If the Japanese education system seems to work perfectly, many adverse effects on students are also noted. It is never healthy to over-idealize a system or a country. so here’s some problems and limitations of the Japanese education system …

A system based on memorization

First, with regard to teaching, the trend is unfortunately towards memorization without an explanatory process.
A telling example of this problem is the teaching of foreign languages. So in most middle and high schools, the only language available is English.
Even if the teaching of a foreign language requires a minimum of memorization, in particular for the vocabulary, one notices that this is the only axis of teaching of the Japanese courses.
The pupils are thus prepared to answer standard grammar questions which in themselves are not necessarily necessary for the practice of the language.

Excessive over-competition

In addition, the excessive importance given to the reputation of schools has the effect of creating over-competition which completely plagues the lives of students. Thus the pupils are pushed from an early age (and especially for boys) towards excellence and not towards a just satisfactory job. Parents therefore tend to think that their children’s future will only be guaranteed if they go to a good college which will allow them to enter a good high school which itself will allow them to enter a renowned university. The system tends to always push towards excellence, which has the effect of leaving students in difficulty on the sidelines and favoring the best students who will ensure the reputation of the establishment.


Another characteristic problem of Japanese education is ijime. This word designates a form of hazing (much more serious than in France) taking place during all the schooling and whose meaning comes from the word ijimeru which means to torture … Even if the hazing exists in most countries, it does not reach zero elsewhere the same scale as in Japan. Thus, ijime can take many forms, ranging from the simple ignorance of the person who is the object of it to racketeering, including physical or verbal violence and public humiliation.

It should also be noted that violence does not only take place between students and that teachers (who generally turn a blind eye to ijime practices) also sometimes show physical violence on students during lessons and clubs in particular. in private establishments… Ijime (苛 め / 虐 め) literally means “intimidation”, and in Japanese this means all the bullying more generally suffered by those who are excluded from a group because they are different and are targeted. This phenomenon is not only very present (and very serious) in the school environment, but also in the professional environment and in everyday life …

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