“I out own, the pressure to perform

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"I am a human being even though I cry a lot.

I want to become strong and walk." -Koji Kanai (12 year old mentally disabled girl) The beginning of the modern era of schooling in Japan came about in mid way through the 19th century. Thefirst changes came along with the Meiji Restoration in 1868. This is the time schooling was opened to every member of society, regardless of class, family status, etc.; as said in the Decree of Encouragement of Learning(1872): "From this time onward, everyone irrespective of class origins such as nobility, military, farmer, artisan, or merchant, and irrespective of one's sex, ought to learn, so that there should be no family without learning throughout the village and no person without learning in the family.

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.." While education at advanced levels was still very expensive at this period in time, the Second World War brought about new changes in the educational system. The second big change in Japanese education was the reform under the policies of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. This new system was modeled after the American system, while the old British-type system was removed.

This new system consisted of a "6-3-3-4" arrangement of schools. Students spent six years in elementary school, three in junior high school, three in high school and four at a higher education facility. While the Japanese arrangement of schools was modeled after out own, the pressure to perform academically differs greatly. Gambaru (persistence) is the key element to the Japanese student.

Gambaru is not just a saying students live by, but is an entire theory of learning; it is "used among members of a group to encourage each other in cooperative activities". While Americans place the emphasis on IQ, intelligence, and talent, Japanese professors see IQ scores of no importance. They view the comparison of IQ score as irrelevant and do not label anyone…


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