What is the role of the school counselor in Japanese schools?

Astro Boy and Uran’s Encyclopedia of Current Terminology / School counselor
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 4, 2012)

An adviser for children

Astro Boy: What does a school counselor do?

Answer: A school counselor visits a school about once a week to give children advice about various problems they face. Last fiscal year, about 6,300 school counselors worked at about 15,000 primary, middle and high schools nationwide.

The education ministry has decided to increase the number of school counselors, hoping to make sure all public middle schools are covered by their activities, beginning next fiscal year. This is partly because school counselors have expertise in handling bullying cases.

Uran: What kind of people serve as school counselors?

Astro Boy: School counseling is provided by clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals with expertise in mental health issues. After the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami last year, a total of nearly 2,300 such professionals played an active role in aiding children as “emergency school counselors” in disaster-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. They also engaged in similar work in neighboring areas to which affected children had evacuated, including Yamagata and Niigata prefectures.

In addition to advising children, it was reported that the counselors advised parents and teachers about how to handle their own day-to-day worries as a result of the great disaster.

Astro Boy: What kind of advice can children receive from school counselors?

Answer: Children can seek advice about whatever may worry them, such as relations with their friends, their family problems and uncertainties about their future.

A school counselor stands by in a counseling room where he or she listens to children’s problems one-on-one. The counselor gives them advice about how they should handle their problems while also talking with their homeroom teachers about what would be the best solution to each problem.


7 thoughts on “What is the role of the school counselor in Japanese schools?”

  1. What should I do my 7 yrs old child had a fight with her classmates the mother told that my daughter punch her daughter but my daughter told me that its just only gesture she didn’t mean todo it and she didn’t touch the face but her classmate thought that she would really doit the said classmate turn her face n maybe touch the wall the girl wearing glass but nothing seriously happen and the glass didn’t fall either.but the mother ask as to pay the glass for 50,000 yen .We paid but from then on I stop my daughter going to school.pls helpme what to do I don’t want to pay but the father paid it already and that monster parent gets rid of us from grade 1 till now my daughter is in grade 2 now

    1. It’s hard for me to interpret without having witnessed the whole thing. But generally, if the girl wasn’t actually hurt, nor any glass broken, I don’t see why you would have to pay 50,000 yen. Bowing to extortion or pressure isn’t a great way to start school life. In school life or any social situation misunderstandings or miscommunication and troubles are likely to commonplace, and we want to teach our children by modeling for them good negotiation and communication and problem-solving skills. We want to talk calmly with both adults and children to resolve problems, show reason and also stand our ground if there are bullies. Unless there is violence to our children and no help forthcoming from teachers or school authorities, withdrawal isn’t a solution either in my opinion. We experienced bullying on and off with both our daughter and son at different points in school, but we did not withdraw them because we wanted them to work through problems and learn to be strong and brave. If we pull out, we show our kids that anytime there is a problem, they are allowed to run or escape, instead of facing them. Two girls in grade 1 constantly bullied my daughter over the period of a year, I asked the teacher to not let my daughter be in the same class for grades 2 and 3, after that, the “bullies” had matured and changed, and my daughter no longer has any problems or trouble with them. The young are still learning, and can change over time for the better, even bullies. My daughter is in grade 6 now.

      1. Even tho the bullies now have dark hair, that may not mean they’re changed — and is what they’re doing bullying, perhaps they are being ‘friendly’? If only there was some way to be sure …

  2. My son speaks only Japanese but I can only speak a lttle. I am looking for a child psychologist that can speak English and Japanese here in Niigata. Do you know any clinic here? Thanks.

  3. I’m glad they hire professional counselors — I was a student, they stuck gum in my hair, it was such a mess, totally awful. It’s good they employ professionals — to deal with issues …

  4. […] Manabie によると、こうしたカウンセラーは日本をはじめとする先進国の教育システムの特徴だという。カウンセラーは、大学受験やキャリア選択のための目標設定の指導、各学生の目標に合わせてカスタマイズされた学習計画の作成、学生のモチベーションを維持するためのアドバイスなど、重要な役割を担っている。 […]

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