443. Neeley, T. (2011) Language and Globalization: Englishnization at Rakuten. Harvard Business School, 9-412-002, Rev.: October 11, 2011. Okamoto, S. (2011) The use of interpretation of addressee honorifics and plain forms in Japanese: Diversity, multiplicity, and ambiguity. Journal of Pragmatics, Vol.43, 3673-3688. Rakuten, Inc. (2012) Rakuten Worldwide, Global Services. November 26,2012. Accessed January 15, 2013 from http://global.rakuten.com/corp/worldwide/global.html. Rao, P. (2001) The ICT revolution, internationalization of technological activity, and the emerging economies: implications for global marketing. International Business Review, Vol.10/5, 571-596. Seward, J.(1992) Outrageous Japanese: slang, curses & epithets. Tokyo:C.E.Tuttle. Rivers, D.J. (2012) Modelling the perceived value of compulsory English language

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education in undergraduate non-language majors of Japanese nationality. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol.33/3, 251-267. Rowan, D. (2012) From Pinterest to Kobo, how Japan's Rakuten is building a global internet giant. Magazine, Wired.co.uk, August 22, 2012. Retrieved on January 5, 2013, from http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/09/features/man-on-a-mission?page =all&utm_source=buffer&buffer_share=447b2 Sakamoto, M. (2012) Moving towards effective English language teaching in Japan: issues and challenges. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol.33/4, 409-420 Saw, M. (2010) Interview. In English 101, Courtesy of Rakuten. August, 6. The Wall Street Journal, Japan. [video clip.] from 3.15 to 3.29 accessed January 16, 2013 from tp://bloas.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2010/08/06/english-101-courtesy-of-rakuten/ Seward, J. (1992) Outrageous Japanese: slang, curses & epithets. Tokyo: C.E. Tuttle. Stadler, S. (2013) Cross-Cultural Pragmatics. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Stephens, M. (2011) Response to Gil: The double danger of English as global language. English Today, Vol.27/1, 35-37.

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Toyama, S. (1992) Eigono Hasso, Nihongono Hasso [English ideas; Japanese ideas], Tokyo: NHK Publishing Co., Ltd.

Tudini, V. (2003) Using Native Speakers in Chat, Language Learning & Technology, Vol.7/3, 141-159.

Wetzel, P. (1988) Are powerless communication strategies the Japanese norm. Language in Society, Vol.17/4, December, 555-564.

WSJ.com. (2010) English 101, Courtesy of Rakuten. August, 6. The Wall Street Journal, Japan. [video clip.] accessed January 16, 2013 from http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2010/08/06/english-101-courtesy-of-rakuten/. Yee, K. (2012) Englishnization and Engineering- How Rakuten Supports Engineers. In a lecture at Rakuten Technology Conference 2012, October 20, 2012. [Video clip from Youtube.] Accessed on January 5, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1p1StXyx5GQ

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Appendix 1

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Appendix 1. : Englishnization In-house Meeting Audit Template (Neeley, 2011, 13)

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Appendix 2: TOEIC Score Zone Definition


Red Zone: Yellow Zone: Orange Zone: Green Zone: More than 200 points away from target Between 100-199 points away from target Between 1-99 points away from target Score meets or exceeds target

Employee Not Reached Grade AAA AA A BBB BB B (RED) -550 -500 -450 -400 -400 -400

Not Reached (YELLOW) 551-650 501-600 451-550 401-500 401-500 401-500

Not Reached (ORANGE) 651-749 601-699 551-649 501-599 501-599 501-599

Reached Target (GREEN) 750700650600600600-

(Yee, 2012) Note: Each employee who falls into each employee grade has to reach green target zone for the TOEIC scores. For example, Grade AAA class-managers have to achieve at least 750 points of TOEIC score.

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Appendix 3: Signboard displays in Rakuten cafeteria (WSJ, 2010) a)

A signboard display on the rice serving counter (WSJ, 2010) b) At the milk counter (1) - At the milk counter (2)

(WSJ, 2010) At the milk counter (3)

(WSJ, 2010)

(WSJ, 2010)

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Appendix. 4. The diagram of contrasting hegemony versus homogeny in Rakutens case based on Friedmans figure (Friedman, 2000, 39):

Cultural identity

Japanese-ness own cultural value

Dominant ideology, Nationalism

Hegemony

Centralization
Resistance
-TOEIC scores affect salary -linguistic threats Global integrity <= to overseas: not being alienated feelings: Japan is not special to us Sharing the same langue = feeling like sharing same value

*Cultural decline
No Japanese

Linguistic effect: switching from Japanese to English

Modernism

Switchin from Japanese


Denial of traditional hierarchy backed up Japanese language

Language

proficiency

division

Inferior feelings Worries, fears

discrimination: Japanese employees with poor English are devaluated at work.

Homogeny

- using first names - no hororific language - direct mannar = clear statement: Yes/No apparent - lower context dependant from context dependant

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