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| Published in Interesting Facts | Written by Thomas Stroup

30 Facts on Education in Japan - Maybe We Should Even Adopt Anything

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One may call it a stereotype, but Japanese kids do study all the time. First – to enter a prestigious school. Then – to enroll into a prestigious university. Then – to get a prestigious job. The better education a Japanese young person has, the higher the chances to succeed in life.

Moreover, given 72% of families in Japan fall into the middle class having the same level of income, quality of education is what helps stand out from the crowd (and the working force).

What is the main goal of state’s education program? To nurture creative, unorthodox, hard-working, high-spirited and cultured members of the Japanese society. How exactly do they make headway? Here are 30 cornerstones that explain almost everything.

1. Kindergarten is compulsory. At the age of 3, every kid in Japan goes to kindergarten where she studies basic Math, reading and writing.

2. Japanese kids study in primary school for six years. In secondary school – for three years. In higher school – for three years. And in the university – for at least four years.

3. To enter a school, every kid has to pass the exams. That’s compulsory showing the level of knowledge even at such early age.

4. Education in elementary and secondary schools is free. Education in high schools and universities is always paid.

5. Every school has its unique uniform.

6. They have no homework in primary schools. But Japanese secondary and high school students write papers, essays and have plenty of other assignments all the time. They are the busiest pupils in the world.

7. Right by every school entrance door there is a special shelf for shoes.

8. Only a natural hair color is acceptable in most Japanese schools.

9. Most often, boys are allowed to have short hair only.

10. At some schools, girls are not allowed to polish nails, do even basic makeup and wear jewelry (except watches).

11. A typical Japanese classroom consists of 30-40 pupils.

12. In most schools, pupils are allowed to wear black, white or dark blue socks. If any other color is spotted, socks will be… confiscated. (Read here also: "We Either Teach Kids Adult Life, or Teach How To Pass The Exams...")

13. As a rule, students stay in the same classroom during the entire year. Those are the teachers who go from a classroom to classroom.

14. To read and write in Japanese, kids have to learn nearly 2500 symbols.

15. Plus, Japanese kids have to learn to write in three different styles: proper Japanese hieroglyphic symbol, Japanese version of Chinese hieroglyphic symbols, and Latin symbols.

16. The major subjects in Japanese schools are: Math, Language, Social Science, Craftsmanship, Music and Physical Education.

17. Additionally, kids in Japan study Healthy Way of Life, IT, Culture, Housekeeping, Haiku and Calligraphy.

18. All schools are well stocked with high-end technical equipment and broadband internet connection.

19. Academic year starts in April.

20. There are no genitors in Japanese schools. As a rule, pupils are distributed in small groups being in charge of certain school chores like cleaning, dusting, etc.

21. Extracurricular activities are most encouraged. Sport, Culture, Arts, IT – pupils have plenty of room for choice.

22. Summer vacation lasts for 40 days from mid-July till late August. Winter and spring – for 10 days. There are no holidays in autumn.

23. All students are tasked with homework to do during vacation time.

24. In Japan, kids go to school on Saturday as well.

25. Students are not allowed to bring any kinds of food products to school, even some types of medicine.

26. There are lots of exams. To enter secondary school kids have to pass the exams. Plus, they undergo an examination after every trimester and in the middle of the first and second trimesters.

27. In every school, there is a nutrition specialist in charge of food and students’ diet.

28. University students normally arrive for classes by car. There is no such concept as “school bus” in Japan. Kids either take public transport or bicycle, or simply come on foot.

29. A big company may support a promising student and even pay her tuition fee. However, they will then hire her and hold back the full sum until it’s fully compensated.

30. In a university students are free to choose whatever subjects they like. Although they don’t normally have term papers and dissertations, Japanese students turn in lots of reports.