Meisei Gakuen, a private school for the deaf in Tokyo, is the only school for the deaf in Japan that uses Japanese Sign Language (JSL) as the primary language of instruction and social interaction. We see Meisei as a useful case for bringing out core issues in Japanese deaf and early childhood education, as well as for making larger arguments about the contribution of what we call "implicit pedagogical practices." In this article, we make Meisei the pivot point for two comparisons: (a) between the Meisei deaf preschool program and the programs of "regular" (nondeaf) preschools and (b) between Meisei;s JSL approach and the "total communication" approach used by the public deaf preschools. The implicit pedagogical practice we track across the three types of Japanese preschool settings is mimamoru, a hesitancy of teachers to intervene in children's disputes and other social interactions.
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