Educational difference: Japan and US

Japan has been an important and crucial economy force in the whole world, especially in Asia. The country is known for its advance technology products and its strong economic and trading affairs. Big companies like Sony, Canon, and Toyota are all from Japan. These companies were all built in the last hundred years, and these companies thrive continuously worldwide. It is logical to say that the people who created these companies were born and raised in Japan. Consequently, this made me wonder about the educational system in Japan. Japan’s education system played a huge role in their success. In my opinion, a country’s educational system is the key to whether if a country’s economy or government will thrive and succeed. My big question is “What is special about Japanese education that makes them different from us(United States). Also, what can we learn from Japan?”

I am currently on the process of researching and writing about the education system of Japan. I started from the level of elementary school to colleges, and possibly undergraduate and graduate school. Starting from the bottom, the establishments of the elementary and junior high school are crucial. The schedule, the selection of courses, and school policies of Japanese rudimentary education will mostly be covered.

Furthermore, I think the more important part of education is the level of high school and university. This is the point where adolescents begin to learn practical knowledge and skills that they will further apply in the future. They most likely decide what they will be doing in the future at this stage. How Japan organizes this part of education is also important and worth researching. How they choose and study their majors in order to prepare for the future intrigues me. Besides from their daily academics, I will also be researching how Japanese students apply to colleges. Japanese regulations are very different from those of the US. By comparing and contrasting the education systems between Japan and the United States, the readers of this project can gain a new understanding of the disparity of the two systems, and we can learn from its merits.

I have been reading books about this topic during this summer.  The names of the books are “Learning Gap: Why Our Schools Are Failing and What We Can Learning from Japanese and Chinese Education” and “The Japanese education system”. These two books fully exemplify the basic structures of Japanese education, and they certainly list its merits and flaws deliberately. Besides from these two books, I also found a lot of news from the Department of Education of Japan. The website provides the most current news which I can learn and integrate into my research project. Furthermore, I have been in contact with several of my friends in Japan and they can always provide me new insights or educational changes in Japan.

I am going to research and write my project in Japanese first. Starting from elementary school to university level, every section of my project will include its advantage and disadvantage compare to U.S education system. In this way, we can see how it compares to our education, and how we can possibly make improvements. I will then translate them into English for those who are interested in learning the system of Japanese education. My project will provide a different angle of view towards education, especially to those who has only experienced American education. Students and teachers will be surprised by the great disparities in academics and discipline policies.

— Eric Lin

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