This paper aims to clarify the current situation of multicultural education in Japan, based on analysis of typical teaching practices in the area related to education for international understanding in Japan, and to identify debates and arising issues. It has clarified the specific characteristics of each form of education. In particular, it focused on differences between each type of education in terms of the way each type addresses culture and identity.
The starting point of the area related to education for international understanding in Japan was education for international understanding, which developed into global education, intercultural education and multicultural education, with a feature of this development being its diversity. In particular, as represented in multicultural education, the focus is on cultural diversity in society, along with plurality of cultural elements, and it can be understood that the 2 aspects of diversity and plurality are important. What is more, research has developed to the point of demonstrating the effects of this cultural plurality on individuals’ inner selves. Our complexity as individuals whose inner beings are influenced by culture leads to the formation of identity plurality (pluri-identities) through the compounding of cultures and people, exposing the diverse selves within the self and the identities of those selves, and leading to tension and conflict that need to be managed. The issue of how education related to education for international understanding addresses these problems is an important contemporary issue to be discussed.