Bukatsu – School clubs in Japan

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If you have the custom of watching animes you should remember that in Japanese schools there are school clubs. School clubs called kurabu (クラブ) are extracurricular matters that students themselves elaborate and organize, it is also common to use the term bukatsu (部活) in high school. In this article we will talk various curiosities about school clubs in Japan that provide tons of unforgettable experiences and memories!

Each club usually receives its own room or installation, it needs a counselor (teacher) to supervise and advise the club and also from a president (kaicho). School clubs are taken seriously because they function as training for their career and adulthood. Some schools require clubs to have a minimum number of members (usually 5).

In some schools it is obliged to be part of a club. Many don’t like the idea of clubs because it can take a lot of time depending on the club you’re part of. Some stay until night at school, others need to attend meetings even on weekends.

School club activities take place after school period and last up to about 5 to 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 virtually nothing and with few presence obligations, such as the reading club and even the snooze club.

School clubs in Japan - How are they? How does it work?

It is very common for students to be stressed when entering or choosing a club, because it will determine their academic performance and the friendships that will be made between all 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 go out and join a club at any time. Clubs have the main objective, not only stimulate activities such as sports, games, arts, music and others; but also promote intense socialization.

How school clubs work in Japan

Some schools require the participation of the club’s activities. Others do not require or depend on the club you belong to, many high school students have a partial job, somewhat hindering the presence in clubs that require a lot of dedication as sports clubs. Students who do not belong to any club or lack the club’s activities are called kitakubu ()

Bukatsu - School clubs in Japan - telhado saia 1

There are endless possibilities to create a club. There are sports clubs, art, cooking, kendo, mango, animation or anything else students have an interest in doing. To set up a club just have the required number of members, a counselor, a proposal and purpose and sometimes a sponsor or college volunteer.

The limits and rules for creating and managing clubs are defined in 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 strict. Some foreigners criticize the idea because of the trends and time students spend. In school clubs in addition to the links between students, the culture of senpai and kouhai is also applied. Many newcomers entering sports clubs wait up to years to participate in competitions between schools.

Some members develop their skills for the professional level, and some schools have teams that become national. Some participate in clubs just as a hobby or to be with friends. Nowadays, when entering higher education, you can often get credit for achievements in school clubs. 

In some schools there is no minimum limit of members, but usually has a maximum limit. Sometimes some members are removed from the club due to lack of experience or for having entered last.

Curiosities about Japan’s school clubs

You use the suffix –bu ()to refer to clubs such as a baseball club (yakyuubu). Others prefer to use suffix –kai which means association or society. Let’s see a few more terms below:

  • undou-bu – (sports clubs);
  • bunka-bu – (cultural clubs);
School clubs in Japan - How are they? How does it work?

Sports clubs are clubs that require physical activity, cultural clubs involve any club that does not require physical activity. Even sports like shogi or classical music are in the cultural category.

Aren’t Japanese school clubs really supervised? If you watch animes you should realize the little importance of 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 in college;
  • Club members usually take trips for activities during the holidays;

Are we going to list some school clubs? 

  • Basketball, dance, badminton, handball, rugby, baseball, swimming, athletics, ping pong;
  • Arts (theater, cinema, photography, painting, dance, literature);
  • Traditional Japanese arts (kimono, tea, floral arrangement, Japanese calligraphy);
  • Human relations (history, philosophy, politics, sociology) common in colleges;
School clubs in Japan - How are they? How does it work?

Animes about school clubs

Every year are released several animes that show activities of school clubs. Virtually every anime that takes place in a school shows the kurabu or bukatsu. Making a list of anime about this is unlikely. Let’s mention now the best animes that show a student’s life at a school club in Japan.

  • Suzumiya Haruhi (SOS);
  • Kuroko at Basket (basketball);
  • Ace of Diamond (baseball);
  • Haikyuu (volleyball);
  • Free, 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 research);
  • SKET Dance (help club);
School clubs in Japan - How are they? How does it work?

Have you ever attended a club? Do you have a club you’d like to be a part of? Did you remember any anime about school clubs in Japan that wasn’t mentioned on this list? We would like your comment and sharing! Thank you! We recommend reading also:

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