An exploration of the reasons and purposes of non-Japanese undergraduate students for taking a beginners' Japanese language course

Asuka Haraguchi Mashav, Florida International University


This study took place at Florida International University (FIU), a large public research university in Miami, Florida and one of largest Hispanic serving institutions in the United States. The purpose of this study was to explore the motivations of non-Japanese undergraduate students for taking a beginners’ Japanese language course. In-depth one-hour semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 participants before the fall semester of 2014 (Phase I) and 10 after the semester (Phase II). Two major themes emerged from the inductive analysis of the data: attraction to Japanese culture and utility of using the Japanese language. Sub-themes for attraction to Japanese culture were anime and manga, martial arts and various types of games. Sub-themes for utility of using the Japanese language were study abroad and employment which both require residing in Japan. In particular to Phase II, three other themes emerged: a sense of community, openness to others, and investment of time. ^ The findings were analyzed through the lens of L2 motivational-self system. L2 is a foreign language that is not the native language of the speaker. The L2 motivational self-system supports the idea that the images of a possible future-self as a successful learner in L2 acquisition which directs a language learner to have motivating behavior The researcher saw significant changes in participants’ motivational level during qualitative comparative analysis of Phase I and II, especially for those who had and/or gained possible future L2 ideal-self during L2 learning experience. ^ The findings might be used by policy makers or curriculum developers for Japanese language education to refine, enhance or strengthen the competency-goals for Japanese instructions. Moreover, the findings suggested that by creating a personally relevant and inspiring vision of possible-future ideal L2 self, the students will be inherently motivated, which then allows the instructors to be more productive and effective in their teaching.^

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural Education

Recommended Citation

Mashav, Asuka Haraguchi, "An exploration of the reasons and purposes of non-Japanese undergraduate students for taking a beginners' Japanese language course" (2015). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI10165992.