Kuniko Katz's essays,
articles and letters to the editors
Japanese companies should help:
Scarsdale Inquirer, March 1, 1991
To the Editor:
1 thought articles such as your "Numbers hamper Asian assimilation at high
school" (Feb . 1) should be read by the Japanese companies that send their
families here, so I sent a copy to the Community Affairs Committee Of the
Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York. I hope that articles such
as yours, in local newspapers, will enable the companies to see the situation
Three years ago, in an article in The inquirer (Some idea for the sake of
1 said that the Japanese movement and the Japanese companies
should be responsible for keeping abreast of the educational experiences of
Japanese children living outside Japan to facilitate their re‑entry into
Japanese society and to maximally utilize their experiences in international
living and education. To improve the situation, 1 asked the companies to
consider the following courses of action:
1. Study where their employees reside and which schools their children attend,
then suggest and assist incoming employees in finding suitable housing in school
districts that do not have heavy concentrations of Japanese children.
2. Establish a multi corporation funded institute to offer financial grants for
English‑language learning‑enrichment activities to enhance existing programs
when districts request them.
3. If it is not possible to avoid significant numbers of Japanese families in a
school district, then the corporations should underwrite the construction of a
Japanese‑language school or assist already established Japanese educational
facilities to build full‑time K‑ 12 schools to meet the needs of Japanese
families in those areas.
Unfortunately, neither the Japanese government nor the companies see the need to
take such actions. Although there are some exceptions, most newly arriving
families are still not well informed about their new communities. The mothers
frequently tell me how surprised they are to find so many Japanese children in
the schools. They relate that because they have to leave Japan on short notice
(usually about three months), the families don't have much time to prepare
before they come here. The father who arrives here before the family usually
decides where to live based on recommendations of his predecessors, colleagues
or realtors regarding the quality of a community, its schools and its commuting
convenience to the city. The fathers rarely have time to visit schools before
deciding where to live. As a result, certain school districts in the
metropolitan area are now facing similar problems as Scarsdale.
In an article in the OCS News (a New York‑based Japanese newspaper) last
December, 1 wrote how these school districts are trying to make Japanese
children feel comfortable in their new homes. As an example, 1 cited the
Scarsdale district, which has not only enriched its E.S.L programs but has also
developed additional programs to help teachers understand Japanese students. 1
observed that the cost of these special programs created for mostly Japanese
children by the district budget or outside foundations should be shared by
Japanese companies. For the companies to be able to respond to the districts'
requests, 1 propose that they establish a multi corporation funded institute to
provide necessary educational materials, lists of professionals such as
Japanese‑speaking doctors and translators, to dispatch lecturers and to assist
financing special programs such as E.S.L when requested.
The institute could also provide orientation programs for the newly arriving
Japanese parents with the cooperation of the parents who are living here.
Parents should be informed of the importance of their participation in community
and PTA activities so they can help their children to make American friends.
Although many Japanese parents are doing their best to help their children, the
lack of adequate orientation seems to make many others unable to realize the
value of their participation in any local activities.
I hope the Japanese companies will realize what they are doing to their own
children and decide to help them and their school districts.