Bukatsu - School clubs in Japan - Extracurricular activities

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If you are in the habit of watching anime you should remember that in Japanese schools there are school clubs. In this article we are going to talk about several fun facts 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 function as training for their career and adult life. In some schools you are required to be part of a club. 

What are Kurabu and Bukatsu?

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

Each club usually receives its own room or facility, it needs an advisor (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 don't like the idea of clubs because it can take a long time depending on which club you belong to. Some stay up at night at school, others need to attend even on weekends.

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

That is why some students end up creating and joining a club that does practically nothing and with few presence obligations, such as the reading club and even the nap club.

School clubs in japan - how are they? How it works?

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

Many clubs campaign to recruit new members, as there is a danger that the club will close due to a lack of members. You can leave and join a club at any time. The main objective of clubs 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 do not require or depend on the club you belong to, many students in high school have a partial job, hindering their presence in clubs that require a lot of dedication as sports clubs. 

Students who do not belong to any club or lack club activities are called kitakubu (帰宅部). The possibilities for creating a club are endless. There are sports clubs, art, cooking, kendo, manga, animation or anything else that 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 a college volunteer.

Bukatsu - school clubs in japan - extracurricular activities

The limits and rules for the creation and administration of 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 that students spend.

In school clubs, in addition to ties between students, it is also applied to senpai and kouhai culture. Many newbies who join sports clubs wait for years to participate in competitions between schools.

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. 

Nowadays, when you enter higher education, you often get credit for achievements in school clubs. In some schools there is no minimum limit for members, but there is usually a maximum limit.

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

Curiosities about school clubs in Japan

If you use the suffix -bu (部) to refer to clubs like baseball club (yakyuubu). Others prefer to use the suffix -kai meaning association or society. Let's see some more terms below:

  • undou-bu - 運動部 (sports clubs);
  • bunka-bu - 文化部 (cultural clubs);
School clubs in japan - how are they? How it works?

Sports clubs are clubs that require physical activities, cultural clubs involve 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 not supervised? If you watch animes, you should notice the little importance of the advisors 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 college;
  • Club members often go on vacation trips during activities;

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);
  • Japanese traditional arts (kimono, tea, floral arrangement, Japanese calligraphy);
  • Human relations (history, philosophy, politics, sociology) common in the faculties;
School clubs in japan - how are they? How it works?

School Club Anime

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

  • Suzumiya Haruhi (SOS);
  • Kuroko no Basket (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 research);
  • SKET Dance (help club);
School clubs in japan - how are they? How it works?

Have you ever been in a club? Is there a club you would like to join? Did you remember any anime about school clubs in Japan that was not mentioned in this list? We would like your comment and sharing! Thanks! We also recommend reading:

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