When Do Japanese Students Graduate


When Do Japanese Students Graduate?

Education is highly valued in Japanese society, and the academic calendar plays a crucial role in shaping the lives of students. In Japan, the school year is divided into three semesters, with each lasting for about three months. The academic year starts in April and ends in March, which is quite different from the typical Western academic calendar. In this article, we will dive into the details of when Japanese students graduate and explore the reasons behind this unique system.

The Japanese Academic Calendar:

In Japan, the academic year starts in early April and is divided into three terms. The first term, known as the “spring term,” runs from April to July. It is followed by a six-week summer vacation. The second term, the “fall term,” commences in September and lasts until December. This is followed by a two-week winter break. Finally, the third term, the “winter term,” begins in January and ends in March. This is followed by a two- to three-week spring break, after which the cycle starts anew.

The Graduation Process:

In Japan, graduation ceremonies are held in March, symbolizing the end of the academic year. Students who have completed their studies and fulfilled all the necessary requirements receive their diplomas during these ceremonies. Graduation is generally celebrated with great enthusiasm, and it is considered a significant milestone in a student’s life.

At the elementary school level, students typically graduate after completing six years of education. They then move on to middle school, which comprises three years of study. After completing middle school, students progress to high school, where they spend another three years. Finally, those who wish to pursue higher education can attend universities, which generally require four years of study to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

See also  How to Transfer Credits From One Community College to Another

Reasons Behind the Unique Academic Calendar:

The traditional Japanese academic calendar has its roots in the agricultural society of the past. Historically, March was the end of the fiscal year for farmers, and they needed their children’s help during the busy spring planting season. As a result, schools aligned their calendars with the agricultural cycle.

Another reason for the April to March academic year is the cherry blossom season. The blooming of cherry blossoms is highly anticipated in Japan, representing new beginnings and fresh starts. Therefore, starting the academic year in April coincides with this national symbol of beauty and renewal.


Q: How does the Japanese academic calendar compare to the Western academic calendar?

A: The Japanese academic year begins in April and ends in March, which is different from the typical Western academic calendar, which starts in August or September and ends in May or June.

Q: Are there any breaks during the Japanese academic year?

A: Yes, there are breaks between each term. Students have a summer vacation of about six weeks, a winter break of about two weeks, and a spring break of two to three weeks.

Q: Do Japanese students have to attend school during weekends?

A: While it is not mandatory for students to attend school on Saturdays, some schools may have Saturday classes or extracurricular activities. However, Sundays are typically considered a rest day for students.

Q: Can students enter school at any time during the year?

A: In general, students enter school at the beginning of the academic year in April. However, there are cases where students may transfer to a new school at other times due to various circumstances.

See also  When Does School Start 2019-20

Q: How does the Japanese academic calendar affect university admissions?

A: The Japanese academic calendar aligns with the university admissions process, allowing students to graduate from high school in March and start their university studies in April.

In conclusion, the Japanese academic calendar follows a unique system that starts in April and ends in March. Graduation ceremonies are held in March, symbolizing the completion of the academic year. This calendar has its roots in the agricultural traditions of the past and aligns with the cherry blossom season, representing new beginnings. The system has been adapted to accommodate breaks between terms and allows for a smooth transition from one educational level to another.