Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Paula Brush

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Ciccantell

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gunilla Holm


This dissertation explores how cultural attitudes about race/ethnicity are taught and how international power relations are expressed in Japanese junior high school textbooks. In a content analysis of Japanese junior high school textbooks in English as a foreign language, I examine how race and ethnic relationswere expressed and what types of interracial communication took place in the textbooks. Applying the racial formation theory developed by Omi and Winant (1994) and the concept of color-blind racism by Bonilla-Silva (2001, 2003), I explain how cultural ideology towards racial and ethnic relations were guided in the Japanese English language textbooks.

Fifteen English language textbooks published between 1987 and 2002 were subjected to content and discourse analyses. In content analysis, both pictures and texts were studied to determine political and economic relations from two different perspectives: international and national foci. At the international level, I analyzed the representations of the nation and race diversity around the world. From the national level, I identified what racial groups and nationalities were expressed and how often they appeared in the textbooks. To examine types of interactions and power relations between speakers in depth, discourse analysis was employed. In discourse analysis, I uncovered who took the initiative in conversation (or who has power to take the initiative in a dialogue), and how theconversation took place.

The representation of various nations and regions presented in the textbooks shows significant relations but also reflects complex political and economicrelations and "conflicts and tensions" between Japan and other countries. With the increasing attention to internationalization and globalization, it is important for students to learn cultural sensitivity as well as technical communication skills. I finally suggest that teaching race and ethnic diversity should be includedin the foreign language curriculum.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access