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December 10, 2023
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Big in Japan
Produced by: Rob Hilton
Every year thousands of Americans pack their bags and move to Japan. They go in hopes of making it big in one of Japan's most lucrative industries... English. Desperate to learn the language, Japanese schools, businesses and government agencies offer small fortunes to just about anyone who can help teach English. No experience necessary. The Americans who flock to Japan each year make up one of the more eclectic if not strange and often comical subcultures of our nation's social landscape. While many are well-educated with the best intentions, a large number are complete misfits drawn to Japan by the low qualifications and high pay of the English teaching industry. Our documentary profiles this unique subculture and explores the surreal world that surrounds them in Japan.

Program Credits

Big in Japan was produced by Rob Hilton. The editor was Gemma Hooley. "Kevin" returned to the US several of years ago and has since been a substitute teacher by day and an ESL instructor by night. Mr. Nakagawa is a teacher now and no longer supervises AETs. He says he's much happier back in the classroom. "Tracey" is now mother to a five-year old daughter and lives back in Scotland. Special thanks to Steve Lickteig, Melinda Weir, Laura Wexler, Seiji Saito and Yuko Saito. And to WUGA-FM in Athens, Georgia. This program was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.


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site for English language teaching professionals who work in Japan or who are interested in working in Japan. It contains, news, views, reviews, and job listings.

Schooling in Japan
Travel tips, housing guides, scholarships, school listings and information on Japanese culture.

The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme
JET offers college graduates the opportunity to teach foreign language and experience the culture of Japan.

Make a MIL-Yen: Teaching English in Japan
Learn how to land a successful teaching position from an author who has lived and taught in Japan.

Learning to Teach in Two Cultures: Japan and the United States
By Nobuo K. Shimahara,Akira Sakai, Edward R. Beauchamp
(Editor) Explore the similarities and differences between education in these two nations.

Learning to Bow: Inside the Heart of Japan
By Bruce S. Feiler
Go inside Japanese culture with an American teaching in the country.

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Programs by Rob Hilton

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