Asian Ethnology Podcast

A Conversation with Joy Hendry: An Anthropologist's View of Early Childhood Education in Japan

Interviewer: Ben Dorman, co-editor Asian Ethnology

Recorded 10 December 2017, Kyoto, Japan

This episode's guest is Joy Hendry, emeritus professor of anthropology at Oxford Brookes University. Joy discusses her experiences and research related to early childhood education in Japan in the early 1980s.

Episode Summary

Intro :54

Reasons for doing research on early childhood education in Japan 2:05

Comparing Japanese and UK experiences, “Becoming Japanese” (see Publications listing below) 3:40

What is “Becoming Japanese”?; expectations on young children 11:25

Honne (“true face”) and tatemae (“façade”) 12:40

The role of teachers and differences experienced between Japan and the UK 16:09

“Special needs” 16:4

Outro 16:54

Publications discussed in this episode


1. Becoming Japanese: The World of the Pre-School Child, Joy Hendry, University of Hawaii Press (1986)

2. Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window, Kuroyanagi Tetsuko, Kodansha International (March 23, 2012)

Music used with kind permission of the performer, shamisen master Koji Yamaguchi.

Copyright 2018 by Asian Ethnology Podcast