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Old 2008-11-15, 08:14   Link #801
bhl88
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Are there anime-themed weddings in Japan?

Spoiler for "Not an anime-themed wedding but what otakus expect":
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Old 2008-11-15, 17:15   Link #802
Mystique
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Haven't heard of any, nor seen any recent reports of an anime wedding, but we do have a Hello Kitty wedding around
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Old 2008-11-15, 20:51   Link #803
Byakou
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I was reading some stuff about japanese culture and how things work and I'm wondering if the following is true? :

-When talking to someone, there's always someone "superior" and someone "inferior".

-Bow: The inferior one needs to bow at 30 degrees and longer, the superior one can bow more quickly at 15 degrees, or just nod. The superior gets the cool endname suffix, and the inferior gets an ordinary one or -chan at the end as an insult(you're a child).

-Japanese never say what they're really thinking because they want to avoid conflict, and remain polite at all times. If asked "Would you like tea or coffee?" they answer "Either is fine" because otherwise it is impolite, and can only say which they really want if then asked "Which one do you prefer?" "Tea"

-They look for hidden meanings in everything that's done and said, cause they never say their true thoughts.

-Men are expected to be aggressive and rough, women are expected to be submissive and gentle.

-When they're polite, they don't actually mean it, it's just an automatic reaction.

-Sometimes they refuse gifts because they think there are strings attached.

-<insert million of things ppl are supposed to do otherwise they're considered rude>


...

From what I've read, life in japan is some sort of un-fun constant paranoia. So, is it true?
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Old 2008-11-15, 21:55   Link #804
Vexx
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I'm not going to say you're totally off-base but the way you're putting it is somewhat extreme. I could describe cultural etiquette of the US in such a way that it would sound like we were living in a nuthouse of a place.

But just to address the points...
Spoiler for for space saving:

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-11-15 at 22:20.
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Old 2008-11-15, 22:05   Link #805
Yukinokesshou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byakou View Post
-When talking to someone, there's always someone "superior" and someone "inferior".

-Bow: The inferior one needs to bow at 30 degrees and longer, the superior one can bow more quickly at 15 degrees, or just nod. The superior gets the cool endname suffix, and the inferior gets an ordinary one or -chan at the end as an insult(you're a child).

-Japanese never say what they're really thinking because they want to avoid conflict, and remain polite at all times. If asked "Would you like tea or coffee?" they answer "Either is fine" because otherwise it is impolite, and can only say which they really want if then asked "Which one do you prefer?" "Tea"

-They look for hidden meanings in everything that's done and said, cause they never say their true thoughts.

-Men are expected to be aggressive and rough, women are expected to be submissive and gentle.

-When they're polite, they don't actually mean it, it's just an automatic reaction.

-Sometimes they refuse gifts because they think there are strings attached.

From what I've read, life in japan is some sort of un-fun constant paranoia. So, is it true?
I'll leave it to a Japanese person to answer this question more accurately, but here's what I can say based on (a) my limited knowledge of Japanese culture and (b) my much greater knowledge of East Asian culture in general from being raised in a relatively traditional Chinese family...

1. You're correct about the bowing. That was once the case throughout most of Asia and Europe. Commoners would bow, kneel, prostrate themselves before aristocracy and royalty, who would nod or simply ignore the commoners.

2. I'm not sure I agree with you about "cool endname suffix". It's just someone's title: professor, teacher, chief, senior (student), etc. English-speaking countries are particularly informal in that most everyone calls each other by first name. In most other countries - China, Korea, Germany, Poland, etc. - you would be expected to address people by their titles.

As far as I'm aware, -chan is as much an endearment as an insult, just as we often call people "Little (insert name here)" in Chinese. Let's wait for someone Japanese to confirm this, though.

3. You're also correct about being reserved/ambigious about opinions and preferences. I do that too. My European and American friends find it maddening sometimes...

4. I do look for hidden meanings all the time. I don't usually care too much, though, unless the person in question is a friend.

5. Men vs. women... I cannot answer that; such distinctions are a lot weaker in today's Chinese culture than in Japanese culture.

6. Politeness: Yes, I'm sometimes polite as an automatic reaction. I was taught to say and do certain things as a conditioned response. (However, this is regrettably becoming less common amongst the Chinese.)

7. Well, it's also polite to refuse gifts but we eventually accept them (receiver pushes away - giver insists - receiver feigns embarassment - giver insists again - receiver accepts with an "embarassed face"). It's a piece of cake once you get used to it. Thankfully, I have never been in the position of receiving a gift with strings attached.

8. Paranoia: I think every culture is slightly paranoid in its own unique way. You just have to get used to it. Actually, it's probably easier to live in a society where there are rules for you to follow, a "correct" way to do things. The randomness and spontaneity of Americans is every bit as unnerving to Asians who are used to following rules.
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Old 2008-11-15, 22:16   Link #806
Claies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
1. You're correct about the bowing. That was once the case throughout most of Asia and Europe. Commoners would bow, kneel, prostrate themselves before aristocracy and royalty, who would nod or simply ignore the commoners.

2. I'm not sure I agree with you about "cool endname suffix". It's just someone's title: professor, teacher, chief, senior (student), etc. English-speaking countries are particularly informal in that most everyone calls each other by first name. In most other countries - China, Korea, Germany, Poland, etc. - you would be expected to address people by their titles.
I still bow to teachers and professors, though English lacks titles sometimes (calling people something like "Teacher Johnson" is just weird).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
6. Politeness: Yes, I'm sometimes polite as an automatic reaction. I was taught to say and do certain things as a conditioned response. (However, this is regrettably becoming less common amongst the Chinese.)

7. Well, it's also polite to refuse gifts but we eventually accept them (receiver pushes away - giver insists - receiver feigns embarassment - giver insists again - receiver accepts with an "embarassed face"). It's a piece of cake once you get used to it. Thankfully, I have never been in the position of receiving a gift with strings attached.
My mother's old friends always eventually lose to her when she insists on picking up the tab for them... I think it channeled over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
8. Paranoia: I think every culture is slightly paranoid in its own unique way. You just have to get used to it. Actually, it's probably easier to live in a society where there are rules for you to follow, a "correct" way to do things. The randomness and spontaneity of Americans is every bit as unnerving to Asians who are used to following rules.
Holy crap, somebody spoke my mind. Most of my dormmates probably think I'm a mom by now.
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Old 2008-11-15, 22:23   Link #807
Mystique
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byakou View Post
I was reading some stuff about japanese culture and how things work and I'm wondering if the following is true? :

-When talking to someone, there's always someone "superior" and someone "inferior".
尊敬語 【そんけいご】 (n) honorific language
謙譲語 【けんじょうご】 (n) humble language (e.g. itadaku)
In the sense of using sonkeigo and kenjougo, yes.
Customers are 'superior' so shop assistants will use polite language on you.
Teachers are 'superior', we should use polite language to them.
Naturally for formal occasions, both parties may speak to the other in sonkei and refer to themselves in kenjuu

Quote:
-Bow: The inferior one needs to bow at 30 degrees and longer, the superior one can bow more quickly at 15 degrees, or just nod. The superior gets the cool endname suffix, and the inferior gets an ordinary one or -chan at the end as an insult(you're a child).
There are rules with the bowing, i forget them all, but they're mainly used in formal/business occasions. But naturally, the deeper the bow, the more respect is shown. On extreme cases, let's say if a corrupt CEO was discovered and had to make a national apology on tv, they bow right down to the floor, as in they get on their knees, and place their head on the floor.
Complete and utter submission, in a 'im not worth' sense.
Quote:
-Japanese never say what they're really thinking because they want to avoid conflict, and remain polite at all times. If asked "Would you like tea or coffee?" they answer "Either is fine" because otherwise it is impolite, and can only say which they really want if then asked "Which one do you prefer?" "Tea"
I can get away with just choosing, lol.
Can't say i've noticed that, shall pay attention from now on, but yeah.
Honne (本音, Honne?) refers to a person's true feelings and desires. These may be contrary to what is expected by society or what is required according to one's position and circumstances, and they are often kept hidden, except with one's closest friends.

Tatemae (建前, Tatemae?), literally "façade," is the behaviour and opinions one displays in public. Tatemae is what is expected by society and required according to one's position and circumstances, and these may or may not match one's honne.

more info on wiki
This is very much a pain in the ass for westerners and i have been bitten by it before (ironically when i was in the UK tho)
but naturally in most countries, people tend to confide in those they trust more.
Quote:
-They look for hidden meanings in everything that's done and said, cause they never say their true thoughts.
Perhaps so? I dunno. as a gaijin, i do by default since i learnt 'a smile is not just a smile when in japan'
In london, when you see a bright smile, it means positive things, we take it for what we see it as.
In japan, we need a manual to consult to most days.
I know that the longer you live there, you begin to develop a 6th sense on how to read smiles, perhaps the japanese already have this and know how to deal with it better.
Quote:
-Men are expected to be aggressive and rough, women are expected to be submissive and gentle.
heh heh, same thoughts in england 100 years back, look at what's happening now
That mentality applies to most countries, if not all over the world. Young girls are rebelling though, mainly through language, since japanese is gender sensitive, that's one of the biggest changes i've noticed this decade.
Quote:
-When they're polite, they don't actually mean it, it's just an automatic reaction.
hmm... "nihongo wo jouzu" is. That's definitely an auto reaction, and speaking personally, it took a while for me to not get offended by it, even if they are being sincere and sweet, its so damn patronising, lol.
So now i just do what the romans do, i say 'it's not that good, i need to study more' and that usually ends it.
(helps that i actually believe what im saying tho)
- I think rather its an auto reaction to being polite, but most times they are sincere about it.
Quote:
-Sometimes they refuse gifts because they think there are strings attached.
i can't help but think that way too, lol.
Every favour accumulates a debt of sorts, but you learn to return the favour whether it be treating someone for a meal or coffee or helping out with something Vexx said it best, it kinda balances itself out.
Quote:
-<insert million of things ppl are supposed to do otherwise they're considered rude>


...

From what I've read, life in japan is some sort of un-fun constant paranoia. So, is it true?
*looks at herself*
I guess it can be xD
As a foreigner tho, we can get away with breaking a few social rules simply cause we are foriegners, it's our 'get out of jail' card. I sometimes hear stories from my japanese friends and think they're more trapped within their own society than we'll ever be.

This post is but only my opinion, perhaps others will have slightly different experiences and replies for you

edit: while i was writing this, i noticed 3 replies shoot up before me, so this is just my own 2 pence.
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Old 2008-11-15, 22:25   Link #808
Yukinokesshou
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What were your first impressions of Japanese culture?

Conservative, suburban and somewhat quaint?
Or avant-garde, urban and somewhat rebellious?

Westerners are often surprised when I tell them that mine were the former.

Consider the following questions:
1. Where are you from?
2. What is your cultural background? Are any older members in your family Japanese or familiar with Japanese culture?
3. How were you first exposed to Japanese society? Interaction with Japanese people, anime and manga, or TV dramas?
4. How did these factors influence your first impressions of Japanese culture?

Here are my own answers:
1. I'm from Hong Kong. Now you know why I might see Japan as "suburban and quaint". You might think Japan is crowded, but Hong Kong's population is bursting at its limits. When some people look at photos of Tokyo, they see a densely populated city. I see quaint little wooden houses.

2. I'm Chinese but some elder members of my family can "pass for Japanese" in their behaviours and mannerisms due to the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. No wonder I see Japanese culture as being rather conservative... I associate it with my grandparents.

3. I was exposed to Japanese society through interactions with Japanese classmates and their parents, and by watching Japanese TV dramas with my family. The first manga I ever saw was some josei stuff (think "Honey and Clover") that my mum used to read in bed. Anime came a long, long time later.

Your turn!! I hope you find this topic interesting, or at least not mind-numbingly dull!

Last edited by Yukinokesshou; 2008-11-16 at 21:57.
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Old 2008-11-15, 22:34   Link #809
Yukinokesshou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claies View Post
I still bow to teachers and professors, though English lacks titles sometimes (calling people something like "Teacher Johnson" is just weird).
I do that too. My friends from Mainland China sometimes say "Teacher so-and-so" by accident, and yes, it is weird!
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Old 2008-11-15, 23:09   Link #810
Vexx
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My answers:
1. Where are you from?
Houston, Texas
2. What is your cultural background? Are any older members in your family Japanese or familiar with Japanese culture?
Texas, circa 1960s, 70s.
No, though my dad was a real fan of japanese food and would sneak me out to eat it. (Mom was not a fan of "alien food").
3. How were you first exposed to Japanese society? Interaction with Japanese people, anime and manga, or TV dramas?
As a child: 4 things - Astroboy, Gigantor, Speedracer, Ultraman.
As a young teen - ww2 tabletop wargames, history; friends with a japanese-american (we'd wander through his granddad's place of mystical things and food).
Older teen - started dating his cousin (who later became my wife).
Thus the immersion began...
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Old 2008-11-16, 00:27   Link #811
Byakou
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Japan has some interesting customs, but it's a bit uptight @__@

Where I live we have "monsieur, madame" but it's not really for politeness, you use it when you don't know the person's name. Most teachers want us to call them by their first name and those who don't want: students usually call them by their first name anyway, or monsieur/madame if you're an obedient student. Superior/inferior is non-existant most of the time. Even if someone has more professional skills than you, and older, there's like an unwritten rule when you talk that you're equal as human beings, regardless. There's no gender roles. It isn't perfect, but we have some liberty. There's almost no sexism left, the only thing I can think of is in language if you have several objects, and refer to them, you get male plural.

I really like the japanese language though. I like how it's structured, and how it sounds.

I wonder... What would happen if a foreigner went to Japan, and ignored the annoying parts of the etiquette? No bows. Female using male-only words. Saying you want the tea, not the coffee. Calling the superior ppl -sans just like everyone else. Accepting things and counting no debt. And saying what you think (not offensive or anything, just normally). I bet ppl would make evil glares to you all day o.o
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Old 2008-11-16, 01:23   Link #812
Vexx
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Quote:
I wonder... What would happen if a foreigner went to Japan, and ignored the annoying parts of the etiquette? No bows. Female using male-only words. Saying you want the tea, not the coffee. Calling the superior ppl -sans just like everyone else. Accepting things and counting no debt. And saying what you think (not offensive or anything, just normally). I bet ppl would make evil glares to you all day o.o
Nah, they'd just figure you were another one of those crazy gaijin. What you described is pretty much what happens way too often anyway with tourists and visitors. They get a "gaijin crazy" pass card.

Separately, out of the languages I've spent time learning - japanese is my favorite so far and I don't find the etiquette annoying. Its a very interesting social code.
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Old 2008-11-16, 02:20   Link #813
Mystique
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Nah, they'd just figure you were another one of those crazy gaijin. What you described is pretty much what happens way too often anyway with tourists and visitors. They get a "gaijin crazy" pass card.

Separately, out of the languages I've spent time learning - japanese is my favorite so far and I don't find the etiquette annoying. Its a very interesting social code.
Don't you mean the 'baka gaijin' card
I believe there are even t-shirts floating around on cyberspace, which we can buy, lol. It's playing off the stereotype of course.
The trick is to prove youself to be outside of that 'baka gaijin' bubble by of course adhering to the rules some; it's a sorta 'join them and beat them at their own game' kinda thing.
If you show even a minisucle proof that you know something a little more than the average, they'll be genuinely surprised, shocked even.
Personally, i like to keep the natives on their toes, just to represent that some of us gaijin are serious when it comes to their language and culture.
(And perhaps not to group us all into one pot)

The social code is interesting, but then Vexx since we're not born japanese, we will never ever be fully bound to it, (rather, they don't expect us to be bound to it) so perhaps we have the luxury of saying that.
Jigoku Shoujo is an anime series that when i started watching, i couldn't help but think 'at least the worst of the social codes in the UK are 'better', we're perhaps more forgiving.
Naturally the anime shows the worst of the japanese social code (there is good too) but comparing the worst of theirs and the worst of ours, i'm glad i was brought up in london, lol.
We're much much more forgiving with our mistakes and while a sense of shame is okay to keep a person in check, sometimes as a Japanese you have no choice but to take it to the grave.
There no chance for redemption once a reputation has been broken and that makes up a lot of the revenge stories within Jigoku Shoujo. Many find that there's nothing left in life for them since society will not give them the benefit of the doubt or allow a second chance, so hey, why not send the person who screwed you over to hell, lol.
The anime is an extreme for entertainment purposes naturally, but I noticed that it does play on a lot of social codes which i find a little too harsh sometimes.
(maybe this links to the suicide rates etc)

And byakou, you'd not get evil glares (least not in public) but very very strained smiles instead.
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Old 2008-11-16, 10:58   Link #814
Yukinokesshou
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There are benefits to having a strict set of rules as to what's "socially acceptable" and what's not. A lot of things that have to be enforced by laws, police and courts in other countries are enforced by society in Japan.

That's why Japan:
- Is a million times cleaner than China despite many Chinese cities imposing large fines for littering and spitting plus a constant stream of propaganda trying to promote "文明社会" ("civilised society").
- Has public transport systems that are far cleaner and more orderly than those in Europe and America even though the latter have a much heavier police presence and spend a lot more money on security and law enforcement.
- Has far less graffiti and vandalism than western countries.

In any case, social pressure often goes much further than law enforcement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byakou View Post
I wonder... What would happen if a foreigner went to Japan, and ignored the annoying parts of the etiquette? No bows. Female using male-only words. Saying you want the tea, not the coffee. Calling the superior ppl -sans just like everyone else. Accepting things and counting no debt. And saying what you think (not offensive or anything, just normally). I bet ppl would make evil glares to you all day o.o
I'm personally rather puzzled by the "rebelliousness" that seems to be inherent in modern American and European culture. More often than not, it seems to be meaningless and trivial, "rebelling for the sake of rebelling". Can't people just go with the flow, follow the rules of society and be content?

I presume Byakou is French? Heh...the 2007 riot at the Gare du Nord comes to mind. For those of you who don't follow French news, someone without a ticket was stopped and interrogated by inspectors. Apparently, the inspectors were a bit rough and that sparked a massive riot. Suffice to say that this (the riot) would NEVER, EVER happen in East Asia. If you haven't got a ticket, then you have no right to public transport. Society understands that. I have yet to see someone jump a turnstile in any Asian metro system.
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Old 2008-11-16, 16:59   Link #815
Nikran
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This really is a great thread! I've been reading through most of it and there really is a great deal of useful info to take in. That being said I have some questions of my own =)

1. How much power/authority does a student council really have? It's a really intresting idea, entrusting students to enforce students. Whats probably more remarkable is that adults would trust them to do it. I was thinking to myself that here in the UK, and in the US that we'd never trust a teenager with such a responsablitly. Recently though i remembered that in the UK you do get prefects (No idea if i spelled that properly). They are responsable for managing things during break and lunch break, though if people listen to them or they themselves bend the rules is another matter entirely.

2. How is the japanese education system laid out and what ages do u attend each level at? From what i can gather there's probably 3 diffrent schools for age groups and that high school lasts 3 years between ages 15 - 17. Something that confuses me is where they move onto after high school. In the UK we go to college that lasts about 2 yrs and then university providing you passed your course.

3. Whats the attatude towards females who refer to themselves as 'Boku' and what are their motivations for choosing to do so? I know that in general the girl in question is a bit of a tomboy, but what about Ayu from Kanon? She's not a tomboy at all, so her reasons must be diffrent.

4. If there's any truth to what someone said that you can't blow your nose while eating with others, then what are you supposed to do if that suddenly becomes a problem? Prove how stoic you are and endure until the end of the meal?
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Old 2008-11-16, 17:32   Link #816
Yukinokesshou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikran View Post
2. How is the japanese education system laid out and what ages do u attend each level at? From what i can gather there's probably 3 diffrent schools for age groups and that high school lasts 3 years between ages 15 - 17. Something that confuses me is where they move onto after high school. In the UK we go to college that lasts about 2 yrs and then university providing you passed your course.
It's university or junior college (American definition of college) right after high school. Most pupils finish high school at the age of 18, actually.

You have to remember that not everyone in the UK goes through a distinct "college" phase between secondary school and university. Sixth form used to be part of secondary school, and still is in (1) all or most independent schools, (2) state schools in many English counties, (3) Scotland, where it goes by a different name, and (4) several former British colonies including Hong Kong.

In many respects, the English sixth form (or college, if you insist) can be equated to the last two years of high school in Japan. In any case, A-levels are generally considered equivalent in level (though probably not difficulty!) to the last year of the Continental European lycée/liceum/liceo, which lasts for 3-years and is, in turn, roughly comparable to the Japanese high school.

Last edited by Yukinokesshou; 2008-11-16 at 17:44. Reason: minor improvement in clarity
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Old 2008-11-16, 17:52   Link #817
Nikran
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukinokesshou View Post
It's university or junior college (American definition of college) right after high school. Most pupils finish high school at the age of 18, actually.

You have to remember that not everyone in the UK goes through a distinct "college" phase between secondary school and university. Sixth form used to be part of secondary school, and still is in (1) all or most independent schools, (2) state schools in many English counties, (3) Scotland, where it goes by a different name, and (4) several former British colonies including Hong Kong.

In many respects, the English sixth form (or college, if you insist) can be equated to the last two years of high school in Japan. In any case, A-levels are generally considered equivalent in level (though probably not difficulty!) to the last year of the Continental European lycée/liceum/liceo, which lasts for 3-years and is, in turn, roughly comparable to the Japanese high school.
Ok, i stand corrected on the age high school is finished at + failing to remember about sixth forms So what about education/school that comes before highschool and how many years are spent there?

Last edited by Nikran; 2008-11-16 at 17:56. Reason: pathetic spelling, resulting in bad sentences.
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Old 2008-11-16, 18:04   Link #818
Yukinokesshou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikran View Post
Ok, i stand corrected on the age high school is finished at + failing to remember about sixth forms So what about education/school that comes before highschool and how many years are spent there?
6 years of primary school (elementary school) --> 3 years of middle school (junior high school) --> 3 years of high school (senior high school) --> 4 years of university or 2 years of junior college. Up to the high school level, the systems in other East Asian countries and (surprisingly) Poland are very similar, including high school entrance exams and whatnot.

Haha, no problem I guess it all depends on where we're coming from. My educational background happens to be an assortment of independent schools in the UK, Hong Kong (based on the old O-level/A-level system) and the US... so I am naturally more familiar with the idea of sixth form as part of secondary school
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Old 2008-11-16, 18:10   Link #819
Tri-ring
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The Japanese education system is mostly the same with that of the American system.
Elementary 6 years
Junior High or Middle school 3 years
High school 3 years
University/college 4 years

Elementary and junior high are mandatory requirements.

This system was adopted after the war.

Oh I forgot there is a thing called Junior college(短大) mainly for females as an alternative for college as well as training schools to obtain various skills like computer software programming, voice trainning for becoming voice actors, cooking, etc.
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Old 2008-11-16, 18:23   Link #820
Yukinokesshou
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
The Japanese education system is mostly the same with that of the American system.
Elementary 6 years
Junior High or Middle school 3 years
High school 3 years
... Except for the fact that high school is four years in the US; the number of years in elementary and middle schools are adjusted such that the total number of years is still 12 (5+3+4 or 6+2+4).

The systems in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Poland (all 6+3+3) are closer to that in Japan. To some extent, they probably all share common origins in combining the educational systems of Prussia, Russia and the US.
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