Bukatsu – School clubs in Japan – Extracurricular activities

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If you are used to watching anime, remember that in Japanese schools there are school clubs. In this article, we are going to talk about several curiosities about school clubs in Japan known as bukatsu or simply kurabu.

These clubs provide tons of unforgettable experiences and memories! School clubs are taken seriously because they serve as training for your career and adult life. In some schools it is mandatory to be part of a club. 

What are Kurabu and Bukatsu?

School clubs called kurabu (クラブ) are extracurricular subjects that students develop and organize themselves, it is also common to use the term bukatsu (部活 – club activity) in high school. 

Each club usually gets its own room or facility, it needs a counselor (teacher) to supervise and advise the club and also a president (kaicho). Some schools require clubs to have a minimum number of members (usually 5).

Many people don't like the idea of clubs because it can take a lot of time depending on which club you are a part of. Some stay late at school, others have to attend meetings even on weekends.

School club activities take place after school period and last up to about 5-7 hours, sometimes you need to get together even before school.

That's why some students end up creating and joining a club that does practically nothing and with few attendance obligations, such as the book club and even the nap club.

School clubs in japan - How is it? How it works?

It is very common for students to get stressed when joining or choosing a club, because that will determine their academic performance and the friendships that will be made among the entire koukousei (high school).

Many clubs campaign to recruit new members, as there is a danger that the club will close due to lack of members. You can leave and join a club at any time. The clubs' main objective is not only to stimulate activities such as sports, games, arts, music and others; but also to promote intense socialization.

How school clubs work in Japan

Some schools require participation in club activities. Others don't oblige or it depends on the club you belong to, many high school students have a part-time job, hindering their presence in clubs that require a lot of dedication such as sports clubs. 

Students who do not belong to any club or miss club activities are called kitakubu (帰宅部). The possibilities for creating a club are endless. There are clubs for sports, art, cooking, kendo, manga, animation, or anything else students are interested in doing. 

To set up a club, it is enough to have the necessary number of members, an advisor, a proposal and objective and sometimes a sponsor or volunteer from the college.

Bukatsu - school clubs in japan - extracurricular activities

The limits and rules for creating and administering clubs are defined at each school. Sometimes the student council is responsible for approving and monitoring the creation of a club.

The level of commitment required for bukatsu is notoriously rigorous. Some foreigners criticize the idea because of the trends and time students spend.

In school clubs, in addition to the bonds between students, it is also applied to senpai and kouhai culture. Many newcomers who join sports clubs wait up to years to participate in inter-school competitions.

Some members develop their skills to the professional level, and some schools have teams that become national. Some join clubs just as a hobby or to be with friends. 

These days, when entering higher education, you often get credit for accomplishments in school clubs. In some schools there is no minimum membership limit, but usually there is a maximum limit.

Sometimes some members are removed from the club due to lack of experience or having joined last.

Fun facts about school clubs in Japan

The suffix is used -boo (部) to refer to clubs such as baseball club (yakyuubu). Others prefer to use the suffix -kai which means association or society. Let's see some more terms below:

  • undou-boo – 運動部 (sports clubs);
  • bunka-bu – 文化部 (cultural clubs);
School clubs in japan - How is it? How it works?

Sports clubs are clubs that require physical activities, cultural clubs involves any club that does not require physical activities. Even sports like shogi or classical music fall into the cultural category.

Are Japanese school clubs really unsupervised? If you watch anime, you must realize the little importance of the counselors or teachers who sponsor or are responsible for the club. 

The reality is that many Japanese schools want to allow children to learn to be autonomous, make their own decisions, do paperwork, manage money and gain leadership skills.

  • School clubs are also available at the college;
  • Club members often travel for activities during vacations;

Shall we list some school clubs? 

  • Basketball, dancing, badminton, handball, rugby, baseball, swimming, athletics, ping pong;
  • Arts (theatre, cinema, photography, painting, dance, literature);
  • Japanese traditional arts (kimono, tea, floral arrangement, Japanese calligraphy);
  • Human relations (history, philosophy, politics, sociology) common in faculties;
School clubs in japan - How is it? How it works?

Anime about school clubs

Every year, several anime are released that show school club activities. Virtually every anime that takes place in a school shows kurabu or bukatsu. Making a list of anime about this is unlikely. We are now going to mention the best anime that show the life of a student in a school club in Japan.

  • Suzumiya Haruhi (SOS);
  • Kuroko no Basketball (basketball);
  • Ace of Diamond (baseball);
  • Haikyuu (volleyball);
  • Free! (swimming);
  • Charlotte (Student Council);
  • Hyouka (classical literature);
  • Love Live! (Idol);
  • K-on (light music);
  • OreGairu (services);
  • Chihayafuru (Karuta);
  • Haganai (Approach Club);
  • Kokoro Connect (cultural survey);
  • SKET Dance (help club);
School clubs in japan - How is it? How it works?

Have you ever joined a club? Do you have a club you would like to be a part of? Remember any anime about school clubs in Japan that wasn't mentioned in this list? We would like your comment and sharing! Thanks! We also recommend reading:

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