Are average Chinese university students more motivated to learn English than average university students in Japan? Is China's English education system doing a better job of motivating students than the Japanese system? This research aims to answer these questions by testing if non-English-major first- and second-year university students in China - i.e., "average college underclassmen"- listen to English-learning podcasts more than their counterparts in Japan. Two hundred twenty-four students in Japan and 184 students in China were given identical surveys in their native languages, asking about their podcast listening habits. The students were enrolled at similar-type universities, and had had similar English-learning backgrounds.
It was found that 21% of non-English major students in Japan had at some time listened to at least one English-learning podcast, but only 3% of their Chinese counterparts had done so. This implies that most English teachers in Chinese high schools and even colleges probably do not know much about English podcasts. Other interesting phenomena about the English education system in China are also noted.