Education and Student Life in Japan

Compiled May 2003
Links verified June 2004

Articles and Essays

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Web site. The “Topics” section highlights recent news articles of particular interest. A site index at the top of the page links to 10 subsections: Life Long Learning Policy, Elementary and Secondary Education, Higher Learning, Science and Technology Policy, Research Promotion, Research and Development, Sports and Youth, Cultural Affairs, International Affairs, and Budget. The “White Paper” section contains articles on the Japanese Government Policies on Education, Science, Sports, and Culture as well as a history of Japan’s modern educational system. Statistics are also available.

Daily Life in Japanese High Schools (Japan Digest)
Part of the National Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japan Studies’ online publications. Describes the “typical” high school experience and the function of the educational system. Includes narratives on: “Getting to School,” “At School, Extracurricular Activities,” “Cram Schools,” “Entrance Examinations,” and “Free Time.” Also includes some questions for consideration, resources, and references.

Japanese Education (Japan Digest)
Part of the National Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japan Studies’ online publications. Presents an overview of the Japanese educational system. The digest provides information on: “Japanese Educational Achievements,” “Japanese K-12 Education,” “Japanese Higher Education,” “Education in the Workplace and for Personal Growth,” and “Problems and Future Perspectives for Education in Japan.”

Elementary School in Japan
A five article special feature on elementary school in Japan from the quarterly magazine Nipponia. "Japan's Elementary School System—100 Years Old" provides a history of Japan's modern education system. "A Year in the Life of Students at Kamei Elementary School" is a photo essay that offers an idea of student life in Japan. "A Day in the Life of an Elementary School Student" is another photo essay of a typical day. "Elementary School Education in Japan—A Statistical Overview" displays various statistics. "Unique Schools" describes new innovations in teaching and class organization. Japanese translation of text is also provided.

Sites for Students

Part of Kids Web Japan. Presents a description of the elementary school experience of Japanese children. Provides photos and a Q and A section. Questions include: “What sorts of games do elementary school students play during recess?” “What are school lunches like?” “What kinds of homework do students do?” “How long do they study each day?” “When are school vacations?” and “How do kids get to and from school?”

A Day in the Life of Kentaro
From The Japan Forum. Pictures and text describe all aspects of the daily life of an elementary school student from breakfast to bed. Peek into a student’s backpack in the “Tookoo” section, learn about class schedules, explore what students do after school, and much more.

The Way We Are
Another site from The Japan Forum. This time, the results of a photo contest are used to describe the daily life and personalities of high school students in Japan. “Let’s Make Friends” introduces the photographers, “Daily Life” provides photos and commentary on a variety of subjects, “Data” lists information about the participants, and “Glossary” defines Japanese words used on the site. There is also a message board where students can connect with Japanese high school students as well as an opportunity for students outside of Japan to add their own photos to the site.

A Day in the Life of a Japanese Student
"After visiting Japan as part of a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholarship Award, Dr. Dianne McAulay wanted to depict a day in the life of a Japanese student. In this way, American students could increase their understanding of Japanese life. A sixth grade class at Kashiwazaki City's Kenno Elementary School agreed to help by creating drawings, complete with explanations. The exquisite and precise drawings shown below are the result." This site offers a series of 25 drawings and accompanying text.


Part of the Japan Information Network. Provides statistical data on: Educational Expenditures, School Facilities, Computer Education, Teachers, Students, Foreign Students, Rates of University Entrance, Population by Degree Levels, Problems with School Education, and Studying After School.