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Analyzing a Syrian Subject’s Autoethnography from the Perspectives of Actor Network Theory

JAMCO Online International Symposium

31st JAMCO Online International Symposium

February 2023 -

Thinking about the Meaning of Life in a Time of Global Crises

Arranging Japanese School Education for Foreign Children
Analyzing a Syrian Subject’s Autoethnography from the Perspectives of Actor Network Theory

Makiko Kishi / Rama Jamal Aldin
School of Global Japanese Studies, Meiji University

This paper considers the difficulties experienced by foreign children enrolled in the Japanese school education system and how their problems can be solved according to the personal experience of the second co-author, Rama Jamal Aldin (X). It explains how the issues faced by X were related not merely to X’s own lack of Japanese language proficiency or understanding of Japanese customs, but also to various aspects of the socio-material environment. This paper adopts, through a process of mutual dialogue-based analysis, the perspectives of actor-network theory to examine the difficulties encountered by X, X’s own awareness of those difficulties at the time, and their relationship to socio-material factors.

1.Background to the Study

  • 1.1. The current situation and issues for foreign-born children of non-Japanese nationality

    Figures published in 2019 by the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology indicate that at roughly 93,133 foreign-born children of non-Japanese nationality were enrolled in Japanese schools in the 2018 fiscal year. That number consisted of 59,094 children in elementary schools, 23,051 in junior high schools, 326 in combined elementary and junior schools, 9,614 in senior high schools, 151 in joint junior and senior high schools, and 897 in schools for children with special needs. These figures refer to school-age children of non-Japanese nationality who move to and live in Japan, a country with a different culture and language from their own, during the period of childhood growth and development. These foreign children are confronted by differences of not only language and general ways of life but also specific customs, patterns of group behavior and value systems. Such issues affect not only children of non-Japanese nationality but also returnee children of Japanese nationality, “third culture kids”, and children of international parentage. Strictly, it is proper here to refer foreign children etc.

    The Japanese government provides a range of Japanese language and other support for foreign children enrolled in Japanese public schools. The rights of all children as laid down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child and various children’s rights statutes are guaranteed regardless of a child’s nationality. This notwithstanding, the Ministry of Education statistics for 2018 show that 9.6% of senior high school pupils receiving special assistance in Japanese language had dropped out of school. This figure indicates these children were nonetheless being denied the opportunity to receive an education due to language and other difficulties (Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology, 2021). The ministry designated Japanese language guidance as a special subject for inclusion in the curricula of elementary and junior high schools in 2014 (Sakuma, 2014). In senior high schools, too, pupils will be able to earn graduation credits for Japanese language guidance from the 2023 school year. The subject may be taught by qualified teachers of any subject, not only Japanese language (for Japanese native speakers), and also by private sector Japanese language teachers on a supplementary basis. Whereas Japanese language guidance is an important element for foreign children to participate in the Japanese school system, however, the difficulties they face do not stop at language. Foreign children have been brought to Japan at the adults’ convenience and encounter a range of more complex challenges than the adults do themselves. Accordingly, they have to be given assistance that is properly tailored to their own life course (Saito, 2012).

    The individual circumstances of the foreign children and the courses their lives take are highly varied. It follows, also, that the tangible assistance provided must also be diverse and devised according to the particular situation of each region and school. When enrolling a foreign child, each school is expected to interview the child and his or her guardian in person and determine what if any Japanese language guidance and other special assistance is required. The assistance provided by local authorities is also varied, but typically includes support for Japanese language teachers who are appointed to teach at either a particular school or a number of schools. Foreign children with disabilities can be enrolled in special classes. In some districts, local citizens and other volunteers provide extra support after school.

    Aside from the basic provision of such assistance, it is further important to determine the precise details of what support is needed and how it should be provided. Essentially, the Japanese schools themselves are expected to decide. One consequence of this arrangement is that the study of each child’s own native language and culture tends to be neglected (Hamada, 2022; Cummins, 1996). When considering what particular assistance a foreign child needs, it is especially important to consider the experience of school education from the child’s own perspective. Morita (2004), for example, investigated the factors influencing the adaptation to their Japanese schools of three children who had newly arrived from Brazil, and introduced some salient examples. Morita found, for example, that foreign children enrolled in normal classes developed a positive sense of self through bonding with other children. Rather than bonding with mainstream members of their Japanese class, however, they did so of their own volition by forging mutual help arrangements with other children on the periphery, thereby building their own sense of identity by means of a deliberate sorting process. When viewing the experience of Japanese school education in this manner, through the foreign children’s eyes, it becomes clear that these children are not mere receptacles for receiving tuition in a new culture but, rather, independent actors who react strategically in order adapt to their new environment (Okamura, 2022).

  • 1.2. Actor Network Theory as a Perspective for Addressing the Difficulties faced by Foreign Children

    This study adopts the theoretical framework of Actor Network Theory (ANT). ANT regards diverse people, objects, systems, tools etc. as actors and considers each actor’s wishes, thoughts, interpretations, difficulties and solutions in terms of the overall arrangement of these actors. The situations in which foreign children are placed and their life courses are so varied in part due to their wide range of socio-material circumstances. By analyzing from the aspects of the socio-material environment to the foreign child’s experience of Japanese school education, we can seek to discover which arrangements give rise to the wishes, thoughts, interpretations, difficulties and solutions of the foreign child as protagonist.

    The study commences with a first-person account of the experience of X, a foreign child in the Japanese school system, to identify the school educational arrangements which produced X’s difficulties and solutions. The inclusion of the first-person account provides insights into the individual’s understanding of self and the world according to the socio-material circumstances in which that individual is placed (Schraube, 2013). The foreign child is not affected by the people, systems, tools etc. of the school education environment in a straightforward process of necessary cause and effect, but is, rather, an autonomous agent who chooses how to act in response to each of these factors.

2. The Aims and Rationale of this Study

The aim of this study is to discover, through the autoethnography of a Syrian national, X, living in Japan, what difficulties X encountered after arriving in Japan and how those difficulties were resolved. It transpired that X’s difficulties were intricately entwined with socio-material factors. X’s individual perspectives were drawn out through dialogue between the first author and X as the second author to describe X’s own autoethnographic profile. The results were analyzed in the terms of ANT to consider the difficulties and current situation of foreign children in school education.

3. Research Method

The core data used in this study is X’s autoethnography. The first author participates in the production of this profile as X’s dialogue partner. The concept of the autoethnography as an evocative description by the researcher in person was made widely known as a research method by the work of Okishio (2013) (Missing in the references) in which a dialogue partner was designated to build, analyze and interpret the subject’s life story as a joint, autoethnography project. Okishio (2013) justified the approach on the grounds that the participation of a second person would be useful for producing new perspectives and expanding the scope of the study.

The first author initially met X when X was in senior high school. X later advanced to the university where the first author teaches and the first author has been in regular communication with X ever since. Before X started work on the autoethnography, the first author examined previous research in the field of foreign schoolchildren and also compiled various additional resources. One of these was X’s class teacher’s daily record, which recounted what X was experiencing day by day. Others included recordings of talk events in which X had participated and the content of speeches she had given. As one of only a small number of Syrian refugees registered in Japan, X makes a special effort to share her experiences in university classes and through human library and other such activities. Recordings and memos from such occasions were obtained as study resources.

The first step in the production of X’s dialogue-based auto-ethnography was for X to produce a lifeline chart starting from the time of X’s arrival in Japan. This provided the basis for building the dialogue on X’s story from the moment of her arrival to the present day. This process delivered many salient comments concerning the state of X’s own self-awareness, such as “I was like a feral cat at the time” or “I wanted to adapt to the school but it was a struggle”. Although some are overlapped, the switches from one kind of self-description to another are taken as demarcation points in X’s own self-awareness. In Section 4, we view the arrangement of eight of these stages of self-awareness in regard to the problems X encountered in school education and their solutions.

4. X’s Autoethnography as a Refugee Living in the Strange Land of Japan

X is Syrian. X came to Japan at the age of thirteen. X was living in Damascus when the Syrian crisis erupted in 2011, and X’s family, sensing themselves to be at risk, wished to find refuge in a foreign country. They hesitated at first, however, because it was expensive to flee abroad and the evacuation route was also beset with many dangers. Two years later, in 2013, however, the domestic situation in Syria had only deteriorated and, with no end in sight to the troubles, they resolved to flee abroad after all. They initially envisioned travelling to Europe, but could not do so directly from Syria and first crossed to Egypt instead with the plan of continuing from there to Sweden. As it happened, they were unable to obtain permission to enter Sweden and remained in Egypt for eight months. During this period in Egypt, however, they were reunited with an uncle who had lived for many years in Japan and, with his assistance, succeeded in obtaining permission to enter Japan.

Three months after arriving in Japan, X was enrolled from January to March for the final two and a half months of the sixth grade of elementary school up to the school graduation ceremony. X had started the sixth grade in Syria despite the ongoing crisis but it had proved difficult for her to attend school and, upon joining school at the end of the sixth grade in Japan, X found it very hard to keep up with the lessons. X advanced from there to local junior and senior high schools and, with UNHCR assistance, was also able to continue to university, bringing the story up to the present. In the following, starting from X’s commencement of Japanese school education and demarcating the process by X’s own self-characterizations (“I was like…”), we consider the issues encountered by X and their solutions. In the underlining, single lines indicate X’s difficulties, and double lines show aspects related to socio-material aspects.

  • 4.1. I was like a feral cat (Elementary School and the First Year of Junior High)

    X was greatly relieved in the first week after arriving in Japan to have found a safe place to live. One week later, however,that feeling of relief declined sharply. The reason was that whereas refugee status is granted immediately in Europe, in Japan the process only moved very slowly. As it turned out, X could not attend school for some time after arriving in Japan. Instead, the family remained dependent on assistance, and this left X feeling “like a feral cat”. X was only finally able to attend a Japanese elementary school three months after the family had arrived in Japan. X, however, had arrived in Japan with only the clothes on her back and her family could not work in Japan because their refugee status was still pending. X started school in a situation of poverty. Other children called X filthy because she always wore the same clothes to school. They called X stupid when she tried to use the Japanese words and phrases or talk about the Japanese things she had learned about from teaching materials or the internet. There were no other foreign children at X’s school and X did not know how to connect with the other children. Neither the teachers nor the children could speak English and probably did not know how to connect with X. From X’s perspective, however, neither the teachers nor the other people around her were willing to help. She felt she had no place in this community.

  • 4.2. I was eager to learn to speak Japanese as quickly as possible (First and Second Years of Junior High)

    At this point, X had the opportunity to visit a local support service for foreigners.There, X met the Japanese staff and a French national, Y. They taught X Japanese on a voluntary basis. This Japanese language teaching assistance helped X to learn the basic Japanese she needed. This included simple words and phrases for use in greetings, describing her state of health, asking permission to use the washroom, calls used in play, saying please, and telling people about herself. The support service provided X with pamphlets, texts and learning opportunities for studying Japanese language and culture. Using these materials, X also began to study on her own initiative. Further, X began to carry an Arabic-Japanese dictionary wherever she went and referred to it constantly. X took notes of the words and phrases used by her teachers and classmates, jotting them down in the Japanese hiragana and katakana phonetic characters, and showing them to her Japanese language teachers to find out what they meant. In this manner, in eight months X succeeded in mastering everyday Japanese conversation. Additionally, the French national, Y, helped X to understand phenomena that bewildered her at school.When X was bullied, for example, she did not initially recognize it as bullying. X wondered why people did such things to her, and whether such behavior was normal in Japan, and simply put up with it. Once X understood she was being bullied, however, she sought help from her teachers.

  • 4.3. I want to adapt to school life but don’t know how (Second and Third Years of Junior High)

    X was now conversant in everyday Japanese but still struggled to participate in the Japanese school culture. X did not know how to comport herself in an appropriate manner with her classmates. At times, mannerisms taken for granted in Syria were not understood in Japan.Tongue clicking was one example. In Syria, it was normal to click the tongue as a simple way of saying no, as in “Do you need the scissors?” ‘Click’. In X’s Japanese school, people became angry when she clicked her tongue. X did not understand what she was doing wrong, why people cautioned her, or why they were angry, and was anxious every day at school.X felt isolated and wanted somehow or other to be a part of the class group. X tried to imitate model pupils in her class by comporting herself as they did. The more X did this, the more she felt she was losing her own personality, and this distressed her. X believed, however, that if only her teachers and classmates would accept her, then she could lose her feelings of alienation and become a full member of the community. Accordingly, X tried to behave correctly according to the norms of the people around her. In fact, though, she could not imitate her classmates well however hard she tried. X was seeking to behave like a Japanese, but in the end only continued to feel she was a foreigner.

  • 4.4. I was stuck in a swamp of loneliness (First to Third Years of Junior High)

    X’s mother and elder brother were granted their work visas after a wait of six months. X’s family then moved out of her uncle’s house, moved as a threesome into rental accommodation, and found employment. They were delighted to be able to arrange their own lives at last. It felt as if they now had a place to call home. In fact, it did not work out that way. X’s mother and elder brother had to work from morning till night in order for the family to get by, with the result that they had hardly any time together as a family. X, meanwhile, was struggling to adapt at school and felt extremely lonely. As a result of her efforts to fit in at school and in Japanese culture, X also came to feel increasingly estranged from her family.Neither X’s mother nor her brother had any experience of the Japanese school system, with the result that they did not understand what she was going through.X, likewise, did not understand the difficulties they were experiencing at work. All family members were desperately striving to cope in their own unfamiliar circumstances. X, now seeing little of her family and also struggling to adapt at school, felt stuck in “a swamp of loneliness” with nowhere to go. Even so, X was helped to persevere by her frequent and continuing meetings with the staff and volunteers of the local support service for foreigners which she visited from shortly after her arrival in Japan.

  • 4.5. I became a source of strength for my family (End of the First Year of Junior High to the Third Year of Senior High)

    Once X was able to communicate at the level of daily conversation, there was also more that she could do for her family. X’s determined effort to master Japanese as quickly as possible was not only motivated by her concern for her future and desire to make friends. In addition, X wanted to reduce the burden on her mother and brother and help her family support itself in Japan. X could, for example interpret for procedures at the city hall and hospital visits. In this manner, X became accustomed to interpreting between Arabic and Japanese and helping her family in a supporting role different from the parent-child relationship she had enjoyed hitherto, and this in turn triggered complex issues and feelings within the family. Even so, X’s wish was for the family to live self-sufficiently in their own home, and the fact that this did happen provided her with a sense of security.

  • 4.6. I found my own identity and could not tolerate school (Summer of the Third Year of Junior High to the First Year of Senior High)

    The local support service for foreigners introduced X to a Tokyo-based welfare corporation that assisted refugees and she started to go there, too. There, in a different environment from school, X found a different self from the one she knew at school. The people X met there greeted and spoke with each other easily. X now rediscovered her old, cheerful self and her happy smile. X felt as if she could be herself again. X had been regarding herself as she was at school, unsmiling, gloomy and stooping. X now realized that she could in fact be cheerful and full of laughter. Perhaps because of this experience, the return to school education weighed on her more heavily than ever. X had erased herself in order to adapt at school, rejected her true personality, and had it rejected. From the time when X became able to communicate in Japanese at the same level as Japanese people, her pleas for assistance from her teachers met with only such comments as it was the same for everyone, that it was not only her. X’s teachers, of course, still did their best to help her fit in at school, but X felt that, too, as a major source of pressure. X understood her teachers’ intentions but, even if they helped her, this also added to her burden, and X was wracked by ever more complex feelings. Likewise, once X had sufficient Japanese for daily life and her studies, X also came to understand what people said about her, and this made the forging of relationships with the people around her much more difficult than before. Why was X suffering so much? X did not understand what was troubling her so much. X’s family also did not understand what X was going through, and X became increasingly despondent. There were even times when X could not go to school. On the other hand, X was doing well in her studies and her grade improved rapidly.

  • 4.7. Finding my modus vivendi (Senior High School Entrance Exams to Matriculation at University)

    X‘s feelings were transformed in the new environment which followed her senior high school entrance exams. X now learned the importance of not being a burden on others. This also applied to seeking help from others when X was feeling unwell. With this new understanding, X hid her true personality in its own secret passage by not showing emotion and avoiding emotional upset in her daily life. X also stopped trying hard to make friends. X guarded herself against the negative feelings produced by prejudice, even single failures, and untoward behavior. X avoided standing out and endeavored to be ordinary. In hiding her personality in this manner, X’s self-confidence was very low. Even so, X cherished hope for the future. X had heard from her elder brother, who had attended university, that life would be freer at university and was looking forward to that. X focused purely on her studies for the time being, and her feelings settled down a little.

  • 4.8. I became able to live as myself (University Matriculation to the Present)

    Upon advancing to university, X became able to view her situation in a more objective light and create the opportunities to resolve her problems through her own initiative. Seeking, with assistance from her elder brother and a university counselor,to boost her self-confidence and become happy again, X analyzed how her past experiences had shaped her present self, and considered how she could make positive use of those experiences. In the course of this process, X gradually became able to project her own personality at university. In X’s third year at university, X studied the design of study environments for making productive use of diversity at a university seminar. This excited her interest in situations where people can express their real self, with the result that X became less fearful of giving expression to her own personality. X understood that fields of study for reviewing one’s own experiences existed, along with inclusive academic environments for talking them over in depth which respect and seek to make use of diversity and make it easier for the individual to express his or her own personality. X understood that she could create such opportunities herself, and has now become optimistic.

5. Analytical Results and Further Considerations

This study sought to identify what difficulties a Syrian national, X, experienced as a foreign pupil in the Japanese school system and what solutions X found. X’s autoethnography was constructed through dialogue and analyzed. The perspectives of ANT were then applied to examine transformations in the arrangement of the schools, Japanese language, Japanese society, familial relations etc.

Three points, at least, emerged clearly in this process. One was that the period from elementary school through junior high provided opportunities to learn Japanese and gain familiarity with Japanese society, but these advances also changed the nature of X’s familial relations. X wanted to learn Japanese and understand Japanese society, and faced various difficulties in the process, but was largely able to find the solutions she needed with the help of texts and assistance provided by a support group. On the other hand, X’s adjustment to Japanese society and school life placed barriers between X and her family, who retained the forms and values of Syrian society. X’s solutions in this way gave rise to new problems. X felt confused and did not know how to act for the best.

Secondly, in senior high school, it was understand that X experienced a period during which she struggled to see her life in school in a positive light and felt estranged from the people around her. X had surmounted her problems with the Japanese language and culture and was making good progress with her studies. X also derived a sense of achievement in her role of interpreter for her family. On the one hand, at school, X had to adapt to school life by behaving like a Japanese pupil. On the other, in the home, X’s struggled to build a new relationship to replace the former parent-child relationship, and this made her feel she had no place of her own.

Thirdly, after X had entered university, the influence of X’s elder brother, meetings with friends interested in the same issues and problems, and studies which enabled X to reframe her experiences, enabled X to rebuild her relationship with the school system. From this starting point, X’s relationships with herself and Japanese society also became clear to her. This in turn enabled X to make good use of her position as a refugee in university classes.

This study examined how socio-material factors influenced the problems X encountered and her solutions to them, and has described how X has come to be able to express the richness of her personality. X’s intentional behavior (in the terms of ANT, her agency) with regard to her desires, thoughts, understanding, difficulties, and solutions was produced by the complex aggregations and arrangements of the people, objects and other factors of her environment, and shifted together with them. The problems which X encountered were not X’s problems alone but were closely related to diverse socio-material elements, including X’s family, schools, classmates, support groups, friends made at university, and X’s university studies, and X herself also wielded an influence on these socio-material factors.

6. Issues and Further Study

This study built a first person account by the second author of her experiences as a foreign child and examined her account through the lens of ANT with regard to how arrangements of socio-material factors influenced the problems she encountered and her solutions to them. X’s account was, however, retrospective and based on the present starting point in which she feels hopeful for the future. X may come to re-evaluate her past experiences depending on how her feelings and relationships develop, and such changes may also reveal other socio-material factors that were left unspoken in this study. It is important to regard this as an account of where X is now, and continue the dialogue to monitor future developments.

Acknowledgements:

The authors wish to acknowledge the theoretical advice on actor-network theory provided by Professor Aoyama Masahiko of Seijo university, the Department of Psychological and Sociological Studies, Faculty of Social Innovation, Seijo University.

References and Further Reading:

  • Cummins, J. (2001) Negotiating identities: Education for Empowerment in a Diverse Society (California Association for Bilingual Education)

  • Okamura Kayo(2022)Cultural Adaptation by Foreign Children, (Cross-Cultural Education Dictionary p.123, Intercultural Educational Society of Japan (Editor), Akashi Shoten) (外国人児童生徒の異文化適応、異文化間教育学会(編著)異文化間教育事典, 明石書店, p.123)

  • Kishi Makiko(2019)The Use of Alter Ego Robots in a Learning Environment-Examining the Performance of Pupils in a School for Children with Special Needs (Computers & Education, Volume 46, P12-20) (学習環境としての分身型ロボットの活用-特別支援学校の生徒のパフォーマンスに着目して-, コンピュータ&エデュケーション, 46 巻 p. 12-20)

  • Morita Kyoko (2004) Identity Politics and Survival Strategies – Ethnographies of Brazilian Children in Japan (Japanese Association of Qualitative Psychology, 2004 Vol. 3 No. 1 p 6-27) (アイデンティティー・ポリティックスとサバイバル戦略 -在日ブラジル人児童のエスノグラフィー, 質的心理学研究, 2004 年 3 巻 1 号 p. 6-27)

  • Saito Hiromi (2012) Assistance Guidebook for Foreign Children – Following the Child’s Life Course (Bonjinsha) (外国人児童生徒のための支援ガイドブック―子どもたちのライフコースによりそって―、凡人社)

  • Sakuma Kosei (2006)Foreign Children who Do not Go to School – What is Cross-cultural Education? (Keiso Shobo) (外国人の子どもの不就学ー異文化に開かれた教育とは、 勁草書房)

  • Sakuma Kosei (2014) Changes in Ministry of Education Measures for the Reception of Foreign Children (Bulletin of Senshu University School of Human Sciences, Vol. 4. No. 2, pp35-45) (文部科学省の外国人児童生徒受け入れ施策の変化, 専修人間科学論集第4巻第2号 , pp.35-45)

  • Sato Gunei (2019)Education for Children Living in a Multi-cultural Society – The Situation and Issues of Foreign Children and Children who Study Abroad (Akashi Shoten) (多文化社会に生きる子どもの教育ー外国人の子ども、海外で学ぶ子どもの現状と課題. 明石書店)

  • Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Website(2019) Part 1, Measures for the Diversity of Foreign Children etc. (第1章 外国人児童生徒などの多様性への対応)
    https://www.mext.go.jp/component/a_menu/education/micro_detail/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2019/04/22/1304738_003.pdf(As of 24/10/2022)

  • Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Website(2021)The Situation and Issues concerning Education for Foreign Children (外国人児童生徒等教育の現状と課題)
    https://www.mext.go.jp/content/20210526-mxt_kyokoku-000015284_03.pdf(As of 24/10/2022)

  • Okishio (Harada) Mariko (2013) Dialogue Autoethnography: Applying a New Method of Qualitative Research Through In-depth Conversation, Japanese association of Qualitative Psychology, Vol.12 , pp.157-175

  • Schraube, E. (2013) First-person Perspective and Sociomaterial Decentering: Studying Technology from the Standpoint of the Subject, Subjectivity, Vol.6(1), pp.12-32

  • Yamanouchi Yuko and Saito Hiromi(2016) Chapter 4, Education for Foreign Children, Education for People Learning between Cultures, ed. Kojima Masaru, Shiratsuchi Satomi and Saito Hiromi, Intercultural Education Vol. 1 (Akashi Shoten) (第4章 外国人児童生徒の教育 小島勝・白土悟・齋藤ひろみ編「異文化間に学ぶ「ひと」の教育, 異文化間教育学体系第一巻, 明石書店」)

Makiko Kishi / Rama Jamal Aldin

School of Global Japanese Studies, Meiji University

Makiko Kishi
Associate Professor, School of Global Japanese Studies, Meiji University. Field of expertise: educational technology. Pursues research on education andlearning environments for diversity and inclusion. Has focused on thecomprehensive learning periods and other exploratory learning in Japaneseschools. Outside of Japan, has focused on the Middle East (Syria, Palestine,Turkey, studying the design stages where anyone, including the children of refugees and other socially disadvantaged children, can perform beyond who they are and mutually develop with their diversity, in terms of their personalities, experiences, strengths, and so on.

Rama Jamal Aldin
Rama Jamal Aldin is a student of the Meiji University School of Global Japanese Studies. A member of Kishi Makiko’s seminar group, she is currently studying the theory and practicing design for highly livable spaces for everyone in a diverse society. Alongside her undergraduate studies, she also volunteers to provide academic and other support to foreign children, and talks about her own experiences at human libraries, university classes, schools and elsewhere to nurture the understanding needed for coexistence in a multicultural community

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