Why do Japanese School Hold the Entrance Ceremony in April?
It is based on the Japanese culture and customs. It’s greatly influenced by a government policy from the Taisho era (1912-1926).
In the Meiji era(1868-1912) when the Western culture has widely spread, it was general that a school term starts in September in Japan as well. However, the government has introduced their fiscal term from April to March under “Fukoku Kyohei” (富国強兵, ふこくきょうへい, a policy to enrich the country and to strengthen the military). It first shifted the entry timing to a military to April, then it’s also affected to the school term. This movement has also changed high school and university’s term to be from April with the government policy in Taisho era (1912-1926). Later, the entrance to school was set to take place in April.
Other national exams and job interviews are also carried out in April in Japan, followed by the April entrance custom. We normally have five entrance ceremonies (*1) in our life on average in Japan, “April”, “new term” and “cherry blossoms” are all associated for us.
- Kindergarten (入園式, nyuuen shiki)
- Elementary school
- Junior high school
- High school
Every year Japanese people see cherry blossoms in April, they make us feel nostalgic with the memories like when we started our new life, and feel lonely to live away from our friends and family who has spent in both good and bad times. Japanese people have mixed feelings such as expectation, anxious, nostalgia and loneliness towards cherry blossoms in April.
There is a school which doesn’t hold an entrance ceremony. A combined school (elementary, junior and senior high school) holds an entrance ceremony only when entering to the elementary level. In addition, if you enter to several universities or graduate schools, you could participate in all the ceremonies.