top of page

Why Japanese University Students Do Not Study?

August 9, 2019

Hikaru Abe

Do you like to go to university? If so, what is the reason for you to go to university?

It is widely said the Japanese university students don't study hard. On the other hand, overseas university students study a lot for four years.These days disadvantages of Japanese university students are gradually becoming apparent.

Current Situation in Japan

“University is the spring break of life.This is a phrase that I often hear after entering university. As the words suggests, it is widely said that Japanese university students do not study hard. Figure 1and 2 shows the ratio of study time per week for American students and Japanese students. Comparing the study hours of Japanese and American first-year students, there was only one in seven students who do not study hard in the United States (less than six hours). In contrast, those who study less than six hours per week were two students in three in Japan. The difference between the United States and Japan wasis overwhelming.

Figure 1. Study Time for US Students

Figure 2. Study Time For Japanese Students

Source:CRUMP, University of Tokyo. National Survey of Student Engagement.

Currently, university students are said to study less than elementary school students. While 6th graders study over 5 hours per day,university students study about 3.5 hours. In non-academic learning, 6th graders spent more than 0.6 hours a day and college students did less than 0.5 hours a day.

In foreign countries,students often study from morning to night.Otherwise, it is very hard to speak up in classes.Most Japanese students just sit down and listen to the lectures during the classes, but in overseas students are going to classes to make their comments to understand the contents deeply.

Rationale of Not Study Hard

In Japan, many high schools have campus rules and, uniforms., Sometimes, even hair style is limited by regulation. Moreover, high school students must study very hard to pass the entrance examination of university.

Once they entered university, many students are burnt out. At the same time, as a higher-education student, they suddenly became free to do anything. They do not have to take all the classes every day and in many cases, no one will take care even if students skip the class. Some students work as part-timer after school. Such type of self-responsibility which student can freely decide everything is something like a “paradise” for young people. In other words, they are easy to end up in no study at all.

However, no matter how hard you study hard at the university, it won’t make you particularly advantageous in the job hunting activities. This is because many Japanese companies rarely evaluate the candidates by university grades. Rather, they judge the applicant by non-academic record such as school brand, club activities, and other student life experience. Japanese students do not receive a fair academic by companies. Naturally, this would undermine the students’ motivation to study hard at universities.

On the other hand, international companies, as a matter of course, ask the applicants to refer the academic results during the recruitment process. Companies select employees by GPA (Grade Point Average), which is calculated based on the academic performance. For this reason, it is very beneficial for students to work hard at university to improve their grades.

How to Make Japanese University Students Study

To make university students to study hard like high school students, they need to set some clear goals. It is important for companies and organizations outside the university to fairly and strictly judge the students’ academic record and create a system in which grades have a direct impact on recruitment.


(Originally published in Pixels. Pixbay photo)





bottom of page