Blacklist: Kansai Gaidai, Shokei Gakuin, Kyushu U; Greenlist: Nagoya, Aichi U of E


The Blacklist of Japanese Universities (, where listed institutions have a history of offering unequal contracted work (not permanent “academic tenure”) to its full-time faculty (usually foreign faculty), has just been updated.

Joining the 102 universities blacklisted are three new entrants, as follows:


NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Kansai Gaidai University (Gaikokugo Daigaku) (Private)
LOCATION: 16-1 Nakamiyahigashino-cho, Hirakata City, Osaka 573-1001

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Has a remarkable job advertisement where not only are the “ESL Instructor Positions” non-tenure track, with one-year contracts capped at five years, but also entail a heavy weekly workload of “ten 90-minute classes, fifteen 60-minute classes, or a combination thereof” (while tenured J professors rarely have more than 5-7 class periods a week). Duties also include “student counseling, training for speech contests, and other duties as directed by the school” (whatever that means). And what professional with an MA in “TEFL, applied linguistics, or education with a TESOL focus”, with international teaching/living experience elsewhere, and fluency in two languages, would settle for a piffling salary starting at “approx. 4 million yen per year”? (which, believe me, is peanuts!!) Finally KGU states, “The university is interested in midcareer professional ESL faculty who will make a serious commitment to its programs,” without making a serious commitment to the job security of the professional bilingual educator. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: 2007 advertisement from KGU on TESOL, available at

Webarchive in case of a dead link:

NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Kyushu University (National)
LOCATION: 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: Institutes Gaikokujin Kyouin/Kyoushi system, meaning contracts for 2 years for full-time foreigners.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Job announcement (August 2007) for a native lecturer for German, published on the homepage of the Japanese Society for German Studies (Nihon Dokubun Gakkai). Contract to start in April 2008, limited to 2 years. (German text), full translation and webarchive in case of a dead link:


NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Shokei Gakuin College (Private)
LOCATION: 4-10-1 Yurigaoka, Natori-shi, Miyagi-ken (near Sendai)

EMPLOYMENT ABUSE: “This was formerly Shokei Women’s Junior College, which added the 4-year college 4 years ago. We 3 fulltime teachers, each of whom has had over 10 years’ employment at the college, were unexpectedly given notice of our termination. This happened when we went to sign our yearly contract. Our termination was in the contract, so we had the choice either of agreeing to being fired within two years’ time or losing our jobs immediately if we did not sign. There was no opportunity to discuss this. We were not told about this beforehand and we were not given any reasons. A few days later one of us asked why this decision had been made. The reasons were given reluctantly: they did not like the way we taught (not one person came to observe any of our classes), we had not published (when in fact some of us had), we had not attended meetings or done committee work (even though that was part of our agreement when we were initially hired; we were given extra classes instead) and we were not fluent in Japanese – meaning full literacy skills – despite the fact that we were initially hired with the understanding that Japanese reading and writing skills were not necessary for the job.
“The situation at the college is such that a new administrator came from a state university to help this college survive financially. But this college is a private institution and is designed differently than he was accustomed to. However, he has made sweeping changes that are not in keeping with the tradition of this college. That is, he has put a stop to faculty involvement in decision making, which was an integral part of this institution. Instead, he and his friends from the state institution have meetings off campus and then announce to the faculty what will be done. In other words, no one has a voice here any longer except him and his friends.
“Even when the original teachers from this college tried to persuade him to keep the foreign teachers, he refused to even listen to them. To make matters worse, no one explained to us foreign teachers about the tax situation in this city. So, suddenly, we were told that we would be responsible for paying a full year of taxes. In other words, we have to pay to leave the school. We could live for about 3 months on the tax we have to pay. So, this is very serious for those of us who do not have another job and are too old to get full time work. All of this is a tremendous shock because, in addition to having to pay taxes, the school is refusing to give us severance pay.”

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Chris Cuadra (schri AT mac DOT com), Shokei ex-employee Anne Thomas, Shokei teacher through March 2008

There are also some updates to the Blacklist–new job ads showing that certain universities just won’t change their ways:




Meanwhile, some universities are seeing the light, and improving job stability for NJ academics:



NAME OF UNIVERSITY: Aichi University of Education (Kyouiku Daigaku) (National)
LOCATION: Igayacho Hirosawa 1, Kariya City, Aichi Prefecture

GOOD EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE: Currently (2007) six out of seven non-Japanese staff are tenured (without tenure review) with exactly the same duties and salary as Japanese. Five out of the six tenured non-Japanese have had tenure from the first day of their contract.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Oliver Mayer, Associate Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages at Aichi University of Education
NOTE FROM LIST MONITOR: CAUTION: Aichi University of Education is also on the University Blacklist, as it still offers full-time contracted employment to NJ academics.


UNIVERSITY: Nagoya University (National)

GOOD EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE: Has non-contracted permanently tenured employment for 36 non-Japanese faculty.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Professor Takamatsu Michio of Nagoya University, met July 31, 2007 at Tokyo University speech regarding the Blacklist, who presented me with evidence scanned here (Japanese):
NOTE FROM LIST MONITOR: CAUTION. Nagoya University also contracts non-Japanese faculty with no clear tenure review system, so it also remains on the Blacklist.

All for now. I’m sure there’ll be more soon. The Blacklist and Greenlist have received a spike of attention in recent months. Glad they are being taken seriously at last. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

4 comments on “Blacklist: Kansai Gaidai, Shokei Gakuin, Kyushu U; Greenlist: Nagoya, Aichi U of E

  • Shokei Gakuin = let’s heartless!

    I watched a freind of mine and his family get driven out of Japan by an Osaka public highschool where he worked as an ALT. Every year, for 3 consecutive years his salary was cut. The explanation from Kochou was along the lines of “so sorry to do this but our budget is being cut”. Of course, Japanese teachers recieved regular pay hikes every year, as is only proper.

    Anyone considering taking such a job in Japan, please remember that this kind of duplicity is not unusual, and that, at least in my opinion, regardless of what they tell you to your face, a large section of the Japanese population do not care about you at all, and do not care about your family though they may be Japanese themselves.

  • Jeff Korpa says:

    Hi Debito:

    Obviously some schools are better / worse than others, so as a natural evolution of the Blacklist and Greenlist, I’d like to see a more systematic ordering of the entrants – perhaps something akin to a Black Ranking / Green Ranking. This way there would be something quantifiable with which to gauge a school’s status and progress. (e.g. Last year ABC daigaku was #25 on the Blacklist, but they’ve improved since then and are now #15 on the Greenlist!). Or perhaps it would be better to have one list with all entrants ranked. Either way, I think it’s important to start aggregating the data you’ve collected into some type of ranking system based on a common set of criteria.



  • This kind of thing can only be solved by Union action. The General Union in Osaka is extremly active and strong. Anyone in the Kansai area interested in fighting abuse like this should join. It is the only way to improve the situation.

  • Up until last year, Kansai Gaidai was refusing to enroll its full-time foreign language instructors in the national pension system. They are still refusing to enroll full-time foreign language instructors in unemployment insurance system, which I have been told by the General Union is a violation of the law.


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