Fūdo in Foreign Language Learning in Japan and Finland

An Autoethnographic Study of a PhD Journey


  • Oshie Nishimura-Sahi Tampere University




comparative and international education, knowledge production, policy transfer, Watsuji Tetsurō


While the Japanese education system and policy have been studied extensively, Japanese philosophy and thoughts have rarely served as a theoretical and methodological resource in the field of comparative and international education. Resonating with a current scholarly attempt to explore the possibilities and limitations of using Japan as an epistemic resource, I have experimented with drawing upon Japanese philosophical thinking, namely Watsuji Tetsurō’s (1889-1960) comparative phenomenological study, to analyse the current foreign language education reforms in Japan. In this paper, I tell the story of my thought experiment in which I explore autoethnographically how my epistemic mindset has changed during my PhD journey through a slow dialogue with Watsuji’s study on milieu, relationality and ontological inquiry into human beings. Aiming to multiply the epistemological resources for educational research, I analyse reflexively on the way in which I was destabilised by Japanese philosophy in (un)learning educational practices in Japanese contexts. In so doing, I explore how ‘foreign’ educational comparativists might be able to move beyond the storyteller role in foreign contexts or the expert role in home contexts and, accordingly, contribute to promoting a pluralistic knowledge production.

Author Biography

Oshie Nishimura-Sahi, Tampere University

OSHIE NISHIMURA-SAHI is a doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University in Finland. Her dissertation is concerned with the transnational mobility of educational reform ideas. Her research interests include education export, multicultural and intercultural education, foreign language education policy and education systems in Japan and Finland.


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