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Japan has always been considered a monolingualmonocultural country cf Grosjean 1982 Although we have always had non-Japanese populations among us there has never been any official policy to accept these peoples as Japanese Lambert and Taylor 1990 note that in the United States the majority of the population - at least accept multilingualism and multiculturalism to be a positive phenomenon However although no statistical data exist to verify it the Japanese are still a very homogeneous conformist people who would find it difficult to accept the idea of heterogeneity multilingualismmulticulturalism as an acceptable characteristic of the Japanese nation As White 1992 notes even returnees are very often ostracized simply because they are different at least in mainstream Japanese society Although this might have been true in the past the more recent trends in internationalization and mobility of peoples the existence of people who speak languages other than Japanese has become much more of a common phenomenon in Japan At the same time the problem of bilingualism and biculturalism is not only a problem which can be dealt with solely in terms of external sociocultural factors Factors related to the more fundamental psychological problems involved in the development of a persons identity must also be considered The purpose of this paper is to discuss the problem of the identity of non-Japanese as well as that of returnees in the present Japanese society from both the sociocultural and psychological perspectives Three Returnees - Observations So-called returnee students sometimes come to me for advice concerning their identity In fact of the average fifty students who take my course in Bilingualism and Bilingual Education every year more than half are returnees and many of them give their wish to know more about themselves as the reason for taking the course Below are three examples of some of the problems I have encountered The first case is that of a student who had spent half her life in the United
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