We want to talk about a unique education system from which we could learn a lot. The Japanese education system has many features, as they bring up children differently than they do in the USA or Europe.
Quite possibly, it is this fact that makes Japan such a cool and successful country, and almost everyone dreams of visiting. Let us learn 19 unique Japanese education system facts. You are in for a surprise!
Japanese Education System Facts: Kindergartens are compulsory | Fact No. 1
Kindergarten in Japan is compulsory, and usually children start going there at the age of three.
Already in kindergarten, Japanese kids master the basics of arithmetic and can read Hiragana and Katakana (syllable systems).
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Japanese Education System Facts: Manners are first, then knowledge | Fact No. 2
Japanese schoolchildren do not pass exams until the 4th grade (when they are 10 years old), and they just complete some form of small test.
It is believed that in the first three years of study, academic knowledge is not the most important thing.
The emphasis is on upbringing. Children are taught to respect other people and animals, to be generous, the ability to sympathize, to search for truth, have self-control, and to respect nature.
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Japanese Education System Facts: School begins on April 1 each year | Fact No. 3
When in most countries, children graduate school, the Japanese start to study. The beginning of the year coincides with one of the most beautiful phenomena — the flowering of sakura.
So, they tune in in a sublime and serious way. The academic year consists of three trimesters: from April 1 to July 20, from September 1 to December 26, and from January 7 to March 25.
Thus, the Japanese have a rest for six weeks in a summer vacation and for two weeks in winter and spring.
Japanese Education System Facts: There are no cleaners in Japanese schools | Fact No. 4
Each class takes turns cleaning classrooms, corridors, and even toilets. In this way, kids from an early age learn to work in a team and help each other.
In addition, after schoolchildren have spent so much time and effort on cleaning, they are unlikely to litter. This teaches them to respect their work, as well as the work of other people, and respect the environment.
Japanese Education System Facts: Standardized meals for all students | Fact No. 5
In schools, only standardized meals are prepared, which children eat in the classroom along with other students
In the Land of the Rising Sun, schoolchildren are not allowed to bring food or even certain types of medications, such as ordinary sore throat sweets, which are considered a complete snack.
In primary and secondary schools for children, special lunches are prepared, and the menus of which are developed not only by cooks, but also by medical workers, so that the food is as healthy as possible.
All classmates have lunch with the teacher in the classroom. In such an informal environment, they communicate more and build friendly relations.
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Japanese Education System Facts: Additional education is hugely popular | Fact No. 6
Already in elementary school, children begin to attend private and preparatory schools in order to get into a good secondary school, and then into a high school.
Classes are held in such places in the evenings, and in Japan there is a very typical phenomenon, where at 9 PM the public transport is filled by children who hurry home after additional lessons.
They even study on Sundays and on holidays, given that on average the school day lasts from six to eight hours. It is not surprising that according to the statistics in Japan, there are almost no scholars who held back.
Japanese Education System Facts: Main subjects | Fact No. 7
The main subjects in the schools of Japan are mathematics, Japanese, social sciences, craft, music, and physical education.
Now most elementary schools have begun teaching English. Schoolchildren study healthy lifestyle, computer science, music, art, physical education, and home economics, as well as traditional arts, such as calligraphy and haiku.
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Japanese Education System Facts: Students learn the art of Japanese calligraphy and poetry | Fact No. 8
The principle of Japanese calligraphy, or shodo, is very simple: a bamboo brush is dipped in ink and character symbols are drawn on rice paper with smooth strokes.
In Japan, shodo is valued no less than ordinary painting. And haiku is a national form of poetry that concisely represents nature and man as a whole.
Both subjects reflect one of the principles of Eastern aesthetics — the ratio of simplicity and elegance. Classes teach children to appreciate and respect their culture with its age-old traditions.
Japanese Education System Facts: All students must wear a uniform | Fact No. 9
Starting from middle school, each student is required to wear a uniform. Many schools have their own form, but traditionally for boys these are clothes in military style, and for girls, sailor suits.
The rule is designed to discipline students, because the clothing itself creates a working attitude. Also, the same form helps to unify classmates.
Japanese Education System Facts: Appearance rules | Fact No. 10
Most schools have strict rules regarding hair color. Only natural hair color is acceptable for schoolchildren.
In many public and private schools, boys are not allowed to wear long hair, as only a neat and short haircut is allowed.
Rules for girls include: walking without curls, cosmetics, nail polish, and jewelry (except for watches). Students may wear only white, black, or dark blue socks.
If a student has put on, for example, brown socks, which is against school rules, then this piece of clothing can be confiscated.
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Japanese Education System Facts: School attendance rate is 99.99% | Fact No. 11
It is difficult to imagine one person who has never in his or her life skipped classes at school, but here is a whole nation of people who haven’t.
Also, Japanese schoolchildren are almost never late for class. And 91% of students always listen to the teacher. What other country can boast of similar statistics?
Japanese Education System Facts: No phones | Fact No. 12
Within the Japanese school, students are not allowed to use mobile phones. Pupils can use the phone in the parking lot before entering the school between lessons or after them.
If the teacher notices a phone in class, then he or she will definitely confiscate it.
Japanese Education System Facts: No school bus | Fact No. 13
University students drive cars. In Japan, there is no such thing as a school bus. Students walk, ride a bike, or use public transport. Pupils go to primary school in small groups.
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Japanese Education System Facts: The results of one final exam decide everything | Fact No. 14
At the end of high school, students must take one test that decides whether they will enroll in college or not.
A graduate can choose only one institution, and the size of the future salary and the standard of living in general will be determined by the choice.
The competition is very high: 76% of graduates continue their education after school. That is why the expression “exam hell” is popular in Japan.
Japanese Education System Facts: University years are the best vacations in life | Fact No. 15
It is not surprising that after many years of continuous preparation for admission and the “exam hell,” students want to take a short break.
It turns out that it happens during the university years, which are considered the easiest and most carefree in the life of every Japanese person.
It is excellent rest before work, to which the Japanese have taught since childhood to approach not only with responsibility, but also with great love.
Japanese Education System Facts: For all students under the age of 18, a curfew is set at 10 PM | Fact No. 16
Rules may vary in different cities. However, a curfew is imposed in Tokyo and Yokohama – 10 PM. Children under 18 are not allowed to visit the cinema and slot machines after 10 PM.
Japanese Education System Facts: History reference | Fact No. 17
Education in Japan has a long history. Until the 8th century, it was built on the models of China and Korea.
In the first half of the 6th century, Buddhist teaching began to spread in the country, and along with it, philosophy, science, astrology, and visual arts.
A little later, thanks to the emperor Tenji, the first imperial school appeared.
By the 8th century, the Japanese interacted closely with China, in which the Tang clan ruled. Thanks to these connections, the educational system of China was adopted in Japan.
At the time the Japanese capital city was Nara, and there the Academy was established. At the end of the 8th century, the capital was moved to Kyoto, but this system remained the same.
In the next four centuries, up to the twelfth century, the Chinese system flourished: in institutions they taught writing systems and literary reading. At the same time, two types of syllabary appeared:
Children from noble families attended classes in provincial and monastic schools. The children of the poor went to special institutions where they were taught reading, writing, counting, and basic technical skills.
After this period, education on the model of the Middle Kingdom had become obsolete. Shortly after, private and home schools began to appear in Japan.
Often, ordinary people were taught in the temples of the growing Buddhist teachings of Zen.
Much has changed since World War II. The Japanese borrowed some features in the educational structure from France, the UK, and the USA.
Japanese Education System Facts: Juku | Fact No. 18
Juku is a unique phenomenon of Japanese schools. This is a kind of tutoring school. They are visited by almost all students of middle and high levels.
There are two types of juku:
Academic — teachers fix knowledge on school subjects or provide material that students do not learn in lessons.
Non-academic — teachers work on the disclosure and development of students’ talents. Kids can do different types of activities based on their own wishes — the art of ikebana, judo, the basics of the tea ceremony, theatrical performances, singing, and board games.
Children attend juku in the evening after school three to four times a week.
Japanese Education System Facts: How to enroll in a Japanese university if you are a foreigner | Fact No. 19
The first thing you need to do before enrolling is to get a sufficient amount of money, since it will not work to recoup the costs of studying by working and studying at the same time.
There are very few options for how to study in Japan for free: no more than 200 people a year win grants for budget places, and there are over 2.8 million students (and all of them are local, that is, Japanese citizens).
In addition, it is necessary to complete preparatory courses for at least two semesters, preferably in Japan itself, and then prepare the documents.
Try to immediately determine whether you intend to continue your studies at the master’s level, since there are practically no opportunities to transfer from one university to another after admission.
Also get proof of the fact that at home you have been studying for at least 12 years, and submit documents!
If you are over 18 years old and have no problems with obtaining a visa (such as criminal convictions, dangerous diseases, etc.), you will be allowed to take the general examinations for all foreigners, namely:
General educational exam in the humanities or the natural sciences
Japanese knowledge test
Admission of internal examinations
A student visa to Japan is issued at the embassy or visa center in the event that you have an invitation from at least one of the Japanese universities.
Also, to obtain a visa you need another important paper — the so-called application for certificate of eligibility. This document is supposed to be obtained by anyone who plans to stay in the country.
To qualify for an invitation from the guarantor, you need to send documents in advance to the admissions office of a language school or university.
Do not forget that the school year in Japan begins on April 1, and if the documents are sent by regular mail, and not by email, you must provide another 20-30 days for shipment. The package includes the following papers:
College degree or extract from the first year of higher education (for those who need to “gain” 12 years of study)
Recommendation from a teacher who has taught the Japanese language to the applicant
Certificate of absence of dangerous diseases (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis)
Photographs (requirements vary in different institutions)
Copy of passport
Sponsorship letter and/or bank statement
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