Analyzing cultural expatriates' attitudes toward “Englishnization” using dynamic topic modeling

Ziyuan Zhang


Several Japanese multinational corporations (MNCs) have recently adopted an English-only policy known as “Englishnization”. This study examines the impact of this policy using computer-assisted text analysis to investigate changes in cultural expatriates’ perceptions of Japanese work practices and values over time. Cultural expatriates are a significant but underexplored outcome of globalization. Despite the recent proliferation of studies on the internationalization of Japanese MNCs, few studies have focused on cultural expatriates' perceptions of corporate language policy in social media texts. This study analyzes a corpus of 208 posts from Rakuten, a Japanese MNC, on Glassdoor from 2009 to 2020. The findings suggest that these posts can be divided into three content groups: the threat of a foreign corporate culture, embracing the Rakuten way, and perceptions of leadership and marginalized status. Further, the posts reveal how Rakuten’s corporate language policy, as an instrument of internal internationalization, impacts external internationalization. The dynamics of “Englishnization’’ reveal a pressing issue facing Rakuten: namely, how to balance multinational cohesion with monolingualism and multiculturalism. This paper aims to demonstrate that dynamic topic modeling could enhance our understanding of the manner in which cultural expatriates and the English-only policy affect the internationalization of Japanese MNCs. It contributes to the literature by examining cultural expatriates’ perceptions of Japanese work practices and values from a diachronic perspective.


cultural expatriates; corporate language policy; social media; computational sociolinguistics; dynamic topic modeling; Englishnization

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