Q Why does the new school year in Japan begin in April?

A The modern educational system in Japan began with the educational system promulgated in 1872 modeled after the French school system which began in April.

At one time during the Taisho period (1912- 26), there were schools that began in September, but since the fiscal year in Japan begins in April and ends in March of the following year, it was deemed more convenient in many aspects to begin in April.

April is the height of spring when the cherry blossoms bloom and a most suitable time for a new stati; hence, an April start was accepted as a matter of comse. The Japanese are sensitive to the change in seasons and believe that the American system of beginning in September in the fall with the cold of winter already on its way as unnatural.

Differences in the school-year system cause some inconvenience to students who wish to study abroad in the United States. A half year is wasted waiting to get in and oftentimes another year is wasted when coming back to the Japanese university because of having to repeat a year. Entering a well-known university on the first try is con-sidered something to be proud of (but certainly not something to be complimented on) and when a student fails to get in on the first try, another year has to be spent preparing for the entrance examination again. It is an inconvenience to have to spend an extra one or two years to graduate.