Fighting for the Right to Homeschool in Japan: It's Gonna be an Interesting Year. アンスクーリングについて、日本語と英語のポスト・動画

in #familyprotection4 years ago (edited)

My son Isaiah in his mech warrior, ready to learn 24/7.


My son will turn 6 next year.

That is the age of compulsory school attendance here in Japan. We're not going to go that route. As my in-depth and years-long study of elementary education and child psychology have taught me--both in practice and in theory--school is a place that systematically retards learning, and not one that encourages it, generally speaking.

To be fair, my wife and I haven't had to "fight" yet.

Here in Japan, it is more like "working around." That said, we just put out a call on a local Facebook community page, in English and Japanese, asking if there were any other homeschooling, unschooling, or even futouko ("school refuser") children around that we could network with.

My wife got a prompt response from a Japanese acquaintance, saying that this is "impossible," and will make life much harder for my son. She also mentioned the law.

What does Japanese law say about homeschooling/unschooling?

Basically, like all other areas of law everywhere, the law is somewhat vague. On the surface, however, homeschooling, as such, is basically illegal by most interpretations.

What the School Law on Education 学校教育法 says:

— point 1 under Chapter 22 says that parents, legal guardians or person to which the custody of all children is entrusted are obligated to send all children 6 years of age to school from the beginning of the school term of first grade until the completion of the completion of the grade they are in when they become 12 years old. This section deals with grades of ages between 6 and 12 years old. All children must attend elementary school whether they be blind, deaf or disabled in anyway, or the ones that are in the protective institutes in Japan. So it seems that children must complete elementary school. And if parents or guardians continue to refuse, there is a provision for penalties see article 21,22,39.


In spite of this, there are thousands of children in Japan that do not attend school. Some are homeschooled, some are unschooled, and some are labeled "school refusers" ("problem children," in a sense) or futouko.

Though the law here seems pretty clear, there are special provisions made for children pursuing alternative routes to education such as attending an international school, a "free school" (for "school refusers"), and etc. On top of this, Japan has also ratified the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states:

Art 5 (1) The States Parties to this Convention agree that: 1(b) It is essential to respect the liberty of parents and, where applicable, of legal guardians, firstly to choose for their children institutions other than those maintained by the public authorities but conforming to such minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the competent authorities

So you see, things are never as clear and dead-end as some folks try to make them. Most homeschooling parents are not penalized, and if I am not mistaken, the penalty for non-compliance is a mere ¥10,000 fine (about 100 USD). Individual school boards and local authorities deal with the situation in myriad ways. My main concern is to find out how I can not have these people bother me, or attempt to interfere in my family, and keep them at bay.

So my challenge now is not only to build a community, but to learn the law, and be flexible enough to work with the local "authorities" so that I get my way.

I am currently reaching out to Japanese and Bi-cultural families here who have not enrolled their children in school. I need a support network. As I have mentioned, the cultural backlash is real.

Families that are Japanese or bicultural often face great opposition from grandparents and other relatives to parents who opt out of the public/private Japanese school system. The community around the family will display disbelief, suspicion about the stability of the family and some ostracism may occur. However, Japanese parents can resort to a range of institutions in educational supplemention in Japan.


Please watch my video on the topic. Forgive the bad Japanese. この動画を見てください。バラバラ日本語すみません。からのアンスクーリング説明:

「ホームスクーリング」というのは、子どもが学校に行くのではなく、家庭や、図書館、博物館、公園などの地域のリソース(資源)を利用しながら子ども が学んでいくのを大人がサポートしていく「共育」の方法です。欧米では義務教育の方法として、法的、社会的にも認められ、選択する家庭が増え続けていま す。

日本の現状ではホームスクーリングが認知されておらず、子どもは学校に行っているのが当たり前とされる社会なので、社会的な圧迫があり、孤立しやすい 状況があるのは事実です。ですから、地域でホームスクーリングのグループをつくったり、ネットワークをつくって他地域のグループやホームスクーラーと情報 を交換したり交流をすることで、孤立することから逃れることができます。

不登校、登校拒否」がホームスクーリングを選択するきっかけになる場合が多いのですが、これは決して、学校に行かない状態がホームスクーリングと表 現されるということではありません。子どもも親も学校にこだわり、学校に戻らなければならないと思っている間は、ホームスクーリングとは呼べません。学校 へのこだわりがふっ切れ、家庭で学んでいくことに積極的な意味が見いだせるようになり、それ自体が学校に行くこととは別のもう一つの方法 一 オルタナティヴな教育の方法として親子で選び直した時に初めてホームスクーリングと呼べるのです。


A.ありません。子どもには「教育を受ける権利」があるのであり、親や国は、子どもが教育を受けるのを「保障する義務」があるのです。ですから、子どもが 学校に合わなかったり、行くのが嫌な場合は、学校に行かないで学ぶ権利があるわけですが、行政レベルでの制度的な対応ができていないために、非常に多くの 親子が困っていることは事実です。



Finally, I hope it is okay to use the "family protection" tag here, as started by @markwhittam and @candaian-coconut. CPS and similar organizations give me the creeps, and I would like to have a family of Steemians who know my story for support as we continue our unschooling journey!



Graham Smith is a Voluntaryist activist, creator, and peaceful parent residing in Niigata City, Japan. Graham runs the "Voluntary Japan" online initiative with a presence here on Steem, as well as Facebook and Twitter. (Hit me up so I can stop talking about myself in the third person!)


It's terrible how governments force us to attend their public indoctrination camps. They teach lies and bread ignorance with their propaganda they force down our throats for almost all of our childhood years.

Terrible is just the word. You said it.

Parents are the best supports of every child. As a free citizens of a country we should have the right to think and do best for our children. Thanks for keeping in touch with family protection group, in which the veturn steemians are working hard. Thanks wish you good luck for your efforts. Steem on my friend.

Thank you for posting.

Such a conundrum indeed....especially when parents only want what is best for their children.

An international organisation that may prove helpful in this regard may be HSLDA.....

Homeschooling Legal Defense Association

All the best.

Best of lucky my friend.I wish I had more advice for you. And if you were still in the United States I would have all kinds for you. But I am not familiar with the laws in Japan about home schooling.

cool looking mech warrior

I think so, too!

All the best to you on this journey of navigating Japanese laws about children's education.
I agree that it is a good idea to try and gather a community together to support you and others who are unschooling.

Thank you, @canadian-coconut. I really appreciate that.

Thanks for supporting my comments ma'am. As you are a greatest steemians of our community. I want share with you some of the real story of my area. I am a teacher and I work in a particular place where, I often had notish that most of the boy and girl get married bellow 18years.sometimes I noticed that girl who is reading in eight standard get married. This area is a village area where people are very poor and every year victimised vastly by flood. I often wonder what will be their future. How many years thay will have to live like this .I know I can't do anything for them but I feel very helpless for them. In our country The so called government only through the bones to the people and never think really good for them. Can I do something for them?please reply if you don't mind. Wish you a very beautiful time ahead, happy steeming.

Good luck with that buddy. You should have the right to chose, end of story. The state shouldn't have the right to force their BS hegemonic education onto your children without your say so.



Maybe a strange idea but I thought I let you know.
I once heard about a boy or man that registered for two high schools (I believe) and went to none. The one school thought he attended the other and vice versa. Maybe an idea....don't know

Best of luck with your endeavor-- parents can definitely be the best teachers of their children; we traveled a lot when I was a kid and I was largely homeschooled from six till 13-ish, mixed with brief stints in schools in Spain, France, Denmark and the UK.

I'd say it was a success because I was pretty much college level by the time I went to an "actual" high school... and far more capable of thinking for myself.

All the best to you and your family.

Thank you, good sir. Much appreciated.

i wish you and and family all the best. i have been a support person for home educators, unschooling, worldschooling families. thank you on behalf of us all. for our children's children's children.

I don't want to pry, but your legal situation will vary wildly depending on your answer: Where I come from "partner" implies that you are not in a heterosexual relationship and you are not married. If this is the case, you've got a huge hurdle in front of you. Is this the case?
Also, keep in mind homeschooling isn't really a viable option in Japan, but private schools (despite being costly) are. Sorry to be a bit of a bummer here.

It's a viable option. There are thousands of kids doing it. It is just not as easy or direct as it is in other countries. No worries on the question. No, I am not gay and I am married. You are right, though. That would make things much more difficult if it were so.

Well, at least in Nihon they will not teach your son any falsehoods about The US civil war and The US constitution, if he does go to school.

I'm not so sure about that. I've worked in the schools here....

Well drat.
That has always been the most interesting thing taking history classes in different locals. Sometimes the story sounds similar, sometimes not at all.

I do agree with you there. It's just kind of a different colored lie here. Heh. I remember the first world history class I ever took with a non-American professor was pretty mind blowing, though, so I know what you mean.

Good luck in your endeavour and I really hope it goes well for you. If someone cannot be schooled but can be home schooled, it is much better than none at all.

Unschooling is the best of all ;)


Good luck to you with your unschooling!
Here, in Romania, it's not strictly illegal, but it's not legal either, so yeah, I guess most countries are complicated.Best to keep as far away from the law as possible ;)
I hope it goes well! totally depends on the parents regarding the schooling and we know parents will always take a correct decision for their child.. Here also, compulsory education is provided from 6 - 14 years of age..The only thing we have to see is that whatever schooling is provided to the child, he or she must become a responsible person when he/she grows up..

Good post lovely cute baby

Little Graham is looking soo cool in warrior <3 and about education i think everything requires its surrounding and environment and actually in school we can say that when everyone is playing he will learn to play even by just watching so surrounding and environment will effect more in school whereas in home its not possible . it can be possible if there are 10 to 12 childs at home than it is good enough !

I was homeschooled in Oregon and I love Japan. I'm hoping for the best for you and your son.

May be you are right in the way of giving education to your lovely child....Hope your aspiration will reach its destiny..You have taken varieties experimental, travelling, practical research, and playway method to give knowledge to your child... Till now I think it is well influencing upon your child...Have a nice time ahead...

Happy birthday in advance to your lovely son

ThAnks For ShAre ThiS .

I wish you all the best in this venture and hope you get somewhere and help benefit the future of life of children.

Good luck with your journey. Brave that you make it public, there will be assholes out their who would like to sturr shit about this topic maybe. It's kinda ridiculous there are laws out there. That you aren't allowed to what you think is best for your children. Just the government trying to control the population from youth till adults that they should be tax paying hard working achievers to their guidelines. You have qualities as an experienced teacher to even homeschool too. Maybe you can setup your own private school business and slip through that way. Isn't Japan filled with these private school organizations? Businesses more or like?

I can imagine that it would be harder in a country like Japan. I've been through and still going through some struggles regarding unschooling in Ireland. Even though it's accepted and legal here, assessors still said that my kids are not learning enough. And that while my 9 year old daughter schooled them about cryptocurrency...and my son about a raspberry pi. I wish you wisdom in this matter and hope you can unschool your son without much hassle.

Definitely a tough topic in Japan and one that people don't talk about much. Glad to see the topic being raised. I hope you and your family can find some support. There are a few alternative schools around that do have government recognition but these are still schools (ofa kind) and they are few and far between.

Oh this is most certainly a post worthy of the familyprotection tag.
I find it interesting that they use the same 'tricks' in terms of things being 'illegal' in so many aspects of our lives. For the most part people do not read the fine print, only the headlines so to speak, which are designed as a fear tactic. Whether it be home schooling/unschooling, or vaccinating, or even something seemingly unrelated such as paying a bill that has been bought by a collection agency.
If more people would realize that in most cases they hold the real power, that nothing can be done to them without their consent, then it would be so much easier.
As far as dealing with local authorities in such a way that you get your way, in my experience treating them kindly and respectfully while at the same time staying firm in your position is the best way. "I appreciate your concern in this matter, but 'this' is my belief and I'm afraid I cannot give you consent for 'fill in the blank', but I do hope you have a great day." That might sound vague, but a variation of this exact phrase is something my husband has used over and over with everyone from the consensus bureau to the local animal warden, and in every case we were not bothered further than perhaps one more attempt on their behalf to get our 'consent'.
Oh and, never ever, ever, let them inside your house.

looks like you got your work cut out for you, Japanese ae strict when it comes to adherence of the law , its going to be interesting