A reconsideration of Education for International Understanding (EIU) – towards reconstruction of EIU in the age of globalization

International Collaboration

Education for International Understanding (EIU) in Japan, that could not enjoy its legal position in the national curricula for a long time, has now been clearly indicated as one of the recommended areas of’Comprehensive Learning’ in the 1999 course of study, and many practices by the teachers have been accumulated since then. However, an important question can be raised here: how has EIU so far regarded the implications of such threatening event as the Sept. 11th ?One of the key-concepts to approach to such threat to the world peace is ‘understanding’. While there have been many attempts to reconsider our ways of ‘understanding’ others in such fields as sociology and anthropology, it should be noted that very few discourses have been accumulated in the field of EIU.With the question posed above, this presentation attempts to reconsider EIU formed in Japan in the context of the age of globalization, and aims at presenting a perspective for the deconstruction as well as reconstruction of EIU from theoretical viewpoints for its practices. Accordingly the paper will do the following: First, to point out that Japanese EIU that has been formed on the premise that one can/should understand others or other cultures is not responding effectively to the age of globalization; second, to examine our way of ‘understanding’ as a form of ‘controlling others’ and ‘collection of information on others’ as part of the habit of the modern men and to show the imperfect nature of our ‘understanding’; third, to emphasize the importance of introducing themes on ‘conflict issues’ into EIU; and finally, to make a suggestion for the educational practices based on the new concepts of EIU with an emphasis on dealing with such actual issues as others beyond our ‘understanding’ or confronting us. 

Keywords: EIU, globalization, understanding. 

Ph.D. Yoshiyuki Nagata