How are Japanese schools different from America’s?

29 Jul

The only experience I have with the American public school system is when I was a student in the ’70s – ’80s in West-central Florida.
But I’m sure Florida’s public schools aren’t too different from schools in other parts of America. And even though I graduated from high school in 1988 I guess American schools aren’t too different today (with the exception, of course, of fashion and music tastes. And there are probably computers in U.S. classrooms now.)

My experience with the Japanese school system is from having three teenagers who attended Japanese public schools from kindergarten to the high school they’re currently attending (college).

Some differences between these countries’ school systems are:

– In Japan, the school year begins in April and ends in March. In America, the school year starts around September and ends in June. Also, students in Japan have fewer days off than American students.

– There are no school buses in Japan. In Japanese public kindergartens, mothers take their kids to school (often by bicycle). Public elementary schools and junior high schools are close enough for the students to walk to* (*in urban areas, like Tokyo, students must walk to school…no bicycles allowed. But in more rural areas of Japan, kids are often permitted by ride their bikes to school.)
High schools in Japan require passing an Entrance Exam to attend…so these schools usually require the students to take a short commute by train.
(Private schools in Japan, on the other hand, aren’t usually within walking distance from the students’ homes…so kids who attend private schools (even elementary school) can be seen commuting by train with their classmates.)

– In Japanese public schools, elementary school kids wear street clothes to school (like in American schools), but starting in junior high, they must wear a school uniform.

– In Japanese schools, everyone must remove their shoes at the entrance and change into 上履き (indoor shoes).

– In Japanese elementary and junior high schools students and teachers all eat the same school lunch. There are no choices.
In most high schools, students and teachers are required to bring a 弁当 (packed lunch) from home.
And very few Japanese schools have a cafeteria. Students eat lunch in their classroom at their desk.
In American schools, there are “lunch ladies” who prepare the school lunches and then serve the students, but in Japan, the “lunch ladies” cook the lunch but students take turns serving lunch to their classmates.

– Japanese school children don’t take a shower after gym class.

– There are no janitors in Japanese schools. The students clean their school everyday.

– In junior high and high school in Japan, almost every student joins a after-school club or team.

– 夏休み (summer vacation) is about five weeks long in Japan. It was about twice as long in America, if I remember correctly.
And during summer vacation, Japanese students have to go to school many times for their school club / team practice. Also, Japanese students must do a lot of homework during summer vacation.

– In American schools, there are no 入学式 (“School Entrance Ceremony”), and 卒業式 (“School Graduation”) isn’t until high school has been completed.
But in Japan, there are both 入学式 (“School Entrance Ceremonies“) and 卒業式 (“School Graduations“) for kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, high school and college.

– In America, school grades are counted as 1 -5 for 小学校 (elementary school), 6-8 for 中学校 (junior high) and 9-12 for 高等学校 (high school).
In Japan, 小学校 (elementary school) is six years (grades 小1-6), 中学校 (junior high) is three years (grades 中1-3 (equal to grades 7-9)), and 高等学校 (high school) is also three years (grades 高校 1-3 (equal to grades 10-12)).

There are many other differences…such as the way homework and tests are administered and checked, the manner that classes are arranged, the fact that Japanese students stand and greet their teacher at the beginning and end of each class, the way that students are trusted in empty classrooms alone…even in kindergarten.

I’d say that schools in Japan and America have more differences than similarities. And I think education and school life that my children are getting in Japan is superior to what I had in America.

Advertisements

662 Responses to “How are Japanese schools different from America’s?”

  1. Tamashii Sora October 28, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

    Despite my name, I am from the States. There has always been something I never quite understood because I was never able to find a source that actually answered this, likely because most Japanese sources assume the consumer already knows and therefore it’d be a waste to include or because it just wasn’t relevant and therefore would be a waste to include:
    In Japan, do students go to different classrooms for each class like in the States, or is Homeroom their classroom unless they have a class such as PE where the mandates for the class essentially “force” them to go somewhere else? (Classes other than PE that I can think of off the top of my head where a student would need to move to a specialized classroom would be Art, Science, and Home Economics, assuming they haven’t abolished the latter like they’ve virtually done in the States.)

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 28, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

      That’s exactly right. Japanese students stay in their classroom and their teachers come to their room … except science, P.E., art, music, and home ec.

      Don’t U.S. schools teach home ec. anymore?

      Like

      • Tamashii Sora October 28, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

        I’m relatively surprised at that actually… Less surprised at the fact that it’s the teacher who goes to the classroom and more surprised at the fact my assumption was relatively correct. I figured it was that way but had little evidence to go off of.

        As for your question about home ec… sadly, to give an exact answer is technically impossible, so I’ll give a generality: It’s being phased out. While there are schools that teach it, I’d say there are probably just as many that don’t. This is problematic seeing how home ec provided various skills to students to help them properly run a household. However, seeing as America is trying to remove non-academic aspects from many schools, this shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise. For example, bar the minimum requirements to graduate high school, my school had no art, music, drama, or sports classes nor clubs. Physical education and 1 other non-academic course offered to all students of each grade per semester being the only exceptions. That said, my school itself was inherently an exception and not the rule, but other schools have taken my school as an example and have begun adapting their programs to match, meaning this may possibly become the rule sooner rather than later.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 29, 2017 at 12:39 am #

        Your school has no art or music classes? Why?

        Like

      • Tamashii Sora October 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

        *had, I graduated high school already.

        My school was focused on forcing students through their academics with no regard for the value of extracurriculars. In short, you could call my school a social experiment to see how students work under those conditions… but that’d be too generous as I don’t think the administration thought that far ahead.

        It was a school built expressly for academics. From its inception it placed no value on sports nor the arts. As I said though, it did have one art/music class a semester that all grades could take (as well as the mandatory PE class for years 9 and 10, but that was about it). The art/music class always changed and it was just meant to fill an electives spot to help us get our college degree while in high school, not that the degrees we were given actually did us any good, but c’est la vie. While I do have to thank my high school for helping me better understand my peers, (which was an effect of the people I was with not the school itself,) that place likely did more harm to its students than it did good.

        A pure focus on academics with no care for self-growth or understanding yourself/others is a dangerous thing. Over the course of my years at my high school, I saw my classmates become more depressed, some became suicidal, and one of my upper-classmen even committed suicide, not to mention how we had 2 bomb threats that I can recall despite the average number of students per grade being about 140 thus a small school. Leaving that school was the best thing to happen to anyone who went there during their time in high school.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 29, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

        Where did you go to school?

        Like

      • Tamashii Sora October 29, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

        Please forgive me for not answering that. For obvious reasons, I don’t feel comfortable advertising specifics about myself. This is the internet after all. You never know when someone malicious (or bored and mischievous) may come along and use that information for not so good reasons. Sorry.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 30, 2017 at 6:50 am #

        I also remain anonymous on the internet and don’t post personal information.
        I just meant which state in America are you from.

        Like

      • Tamashii Sora October 30, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

        The high school I went to is in Indiana.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 30, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

        >I may have the raw knowledge of the Japanese culture

        How did you become interested in Japanese culture? Did you learn about Japan through the internet? When I first came to Japan (in 1990), there was no internet…I had no idea what to expect. I had a lot of culture shock when I first arrived!

        Like

      • Tamashii Sora October 31, 2017 at 2:10 am #

        Yes, most of my knowledge came through the internet. Some came from reading at my local library, but those resources were limited and mostly outdated. As for why I became interested in Japan specifically, I honestly don’t know. When I was younger, I studied other cultures constantly, mostly European and Middle Eastern ones at the time. It may be an after-effect of that. I also think there is something beautiful about contrasts, and the way Japan contrasts with the US may have sparked my curiosity.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 31, 2017 at 8:35 am #

        Yes, Japan is very different from America in many ways!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mai Teireida October 23, 2017 at 7:44 am #

    Can I attend Japanese schools

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 23, 2017 at 10:30 am #

      I don’t know. Are you currently attending a school in another country? Ask your school about student exchange programs.

      Like

  3. Shelby September 22, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

    Actually in America (at least now not sure if this was ever different in like the distant past or something) elementary is Preschool through 6th grade though you don’t technically have to go till first grade though its recommended to take them for Preschool and Kindergarten and most parents do. Junior High is just 2 grades 7th and 8th and then High school is 4 grades 9-12.

    Like

    • Shauna September 22, 2017 at 10:56 pm #

      Actually that isn’t how it is. In Florida, elementary ends at 5th grade, and junior high, which we call middle school is from 6th to 8th grade. My friends from other states went through that same order, so I think the majority of the U.S. is like that. Though I’m sure there are exceptions.

      Like

      • tokyo5 September 23, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

        >In Florida, elementary ends at 5th grade, …middle school is from 6th to 8th grade.

        The same as it was when I was a student there.

        >I think the majority of the U.S. is like that.

        In Japan, the school system and curriculum is the same everywhere in the country. I think that’s better…because that way if a family has to move, and their children have to change schools, it will be easier for them to acclimate.

        Like

    • tokyo5 September 23, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

      >Actually in America elementary is Preschool through 6th grade…Junior High is just 2 grades 7th and 8th and then High school is 4 grades 9-12.

      I checked the websites of the schools I attended in Florida…and they’re still the same as they were when was a student (Elem = grades 1-5, middle school = 6-8 and HS = 9-12).

      >not sure if this was ever different in like the distant past

      “Distant past”?? How old do you think I am? 😉

      Like

  4. Alexia June 3, 2017 at 5:13 am #

    This page is really informative! I’m really thankful. I’m going to join a student exchange program to Japan next year, and I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the daily lives of high school students there. I’m pretty sure it’s different from the daily lives of students here in Switzerland. I have a few questions, I’ll ask one at a time if you don’t mind… What are the annual school festivals conducted in public and private schools? Thanks for the reply!

    Like

    • tokyo5 June 3, 2017 at 10:21 am #

      > This page is really informative!

      Thank you.

      >I’m going to join a student exchange program to Japan next year

      Really? High school? Public school? In Tokyo? For how long?
      Can you speak Japanese?

      >I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the daily lives of high school students there.

      Have you looked at the webpage of the school you’re going to attend?

      >What are the annual school festivals conducted in public and private schools?

      I don’t know about private schools. But, as for Japanese public schools, you’re asking about “school festivals”… mainly there’s Sports Day and the Culture Festival.

      Like

  5. Sydney Anderson May 30, 2017 at 4:12 am #

    How are students assigned classrooms? I now that they have signs above the door that show the ‘room letter-room number’ but I don’t understand how students are assigned to their specified classrooms. In America, it’s assigned on how well you do in academics and what type of classes you’re taking (Standard, Honors/Gifted, AP (Advanced Placement)). Is it similar in Japan?

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 30, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

      >Is it similar in Japan?

      No. Very little is similar between Japanese and American schools.
      Students are assigned to classes by the teachers. This is done before the beginning of the school year. On their first day of school each April, students find their names on a list that tells which class they’ve been assigned to.

      Like

  6. fisicus gym April 22, 2017 at 4:53 am #

    Thanks for the information

    Like

    • tokyo5 April 22, 2017 at 7:24 am #

      Were you looking for information about Japanese schools?

      Like

  7. Mary Derksen February 10, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    I just read through this long long blog on Japanese and American schools. I am a Canadian, so that brings another dimension into the discussion, which I don’t want to get into. The reason I found this so fascinating is because we lived in Japan most of our life, had 6 children (4 born in Japan) but sent the oldest 5 to mission schools. Then we made a drastic change and sent our youngest to Japanese schools until Jr. Hi. 3rd year. We got an education, too, into the Japapanese school systems. Good experience.

    Like

    • tokyo5 February 10, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

      >I just read through this long long blog

      This blog post I wrote isn’t so long itself…but it has gotten (and continues to get) many comments!

      >I am a Canadian, so that brings another dimension into the discussion

      Are Canadian schools much different than American ones?

      >we lived in Japan most of our life

      Really? What years did you live in Japan? In Tokyo?
      I have been living in Japan for most of my life now, too.

      >6 children

      Six children?? That’s a large family!

      >sent the oldest 5 to mission schools.

      What’s a “mission school”?

      >sent our youngest to Japanese schools until Jr. Hi. 3rd year. We got an education, too, into the Japapanese school systems.

      Which did you like better?

      Like

  8. Zarsla December 27, 2016 at 11:27 pm #

    The only discrepancy I see is:
    ” In American schools, there are no 入学式 (“School Entrance Ceremony”), and 卒業式 (“School Graduation”) isn’t until high school has been completed.
    But in Japan, there are both 入学式 (“School Entrance Ceremonies“) and 卒業式 (“School Graduations“) for kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, high school and college.”

    As a recent graduate of the american publ8c school system (2014, went to school in NY & FL), Graduating from elementary and middle/junior high school and even kindergarten are very common place. There are circumstances when you don’t like going to a k-8 or 6-12 school, but if you go thru public schooling, you graduate fron elementary, middle and high school.

    Like

    • Zarsla December 27, 2016 at 11:33 pm #

      I wish to add on that this has been the norm(eg throughout the usa) since the late 90’s/early 2000’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tokyo5 December 28, 2016 at 9:00 am #

        >I wish to add on that this has been the norm(eg throughout the usa) since the late 90’s/early 2000’s.

        I see. I had already finished my schooling in America and had been living in Japan before then. America must have changed in many ways since I lived there!

        Like

      • Nihon Scope February 4, 2017 at 7:58 am #

        Concur 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • tokyo5 February 5, 2017 at 11:41 am #

        Thanks.

        Like

    • tokyo5 December 28, 2016 at 8:57 am #

      >(In) the american publ8c school system (now)…Graduating from elementary and middle/junior high school and even kindergarten are very common place.

      Thank you for telling me about it! There were no graduation ceremonies before completion of high school when I was a kid in America.
      Having three kids who grew up in Japan, I know Japanese school graduation ceremonies well. I bet American ones are quite different! I would like to see them!

      Japanese schools also have Entrance Ceremonies at the start of every school year for new incoming students. Do American schools have those now, too?

      Like

      • Athena January 6, 2017 at 1:58 am #

        I’m from Canada but the schooling system is very similar to that in America. Graduating from elementary and Junior high (middle school) does occur but they’re not ‘official official’ like Graduating high school is.

        Like

      • tokyo5 January 6, 2017 at 8:37 am #

        >(In Canada,) graduating from elementary and Junior high (middle school) does occur but they’re not ‘official official’ like Graduating high school is.

        I see. So I guess some things have changed since I was a student.
        In Japan, Commencement and Graduation ceremonies are very formal at every level from kindergarten thru college. Parents and teachers wear suits or a kimono. In Japanese elementary school and college, students wear dress clothes to the ceremonies. In kindergarten, jr. high and high school, students wear their uniforms. And many parents and teachers of graduating students cry at graduation ceremonies in Japan…a lot of students do, too. It’s very melancholy.

        What do students, parents and teachers wear at Canadian (and American) ceremonies? Do they cry?

        Like

      • Kotah July 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

        I didn’t go to my kindergarten graduation, but just here a few months ago I finished 8th grade and our ceremony was really boring in my opinion (probably because I have stage fright and didn’t like a single bit of it :/). Basically the 8th grade graduates of my school were all invited (along with their family members, and family friends) not all of the students showed up, but those who did had certain places to sit based on the alphabetical order by name. The ceremony starts off with the vice princpile calling up the students in order. Once you walk up there he hands you your certificate, and you continue to cross the stage (in front of everyone) then at the end of the stage the principle awaits you; right before you get off the stage you shake hands with the principle. Then you return to your seat and a select few are given awards, then the ceremony is finished.

        Like

      • tokyo5 July 18, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

        >I didn’t go to my kindergarten graduation

        Did your kindergarten have a ceremony? Why didn’t you attend?

        >a few months ago I finished 8th grade

        Do you live in America? Was your graduation ceremony in May? The school year was from September until June in America when I was a kid.

        >our ceremony was really boring in my opinion (probably because I have stage fright

        You didn’t have to give a speech or anything, did you? I didn’t have a graduation ceremony until I finished high school when I was growing up in Florida…so I was four years older than you are now (I assume you’re 14 years old since you said that you just completed eighth grade) and I was nervous when I had to walk onto the stage, as well. It will be a happy memory for you in the future, I’m sure.

        Thank you for explaining about your school’s graduation ceremony. Did parents cheer or cry at the ceremony?

        Like

    • Luke Cosby January 31, 2017 at 1:05 am #

      Aye, class of 2014 represent!! lol I agree, I remember having a graduating ceremony for 3rd
      and 8th.

      Like

      • tokyo5 January 31, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

        What are the ceremonies like? Very different from Japanese ones, I’m sure. Are there Entrance Ceremonies in American schools now too?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nihon Scope February 4, 2017 at 7:57 am #

        No that’s not something that goes on here in the States. I’m sure at certain schools it happens… specifically private school, but through out my many years in school (across many different schools) I NEVER had anything that would be considered a entrance ceremony.

        Like

      • tokyo5 February 5, 2017 at 11:42 am #

        Very big event in Japanese schools.

        Like

    • KnottedFingers April 4, 2017 at 5:45 am #

      It depends on where you live in the US. My kids were in public school here in Indiana. And there was no graduation from Elementary or Middle School.

      Like

      • tokyo5 April 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

        That’s another difference between Japanese and American schools…in Japan, the school system, curriculum, etc is standard through the entire country.

        Like

  9. That One Person November 29, 2016 at 7:04 am #

    I am writing a story based in Japan, about a exchange student who is in high school (11th grade). I have kind of run into a wall. The schools here in America are sort of scattered as far as classes, no one has the same class as everybody in their homeroom. Some schools make it to where your homeroom class is who is in all of your classes (Block schedules). I am not sure which one is traditional in Japan.?

    Like

    • tokyo5 November 29, 2016 at 7:56 am #

      >I am writing a story based in Japan

      For a book? I’d like to read your story!

      >I am not sure which one (school style) is traditional in Japan.

      In Japanese schools, students stay with the same classmates in every class all year. In most classes, they stay in the same classroom (the teachers come to their room). For some classes, such as P.E., cooking, art, music, etc., the students go to the designated room or field.

      Does that help?

      Like

      • That One Person November 29, 2016 at 11:11 am #

        This helps greatly! Thank you so much!

        Liked by 1 person

      • tokyo5 November 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

        🙂

        Like

  10. EJ November 27, 2016 at 5:33 am #

    Hi! This is interesting but I have a question! In high schools where kids wear a uniform, do they ever have times when they can dress more casually? For example, if there’s a school festival, or if they come to club activities during summer break, can they wear street clothes?

    Like

    • tokyo5 November 27, 2016 at 10:46 am #

      Thank you. No, junior high school and high school students in Japan must wear their uniform anytime they do anything school-related.

      Like

  11. Anton November 17, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    This is quite interesting as someone who works in the Japanese education system and has been through the old education system in the US.

    When I was in school, it went like this:

    ES- 1-6
    JHS- 7-8
    HS- 9-12

    By the time my sister was in school two years later, the system had changed to what it is now.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this out. Obviously there are minor differences but I think you’ve given a rather comprehensive view of the two systems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tokyo5 November 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

      Thank you! Was middle school only two years in America when you were a student?
      Do you teach at a Japanese school? In Tokyo?

      Like

      • Anton November 24, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

        Yeah, it was only two years when I was a student. More than that though, it depends on the state. In my state, the norm used to be 7 and 8 for JHS but they decided to change it after a few years. I guess their experiment failed. haha

        But I got to be a part of it and it was pretty cool. As such, I’m really accustomed to the Japanese grade distribution. More so than some other AETs I know.

        Yes, I work in some innercity Japanese schools in Kyoto Prefecture.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tokyo5 November 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

        Oh, Kyoto! It’s a beautiful city! It has become very crowded recently with overseas tourists. More so now than in years past.

        When did you live in Japan? Did you enjoy working at Japanese schools? Did you have a chance to visit Tokyo?

        Like

  12. Nihon Scope October 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    Nothing but net here my friend!

    Like

    • tokyo5 October 7, 2016 at 12:20 am #

      Sorry, what do you mean?

      Like

      • Nihon Scope October 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

        It’s a well written informational post! From everything I know about the differences you got them and then some! So all net, 3 points! 😀 I’ll be adding a bit to my own post about this when I get a chance I’ll be sure to reference over when I do that. The only thing is (at least how it was for me), Elementary is 1-6 and Junior or Middle school is 7-8 and 9 – 12 is High school.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tokyo5 October 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

        >It’s a well written informational post! From everything I know about the differences you got them and then some!

        Thank you. Do you have experience with both American and Japanese schools?

        >So all net, 3 points!

        Is it a basketball reference?

        > I’ll be adding a bit to my own post about this when I get a chance I’ll be sure to reference over when I do that.

        Thank you. Please tell the link to the post you’ve written.

        >Elementary is 1-6 and Junior or Middle school is 7-8 and 9 – 12 is High school.

        In America? Six years, then only two, and then four (6→2→4)?
        When I went to school in Florida, it was 5→3→4, and Japan’s schools are 6→3→3.

        Like

      • Nihon Scope October 19, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

        I’ve not had any direct knowledge of Japanese schooling except for what studies I’ve done: http://nihonscope.com/learn-japanese/japanese-schools-vs-american-schools/ – not much, I’ve done a bit more since then, then what’s listed here. I’ll update this hopefully soon in the future when I got some time… And yes, that was a basketball reference! And yeah, it is in some areas different in America, it’s not all standard across the board, but I’ve known more people to go through it like the 6 – 2 – 4… I guess in the end, it is what it is. It’s 12 years of school if you like it or not 😛

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 19, 2016 at 10:45 pm #

        Thank you for the link. Very interesting! You’re right … eating in a classroom, outside of lunchtime, is unheard-of in Japan. As well as sitting on anything that wasn’t built for such (chair or stool).

        Like

  13. twintaku August 20, 2016 at 1:27 am #

    I enjoyed reading this, and actually posted a link through my blog for people who stumble upon it haha. I speak more from a humorous side and such, but your info was useful for inspiration! If you have a twitter, please hit me up at @Twintaku_Blog; I love speaking to people with real working knowledge of Japan, instead of those who just WISH they lived there haha.

    Like

    • tokyo5 August 20, 2016 at 9:27 am #

      Thank you for the link.

      No… I stopped using twitter. Didn’t like it.
      I use Instagram though. Do you use that?

      Have you been to Japan?

      Like

      • twintaku August 20, 2016 at 9:59 am #

        Unfortunately I have not been yet, though it is a destination my fiancee and I are saving up for! I want to see the gundam museum and she wants to see the ghibli museum, on top of all the beautiful countrysides. 🙂

        Like

      • tokyo5 August 20, 2016 at 10:51 am #

        There’s an actual size Gundam robot in Tokyo. I have a photo on my Instagram.

        So, what you know about Japanese schools you learned from Japanese anime?

        Like

      • twintaku August 20, 2016 at 11:20 am #

        Well, some basic tropes mostly. It seems to be insanely important to do well as standardized tests seem to run everything. And, maybe you can tell me if this is real, the last few years of school seem to be treated like the end of your youth or childhood. I guess the schoolwork in college and other obligations take a very strong priority?

        Like

      • tokyo5 August 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

        I think students in Japan are more serious about their school life than American ones, in general … but I also think that the west has an over-exaggerated image of Japanese life, too.

        Like

  14. Lim Ano August 12, 2016 at 2:56 am #

    I enjoyed reading this! I’m not sure why some people are criticizing you for whatever reasons but thank you for the blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tokyo5 August 12, 2016 at 3:09 am #

      >I enjoyed reading this!

      Thank you.

      >I’m not sure why some people are criticizing you

      I’m not sure why either…but I don’t mind. All comments, positive or negative, are welcome.

      Like

  15. Gabriel Alexander July 24, 2016 at 9:42 am #

    Thanks! This really helped me understand anime better.

    Like

    • tokyo5 July 24, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      I almost never watch anime … but I’ve wondered if people who aren’t familiar with Japanese culture get confused by it.

      Like

  16. shiloh June 20, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    It seems like children in Japan have alot more respect for their school’s and teachers whan I was 12 l had a chance to go and stay with a good friend from Tokyo and visit her school and stay with her family sadly was not able to go 😢 is it hard for American children to fit in at school there

    Liked by 1 person

    • tokyo5 June 20, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

      >whan I was 12 l had a chance to go and stay with a good friend from Tokyo and visit her school and stay with her family

      Oh, do you have a friend from Tokyo? How did you meet?

      >sadly was not able to go

      That’s too bad. Have you ever visited Japan?

      > is it hard for American children to fit in at school there

      There weren’t any children from America (or any other “western” countries) at my children’s schools when they were students. Nor at my wife’s, when she was a child, either.
      But, I imagine, Japanese students would be very welcoming. It would be difficult for a foreign student to attend school in Japan if they weren’t able to understand the Japanese language very well, though.

      Like

    • derptrain November 10, 2016 at 4:00 am #

      i liked it=)

      Like

      • tokyo5 November 10, 2016 at 8:12 am #

        >i liked it=)

        Liked what?

        Like

  17. Убер Мразиш June 15, 2016 at 6:05 am #

    Whoa, that 11 month school year is tough. In Russia we have only 11 grades (10 when I was a student in 1997-2007) and the summer vacation is 3 months. But the education level is a lot worse than in good countries like USA or Japan.

    Like

    • tokyo5 June 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

      Oh, Russian schools have a three-month summer holiday like they do in America. I didn’t know that.

      I don’t think the Japanese school year is “tough”. My daughters enjoyed their school life.

      Like

      • Suckmyduck June 30, 2016 at 6:34 am #

        Why are you hating on everyone’s comment chill XD

        Like

      • tokyo5 June 30, 2016 at 7:27 am #

        What is your definition of “hating on”? Disagreeing? Replying to?
        Because I don’t think I’ve “hated on” a single comment. But I have disagreed with some, and replied to all.
        And you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t take constructive criticism from someone who writes juvenile insults as their username and, obviously fake, email address.

        Like

  18. Anonymous May 25, 2016 at 9:37 am #

    I think this is very informative. But there are quite a few differences in American schools, at least depending on where you live. My high school lets out in late May, quite early in the year, and most of the state I live in is the same, but we begin school in August. I know my cousins that live a few states away from me follow the September/June pattern though. A lot of schools have also recently been switching to year-round schooling, where all the breaks are slightly longer- except summer break, which is shortened- and school is in session for most of the year (hence the term ‘year-round schooling’). Many public American schools are switching to having uniforms as well.

    Also, there are some students that attend private schools, where people pay tuition even in grades k-12. These schools often require uniforms, and are also often religious schools. I.e., a Catholic school where, because it is not a public school and people pay tuition, there is no ‘separation of church and state’ and they can teach their religious beliefs (although some people that attend those schools aren’t that religion, but by paying the tuition they are basically consenting to being taught those beliefs).

    Many people do sports and clubs here too. I actually just finished the school year, and my final English paper was about school sponsored sports. There are lots of other activities people can do too- student government, national honors society, language clubs (french club, german club, etc) and even performing arts. I’m in the color guard, which is part of marching band but we also have our own season where we perform indoors called winter guard (if you want a good example of winter guard, there’s actually an independent Japanese winter guard called Aimachi that you can look up on youtube).

    One last thing- not every American rides buses. Some do, but some people’s parents take them every day. Some people carpool and their parents take turns driving them. Some also ride bikes or walk, depending on how close they live. And because most teenagers get their drivers license at around 16, when they’re typically still in high school, some people drive themselves, and sometimes their siblings or friends as well.

    I swear I’m not being overly critical or something, just your average friendly American high school student trying to share some knowledge. Basically, the facts are generally correct, more or less, but everyone trolling the comments section should understand that even if this is a generalization of American schools, it’s impossible to cover all the details and nuances of an entire country’s school systems in roughly 10 paragraphs. I would also like to point out that I’m sure the same 10 ish paragraphs don’t cover all the details of Japanese schools either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tokyo5 May 25, 2016 at 10:12 am #

      >I think this is very informative.

      Thank you.

      >But there are quite a few differences in American schools, at least depending on where you live.

      I’m sure there are…but, they’re mostly minor differences, I think. I wrote this as general differences between the school systems in the two cultures I know.

      >My high school lets out in late May, quite early in the year, and most of the state I live in is the same, but we begin school in August.

      But you still get the same three months of summer break…which is considerably longer than the summer holiday in Japanese schools. Also, I’m sure, your school year ends at summer break…in Japan, spring break is the end of the school year.
      That’s the point I was trying to make…not the exact dates.

      >A lot of (American) schools have also recently been switching to year-round schooling, where all the breaks are slightly longer- except summer break

      So, the number of school days is still the same, right? The Japanese school year has more school days than the U.S. one.

      >Many public American schools are switching to having uniforms as well.

      That’s something quite different from when I was a student in America! Do even elementary schools have uniforms? In Japan, public school students don’t wear uniforms in elementary school…just junior high and high school.

      >there are some (U.S.) students that attend private schools, where people pay tuition even in grades k-12. These schools often require uniforms

      I think that’s the same in most every country. Japan has private schools, as well. Those students wear uniforms beginning in kindergarten.

      >(U.S. private schools) are also often religious schools.

      There are some religious private schools in Japan, too. Most Japanese private school aren’t religious, though.

      >Many people do sports and clubs here too.

      In Japan, almost 100% of students are in a club or team. There are no “try-outs” nor a minimum grade point average to join, as there are in American schools.

      Also, Japanese school team sports don’t have “seasons”. Japanese students join a club or team at the beginning of their first year of junior high and stay with that club all year for all three years….once they begin high school, they may join the same club or choose to join a different one for the next three years.

      >not every American rides buses.

      I know. I have ridden the school bus when I was a middle school student in America…but I rode my bicycle to elementary school…and I drove myself to high school after I got a drivers license.

      My point was that Japanese public schools don’t have school buses. Japanese students walk to school* (*bicycles are permitted in some rural areas…and beginning in high school, many students take the train to school.)

      >most (American) teenagers get their drivers license at around 16

      As a parent, I feel that sixteen is too young to drive a car! I drove at that age…and I know that my friends and I weren’t very safe drivers. I’m glad that the age to drive is eighteen here…and it’s not as easy to get a license.

      >it’s impossible to cover all the details and nuances of an entire country’s school systems in roughly 10 paragraphs.

      Thanks. I wasn’t attempting to cover every detail and nuance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tamashii Sora October 28, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

        Just to cover a couple of points as mentioned in this (mostly agreeing with Tokyo5 however some is disagreeing):
        – Differences in American schools from one another
        = While differences between American schools, even in one city exist, most are minor. That said, there are quite a few major differences that can make it difficult for a student to acclimate to a new school environment, depending on the schools themselves. I’ll mostly comment on these differences later on.

        – Discrepancies between the article and schools in terms of stat of the year vs the end of the year.
        = In the United States, schools are changing their beginning of the year and end of the year. For instance, school in New York began around Labor Day this year (much like the article suggests), while in Indiana, it began during the last week of July and the first week or two of August for most schools. Additionally, while schools in New York get out around June 26 (giving about 2 to 2.5 months of summer break), many schools in Indiana don’t let out until as late as the second week of June this year, making their start and end dates not too dissimilar to that of Japanese schools (albeit still not as strict seeing as Japanese schools don’t get even that long between the end of a grade and the beginning of the next). This is one of those aspects that can make adjusting difficult for students who move between terms in the States.

        – Year-round schooling
        = Year-round schooling is still essentially the same schedule just differently paced so that students don’t forget as much of their learning as they do during the over-extended American summer vacation. This doesn’t change the fact that school in America starts in autumn as opposed to Japan’s spring. This also doesn’t change the fact that the number of days of schooling in America is only 180 whereas it is presumably more in Japan. That said, just because the number of days of school in Japan may be more than in the states, the number of hours appear to be fairly comparable (SEE: http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Organizing-a-school/Time-in-school-How-does-the-US-compare). The question then becomes this: Is it better to spend longer days in school with fewer days of instruction or more days in school with fewer mandated hours of instruction? (Note the emphasis on “mandated”. In Asian nations, particularly Japan, China, and Korea, it is common for a student to get additional tutelage in order to better compete with their classmates. While it doesn’t mean every or even most students will do so, it’s not a rarity either. Of course, different variables come into play for this including familiar expectations, regional expectations, and personal expectations, but that should go without saying normally. As a result, though, while most schools in Japan have abolished the mandatory 6 days of school as far back as 2002, it’s not uncommon to see students going to “Saturday school”, whereas in the States, the concept is relatively foreign unless a student a. goes to a private school and b. gets in serious trouble thus making it more like detention and less like an opportunity to better one’s education.)

        – Uniforms
        = While it is true more US schools are adopting uniforms now than ever before, it is still very much the exception and not the rule. It is mostly private schools that do so; however public schools are beginning to do so as well. This often affects entire districts as opposed to individual schools, thus meaning it does include elementary schools just as it does high schools. That said, there are some areas where the high schools are not mandated to wear uniforms even though lower levels are. This is often due to a sort of “Grandfather clause” effect. In time, it’ll be a uniform consistency across the school districts.

        – US Tuition
        = Tuition in the states is the exception and not the general rule. Additionally, it’s generally not seen as a bad thing if you can’t get your high school student enrolled in a prestigious high school because jobs in America care more about the college you go to. While graduating from a good high school can increase your odds of getting into a good university, it’s not an end-all-be-all by any means. One could even say that it’s a blatant waste of money in America to do so unless the tuition was covered via scholarship. In Japan, high school has a far greater impact than in the US and, as such, going to a prestigious school, and therefore paying a tuition fee, is so much more important and relevant.

        – American school clubs and sports
        = In America, most schools mandate your grades can’t be lower than a C-average in order to participate in either sports or clubs, with some schools taking it a step further where you’re not allowed to have any grades lower than a C in order to participate. That said, clubs often meet one day a week in the US whereas it’s not uncommon for a club in Japan to be held daily, depending on what the club is or does. The value of extracurricular activities is different in the States and Japan. In the states, we are phasing out anything that is a distraction from academics. In Japan, they seem to be emphasizing group extracurriculars likely to provide students with a support network to help relieve the excess stress that comes with the competitive school environments and high societal expectations imposed upon the students for post-graduation. There is a reason why you will sometimes see a high school in Japan mandate students join a club as part of their academic program and you will sometimes see a high school forbid students from getting a job while at that school, albeit, from my knowledge, these are often exceptions and not the general rule; however, I am sure someone more knowledgeable than I can elaborate on and clarify this point. In the States, such ideas are foreign, though. Like with clubs, US high schools have that GPA/Grade requirement to get a job, but you’d virtually never hear of a school, unless it was an intensely rigorous private academy, ban its students from getting a job. Many US students need to get a job in order to supplement their household income or to save up for college, so to ban it only hurts the student’s ability to succeed.

        – Buses
        = Most US public schools provide buses. Whether or not the student uses them is a different story. Japan schools typically do not even offer that, which is the critical difference tokyo5 was pointing out. That said, most US private schools, from my knowledge, do not have school buses, so that may be a point of similarity… if it weren’t for the fact that even amongst fairly wealthy Americans ($75K or more a year) maybe 25% of students go to a private school. So, the numbers of American students who actually go to a private school are significantly less, meaning maybe 10% of American students don’t have the option of a school bus whereas maybe 10% at the most of Japanese students have the option of taking a school bus, regardless of whether or not they actually take it… and that 10 of Japanese students comment on my part works under an assumption that maybe some private schools in Japan might provide a bus for their students, but that is strictly an assumption made based on the fact tokyo5’s reply emphasized the word “public” when saying “Japanese public schools don’t have buses.”

        – US driving age
        = Technically it depends on the state. While you can get a licence at 16, it’s usually probationary and can be taken away fairly quickly. You can effectively argue that this “licence” is more of a “no training wheels” learner’s permit until the driver is either 18 or 21, at which point they get their “real” licence. That said, I prefer living in cities or areas where I can either walk or use public transportation (buses and trains especially) to get where I need because driving is too much of a hassle.

        – Nuance
        = Nobody expects this article to cover every last drop of nuance… It’s impossible to do because every individual school is different and has its own quirks even within the same district. If you did expect this to be a perfectly nuanced article, I have to wonder why.

        Sorry for the long response, I just thought elaborating on some of these things might be fun, especially for the US side of things.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 29, 2017 at 12:37 am #

        Thank you for the detailed comment!
        How do you know about Japanese schools?

        Like

      • Tamashii Sora October 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

        Sorry, for some reason it won’t let me reply directly to the comment you made. As a result, I am using the “original” that I replied to earlier.

        My understanding of Japanese schools, their education system, and their culture in general is mostly the result of my own personal research. As for the case earlier where I figured it was the teachers who went to the classes as opposed to the students changing rooms (with the noted exceptions), it was largely a combination of research and deduction. I wholly intend on becoming an ALT once I get a Bachelor’s (I already have an Associate’s) so I thought it’d be best to learn the culture I plan on participating in before doing so. I’d prefer to fit in as much as possible as opposed to needlessly stand out.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 29, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

        Oh, you plan to come to Japan to teach English to school kids?

        Like

      • Tamashii Sora October 29, 2017 at 10:38 pm #

        Yes, probably middle school to high school age students, but I wouldn’t object to teaching outside that range simply because all experience is good experience.

        Like

      • tokyo5 October 30, 2017 at 6:48 am #

        Do you want to be a teacher in America afterwards?

        Like

      • Tamashii Sora October 30, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

        I considered the possibility, and, honestly, I’m not opposed to it. Personally, though, I’d rather teach overseas, but am more than willing to return to the States and teach here if, for some reason, the need arises. Japan isn’t the only country I want to teach in, though, but of the ones on my list, I feel like it’d be the one I can get the most out of when I’m starting out, at least in terms of learning about worlds outside my own. Even though I may have the raw knowledge of the Japanese culture, knowing and experiencing are two different things and I feel like I can only really understand if I experience first-hand.

        Like

  19. anonymous May 20, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    The first is that for example in Japan the students are cleaning the school, and that in america is not done, not even in Europe.

    Like

    • tokyo5 May 20, 2016 at 9:06 am #

      Yes, that’s right. Students in Japanese schools clean their school everyday.

      Like

  20. Anonymous April 21, 2016 at 7:10 am #

    Some of these people are quite ungrateful and rude. I think you did a good job informing us tokyo5. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tokyo5 April 21, 2016 at 8:35 am #

      >Some of these people are quite ungrateful and rude.

      I don’t mind. Doesn’t faze me. I appreciate all comments on my blog.

      >I think you did a good job informing us

      Thank you.

      Like

  21. Anonymous March 19, 2016 at 5:10 am #

    Well, it’s not what I would call very minor details… it’s the truth about the system. Either way, you were definitely inaccurate about what time we get out of school: It’s pretty much always June, it can’t go into July, in nearly every region. So that is, by definition, an incorrect assumption, not a simple minor detail. It’s a MAJOR detail, if that’s what you were implying, and seriously incorrect. No offense, by the way. People always disagree with me… it’s annoying.

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 19, 2016 at 9:19 am #

      I didn’t make any “assumptions” in this post either … I only wrote what I know.
      But you’re right, I should’ve written that the summer holiday at the schools I attended in Florida began in June every year. I don’t know why I wrote “July”… mistyped, I guess.

      Thanks for pointing it out.
      I’ll change it ASAP (I changed it).

      Like

    • Maya Cotton March 31, 2016 at 9:14 am #

      Interesting……. for the last 2 years not counting this one, Iv’e gotten out of school in early July, as in the first day. I guess it is just the region or where you live.

      Like

      • tokyo5 March 31, 2016 at 9:33 am #

        Oh, really? What part of America do you live in?

        Like

  22. Anonymous March 18, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    Inaccurate. Here in the United States we tend to have 2 and a half months of summer vacation to almost 3 months, at least in the north. This is longer than 10 weeks, around 12, typically. You implied a 2x ratio to Japan having five weeks. Also, we get out of school early to mid JUNE, depending on the number of snow days. And we usually get out of school very late August, persay the 27th.

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 18, 2016 at 10:19 am #

      >Inaccurate.

      Thank you for clarifying…but I wouldn’t say what I wrote above is “inaccurate“…I wrote about America’s school system in generalities – based on my experience growing up in Florida.

      Also, your corrections are to minor details, not inaccuracies.

      Like

      • anonymous March 23, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

        “The only experience I have with the American public school system is when I was a student in the ’70s – ’80s in West-central Florida.
        But I’m sure Florida’s public schools aren’t too different from schools in other parts of America. And even though I graduated from high school in 1988 I guess American schools aren’t too different today (with the exception, of course, of fashion and music tastes. And there are probably computers in U.S. classrooms now.)” is a HUGE generalization that is inaccurate nowadays as it is now 2016. To say that all of the huge expanse that is America has the same system from the 80’s an egregious declaration. As a future educator who is aware of the school system of both America and Japan (from this century as I have been through it) I recommend looking elsewhere for information if you aren’t interested in what happened in the 80’s.

        Like

      • tokyo5 March 23, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

        Are you the same “Anonymous” who wrote these comments?

        >a HUGE generalization

        It’s a generalization (as I’ve said a few times that this post is), but not really a “huge” one.

        >inaccurate nowadays as it is now 2016.

        Other than my minor mistake where I said that summer vacation begins in July in American schools (when it’s actually June), what else that I’ve written is “inaccuate”?

        >To say that all of…America has the same system…(is) an egregious declaration.

        The U.S. school system should be the same throughout the country, with the curriculum decided on a federal level. That’s how it is in Japan.

        Anyways, I didn’t say that “all of…America has the same system”. I said that “I guess they aren’t too different”. I acknowledged that it’s not exactly the same, but I believe that there are generalities, and those are what I wrote about.
        No “declarations”, and certainly not any “egregious” ones!

        >As a future educator who is aware of the school system of both America and Japan

        You attended school in both America and Japan? Please elaborate. And please explain the differences between the systems as you see them.

        >from this century

        Hahaha! The ’80s weren’t that long ago, and I’m not that old, ya whippersnapper! 😉

        > I recommend looking elsewhere for information

        By all means. I never claimed that this blog post was anything other than my opinion (of which, you haven’t convinced me is incorrect.)

        Like

  23. patricia March 7, 2016 at 7:37 am #

    congratulations

    Like

    • tokyo5 March 7, 2016 at 8:14 am #

      “Congratulations”? For what? Anyways…thanks.

      Like

      • Anonymous May 21, 2016 at 2:41 am #

        congrats for informing us? Idk lol 😛

        Like

      • tokyo5 May 21, 2016 at 9:05 am #

        In that case, “thanks” would make more sense than “congratulations”.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: