The Japanese Educational System

The Japanese educational system is sometimes seen as a model of how to operate schools. There tends to be a mental image of quiet, obedient Japanese schoolchildren sitting at their desks, listening to the teacher, and working hard to pass the various entrance-type tests that they face.

The book Japan in the 21st Century: Environment, Economy, and Society (2005), says:

"Japan's educational system produces students who perform far better on international examinations than Americans do, and Japanese students are indisputably among the best in the world in solving mathematical equations. ...Youngsters are well-behaved, studious, and law abiding; Japan's low crime rates are well known and widely envied around the world. But what is even more striking than the lack of crime is the overwhelming civility; graffiti and vandalism are rare, and school sports teams not only bow to each other before a game but also rush over to the opposing team's stand after the game to pay their respects".

Japanese schools are seen in numerous anime series, manga and doramas, usually showing clean schools, obedient students hard-working and dedicated teachers working without the daily fear of violence that will be found in American schools.

At least, that is what is the common belief. That they Japanese students out-perform American students is without a doubt. That they spend more time in school than American students and that there entire school-year is arranged differently probably helps. That their schools are far, far less violent than American schools is also without debate. Still, problems do exist.

Due to the amount of material I have on this subject, I have divided this topic into the following sections:

General information on education in Japan


The Classroom

Juku and Yobiko

School rules

Problems in the Japanese educational system