Examinations and Privatization: Competition in the Japanese Education System
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe simple Japanese saying, "the nail that sticks out gets hammered down," speaks an uncountable number of words about Japanese society and education. After the war, remodeling the education system was an important goal of both the Japanese government and the Occupation government alike. The result was an education system that highly resembled the Japanese military pre-war: highly focused on organization, egalitarianism, and "morality" rather than cognitive skills. For the last half century these characteristics have been hotly debated as either key features to the success of Japan's economy or reasons for Japan's economic troubles in the last two decades. Either way, the debates on what direction the education system should go now reveal much about the perceptions of social mobility in Japan. That is, should Japan continue to be a fairly egalitarian system based on "groupism?" Or should it follow the United States and give up egalitarianism for fostering individuality and competition? In this thesis I explain some of the common ways that social mobility has been discussed and analyzed in Japan. Then I analyze arguably Japan's most prestigious university, Tokyo University, and see what it says about the Japanese education system and social mobility in Japan as a whole.
Degree ProgramHonors College
East Asian Studies