A Comparative Study of Effort and Examinations in Japan and England

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 1:00 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Kiyotake OKAWA , The Department of Sociology, Teikyo University, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan
This paper compares Japanese and English emphases on effort from two analytical perspectives : cultural and institutional. The cultural perspective examines the Japanese cultural belief that natural gifts are equally distributed in society, while the institutional perspective examines the competitive entrance examination selection system, colloquially known as “examination hell.”  

    It is clear that an emphasis on effort has permeated Japanese society. However, recent rapid economic growth has made Japan more affluent, which in turn has undermined cultural emphasis on effort. On the other hand, English culture perpetuates the concept that natural gifts are unequally distributed, which also undermines cultural focus on effort. In this paper, I will discuss the similarities and differences in these two societies’ approaches to effort and examinations.