Juku: tutoring in Japan

School reinforcement aims to help students understand the subjects that were taught in the classroom. In Japan there are some forms of this type of reinforcement which is known as Juku (学習 塾) or Gakken. These tutoring classes are separate private lessons and usually take place 7 days a week outside of regular school hours.

Juku are private schools that pay fees and offer supplementary classes, as if it were a preparatory course for entrance exams to school and university. Juku is usually performed after the school hours, on weekends and during school holidays.

Juku: tutoring in japan - school japan
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How did Juku start?

In the 70s and 80s, these tutoring classes already existed, and it was during this period that they gained more notoriety in Japan. There was a great increase in the number of students, but mainly among those in elementary school (compulsory).

This did not have a positive effect according to the Ministry of Education, as if many students were looking for tutoring, then in theory it would be because normal education was not enough. With that, some guidelines were made in common schools to reduce the search for school reinforcement. Such a measure did not have as much effect.

Juku has gone through a lot of changes recently. Teaching is no longer just school reinforcement, but a complement to help the student to leave school even more capable. There are two types of Juku: academic and non-academic, the choice will depend on what level of education the student is and what they want to achieve.

School reinforcement - juku: school reinforcement in japan

How does tutoring work?

In Japan, tutoring classes are not mandatory, but when the student wants to improve his understanding of the subject or to prepare for tests of great importance. he resorts to that feature. At least 20% of students have already started to attend Juku in preschool. The goal is to pass the exams of elementary school admissions.

When children enter elementary school (7th, 8th, and 9th grade Chuugaku), they begin to prepare for high school (Koukou). So some parents already think it's appropriate to put them in another Juku. And when he's in high school, his concern is to prepare for the entrance exam. But only if the person wants to study further because high school is not mandatory in Japan.

School reinforcement helps these students to be able to study in great schools in high school. Many of these high schools have technical specialization. There are schools for students who want to be civil servants, for those who want to enter prestigious colleges or for those who want to study languages or become nurses, farmers or mechanics.


In some countries, such as Brazil and the United States, they have the Juku structure aimed at Japanese students who ended up in another country because of work done by the country, but who intend to return to their country of origin in the future. The advantage is that the child will not be left behind in relation to other Japanese students. Those students who do Juku outside the Japanese territory take tests and simulations in order to know their knowledge regarding the Japanese school average.

Children go back and forth to schools in Japan alone! Because?

academic and non-academic juku

According to the String Fixer website (stringfixer.com) the non-academic Juku is the one aimed at extracurricular classes. It's not tutoring, but extra lessons of new learning and skills. Usually younger children who attend non-academic Juku. The classes given are generally: piano, languages, art, japanese calligraphy (shodō), swimming and abacus lessons (soroban).

Academic Juku can be divided into categories:

  • Small and medium-sized local cursive schools;
  • Schools to rescue children who have dropped out or who avoid regular school; 
  • franchise cram schools;
  • Other different types of courses. 

In 2011 alone, 1 and every 5 children attended tutoring classes. This number was greater than the number of students aiming to go to college. The amounts paid in Juku annually were around 260 thousand yen.

Academic Juku offers math, Japanese language, science, English and social studies as required subjects. These are more geared towards students who choose to take a “cram course” in order to pass the high school entrance exam. Although, for us it may seem quite tiring for a child to study so much, in general the ones who go to Juku really enjoy it!

Children go back and forth to schools in Japan alone! Because?

This type of education has been questioned a lot. Even more in relation to these tutoring classes. Those who choose to do it live to study and most are small children. Japan is known for having a good education, but not all students are able to access Juku.

Juku can help those who have an education in a public school, but those who study at this school are not always able to pay Juku for their children. And parents certainly want them to have a good education on the same level as the others.

What did you think of Japanese tutoring classes?