Historical Background of the Japanese School



There were no public schools in Japan before the Meiji era (1868–1912) other than private schools called “Hanko,” which were feudal clan-owned schools established for educating samurai (warriors), and “Terakoya,” temple-owned schools for educating tradesmen and farmers. In these schools, one teacher was responsible for the education of children of different ages, primarily in the subjects of maths, reading, and writing. “Terakoya” tended to be a one-room house, but “Hanko” were more organized in planning, having a main hall and several small rooms. There are no “Hanko” and “Terakoya” nowadays, however, some buildings have survived and are on view to the public. “Shizutani Gakko” (built in 1675), whose plan is shown in Figure 1, is one of the best surviving examples. It used to accept not only samurai (warrior) children but also common people (Murasawa, 1980, p. 97, 156).


Elementary School Central Government Historical Background School Building Floor Plan 
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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ChibaJapan

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