The advantages and disadvantages faced by housewife English teachers in the cottage industry Eikaiwa business

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Diane Hawley Nagatomo, Ochanomizu University


The eikaiwa [conversation] business in Japan is a multi-billion dollar industry, and yet very little empirical research has been conducted on its teachers or its students. An online survey focusing on the pedagogical and personal issues of one group of eikaiwa teachers (foreign women who are married to Japanese men) was constructed and distributed. Results from the 31 respondents indicate an ongoing overlapping struggle with their teaching in balancing their families’ personal and financial needs, their relationships with their students, and the gendered constraints imposed upon them by Japanese society. The paper ends with a call for more research of all eikaiwa teachers in more eikaiwa contexts.