Resources and links on juku (cramschools)

Visit our own EIJ The Juku (cramschool directory) resource

Japanese Education and the Cram School Business: Functions, Challenges and Perspectives of the Juku. By Marie Hoijund Roesgaard. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press, Copenhagen, 2006. x, 203 pages. EUR35.00.

This is the first book to be devoted entirely to the research topic of juku. Read the review by Julian Dierkes (University of British Columbia) at H-Japan (November, 2006) :

“Roesgaard discusses the different varieties of juku that exist on a continuum, from the most competitive and competition-oriented ones to other juku that are more holistic in their educational aims and emphasize care-giving aspects to a greater extent.”

Roesgaard organizes her book into three sections, presenting the context, the players, and the motivations and situations of players involved in the juku business

“… the book presents exemplary case studies of juku and places them within the classificatory scheme introduced earlier. While Roesgaard makes a significant contribution in this area as well simply by beginning a scholarly discussion of juku, the descriptions and analysis of the juku covered in this section are relatively thin. Given limited site visits to the juku, Roesgaard largely reproduces the juku’s view of themselves and their teaching. Nevertheless, her introduction to some of the most well-known juku, like Kawaijuku offers glimpses into institutions that are often portrayed in the popular press and extensively analyzed in Japanese advice manuals, yet rarely examined by scholars. It should be emphasized that by offering case studies of Yotsuya-Otsuka, Nichinoken, and SAPIX, Roesgaard provides a glimpse into the very top-end of middle-school entrance examination preparation. Interestingly, one of the juku portrayed here, Yotsuya-Otsuka, was acquired by another education corporation, Nagase Brothers, in September 2006 in a sign of the consolidation of an industry facing a declining customer base. By comparing different juku and placing them within her analytical scheme, however, Roesgaard significantly bolsters her important message as to the diversity of the juku market. Her discussion of the nurturing aspects of juku, in the hoshu category especially, also corrects the often-heard misperception of juku as devoted exclusively to exam preparation by rote learning and drill.

“Throughout the book, Roesgaard discusses the financial expenditures for education that families incur by sending children to juku. Nation-wide average expenditures would seem to suggest that, in a nation as rich as Japan, juku attendance might not have implications for social stratification. Yet Roesgaard’s portrayals of some of the most ambitious juku show that for a so-called “elite course” of exam preparation with costs upward of \1mio even the budgets of middle-class families may be stretched in metropolitan areas.”

In spite of the important role ascribed by so many to juku, and in spite of their controversial nature, there has not been up until now a book-length study devoted entirely to this phenomenon.

Alternatively, read the review by Robert Aspinall. Japanese Education and the Cram School Business: Functions, Challenges and Perspectives of the Juku (review) – The Journal of Japanese Studies 34:1 The Journal of Japanese Studies 34.1 (2007) 121-125 Reviewed by Robert Aspinall  for Muse Search Journals

Japan: Crazy for Cramming Businessweek

One flew over the juku’s nest

Relationship of worry and emotionality to test performance in a juku environment By Harold F. O’neil a; Toru Fukumura b
(University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA, Center for the Study of Learning, Nichinoken, Yokohama)
DOI: 10.1080/10615809208249525

Abstract: The relationships between trait and state worry and emotionality and performance in a Juku environment were explored; these Japanese anxiety data were also compared in an international context.  The subjects were 362 students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Test anxiety was measured by the Japanese Children’s Trait Worry and Emotionality Scale and the Japanese Children’s State Worry and Emotionality Scale. The performance tests measured achievement in mathematics, social studies, Japanese language, and science. As expected, the relationship between the state worry measures and performance was stronger than between either state emotionality or the trait measures. The data also indicate that trait anxiety was dramatically less here than in other international contexts while state anxiety was moderately less.

Reliability and validity of japanese children’s trait and state worry and emotionality scales published in “Anxiety, Stress & Coping”, Volume 5, Issue 3 1992 , pages 225 – 239 By Harold F. O’neil;  Eva L. Baker; Saburo Matsuura(University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Center for the Study of Learning, Nichinoken, Japan)
DOI: 10.1080/10615809208249524

Abstract: There is a belief in both Japan and the U.S. that high levels of test anxiety interfere with performance. However, there are no measures of anxiety (i.e., worry or emotionality) for Japanese children. In this study, since the consequences of testing are even more salient in Japan than the U.S., it was expected that levels of anxiety, both trait and state, would be higher in Japan than the U.S. Further, we expected that the two-factor structure (worry and emotionality) of both trait and state anxiety scales would be verified and that females would exhibit more anxiety than males. In general, the results for the state worry and emotionality scale were consistent with expectations. On the trait scales, anxiety was less than the United States version. Further, there was not a two-factor structure. There was no effect of sex on any of the anxiety measures.

Education in Japan: The Key to Success
Abstract: Role of schooling in success, implementation of social values, sense of dependence & harmony, student-teacher relationship, anti-individualism, sacrifice, socialization. From viewpoint of American raised in Japan.

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