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started out as a country with a Meiji leader focused on war. With the
development of the Tokugawa era in 1603, Japan focused less on war and more on educating
its people. “From the middle of the 19th century the Samurai, while retaining
their social status, replaced their swords with pens to become the bureaucrats
who ran the country (OECD, 2011).” For a long time, Japan’s government used
this system. A visit from Matthew Perry in 1868 and talks of trade not
benefiting Japan led to the overthrowing of the Tokuwaga era and the
reinstatement of the Meiji. Japan felt it had something to prove in terms of respect.

was placed on the education system when Japan determined that it didn’t have
many natural resources. Japan needed to know what other nation’s benchmarks
were in order to determine their own. Robert Fisher, in an interview with OECD,
stated that:

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Realising that advanced
education, Science and technology had made possible the industrial strength
that had made the “opening” of Japan to the West possible, these Japanese
officials came back to Japan determined to match the achievements of the West
in education, science and technology and upgrade their military. (OECD, 2011, p.

Japan modeled
most of its education system after Germany with rankings of private, national,
and public universities. With the added combination of the French order in administration,
ethics in England, and the United States teaching method of lecturing, Japan
excelled. Several of the universities in Japan, including the University of
Tokyo, are ranked at the highest level across the world. Entrance exams are
required for high schools and universities. “The exams emphasise memorising and
accumulating facts and mastering procedures, rather than analytical thinking,
creativity or the capacity for innovation (OECD, 2011).” Japan’s education
system consist of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs. An
academic year only consist of two semesters while the Western has three. The
most popular of the four degrees is the master’s. The following explains Irina
Novikova’s view on the grading system in Japan:

Most universities employ a four
scale grading system with the following grades: C-Average/Pass, B-Good, A-Very
Good, and S-Excellent. As a rule, your grade is based on such things as
attendance, presentation or a final paper of around 3000 letters and in some
cases, participation in the class. (Novikova, 2017)

is very different from the Western system of education where the bachelor’s
degree is the most popular and the grading system includes grades A, B, C, D,
and F with + and – implemented in each letter grade. By developing a more
modern system in Japan, the country was able to educate its citizens.

Japan, students learn the same thing regardless of what part of the country
they are located in. They are expected to attend class everyday, follow the
rules, and show respect. Any student that doesn’t follow the rules is a direct
reflection of his/her mother. According to White (as cited in OECD, 2011), sociologists describe how
Japanese mothers are expected by society to make sacrifices for their children
who, in return, are expected to perform well in school. The Western society
doesn’t put this much pressure on students or their parents. “This sense of
being enveloped by the uncritical love of a group is called “wa” – a vitally
important concept in Japanese society (OECD, 2011).” No
one wants to be deemed an outcast for failure to act accordingly. The
reputation will follow him/her and he/she will be shunned.

Japan, there is an emphasis placed on hard work. One is able to determine that
by the amount of time and dedication each task takes to complete. “Japanese
employers are mainly interested in three things: applied intelligence, the
capacity to learn, and the capacity to work hard and persist in the face of
difficulty (OECD, 2011).” The exams determine a student’s place in society and
if he/she is open to the idea of learning. Jobs are usually determined by the
results of the exams. The Western system base the hiring of an individual on
his/her education and work experience. More often than not, individuals do not
stay with that same job for the rest of their life, which the same thing can’t
be said about the Japanese.

is a very important part of the Japanese culture. After working so hard
tirelessly, it’s important for them to meditate. Shinto and Buddhism are the
most prominent religions of Japan. “The pre-condition of Shinto in the long
Japanese history that we’ve been living our life, so we open our hearts to gods
and then we feel like god is with us alive” (Japan
: Tradition & Culture, 2015). They
pray to different gods including the god of plants. Environmental beliefs are
prevalent in Japan.

rationales play a role in the establishment of higher education when it comes
to internationalization. According to de Wit, Knight, and Lim (as cited by
Bradford, 2015, p. 49), the academic rationale for internationalization assumes
that adding an international dimension to teaching, research and service will
enhance the quality of higher education. When Japan developed its 300,000
student plan and the Ministry of Education,
Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), it had this in mind.
This program was designed to bring in more students from other countries to
study in Japan. Students were either recruited by their country, university or state.
“Throughout the process, you will have to present your intended research plan,
take an exam in both English and Japanese, and go through the interview at the
Japanese embassy with three Japanese professors” (Novikova, 2017). Full tuition
and flight fees are covered through MEXT.

question of “why” institutions seek to internationalize started to receive
structured attention in the 1990s (de Wit, 2002), and the rationales proposed
by Knight and de Wit (1995; Knight, 1999) have become the most widely
recognized set of motivations for the internationalization of higher education”
(Bradford, 2015, p. 49). By working with different groups of people,
individuals can better understand different cultures. Martial arts, anime, and
automobiles are just a few things that Japan has contributed to the Western
system. American pop culture and fashion are some other things that have been
influenced by the Japanese. We have learned so much about the Japanese culture
through these forms. If it had not been for internationalization, we may have
never experienced these things.

Japan is
still working on more ways to internationalize. They will be hosting the 2020
Summer Olympics. Events like this will bring more economic resources and
attention to Japan. As for political rationale, Annette Bradford uses a good example of how it had an impact during the
Cold War below:

During this time, for example,
international affairs became a major funding area for the U.S. government
(Hayward, 2000) and the United States established various agencies and
programs, such as the Office of International Information and Cultural Affairs
and the Fulbright Program to promote cultural exchange and U.S. national
interests (Scott-Smith, 2008). Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, The United
Kingdom and Japan have all in the past used technical assistance to developing
countries as an important part of their foreign policy (de Wit, 2002; Kogan
& Kogan, 1983; Ninomiya, Knight, & Watanabe, 2009).

Our Western system had a significant impact on
Japan’s higher education system, not the other way around. We have been influenced
by Japan in other ways like the designing of new cars. In conclusion, history
will continue to influence American colleges and universities with the impact
of globalization and internationalization. 

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