The Eikaiwa Diaries


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In our writing course, you send in your writing via your computer or smartphone, and our team of experienced native editors will proofread it and send it back to you along with their advice. English Writing Course official website. As long as you have a computer or a smartphone, you can easily learn English at your own pace at any time.

With conversation-based exercises, you can learn the basics of daily conversation. All you have to do is choose a topic from our website, write your responses in English, and you can get detailed feedback from our proofreaders. I found it puzzling therefore that none of these office coordinators could easily or precisely recall the number of students registered at their own office, let alone those elsewhere in the company. The part-time office staff, Japanese teachers and foreign teachers were even less aware of such details, though some had made their own estimates independently.

Government offices in the same building were also cited by some students as a convenience of registering at Sunny Arc. Student numbers were estimated at between and adults, making it the second largest student body with almost the same number of teachers as Sunny Arc. Sunny Asahikawa had between and registered students, four resident foreign teachers with space for one more , two Japanese teachers, two coordinators and two part timers. Sunny head office was on two floors of an older office building just south of the east-west Odori Park corridor running through the downtown core of Sapporo.

I was unable to conduct participant observation research within the head office but I know that conditions there were not representative of the larger campus network. The president and his wife had a small separate office space within the general office room on the third floor where all other managerial staff of Sunny Eikaiwa and all staff of Sunny Circles sat in the open configuration of a traditional Japanese office.

The rest of the space in the head office was comprised of dozens of small classrooms each with the name of an international city on the door. This set it apart from the four campuses described above both in function and design and it remained a place of considerable mystery and uncomfortable memories owing to the training experience, see chapter 4 to the teachers and coordinators in the adult eikaiwa division.

It closes on Sundays and public holidays although some staff members particularly the Coordinators will be required to report for non-teaching work on at least one Sunday per month and no more than two public holidays per year. This time is meant as lesson-planning time, though it is not unusual to find teachers particularly foreign teachers reporting closer to the time of their first lesson since there is no sanction provided the lessons are planned and the class starts on time.

For this reason they have roughly half as many classes as have the foreign teachers. The maximum number of classes to be taught by any teacher on any day is intended to be six, with two one- hour breaks somewhere in between. In cases where teachers work beyond the six classes, they are paid an additional 3, yen per hour of overtime 2, yen in the case of Japanese teachers.

This also applies to coming in to work on a day off teachers are assigned one day off each week, in addition to Sunday. Many foreign teachers ask the Coordinators to schedule them with 21 Early shift is 12pm to pm; late shift is 1pm to pm. This is usually applied to split the member teaching staff into two, roughly equivalent groups, so that two of the three Japanese teachers and five of the 12 foreign teachers will be on the early shift, for example. Most days it is the Japanese teachers who arrive first and leave last together with the Coordinators and office staff.

Classifieds

The small staff room will be very busy at times like this, as teachers and office staff jostle for space as they make their way in or out of the room or filing cabinets, toward the photo copier, coat rack, telephones or personalized filing boxes. Latecomers become quite obvious as they impede the flow of teachers out of the one door that leads from the staff room to the lobby and classrooms.

This may or may not lead to a critical comment from coworkers depending on the personalities present. Upon arriving for work and hanging up their coats on the rack in the far corner of the staff room, teachers check their work schedules and begin preparations for the classes to follow. The schedules are specific for each teacher and show the names of students grouped into classes, class levels, classroom names and class starting times. Suzuki, Ms. Watanabe and Mrs. Sato in a high level class from 1 to pm, followed by a lunch break from 2 to pm, then a low level class with Mrs.

Iwabuchi from 3 to pm, an intermediate level class with Ms. Hotta, Ms. Goto, Ms. Toda and Ms. Kamei from 4 to , another break from 5 to , a chatter lounge for high school students from 6 to , a high level class with Mr. Ouchi from 7 to , and finally an intermediate level class with Mrs. The student files are paper folders with printed bubbles running down the right margins on the front and back that correspond to lesson levels and numbers.

Teachers arrange the student files for one class on the table in front of them, overlapping so that the bubble sections can be easily compared to see which lesson numbers have not been done by the group. Every teacher tends to develop a kind of repertoire of favorite lessons — usually lessons that the teacher enjoys teaching — and one of these lessons numbers is usually the first to be selected. If none of the students in the class have been taught that lesson already the corresponding bubbles on the student files should be clear. If this is the case, teachers shade in the bubbles on the student files and then open the files to record the lesson details title, teacher, date in the lesson comment space.

By coming to the campus one hour earlier than their first class, most teachers are able to plan all of their lessons for that day and leave a little extra time before the first class starts. Foreign teachers usually spend this time reading one of the English language newspapers supplied in the staff room, or reading a book or magazine brought from home. Japanese teachers, on the other hand, usually begin their non- teaching duties immediately after finishing the lesson planning.

So, in this first hour before classes start, the staff room is already full and in its first state of contested use of the day; from office to rest area. Additional contested uses will be added to that mix throughout the day as lunches and dinners are eaten, impromptu meetings held, clothes changed, etc.

The large table in the center of the staff room will appear uncluttered but almost invisible under the huge master schedule books that part-timers and Coordinators use to log student reservations for future classes. Gradually Japanese teachers and Coordinators will be drawn in to this more relaxed atmosphere as they enter the staff room and their work will become less driven by the physical presence of students. At 50 minutes after every teaching hour, another melody sounds from the clock to let teachers and students know that the class time has ended. Ideally then, the teacher will return to the staff room with 10 minutes before their next lesson.

This 10 minute interval is usually used to fill in performance-related comments in the student files for the preceding lesson. Teachers who return to the staff room with less than 10 minutes before their next class particularly, less than 5 minutes appeal to those present in the staff room who care to listen on the systemic errors that put them in that situation, the astounding comprehension problems of a student, or a variety of strategically employed rationalizations.

Uncategorized – Page 28 – Andy's Travel Diary

This never goes unnoticed by foreign teachers, who might easily fail to notice the somewhat more frequent presence of the campus manager or Director. For the most part, however, the campus is run without direct oversight from a manager, per se. The power that all companies in the industry ascribe to personal service interaction and the resulting word-of-mouth advertising is founded on an additional commonality widely attributed to English education efforts in Japan Hashimoto ; Hood ; McConnell ; Mcveigh : internationalization, or kokusaika.

But in each case that common internationalization is contained within the self-prescribed philosophies that fortify company rivalries. In this sense, the phrases and principles are meant as distinguishing elements of the company within the industry of other eikaiwa and foreign language schools.

Rohlen 36 describes a similar body of values expressed at the entrance ceremony for new employees at Ueda Bank. In other cases, such as Kondo the values are explicitly derived from shared training activities such as I will describe in chapter 4 but still reflect similar themes. Hasegawa does his best to bring these Japanese concepts to the foreign employees through their training chapter 4 with explanations based around the English translations shown above. Hairyo compassion and kenkyo modesty are also understandable but somewhat more difficult to accept in context because the concepts are seen by these same teachers as personal qualities resulting from upbringing that have no business being taught to adults by an employer.

In all cases an element of internationalization was present in the subject matter English conversation and employees foreign teachers but the decision to choose Sunny over another eikaiwa had come down to the same sort of behavior that was advocated by the company ideology heartfelt energy, smiling, openness, motivating students, etc. Each company in the industry positions itself relative to the larger, national chains that take the dominant share of the market and consumer awareness. Similarly the national chains present themselves as offering proven educational methods and strong qualities of person-to-person interaction with their foreign teachers while ignoring the smaller employers in their areas.

All of these companies posture themselves relative to one another within the three intersecting indicators of enterprise, education, and internationalization as they seek to establish their perceived distinctiveness in the industry. How this posturing plays out in the historical evolution of a company is examined in the next chapter. Within that range there are clear groupings of companies that vary in size but present a similar structure. Sunny Eikaiwa Incorporated is not a national chain and its revenues cannot compare favorably with such large franchises, but where it concerns the divisions in the company and their diverse yet complementary natures, Sunny and national chains such as ECC and Nova show a degree of correspondence.

In these companies English instruction is grouped with at least one other related business, such as an additional topic of instruction or a publishing enterprise, which is then administered through a subsidiary company or separated directorship within the same company. This contrasts with the circumstances at the most fundamental level of the industry where companies and other owner-entities are concerned exclusively with the teaching of conversational English.

Strain Theory, Eigo and Eikaiwa

Like many of the large and mid-sized eikaiwa companies that represent this eikaiwa-plus structure group, Sunny Eikaiwa Inc. This growth from singular to multiple divisions now leaves the company with two overall structural columns: one related to English instruction and the other employing English for simultaneous translation and conference logistics services.

The purpose of chapter 3 then must be one of understanding the emergence of these two columns, the forces that brought them about and the organizational interrelations between the two. We will see that the two columns, where recognized, are envisioned as broadening international governmental, business and academic contacts through a form of symbiosis wherein the educational division provides potential staff to the conferencing division, in return for motivational service to the students of the educational division.

This leads to the discussion in chapter 6 on the perceived importance of personal character indicators to the recruiting and hiring of staff. This very rare opportunity to meet privately with Mr. Sasaki came near the end of the first extended fieldwork period in November Our discussion was conducted in English, at his insistence. We met in the same boardroom used by the president to meet all incoming staff including myself some 8 years earlier. This time, the meeting had been granted at my urging for the purpose of gathering a more complete view of the company mission and the spirit of conviction behind it through the impressions of the president.


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There is great pride in Mr. We will see that this effort to enhance and steer the ambition of students is linked in its basis with the broader goal of boosting Sapporo, Hokkaido and Japan to greater visibility in international exchange, education, business and tourism. In like manner, Mr. Should students fail to find motivation in language study, then it is the enthusiasm of teachers in the effort to communicate that first falls under management scrutiny. This is particularly the case for Japanese teaching staff, as they are subject to more frequent training sessions with the director, president or executive director, as well as more personalized contact with students.

The girl was in a special business, you know. They were just — you know. That girl had no education level but they were talking, talking, talking! I mean, they had special business, you know, just negotiating. A: How did that experience change your earlier study habits? So anyway, there are many classes of English.

So, why not? Sasaki then goes on to illustrate his interpretation of communication and its contribution to English study with a practical example: Not this way, but at this level: If you alright, tomorrow… tennis… OK? You see? It is broken, but it is OK. Given the problems that every learner faces building up vocabulary, including the president as an eighteen year old in the story told above, communication must take precedence for motivational purposes.

In this regard, we can see that it is in the application of a similar goal where Mr. Sasaki takes issue. This series of complaints relates most clearly to the case he makes for international communication as a common method for educators, administrators and business people of Japan. Hasegawa or Mr. Sasaki in monthly meetings that professionalism in the sense of being truly competent and effective in the work of English education is a distinction they should proudly claim, while denying it of university professors.

Explanation often follows to the effect that the kokoro-based training received by Sunny teachers gives them a quality of heart-felt professionalism whereas university faculty and teachers at other eikaiwa have not been so trained and thus cannot be said to be professional. It is most certainly guided by this carefully framed disparity with the methods of English education elsewhere in Japan.

The president has it that students must be enabled by their experience studying English. Hasegawa, Mr. Sasaki or Mrs. Sasaki in the case of Japanese staff. A student who has found confidence in her ability to communicate in English across presumed cultural boundaries can then follow that same confidence on to other personal achievements. This is the basis of enablement offered by Sunny. In order to emphasize the nature of practical application and the goal of achievement necessary to prepare students, Sunny has adopted a new term to apply to their upper-intermediate level students.

A score of to would correspond to upper-intermediate PC level at Sunny. Before all of those students graduate from universities I hope that they will become Business Bilingual — at least! Then, if they want to enter the business world they can be ready; ready to use what they have acquired, you know. It is quite impossible for the present teaching faculty — especially the international communication faculty — to do that for their students.

You know what their students want? No Shakespeare, no Hemingway. President Sasaki is firm in his view of higher education to the point of sadness over the allotment of corporate and personal taxes to the funding of many national universities. Sunny has approached and been approached by universities in the increasing trend to out-source English education at the tertiary level. Sunny currently runs a small out-sourced program on the campus of Hokkaido University in which one foreign teacher visits the campus at a designated hour, once a week, to conduct a standard Sunny conversational English lesson for a group of interested faculty members usually fewer than ten from various teaching departments.

The reason given is pure, regrettable incompatibility. University departments of English represent entrenched interests according to Mr. By this view, university faculty are seen to be obstinate in their belief that the way they were taught English is the way they must teach their students. The same lectures, readings and vocabulary-building exercises that English professors suffered at the hands of 27 Original emphasis. Sasaki emphasizes this approach: In Japan, why should English language learning take a hundred thousand hours?!

The typical people who say that are English teachers, you know? Because if you want to learn to speak English as well as me you must spend a hundred thousand hours! I have spent a million hours… it must have been! So you should do the same thing! English speakers want to say that. When an English department approaches an eikaiwa to conduct voluntary classes for select students or faculty as was the case at Sunny the contrast is made clear. Students are given the opportunity to take an hour or two of voluntary English study per week amid the staid traditions of readings and memorization and there is little likelihood of a wide impact.

On the other hand, if students are required to take all of their subjects with the exception of Japanese language courses with classes taught in English, the rationale for learning the language will change and more students will develop competency through habituation to practical English. Universities have a large part to play in this approach to economic and social development.

Where government largesse supports a university in any way, as in the case of national universities 29 , they must enact policies that evince by way of example the national strategy to open and internationalize the teaching and student bodies. In Mr. The resulting increased visibility of Japanese researchers would in return stir interest in Japan among international students and raise the percentage of non-Japanese 28 In fact, competition among universities in the Tokyo area has resulted in many English content courses on offer and greater interest in developing international student bodies.

Despite the change in their legal status from public to independent, national support for these institutions had not changed dramatically at the time of my interview with Mr. The presence of additional international faculty and students would then bolster an image of Japan, its universities, industries and culture as once again a sought after commodity.

Any international activities that might further this goal are welcomed by Sunny and strongly supported by its conference services division. The president has made this a primary company mission in the absence of changes or significant influence over the status quo in Japanese higher education.


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The students of Sunny Eikaiwa and Sunny Circles who reach the communicative level of Business Bilingual are given opportunities to volunteer or work for Sunny International in the capacity of interpreters, guides or translators for international conferences throughout Japan. Within this news piece there is an interview with Mr. They are not as fussy as other Japanese when it comes to precedent, territorial matters or kinship. On the other hand, Hokkaido people tend to get bored more easily, but they make up for this with their anything-is-possible attitude.

Foreigners in Hokkaido find it easy to live here because they are more readily accepted by the local people. Advocating a borderless, enjoyable, communicative model of language study can bring potential benefit to individual students and a larger community. It can just as easily prepare one for a career in international business as it can for a more satisfying lifestyle in retirement.

The realization of this goal is squarely placed on the quality of personal interaction between the student and teacher or student and office staff. As such, the methods of assessing the personal character of staff and students take on great significance. The president speaks of this company mission with great zeal and there is a palpable excitement in the room when he describes the strides that Sapporo has made and will continue to make to further his perceived common goal of internationalization.

His longstanding efforts to organize cultural seminar series and promote overseas home-stays through Sunny can be placed alongside his own documented private interviews, appeals to business and civil leadership and vocal support for the international activities of the Rotary Club 30 to show that his commitment to this mission is genuinely part of his person. Rohlen argued this point in his study of ideology and organization at the large regional bank that he called Uedagin.

In more recent years, anthropologists have taken the issue of ideological relevance further by deliberately questioning the credibility and multiple strategic utilities that company ideology can have even within a supposedly autocratic structure Noguchi ; Roberts ; Matsunaga This all serves to draw attention to the need to first understand the company structure as it appears in practice.

An historical account of the structural evolution of the company can provide a wider frame of reference to see the alternate sources of direction in the emergence of the two columns of Sunny Eikaiwa Inc. Foreign teachers at Sunny Eikaiwa react in a most characteristic way upon hearing that the president, managing director and foreign staff liaison were all once Sunny Eikaiwa teachers themselves. Sasaki as president and shareholder the remaining shares held by his wife and young son, and by Mr.

The distinction between these two initial forms of the company drew more from the intellectual or latent language skill disparity of the two clientele groups than from formalized organizational or operational divisions. Now we see that as a third year economics student at Yokohama National University in , Mr. Sasaki entered Yamaha Corporation as an international sales representative.

His sales job there required him to travel extensively in the years between and , and it was in the course of visiting over 60 countries, a notable accomplishment even now 32 , that he developed his idea into a firm plan for the company. Returning from travels throughout Europe with hundreds of language study-related books and materials in , Mr. Sasaki formalized the plan and established Sunny Eikaiwa Inc. More correctly, it is precisely because of the recession that the company appeared to grow.

With the economic hardships and restructuring came a renewed purpose for the bulk of eikaiwa: to advance English as a means to economic salvation. At Sunny, the case of Mr. This account of personal revelation took on an even greater sense of the prophetic for the website revision, when Mr.

The third Sunny division, Sunny International, pertains to conference and translation services and makes up the second column. The plan, broadly stated, is for students of the first column to sign up for English lessons and progress to a level of ability that would allow them to work or volunteer as helpers, translators or interpreters for international events in Sapporo and all over Japan through Sunny International.

Sunny International then offers motivation to add to the constant communicative encouragement that teachers, both Japanese and foreign, are expected to give students of Sunny Circles and Sunny Eikaiwa. In return, Sunny International receives a predictable supply of volunteer and contract staff. Given the symbiotic purpose envisioned in the business plan for these two columns, it follows that the cultivation of student abilities in English communication should be of paramount concern to upper management, as the designers of the plan.

But to assume that this sentiment is as recent as the two-column concept would be wrong.

Subsidiaries

Students have been finding the motivation to continue studies 33 Here again, Japanese staff in closer daily proximity to the president, executive director and directors will hear of such details first. In fact, a great deal of the initial dispersion of these two halves of the company appeared as a result of stylistic and operational changes within the first formation of Sunny Eikaiwa — changes that would continue to further differentiate Sunny Eikaiwa from Sunny Circles subsequent to the establishment of Sunny International as a fully functioning division in When Sunny first opened its doors in Mr.

Sasaki taught English seminars for advanced level students only. Advanced-level entrants were confirmed by means of a test, administered at the time a potential student approached the school, following an explanation of school policies and prior to becoming a formally enrolled student. Rumors circulated among students and citizens suggesting that the school was difficult to enter.

Only those with a proven English ability equivalent to an advanced score on national and international tests of English were accepted. The elite nature of the school did not conflict with Mr. It was, however, not successful as a business approach. Entry procedures for new students would have to be altered to allow for a more representative — and realistic — sampling of English abilities. The solution presented itself as a modification to the admissions test, simplifying it to accommodate a broader range of language competency.

With this wider assortment of entrants, the new test served also to prescribe levels within the curriculum rather than simply exclude students of lower ability. Classes could then be grouped by level and assigned times to meet for study with a series of textbooks selected for the level. Sunny now moved from an ad hoc model of English seminars for advanced level students only, to a more comprehensive and permanent structure that gave students a dedicated location the campus and a discernable goal the potential to move up in level.

The fact that the test remained in place, at the start of the admissions process, continued to engender some resistance among managers and 35 Although the 11th Winter Olympics had been held in Sapporo only a few years earlier February 3- 13, the presence of foreigners, let alone those speaking English, was not at all common. Hasegawa in his early teaching experience at the company was entitled Streamline. Even with the increased regularity and permanence afforded by the new campus plan, seminars remained a popular format for study at Sunny.

For example, I had an opportunity to observe the 56th Sunny Eikaiwa Public Seminar on Culture attended by a large audience of Sapporo residents several hundred men and women, predominantly middle aged or older in the summer of and witnessed the enthusiasm stirred by venerable NHK radio program host Toyama Ken on the subject of English pronunciation. As ability levels expanded and student numbers increased at the new head office campus, the company was in particular need of a teaching method that could be systematically relied upon to promote uniform student improvement within the new structure of levels.

Stress was placed on employing native English speakers — exclusively — to staff the teaching positions, and it was critical that these teachers had no Japanese language abilities. In a very real sense, this represents the beginning of Sunny Eikaiwa Inc. In the struggle to improve teaching styles, a practice of visiting other eikaiwas in the guise of potential customers was sanctioned.

Hasegawa, approached an eikaiwa based in Tokyo known as ASA with the intention of learning more about their system of class scheduling and organization. Teachers were a mess, too. Free-time lesson scheduling was unknown in Sapporo at the time and its success at ASA in similar circumstances was cause for hope, but the company would need to recruit more management figures to follow through on the planned reformation.

Within the next four years alone, from to , the additions to program, staff, properties and clientele were so extensive and significant that it becomes difficult now to sequence them accurately. We can be sure that in the initiation of the free-time lesson system it was not simply the new opportunities for 40 This is taken from a group interview with a former manager, two senior office coordinators and one senior Japanese teacher, all from Sunny, on April 2, Sasaki somewhat reluctantly began working at the head office.

Sasaki had been a professional piano teacher for many years prior to beginning her new career at Sunny. Both she and Mr. Sasaki had been working for Yamaha at the time they met and teaching remained close to her sense of purpose even after having left Yamaha and her private teaching days and joining Sunny as torishimariyaku. The timing of her arrival at the company was in no small way related to this expansion and became fixed in her position at the company as though 41 Reluctance was largely due to her concerns for her young son.

Sasaki had committed herself to rearing the child at home. It was not until her son had left home to attend school in America, shortly after she first started at Sunny, that she felt she could fully commit to this new position. Sasaki say that she was initially only planning to fill the torishimariyaku position for two years. When the original two years was up, she was heard to say she would work just another two years… and so on, until the very mention of impermanence became incongruous with her continued presence.

From the very beginning Mrs. When I was at head office one day she told me about it. It was after midnight [when she was telling me this]! Hasegawa has also a strong claim on the origination of the free-time system at Sunny given his service to acquire the information from ASA in the first instance and his position as Director of the adult eikaiwa division which would naturally be host to this reform. With the quantifiable rise in student numbers and company renown that came with its introduction and the similar expectations that came beforehand, it appears to have been perfectly reasonable for Mr.

Sasaki was brought up in a wealthy Otaru family. I remember she often said to us she was brought up by servants. Why would she tell us this? Sasaki in shepherding in the reform and ensuing expansion. Whereas the head office campus, to this day, is made up of many brightly lit small and medium sized classrooms spread out over two floors, the new campus would be open and home-like in its design. From its inception, the design criteria were set by Mrs. Sasaki and she closely oversaw the development process. New office furnishings, tables and sets of five stackable chairs for each, brown carpeting, and customized wood and frosted glass dividers were ordered for the lesson areas.

Students walking into the campus area in the northeast corner of the 8th floor of the popular new office building — also home to the government passport office, Red Cross blood bank, and several stylish restaurants — would find a welcome feeling without the glare of fluorescent lighting and typically sterile office accoutrements. These were exciting times as she tells it — in four months, from January to April, ten to fifteen new students per day were registering and paying for lesson packages at the new campus. Lessons were most popularly contracted in a lesson package for approximately , yen.

There was a new feeling in the city as well as the company, brought about by the general prosperity of the time. The new campus attracted a more dynamic group of students than had been drawn to the head office campus, and much of the attraction came from the convergence of fashionable setting, location and foreign staff, all fueled by more conspicuous patterns of consumption.

It is also very close to the University of Hokkaido main campus and subsequently sees a great deal of student traffic in the local cafes, restaurants and shops. Sasaki stepped in to make indelible changes to the division and the company. This was of course in addition to the English-only lessons taught by foreign teachers. In the interest of eliminating potential customer confusion, Mrs.

Sasaki instructed Kitagawa-san and all ensuing office coordinators to use only Japanese in their working contact with others. More significantly, though in the same spirit of accommodating customers as opposed to cultivating elite English speakers, the company moved away from the exclusively native-English-speaking teacher policy and tentatively hired several Japanese teachers of English to complement the foreign staff. They were always thinking of what they needed to do for students, especially for beginners, to make their English better. Sunny hired Japanese teachers just to see how the students would like it — and they loved it — and started hiring more Japanese.

All the while these changes developed, Sunny Circles continued under the direction of Mr. Fuji, working out of the head office campus with a separate teaching staff, trained in cooperation with Mrs. Sasaki for Japanese teachers and Mr. Hasegawa for foreign. Sunny Circles was less affected by the switch to a free-time scheduling model since the clientele consisted mostly of elementary and junior high school students who could only attend at set times of the day in any event.

For high 45 From a former manager of Sunny Eikaiwa, interviewed April 2, In this way, Sunny Circles and Sunny Eikaiwa could be seen as an earlier inspiration for the two-column business plan; Sunny Circles provided optional seminars to enhance Sunny Eikaiwa student ability, and in many cases the two divisions co-prospered when adult students of Sunny Eikaiwa would register their children at Sunny Circles. Although it was founded on paper in , the convention service was not offered until the following year and it was without a director or staff until Even then, Mr.

Ueda was both Director and sole full-time staff member for several years after arriving in Like Mr. Sasaki, Mr. Coincidentally, Mr. Ueda had visited roughly the same number of countries 70 , and heard of Sunny from a compatriot traveler while on his travels through Asia. The traveler learned that Mr. Ueda was also from Sapporo and told him about the growth of Sunny Inc.

Anxious to return home and admiring of this expanding little company and its emphasis on international communication, Mr. From the time he joined the company to the present, Mr. Ueda estimates that the division grew by a factor of five hundred, 46 largely reflecting the on-going accumulation of a contracted pool of interpreters to handle convention services and the acquisition of conferencing hardware in All of this growth can be seen as resulting more from Mr.

Agreements between employers and unions always take precedence over individual contracts.

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If there is a contradiction, the collective agreement automatically nullifies or modifies that part of your contract. Collective agreements have a similar function to company working regulations, but also take precedence over such rules. The union can try, but during the period of validity of the collective agreement, the employer is not obliged to renegotiate it. Furthermore, the union cannot enter into a dispute over the contents of an agreement until that agreement has expired. The union can file a complaint about this at the Labour Commission.

Collective agreements can also be thought of as coming under contractual law, and so it would be theoretically possible to sue in civil court for breach of contract. This right is the teeth in the Trade Union Law.

How to Teach English in Japan! JET Program vs Eikaiwa - Kelsey_tube

It covers two types of activity: 1. The right of dispute, which fundamentally means the right to strike. The right to engage in union activities. These two rights back up the right to collective bargaining, and give the union a real bargaining power. All dispute acts should be seen as a continuation of collective bargaining, with the purpose of furthering demands put forward in collective bargaining. This is why striking over some issue without first raising that issue as a demand in collective bargaining cannot be considered lawful.

These rights have always been problematic in law because of conflicting rights in civil law prohibiting violation of work duties and harm to business, but basically they are legal within certain limits examined below. The final recognition of these rights is based upon the idea that strikes and picketing are necessary to make collective bargaining work. Unions are exempt in Japan from criminal liability Article 1 and civil liability Article for their proper actions in labour disputes. There are three basic factors:. In practice, the courts have ruled the following kinds of activities improper:.

Political strikes — Political issues are beyond the scope of collective bargaining. Strikes undertaken without prior collective bargaining 5. Strikes undertaken during collective bargaining 6. Strikes not preceded by a strike notice 7. Acts of violence 9. Obstruction of the freedom of non-union workers. All-out strikes 2. Partial Strikes 3. Designated strikes 4. Rolling strikes 5. Limited duration strikes. The conduct of workers on strike of watching, accosting, persuading, appealing to, or forcefully preventing workers from entering or leaving the premises in order to reinforce the strike.

Broadly speaking, coercive actions preventing the employer from carrying on his business are improper, though depending on the whole picture, the use of some force is sometimes judged lawful in Japan, especially in cases where outside scab labour is being used. Pretty much everything except strikes. Some would seem to be connected to labour disputes, like handing out leaflets and wearing ribbons at work. Others are just regular things like meetings and social events. Personal attacks, however, are not protected by law even if these are true , and the union would run the risk of legal action.

I signed this, so this means I cannot take part in union leafletings outside my company. Am I right? Whatever you signed in your contract to this effect is invalidated because the law of the land takes precedence. As a union member, you are guaranteed certain rights by the constitution and the Trade Union Law. You are free to engage in proper union activities, including leafletings and strikes. Firing or disadvantageous treatment of a worker who joined or organized a Trade Union or performed proper acts of a Trade Union. Refusal of collective bargaining without proper reasons.

Disadvantageous treatment for filing a case at the Labour Commission. All these unfair labour practices by the company against union members are forbidden Article 7. It should be noted that according to the Trade Union Law, unfair labour practices are nasty things which employers do. There is no such thing as a union unfair labour practice. Denouncing the formation of a union. Slander of the union and its members.

Firing or transferring people who play a key role in the union organizing effort. Advising or appealing to employees to resign from or not to join the union. Setting up a company union or encouraging employees to set one up and abandon their legitimate union. Q My boss is a nice man, and he told me the union could bankrupt the company if they went on strike.

Did he break the law? Union members should not be fooled. These are textbook techniques for union-busters. Q The head teacher in my school is a foreigner, and he has been saying bad things about the union. Very probably. Yes, but for an employer, this right is qualified by the Trade Union Law. If such actions include factors of threat, retaliation, or discriminatory conferring of advantages, they would clearly be illegal, but of course there are grey areas. In fact, it is by far the safest way for an employer never to talk about the union at all with his employees, except in collective bargaining.

This is the way the union recommends to employers. The Prefectural Labour Commissions are composed of commissioners representing the interests of labour, the interests of employers, and the public interest 11 of each in the case of Osaka Article The unfair labour practices cases are formalized trial procedures presided over by a commissioner in which the union and the employer confront each other. Lawyers can represent the parties, but they are not necessary.

Finally, the commissioners decide whether or not an unfair labour practice has been committed, and they issue orders either dismissing the complaint or providing administrative remedies. The law does not envisage use of the Labour Commission as a normal form of procedure in labour relations. Employers and management are supposed to be able to settle problems by themselves through collective bargaining and collective agreements Article 2, Labour Relations Adjustment Law , but sometimes unions have to apply for help from the Labour Commission.

This should be regarded as an extraordinary measure. The Labour Commission then immediately arranges initial examination procedures. First there is an investigation, then a hearing, or several hearings. The union and the employer appoint their own witnesses, who alternate. These hearings, open to the public, with defendant and plaintiff present, take place once every six weeks or so, lasting two hours each, with an examination and cross-examination.

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