Kyoiku Kihon Ho (The Fundamental Law of Education)

I am posting here what appears to be the full English-language version of the *Kyoiku Kihon Ho*, one of the laws important to us as homelearners in Japan.
      Of particular interest to us is Article 7, which requires public officials to “encourage home education” and education elswhere in Japanese society.
      This law still stands today.
      The following text of the *Kyoiku Kihon Ho* comes from the excellent book “Japanese Education Since 1945,” edited by Edward R. Beauchamp and James M. Vardaman Jr. (1994, M.E. Sharpe Inc.). The English version of the law posted here appears to be the “official” version as translated under the U.S. Occupation authorities.
      The *Kyoiku Kihon Ho* is significant because, in the words of Beauchamp and Vardaman, it “represented a 180-degree change from the 1890 Imperial Rescript” by the Meiji Emperor and also because it “established the important principle that all major educational regulations would be made by parliamentary procedure.”
      Compare the *Kyoiku Kihon Ho* with the royal rescript of 1890 — which called on the educated “subjects” of Japan at the time to “guard and maintain the prosperity of Our Imperial Throne coeval with heaven and earth” — and you begin to understand why the current government of Japan in the year 2001 so strongly wants to “reform” the *Kyoiku Kihon Ho* in a more restrictive sense. —

      [Passed: 31 March 1947]

      Having established the Constitution of Japan, we have shown our resolution to contribute to the peace of the world and welfare of humanity by building a democratic and cultural state. The realization of this idea shall depend fundamentally on the power of education.
      We shall esteem individual dignity and endeavor to bring up the people who love truth and peace, while education aimed at the creation of culture, general and rich in individuality, shall be spread far and wide.
      We hereby enact this Law, in accordance with the spirit of the
      Constitution of Japan, with a view to clarifying the aim of education and establishing the foundation for new Japan.

Article 1. Aim of Education
      Education shall aim at the full development of personality, striving for the rearing of the people, sound in mind and body, who shall love truth and justice, esteem individual value, respect labor and have a deep sense of responsibility, and be imbued with the independent spirit, as builders of a peaceful state and society.

Article 2. Educational Principle
      The aim of education shall be realized on all occasions and in all places.
      In order to achieve this aim, we shall endeavor to contribute to the creation and development of culture by mutual esteem and cooperation, respecting academic freedom, having a regard to actual life and cultivating a spontaneous spirit.

Article 3. Equal Opportunity in Education
      The people shall be given equal opportunities of receiving education according to their ability, and they shall not be subjected to educational discrimination on account of race, creed, sex, social status, economic position, or family origin.
      The state and local public corporations shall take measures to give financial assistance to those who have, in spite of their ability,
      difficulty in receiving education for economic reasons.

Article 4. Compulsory Education
      The people shall be obligated to have boys and girls under their
      protection receive nine years’ general education.
      No tuition fee shall be charged for general education in schools
      established by the state and local bodies.

Article 5. Coeducation
      Men and women shall esteem and cooperate with each other. Coeducation, therefore, shall be recognized in education.

Article 6. School Education
      The schools prescribed by law shall be of public nature and, besides the state and local public bodies, only the juridical persons prescribed by law shall be entitled to establish such schools.
      Teachers of the schools prescribed by law shall be servants of the whole community. They shall be conscious of their mission and endeavor to discharge their duties. For this purpose, the status of teachers shall be respected and their fair and appropriate treatment shall be secured.

Article 7. Social Education
      The state and local bodies shall encourage home education and education carried out in places of work or elsewhere in society.
      The state and local public bodies shall endeavor to attain the aim of education by the establishment of such institutions as libraries, museums, citizens’ public halls, et cetera, by the utilization of school
      institutions, and by other appropriate methods.

Article 8. Political Education
      The political knowledge necessary for intelligent citizenship shall be valued in education.
      The schools prescribed by law shall refrain from political education or other political activities for or against any political party.

Article 9. Religious Education
      The attitude of religious tolerance and the position of religion in the social life shall be valued in education.
      The schools established by the state and local public bodies shall refrain from religious education or the activities for a specified religion.

Article 10. School Administration
      Education shall not be subject to improper control, but shall be directly responsible to the whole people.
      School administration shall, on the basis of this realization, aim at the adjustment and establishment of the various conditions required for the pursuit of the aim of education.

Article 11. Additional Rule
      In case of necessity appropriate laws shall be enacted to carry the foregoing stipulations into effect.

Supplementary Provision:
      This present law shall come into force as from the date of its


Reproduced here by kind permission. Originally published in the HS Journal, Brian Covert’s Homeschooling in Japan Journal  March 15, 2000

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