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Nihonjin gakkō (日本人学校 Nihonjin gakkō?), also called Japanese school, is a full day school outside of Japan for native speakers of Japanese. It is an expatriate school designed for children whose parents are working on diplomatic, business, or educational missions overseas and have plans to go back to Japan for good.
The schools offer exactly the same curriculum used in public elementary and middle schools in Japan, so when the students go back to Japan, they will not fall behind in the class. Some schools accept Japanese citizens only, others welcome Japanese speaking students regardless of citizenship.
They are accredited by Japan's Ministry of education and science and receive funding from the Japanese government. Every school has teachers transferred from Japan on a 2 to 3 year assignment. They hire locals as Japanese speaking teachers, English and other language instructors, administrative assistants, gardeners, janitors and security guards. There are 85 schools worldwide as of April 2006, and all of these schools provide English classes in the primary education.
Schools that partially offer the Nihonjin gakko's curriculum after school hours or on weekends are sometimes called Japanese School too, but strictly speaking they are categorized as hoshū jugyō kō or hoshūkō, a supplementary school.
As Japan recovered after World War II increased numbers of Japanese international schools serving elementary and junior high school levels opened around the world. The Ministry of Education of Japan, as of 1985, encouraged the development of nihonjin gakkō, in developing countries, while it encouraged the opening of hoshū jugyō kō, or part-time supplementary schools, in developed countries. However some Japanese parents in developed countries, in addition to those in developing countries, campaigned for the opening of nihonjin gakkō in developed countries due to concern about the education of their children.
In 1971, there were 22 nihonjin gakkō worldwide. During the postwar rapid economic growth in 1950s to early 1970s and Japanese asset price bubble in 1980s, the country gained economic power and many Sogo shoshas and major industries sent their employees all over the world. That was when many Nihonjin gakkos were established to educate their children in Asia, Europe, Middle East, North, Central and South America. The number of nihonjin gakkō increased to 82 by 1987.
In the early 1980s, 40% of Japanese national children living in Europe attended nihonjin gakkō, while almost 95% of Japanese national children living abroad in Asia attended nihonjin gakkō.
Many Japanese parents abroad often sent their children to Japan to attend high school after they completed the junior high school years abroad, or leaving the children behind, so they could become accustomed to the difficult Japanese university entrance systems. Toshio Iwasaki, the editor of the Journal of Japanese Trade & Industry, stated that this reason inhibited the development of Japanese senior high schools in other countries. The first overseas international schools that served the senior high school level were the Rikkyo School in England, gaining senior high school level classes after 1975, and the Lycée Seijo in France, which opened in 1986. By 1991 Japanese international senior high schools were in operation in the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, Denmark, and Ireland.
By 1991 many overseas Japanese high schools were accepting students who were resident in Japan, and some wealthier families resident in Japan chose to send their children to Japanese schools abroad instead of Japanese schools in Japan.
However, for its rapidly growing economy, China is an exception. Schools in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong have been expanding and new schools had founded in Dalian, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Qingdao, Suzhou since 1991.
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See the complete list here. Nihonjin Gakkos tend to be in the following three types of areas in the world.
- Area with a big Japanese temporary resident population such as London and New York. Many students are staying only for a few years for their parent's business. Often, these schools will rent a school for use on the weekends, if they don't have their own school.
- Area where English is not the official language such as Düsseldorf, São Paulo, Dubai, and Kuala Lumpur. Many parents would send their child to a local school if they live in an English-speaking country.
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Since the early 1990s more parents have chosen a local school or an international school over a Nihonjin gakko.
- The parents prefer the children to receive education in English.
Nihonjin gakko has only elementary and middle schools (Grade 1 through 9) that are mandatory in Japan. Some offer a kindergarten program as well as a high school program but it is uncommon. The children educated in English-speaking environment will be able to continue their education where they live with their parents. Otherwise they need to pass the entrance exam to enroll in a boarding school in Japan or one of the seven (as of October 2006) Japanese boarding schools worldwide.
- The parents take advantage of the situation and let the children be exposed to local culture and make non-Japanese friends.
- Many of private and public Japanese schools have become flexible and accepts expatriate students by having a separate requirements for admissions or offering exams in English.
List of Nihonjin Gakkos
As of October 2006
- Bandung Japanese School
- Sekolah Jepang Jakarta
- Surabaya Japanese School
- People's Republic of China
- Republic of China (Taiwan)
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- See Europe
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
- Chicago Futabakai Japanese School  (Chicago, Illinois)
- Ikuei Gakuen (Japanese Children's Society)  ([Englewood Cliffs, NJ])
- The Greenwich Japanese School (a.k.a. New York Japanese School)  (Greenwich, Connecticut)
- The New Jersey Japanese School  (Oakland, New Jersey)
- Japanese School of Guam  (Guam)
- Other schools catering to Japanese in the U.S. include Keio Academy of New York and Seigakuin Atlanta International School
Central and South America
- The Japanese School of Buenos Aires
- Santiago Japanese School
- Association Cultural Japonesa (in Bogotá)
- Costa Rica
- Escuela Japonesa de San José
- Escuela Japonesa en Guatemala
- The Japanese School of Panama
- Colegio Japones en Asunción
- Colegio Japones de Caracas
- Czech Republic
- Japonska Skola v Praze
- Japanese Community School of Athens
- The Budapest Japanese School
- Japanese School in Warsaw
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- Guam (U.S.)
- Ben-Ari, Eyal and John Clammer. Japan in Singapore: Cultural Occurrences and Cultural Flows. Routledge, 4 July 2013. ISBN 1136116184, 9781136116186. page unstated (Google Books PT34). "The biggest Japanese school in the world is in Singapore."
- Hui, Tsu Yun. Japan and Singapore: A Multidisciplinary Approach. McGraw-Hill Education (Asia), 2006. ISBN 0071256237, 9780071256230. p. 278. "The Japanese school in Singapore has become the largest school of its kind outside Japan;[...]"
- Iwasaki, Toshio. "Japanese Schools Take Root Overseas." Journal of Japanese Trade & Industry. Japan Economic Foundation (JEF, Kokusai Keizai Kōryū Zaidan), No. 5, 1991. Contributed to Google Books by the JEF. p. 24. "The number of overseas elementary and junior high schools for Japanese children has increased in postwar years in parallel with the growth of the Japanese economy and the surge in the number of Japanese corporate employees dispatcheda broad. However, there was nosenior Japanese high school outside Japan until Rikkyo School in England was founded in 1972 in the suburbs of London. It remained the only overseas Japanese senior high school for the next 14 years."
- Goodman, Roger. "The changing perception and status of kikokushijo." In: Goodman, Roger, Ceri Peach, Ayumi Takenaka, and Paul White (editors). Global Japan: The Experience of Japan's New Immigrant and Overseas Communities. Routledge, June 27, 2005. p. 179. "Official policy (see Monbusho, 1985) was that Nihonjingakko should be set up in developing countries, hoshuko in the developed world."
- "INFORMATION IN ENGLISH." (Archive) Rikkyo School in England. Retrieved on 8 January 2014. "Guildford Road,Rudgwick,W-Sussex RH12 3BE ENGLAND"
- Iwasaki, Toshio. "Japanese Schools Take Root Overseas." Journal of Japanese Trade & Industry. Japan Economic Foundation (JEF, Kokusai Keizai Kōryū Zaidan), No. 5, 1991. Contributed to Google Books by the JEF. p. 25.
- "The New Jersey Japanese School." GreatSchools.