Interesting Facts About the Japanese Education System

Japan is one of the most interesting countries in the world that can still preserve its unique culture and traditions. When Japan is mentioned, many different connotations such as technology, robot, earthquake, engineering, cherry blossoms (sakura), manga, Hiroshima, Nagasaki can come to mind. It is noticed that many associations identified with Japan contain high technology or have positive features. Undoubtedly, it is education that brings this situation to the fore. When we examine the Japanese education system, we encounter interesting features. In this article, we have compiled the interesting topics of the Japanese education system for you. Happy reading…

japanese education system
1. The academic year starts on “April 1”, not “September”.

Although most schools and universities around the world start their academic year in September or October, it is April that marks the start of the academic and business calendar in Japan. The first day of school often coincides with one of the most beautiful natural events: Cherry blossom time. The academic year is divided into 3 Japanese students take a 6-week vacation in the summer. They also take a two-week break in winter and spring.

2. Before knowledge, manners are taught.

In Japanese schools, students do not take the exam until the fourth grade (up to age 10). Only small tests are applied. It is believed that the purpose of the first 3 years of school is not to judge (evaluate) the child’s knowledge or learning, but to develop good manners and character. Children are taught to respect other people and be kind to animals and nature. They also learn to be generous, caring, and empathetic. In addition, children are taught qualities such as courage, self-control and fairness.

3. Nearly all students are required to wear a school uniform.

Almost all secondary schools require their students to wear school uniforms (seifuku). While some schools have their own attire, the traditional Japanese school uniform is in a military style for boys and a sailor suit for girls. The uniform policy is to remove social barriers between students and put them in study mode. Also, wearing a school uniform helps develop a sense of community among children.

4. School lunch is standard and is eaten together in class.

The Japanese education system does its best to ensure that students eat healthy and balanced meals. In public primary and secondary schools, lunch for students is cooked according to a standard menu developed not only by qualified chefs, but also by health professionals. School lunch (kyuushoku) is served on a standard menu and is eaten in class. In this way, students and teachers can form better and positive relationships while dining together.

5. The school attendance rate in Japan is approximately 99.99%.

In Japan, students do not skimp on lessons and do not come to school late. Students in Japan have a sense of belonging to school; They do not feel alienated, nor do they feel excluded. 85% of students in Japan feel happy at school. About 91 percent of Japanese students reported that they never ignored (always cared) the teacher’s lesson.

6. Most Japanese schools do not employ housekeepers or security guards. Students clean their schools themselves.

In Japanese schools, students must clean classrooms, cafeterias, and even toilets on their own. Students divide into small groups as they clean and perform these tasks on a rotational basis throughout the year.

7. Japanese schools are not as high-tech as you might think.

Japan may be one of the most advanced countries in science and technology, but if you get a chance to see inside its schools, you might think twice. In most cases, pen and paper are preferred over electronic devices. Technology is slowly entering the system with the internet and some schools are slowly introducing computers for classroom presentations.

8. After-school workshops are very popular in Japan.

The vast majority of Japanese students attend after-school workshops where they can learn more from regular school classes. Most Japanese students attend preparatory school or attend special after-school workshops to get into a good high school. It is common in Japan to see small groups of children returning from workshops late in the evening. Japanese students have an 8-hour school day, but apart from that, they study even on holidays and weekends. It’s no surprise that students in this country never repeat their grades in elementary, middle or high school.

9. Preschool education is extremely important to Japan.

Research shows that students who attend preschool tend to perform better at age 15 than those who do not. It is not surprising, therefore, that 99 percent of Japanese children attend some form of preschool.

10. A single test decides students’ futures.

At the end of high school, Japanese students have to take a very important exam that determines their future. A student can choose a university they want to go to, but that university has a certain point threshold. If the student doesn’t reach this score, they probably won’t be able to go to college. The competition is very competitive, only 76% of school graduates can continue their education after high school. It is no surprise that the process of preparing for admission to higher education institutions is called ‘exam hell’.

11. Students can fall asleep in clasroom.

With homework during the holidays, school clubs and activities even on the weekends, clearing the entire school, studying in Japan means hard work and determination. Most students who participate in club activities in the mornings and after school also go to “juku,” schools where they can study further on certain subjects or learn to speak other languages. A pile of homework is given at the same time each day, leaving little time for students to rest and sleep. As a result, students who can no longer struggle with fatigue and drowsiness tend to sleep in lessons.

12. College years are the best vacation in a person’s life.

Japanese students who have gone through ‘exam hell’ often take a little break. In this country, university is often considered the best years of a person’s life. Sometimes, the Japanese call this time “holiday” before work.








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Jakov Altaras
An Educator from Germany. I decided to write for mebhocam. I love this project. Meeting teachers from all over the world and breaking prejudices. I m an educator since 2000.

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