Education in contemporary Japan : inequality and diversity


Education in contemporary Japan : inequality and diversity

Kaori Okano and Motonori Tsuchiya

(Contemporary Japanese society)

Cambridge University Press, 1999

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 248-259) and index



A balanced introduction to and examination of contemporary Japanese education. While the postwar system of schooling has provided valuable ingredients for economic success, it has been accompanied by unfavourable developments such as excessively competitive exams, stifling uniformity, bullying, and an undervaluing of non-Japanese ethnicity. This book offers up-to-date information and new perspectives on schooling in contemporary Japanese society, and uses detailed ethnographic studies and interviews with students and teachers. It examines the main developments of modern schooling in Japan, from the beginning of the Meiji era up to the present, and includes analysis of the most recent reforms. It develops a new picture of the role that schooling plays for individuals and the wider society. Essential reading for students and educators alike.


  • Introduction
  • 1. Analytical frameworks: schooling and the society
  • 2. Development of modern schooling
  • 3. Students' experiences of schooling I: social groups
  • 4. Students' experiences of schooling II: minorities
  • 5. Teachers' experiences of schooling
  • 6. Problems and reforms in the 1980s and 1990s
  • Conclusion.

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