Date: Sat, 05 May 2001 16:43:50 +0900
Subject: Kansai University--Blacklist Entry
From: David Agnew
(See Summer 2003 Issue in PALE Journal Archive)
_ _ _ _

I will now attempt to recreate for you in writing the little clique I now
find myself exiting at the end of my 3-year cycle. I decided to shake the
whole thing up and expose it for the sham it really is. Needless to say, I
will not be rehired at Kandai without legal intervention, nor do I really
want to be if conditions remain as they are.

I started making waves halfway through my second year and tried to change
things internally at first. Apathy from all the tenured foreign staff and
the majority of my tokunin colleagues is what I encountered. When it became
apparent that the tenured foreign coordinator of the program was really the
program incarnate, I exposed him for the bully he is and he soon disappeared
from the scene.

(e.g., his sending email* calling a teacher lazy for missing work after
experiencing severe disability from a motorcycle crash on the way home from
work at Kandai and for previously missing some time in order to care for his
newborn son that had just about died from difficulties breathing) By the
way, the disabled teacher was forced to come and teach his classes in a
wheelchair and on crutches, but has since recovered from his injuries.

*I have all such email saved. The other teachers were told we were obligated to
cover his classes, NOT, but we did it in order to help him out and
emphasized that the injured teacher should receive his full salary and we
should not be paid, which is the way it worked out…

The Japanese bilingual that replaced the bully is a godsend. A person who
has spent most of her life outside of Japan giving her a much needed
outsider perspective. She confided that there is some support among the
tenured teachers to change things but that they don't approve of my methods
(the union). It soon became clear to her as well that there was no program.
The bully is still an important figure in the university, a professor only
because he speaks Japanese so well, but we don't have to deal with him
directly anymore. She wants to do the right thing but doesn't have much to
work with.

The program is a sham to keep better control of ten part-time teachers by
providing a measly research stipend included with our salary. (5.6 million
yen/year, --included in the 5.6 is 1.2 for developing materials and methods
for 11 classes, 1 as a meeting) The so-called English Communication Program
is now in its eighth year. The success of the Program has been due in large
part to the high level of professionalism and dedication of the part-time
faculty found at its core; the Communication Teachers. At least, that is the
rhetoric I got before and after being hired. The truth is, there has never
been a "program," period, but rather a group of 10 individuals doing their
own thing in class while pretending in our mandatory Tuesday period 3
meeting to work together. We are asked to participate in little "projects"
that had little or nothing to do with our teaching at Kandai:

<< The collective knowledge of what has been one piece of busywork after
another exists in the minds of teachers past and present and in the minutes
of the weekly meetings. These obvious indiscretions have gone unreported for
the most part because of the intimidation and anxiety brought about by
concern for job security and not knowing with whom to talk.>>
--From Communication Team Tidbits

This group has been comprised of teachers rotated in and out on a three-year
term-limited basis. Teachers are allowed to reapply after taking a year off
and three teachers have been rehired this way, one was rejected. They have
to go through the same hiring process as new applicants. Truly bizarre given
they were already hired for these positions and the qualifications and
duties have not changed.

In the 2000-2001 academic year, the Program and its teachers became part of
the Institute of Foreign Language Education and Research (IFLER) of Kansai
University. Before that, the 10 teachers were housed in a cramped one-room
teacher's ghetto in a building that students were never allowed to enter and
we didn't belong to any institute or faculty. The job hasn't changed.

The tokunin are hired out to the other faculties to teach English 1 classes
and we are regarded as part-timers by the faculties and the university
administration as documented in the first round of collective bargaining on
21 December 2000. Rube was there representing the other non-tokunin
part-timers and fighting to stop the university from cutting his koma from 4
to 3 as had been done across the board to all foreign part-timers at Kandai
without consultation with those losing classes.

Term limits are part of this collective bargaining but the university has
already proven it is not bargaining in good faith:

<<Kandai reneges on collective bargaining

15 April 2001

In a surprise move, Kansai University threatened a union member with
termination unless he agreed to the section of the work contract that states
that the contract is not renewable. The union member had signed the contract
but had also signified that the article pertaining to term limits was a
matter of ongoing negotiation between Kandai and the EWA as established in
the first collective bargaining session held on 21 December 2000.

In the letter, Heian Hazama, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Kansai University,
clearly marks a departure from collective bargaining when he writes, "you
will be prohibited from teaching at our institution unless you agree to the
term limit." Term limited contracts are often used only for foreign teachers
in Japan's universities and colleges.

The second meeting for collective bargaining is expected in May. The
threatening letter and the coercion and intimidation of the union member
will certainly top the agenda.>>


I am willing to send a scan of the letter and the contract to put up on the
web. The contract makes it clear the job is for foreigners in Article 7
which refers to paying for plane tickets back to your "home" country from
Japan. Also, the ad states 10 hours of research as part of the duties but
the contract says 20. 40 hours are technically required of tokunin, 20 taken
up by classes, which is actually a full-time position… The ad is only
available in English although the ad for a tenured position is also in
Japanese on IFLER's homepage.

Job ad:
Position Announcement

The Institute of Foreign Language Education and Research at Kansai
University (one of Japan’s most prestigious private universities) invites
applications for THREE non-tenured positions (on a one-year contract, that
is twice renewable, adding up to a period of three years of consecutive

* native or near-native English proficiency
* M.A. (or an equivalent post-graduate degree) in a relevant discipline,
such as TESL/TEFL
* at least TWO years of experience in teaching English to Japanese (or
other East Asian) students at tertiary level (experience at vocational
schools only will NOT be regarded as an equivalent qualification)
* a strong commitment to language teaching that can be demonstrated
through knowledge of the problems of language learners
* ability to work cooperatively in a team of teachers

The duties of the position include ten 90-minute classes a week, one weekly
meeting, 10 hours a week of research and/or development of teaching
materials, and (at least) one six-day intensive seminar a year.

Commencement Date: April 1, 2001

Application Procedure

To apply, send by post only

1. a resume; (use the format below) with copies of documents verifying
the candidate's qualifications

2. an essay (in English) of approximately 300 words, outlining the
candidate's language-teaching philosophy and approaches to classroom-management

3. two letters of recommendation (in English or in Japanese)

*(4) Those who pass the preliminary selection will be asked to submit by the
4th of September, a 15-minute video of their classroom teaching. As time is
limited, we strongly recommend all applicants to prepare their videos before
the start of the summer vacation.

Write on the envelope, 'Application Enclosed' and mail to:

The Institute of Foreign Language Education and Research,
Kansai University,
3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita-shi,
Osaka, 564-8680 JAPAN.

Note: Applications submitted by e-mail will not be accepted.
Closing Date for Applications: July 21, 2000
Interview Dates: September 13th or 20th
(The Institute regrets that the cost of transportation to and from
interviews can be provided only for travel within Japan.)
Inquiries: or Fax: +81-6-6368-0036.
Web page: