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Monographs on Bilingualism

The JALT Bilingualism SIG has put together an extensive collection of monographs on various practical topics to do with raising children bilingually, particularly in Japanese contexts. Whether you are new parent looking for advice or an educator wondering about how to deal with bilingual children in your class, the wealth of personal experiences in these books will provide you with plenty of directions and perhaps even some answers to your questions. What a great way to learn from sempai parents!

​Many of the monographs are now freely available below as pdf documents. Those that do not have a link are available for purchase in paperback form from the SIG.

ISSN 2433-6920

19. Celebrating 30 Years of Multilingualism & Multiculturalism in Japan

Diane Lamb-Obara, Christie Provenzano, Alexandra Shaitan (Ed.) 2021

Supervising Editor: Stephen M. Ryan

This monograph celebrates the 30 years of the JALT BSIG. What better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary with this special commemorative monograph highlighting bilingual situations in Japan? I hope you, new-comer, old-comer, researcher or parent, will enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.

18. Raising Bilingual and Bicultural Children: Essays from the Inaka    

Darren Lingley & Paul Daniels (Ed.) 2018

This monograph celebrates the experience of raising bilingual and bicultural children in Japan. Our shared stories specifically focus on the unique challenges of raising bilingual children in Japan’s inaka, or more peripheral rural areas. Personal, accessible and reflective in its remit, this edited volume monograph represents a strong contribution to an under-represented aspect of bilingualism in Japan.

17. Starting your Bilingual Child on the Path to Biliteracy   

Mary Nobuoka, Annay Husson Isozaki, Susan Berman Miyake, Jane Ward (Ed.) 2015

Practical information for teaching your child to read and write.

16. Third Culture Kids and Their Families  

Bernadette Luyckx

Ron Murphy (Eds.) 2013

Stories from six long-time foreign families in Japan--How parents adapted to the host culture and children developed their own cultural identity. 

15. All Grown Up: The Bilingual Adult 

Stacy Tarvin-Isomura, Mary Noguchi, Amanda Gillis-Furutaka (Eds.) 2009

A collection of articles about the paths taken to achieve competence in two or more languages, written from the perspectives of the individuals concerned, their parents and researchers.

14. Bicultural Children with Developmental Differences

Mary Nobuoka (Ed.) 2007

A collection of articles focusing on experiences of how bicultural and bilingual families and professionals cope with the challenges they face raising or working with children with special needs or learning disabilities in Japan.

13. Becoming Bilcultural

Ron Murphy (Ed.) 2009

A collection of articles by adults and youths who have incorporated the values and traditions of different cultures into their family's and their personal identity. 

12. Naming Bilingual Children in Japan 

Peter Gray (Ed.) 2005

This monograph contains stories from 60 families (107 children in all) living in Japan about how they named their children. Each story contains the child's name written in Japanese, the name written in English, the nationality of the parents, and an explanation about the name written by one of the parents.  Whether you have already gone through the naming process or you anticipate facing this task in the future, you will enjoy reading how these families juggled sound, meaning, kanji, spelling, cultural preferences, family traditions, government regulations, and personal hopes and dreams when choosing the names for their children.

11. The Overseas Connection: Bilingual children in Japan and their educational experiences abroad

Amanda Taura, Judy Tabohashi (Eds.) 2003

A collection of articles written by both the parents of bilingual children and the children themselves on their expreriences abroad from a pre-school age, through elementary, high school and university level. It provides information on shorter or longer periods including the necessary preparations, reasons for choice of location, entrance requirements for the overseas school, monetary concerns, accommodation alternatives, family support, cultural and language benefits and maintaining Japanese as well as the impact on the children both positive and negative.

10. The ABC's of Bilingualism

Adam Beck, Kazuko Sako (Eds.) 2002

The ABCs of Bilingualism consists of a range of basic questions related to bilingualism, with an emphasis on the practical aspects of raising bilingual children in Japan. These questions have been answered by a panel of individuals who have had strong, personal experience in issues involving bilingualism (as parents and/or as educators), with each individual offering a succinct response based on his/her own background. Each question has a number of short responses, providing the reader with interesting and informative guidance. The book includes is written in both English and Japanese, making it fully accessible to international couples in Japan.

9. Educational Options for Multicultural Children Living in Japan

Amanda Gillis-Furutaka (Ed.) 2001

In fifteen short articles, parents of bilingual children living in Japan write about their personal experiences with the different types of educational options they have chosen for their children from pre-school through college. These options include Japanese public schools, international schools, alternative schools, home schooling and sending children to school abroad. There are also articles about how to supplement regular schooling at home, in play groups, and by using the Internet. The final article describes applying to an American college from Japan.

8. The Best of Bilingual Japan

Stephen Ryan, (Ed.) 2000

Composed of a selection of articles which have appeared in the pages of the B-SIG's newsletter, "Bilingual Japan," during the first ten years of the group's existence, this monograph gives a concise overview of bilingualism issues in Japan, and it is also an excellent introduction to the B-SIG itself. The monograph includes feature articles, book reviews and conference reports on all aspects of bilingualism: personal experiences, childraising techniques, societal attitudes, linguistic and cognitive research.

7. Bullying in Japanese Schools: International Perspectives

Amanda Gillis-Furutaka (Ed.) 1999

This monograph begins with an overview of bullying in Japanese schools based on Ministry of Education reports and newspaper articles. Next are fourteen personal accounts of bullying, ranging from verbal teasing to physical violence, experienced by students from kindergarten to high school age. The monograph concludes with a review of a book about the socialization experiences of international families in Japan.

Twelve of the personal accounts are written by parents of children who experienced some form of bullying. One account is written by a Japanese woman who experienced bullying as a child; and another (the only one written in Japanese) is an explanation of the problems returnee students often face when they re-enter the Japanese school system. The compilation offers a wide variety of explanations as to why bullying occurs in Japanese schools, and it gives valuable suggestions for dealing with bullying at the individual, family, and school level.

6. Growing Up Bilingually:​ The Pleasures and the Pains

Stephen Ryan 1998 

This monograph is an edited transcript of a Roundtable discussion which took place at the 1997 JALT conference in which panelists discussed their experiences of being brought up bilingually. They answer questions about their upbringing, their bilingualism, their identity, and offer advice for parents contemplating a bilingual upbringing for their own children.

5. Bilingual Family Case Studies Vol. 2

Laurel Kamada 1997

This monograph is a compilation of reports of twenty cases from ten more bilingual family case studies conducted by the author and originally printed in the "Bilingual Japan Newsletter" from 11/94 through 12/96 and includes a summary of the main themes and lessons learned including schooling breakdowns of the twenty cases. Among others, cases here deal with the following issues: bilingual acquisition of a learning disabled child, nurture and nature questions concerning bilingual acquisition of four adopted Caucasian and Asian children in a missionary family, a brief history of bilingual schooling in Japan as seen through five generations of one foreign family, and bilingual acquisition of a Japanese girl after high school.

4. Adding Biliteracy to Bilingualism​: Teaching your child to read English in Japan

Mary Goebel Noguchi 1996

Although many people assume that children of native English speakers living in Japan "naturally" become bilingual, research has shown that this is not necessarily the case. Similarly, many people believe that English is easier to read than Japanese, while in fact, children enrolled in Japanese schools often balk at "extra" lessons and complain about the difficulty of reading English. This monograph was designed as a guidebook for native English speaking parents who want to teach their children to read English at home in Japan. It begins by explaining the rationale for biliteracy, then moves on to discuss research on the beginning stages of English reading. Methodologies used to teach reading in the States, including phonics, "look-say" and whole language, are explained and compared. 

3. Bilingual Family Case Studies Vol. 1

Laurel Kamada 1995

This monograph is a compilation of seventeen cases from the first ten bilingual family case studies conducted by the author and originally printed in the "Bilingual Japan Newsletter" from January 1993 through October 1994 and a summary defining factors felt to contribute to and detract from bilingual acquisition.

Cases included, among others, five returnees from four families, an English only-speaking Japanese home and three bicultural families with one Japanese parent and one minority language speaker. Issues such as attrition, first language precociousness, sibling language, parental bilinguality, language switching and mixing, trilinguality and other issues were presented. Families share their lessons with the readers about what works and what doesn't.

2. 日本人家庭での英語子育て
Nihonjin Katei de no Eigo Kosodate

湯川笑 1994



1. Teaching Children to Read in the Second Language

Craig Smith 1994

Parents of bilingual children who attend Japanese primary school often find themselves faced with the task of teaching their children to read English. This monograph offers practical information and advice for parents who want to teach their children to read English at home. Part 1 describes how parents should begin their child's home reading program by carefully observing their family's language environment and then making any possible adjustments to ensure that their family's daily life-style is as child-centered and communicator-friendly as possible. This will enable each family to devise a reading plan that best fits their unique circumstances. Part 2 discuses the pros and cons of various reading materials that are available, and it gives information on how to order these materials. Part 3 gives an overview of the Whole Language Learning method of teaching reading, and it describes why this method is well suited for teaching bilingual children to read at home. In Part 4, the author describes in detail the home reading program his family put into practice for their primary school aged daughter. And in Part 5, the author concludes by discussing common pitfalls that bilingual and bicultural families face in their attempts to teach their children to read English.

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