as "linguistic imperialism". However, Brutt-Giffler (2002) recently contradicts thisconnection between colonization and the enforced spread of English:…colonial language policy was not necessarily related to language spread, andthat the spread of English was just as much a product of the struggle againstimperialism (Brutt-Griffler, 2002 as cited in Park, 2004, p. 87).Taking this alternative stance, the history of English language education in Japan may beviewed as being partly based on Brutt-Griffler's idea of a "struggle against imperialism", but also, I would argue, as a struggle for imperialism in which English, and its teaching,have been at various times in history regarded as positive and negative influences onsociety. To explain this apparently complex "struggle", it is necessary to outline howEnglish education was introduced to Japan and how it has been operating in this countryfrom the mid 1800s with respect to the inter-connection between world, 'macro' eventsand local Japanese 'micro' events. Consequently, such a detailed and reflective account of the history of Japanese language education requires, as Phillipson (1992) and Pennycook (1994) advocate, the supplementary description of a variety of macro and micro social, political and economic issues all influential upon language education. This creates adescriptive framework for the interpretation of the varying states of English languageeducation through time, a seemingly inter-connected 'mesh' of events which show howeducational trends and policy decisions have been porous to national and internationalevents.
2. World History in the Great NavigationPeriod
Before giving a detailed description of the history from mid-1800s, I will briefly outlinesome significant incidents in the world before and around that period of time. Urabe et al(1995) term the few centuries from the end of 15th century as the "Great Navigation"Period in Europe. During this time, Europeans explored Africa, America and Asia anddiscovered new passages for global commerce. They also colonized vast areas of theworld, creating economic zones, such as the establishment of East Asian Company inIndia by Britain in 1600, which were primarily of benefit to European producers andconsumers. Nakano (2004) traces the historical relationship between Japan and western countriesaround this period. The Japanese government had banned commerce with other countriesexcept Holland and China for almost 210 years from 1603 to the beginning of 1800. Thegovernment, called Tokugawa Bakufu (1603-1867), ruled Japan for more than 250 years,determining the political and economic stance, that of isolation of the country, towardsthe rest of the world. Due to various reasons, including pressure from the West, itreturned this power to the Emperor, Meiji, in 1868. Although there had been relativedomestic peace and stability in the Tokugawa Bakufu period in Japan, there were fewopportunities to import innovations in science and technology from Europe and theUnited States. In contrast, while Japan was isolated from the world, the IndustrialRevolution occurred in Britain at the end of the 18th century and after Britain started to