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Japanese School Rules

10/18/05 | by silverso | Categories: Deep Thoughts

A few months ago as part of a lesson I had one of my classes complete an anonymous survey about Noheji's school rules. Afterwards we then had a discussion about how Japanese schools differ from Canadian ones. My students all seemed to know that most Canadian students didn't need to wear a uniform, but were surprised to learn that they also didn't need to clean the school at the end of the day and could drive a car to school if they had one. I collected their surveys, read various comments such as "I want to go to freedom school", and then dumped them in my big box of old worksheets. Well today for some reason I decided to clean up my desk and was shredding old worksheets when I noticed that one of the things I was shredding were the old surveys. I'm not sure how many I destroyed before I stopped to look at them, but luckily I was able to preserve enough to tabulate the following very unscientific results:

Percentage of Students that AGREE with the following rules:

89% Students must wear a uniform at school

31% Students must not wear their uniform improperly

37% Students may not wear make-up to school

31% Students may not color their hair

37% Students who behave badly should be forced to stay after school for detention [There is no such thing as detention in Japan]

89% Students may not smoke outside of school

58% Students may not drive a car at any time

63% Students must help clean the school at the end of the day

47% Teachers should patrol the streets and look for rule breaking students [They do sometimes]

74% Students should have a spare period each day to relax or study [They don't]

79% Students should sometimes go to extra classes after school or on weekends [They do quite often]

The remaining percentages either disagreed with the rule or failed to answer. These results are from just a small sample of students from one class, and several surveys were destroyed, so it's hard to say if these results really mean much of anything. I can't even be certain if the students even fully understood the questions since they were in English. Nevertheless, it was still interesting to see the results. I had no idea that the students were so strongly in favor of staying after school or coming in on weekends for extra classes. I also find it a little odd that students are almost universally in favor of wearing uniforms to school, but don't want to wear them properly. I'm curious what the results of a much larger survey of students in Japan would be like, but somehow I almost doubt they would be much different.



Joshua Zimmerman

I wonder what a survey of students who have been abroad would be like? When you’ve been told that something is ‘right’ your entire life, and then told never to question it, you believe it. When I asked one of my students why they followed rules they disliked, they told me ‘because they’re the rules.’

10/18/05 @ 17:47
Comment from: silverso

Are you sayin’ people should never follow rules they don’t like? You better hope your kocho doesn’t find out that you’re an anarchist.

10/18/05 @ 18:05
Comment from: Leslie

Speaking as someone who wore a uniform for 2 of my 12 years in school, it does make getting dressed in the morning a whole lot faster! I would agree with the your students. (And you can “rebel” by wearing it incorrectly)

10/19/05 @ 00:06
Comment from:

I’m young and i lived in Japan for 2 weeks but i believe the school rules are sensible.
Uniform worn = Unity and a good way of representing the school.
Jobs = students should not work. They need to focus on their studies(main focus for students and parents).
Hair = ….well i see why they choose this and i see that not all obey. I believe they should be allowed natural colours

11/12/06 @ 23:53
Comment from: David

I am from Hong kong. Hong kong school rule is
strict but not strict as japan school rule.
Such as japan school rule expand to outside the school but hong kong school rule is only inside the school.

04/16/08 @ 02:13
Comment from: Holly Smith  
Holly Smith

I found this very interesting. I’m in high school and in a year I will be going to Japan foreign exchange. And I live in America currently. Though I must say I have dyed hair, wear make-up, and my school doesn’t have uniforms. But is there rules about ear peircings?

04/08/09 @ 20:27
Comment from: silverso

Earings are a big no-no. Nose rings? You’d probably get expelled.

04/08/09 @ 22:23
Comment from: mr.west  

i love japan and want to now more….and i to live in america. have to say thow do the techers hite kids in japan o and im 16….thanks

08/21/09 @ 08:23
Comment from: Danika  

I’m fifteen (year 10) and am from australia and I am writting a story that takes place around the world. My main focus is Toyko, Japan because of all the wonderful culture they posses. I think Japan school rules are amazing, half the students at my school don’t even remember their own natural hair colour let alone wear the approriate school uniform. I wish to know so much more about Japanese school and culture for my own personal gain and cultural understanding.
I’m off to write. Bye xx Danika

08/22/09 @ 02:47
Comment from: Lisa Asian
Lisa Asian

ah, school rules. got into trouble when i had my earrings in. also, no gum chewing, thats a big no-no…found out the hard way from the vice principle. uniform is a big thing, no rebeling about uniforms.

08/28/09 @ 02:09
Comment from: Fajr  

I am more then proud of their culture and school rules. I am now studying to become a teacher and hopefully make a change to school life and Japanese and Korean schools are an inspiration to me.

09/03/09 @ 20:30

Japanese school rules are sometimes really stupids y’know… they tell you even how to behave during summer break, What the hell? that’s really silly…
Though, I like the uniforms… I’ve studied all my life in a school that has uniforms and it obviously easier than having to deside every morning what to wear, and it makes you have at least one talk with everyone to know their personalities (if there were not uniform, personality through clothes would be a lot easier to guess)
Besides you don’t have to buy as much clothes as you would if you didn’t have a uniform.

12/26/09 @ 00:50
Comment from: courteney DeCelis
courteney DeCelis

wth who does that and my japanese teacher likes those skools yikes they have it tough

08/05/10 @ 05:18
Avoiding life and teaching English in Noheji, Aomori, Japan


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