Call for Submissions: Stories on Raising Bilingual/Bicultural Children

We are seeking contributions about the experience of raising bilingual/bicultural children in Japan. We are primarily interested in the experience of raising bilingual/bicultural children outside of Japan’s large urban centres where English education options are generally not present, and where international opportunities are limited. Additionally, in some of the more rural or peripheral parts of Japan, even in small cities, it is often challenging to establish and sustain face-to-face social/community support networks because of limited numbers and geographic distance. If you would like to share a story about the challenges of raising bilingual kids in peripheral areas of Japan, please consider making a submission. Thus far we have received outstanding stories/contributions ranging in scope from maintaining L1 literacy when both parents are foreign nationals to nurturing bilingualism in a hearing-impaired child.

This call for contributions follows on from our successful East Shikoku JALT Maikawa Retreat where we gathered for a weekend in late 2015 to share our stories and support each other in meeting the challenges of raising bilingual kids in the so-called ‘inaka’ areas of Japan. At the Maikawa retreat, participants considered the following questions: What language choices and parenting strategies do parents of so-called ‘hafu’ children make? What are the issues, concerns, and challenges for parents of such children? What language and cultural issues do our ‘hafu’ children face? How do Japanese parents nurture or maintain bilingualism in their families? What are the language/cultural hurdles when both parents are non-Japanese? What educational opportunities are available to bilingual kids in more rural areas with no access to international schools and community networks? How is bilingualism nurtured in non-traditional families, or in challenging family circumstances? What can we learn from each other as language teachers and parents? We also considered broader questions such as what it really means to be bilingual or bicultural, and what to make of labels like ‘hafu’.

The stories we shared and the discussions that resulted from the meeting were stimulating and informative for everyone. As expected, our stories showed that there is considerable variation and richness of experience in the way parents deal with raising bilingual/bicultural children. These stories are uniquely context dependent, extraordinary in the personal insights they offer, and represent differing stages and philosophies in our respective journeys as parents.

To more formally share this variation and richness of experience, and to create a tangible resource to help meet the unique needs of parents raising bilingual children in ‘inaka’ Japan, we have decided to compile and publish our stories as part of an edited volume. We are seeking well-written contributions in the range of 4000-6000 words in any of the following areas:

– personal essays, narratives, reflections, and experiential accounts of raising bilingual children
– perspectives on identity/educational (or other) issues facing bilingual/bicultural children
– position papers on strategies/approaches for raising bilingual children
– ‘best practice’ methods for the development of literacy skills in bilinguals
– rich description ‘linguistic family portrait’ case studies
– accounts about raising bilingual children with a language other than English
– accounts of nurturing bilingualism/biculturalism in special family circumstances

Submissions should be written for a general audience of parents/language educators. All papers will be evaluated on the merits of their contribution to this project. Selected stories will be published as an edited volume on the theme of ‘Raising Bilingual/Bicultural Children in Japan’.

Working title: Raising Bilingual/Bicultural Children in Japan: Personal Essays and Portraits

Deadline: November 4, 2016

Editors: Darren Lingley and Paul Daniels
Publisher: TBA

Please consider submitting your story/essay and please feel free to forward this call for papers to anyone who might be interested in making a contribution. We hope this project will become a valued resource for intercultural families, for those interested in bilingualism and language learning in general, and especially for parents thinking about, or in the process of, raising bilingual children.

Submissions should be sent to Darren Lingley:


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