Academic grading in Japan

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In Japan, each school has a different grading system. Many universities use the following set of categories:

Grade in Japanese (Kanji) English translation Corresponding percentage 4-scale university
shū (秀) Exemplary, excellent S (90–100%), rarely given
yū (優) Very good A (80–89%) A (80–100%)
ryō (良) Good B (70–79%) B (70–79%)
ka (可) Average, pass C (60–69%) C (60–69%)
nin (認)[a] Approved, acceptable D/F (50–59%), not common D/F (50–59%), not common
fuka (不可) Unacceptable, failed F (0–59% or 0–49%) F (0–59% or 0–49%)

Public schooling below the high school level is classified as compulsory education (義務教育, gimu-kyōiku), and every Japanese child is required to attend school until they pass middle school. An interesting phenomenon is that even if an individual student fails a course, they may pass with their class regardless of grades on tests. The grades on tests have no effect on schooling until taking entrance exams to get into high school.

Parents often send their children to cram schools (, Juku) or private schools, for test training purposes.

Most national universities employ a 4-scale grading system (only with A, B, C and F). Below-average students are given an F, and are encouraged to retake the same subject(s) in the following semesters.


  1. ^ Nin or gou (合) is sometimes used when you pass without grading for some reason , for example when you used credit transfer or adopting grade scale is not suitable for the class.


  • Ellen E. Mashiko, (1989), "VI Admissions-Related Issues, Grading Systems and Academic Credentials", Japan: a study of the educational system of Japan and a guide to the academic placement of students in educational institutions of the United States, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers