Difference Between American and Japanese Schools

Schools all over the world more or less have the same structure, but some areas are different in terms of places. In America, schools have a certain number of levels, but in Japan, those levels are not the same.


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Thus, there are factors that make all the difference.

American Schools vs Japanese Schools

The difference between American and Japanese schools is that in American schools, students learn only subject knowledge, but in Japanese schools, students also learn manners, cleaning lessons and organizational skills. However, there are other factors that make American and Japanese schools differ from each other.

American Schools vs Japanese Schools

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The American school system has three levels- elementary, middle and high school. One can enrol in both public and private schools.

However, while all the public schools are run by the government, it is free of cost, but for private schools, one needs to pay a lot. There is no strict uniform code for any of the students.

Japanese schools focus more on self-discipline, cleanliness, manners, along studying. There are four levels in the Japanese schooling system- nursery, kindergarten, elementary and junior high.

There is a strict rule for uniform and proper behaviour in terms of greeting teachers, keeping the classroom clean and other things.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAmerican SchoolsJapanese Schools
LevelsAll American schools have three levels- elementary, middle and high.Japanese schools have four levels- nursery, kindergarten, elementary and junior high
New SessionIn America, the new school year starts in the fall.In Japan, the new session starts in spring.
ExaminationIn America, there is a proper grading system from the beginning.On the other hand, in Japan,  a child takes up exams when he or she reaches the age of four.
Starting procedureIn American schools, the classes start right away.But in Japan, there are 30 seconds of silent time before starting the class.
UniformIn the United States, most students in public schools do not wear uniforms.       Except for elementary school-goers, Japanese schools have strict uniform rules.

What are American Schools?

American schools are of two types- public and private. All the schools run by the government in the United States are called public, and they are fully sponsored by the American government.

But for private schools, the fees structure is very expensive. Every year all the public schools are being rated by the government to keep the standard of the schools intact.

For admission in public schools, there is a rule maintained by the authority. Only the students staying in the zone of a particular public school he or she intends to take admission into can be admitted.

Students residing in other zones are not allowed to even apply.

American school systems have been divided into structures- elementary, middle and high school. Elementary schooling allows students to study from KG to the 5th standard.

Unlike the Indian school system, a child can start studying when he or she reaches the age of five. Here there is no concept of classes like lower grade, upper grade and so on.

Middle school covers from sixth to eighth grade, and high school includes grades from nine to twelve. Thus, it covers all four classes, and there is no such thing as intercollege.

There are specific terms used to describe students of high school. Students enrolled in the ninth grade are called freshmen.

Tenth-grade students are known as a sophomore. The other terms like junior and senior are used for students studying in eleventh and twelfth grades, respectively.

There is a system of staff who work in an American school.

There is the principal who is in charge, the vice-principal, the secretary who takes care of the school staff and students’ queries, counsellors who try to solve the students’ emotional and social skills.

Teachers are there to guide the students. ELD or English Language Development teachers help them to read, write, speak and communicate with English.

What are Japanese Schools?

The first school is for students up to five years of age. It is called hoikuen or nursery.

This is also open for students whose parents are working and have no one to look after them at home. The next level is the kindergarten school or yochien. In this school children from 4 to 5 years can enrol.

The third level of the Japanese school system is the elementary school which is for students from six to eleven years.

The subjects that are taught at this level are Japanese, social studies, math, science, living studies, music arts, morals, homemaking, English and special activities. This level is mandatory for all students.

The fourth level is called Junior high school, where students from twelve to fourteen years of age study. For studying in high school, students need to pass an entrance examination.

However, there are many benefits that students get while learning in a Japanese school. By using programmes like Nameless Paints, the schools encourage students to go creative.

Japanese schools emphasize more manners than knowledge. There are no examinations being held for students until they reach age four.

They learn how to be respectful towards other human beings, animals and nature. The students clean their classrooms, cafeterias and even toilets all by themselves.

This makes them self-sufficient, self-reliant, compassionate and dutiful.

Main Differences Between American and Japanese Schools

  1. American schooling system has three levels- elementary, middle and high. But Japanese schools have four structures- nursery, kindergarten, elementary and junior high.
  2. In America, the school year starts in the fall, but in Japan, the new school year starts in the spring.
  3. In Japanese middle schools, there are different classrooms for every period. But in America, nothing of that sort happens. 
  4. In Japan, middle-grade students need to take entrance examinations to get accepted into high schools. But in America, students need not do that.
  5. In America, though there are many extracurricular activities along with studying, students do not learn manners, clean toilets and classrooms. But in Japan, students have to do all these things. 
Difference Between American and Japanese Schools
  1. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED509329
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01425690600958816
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