Previous Exchange on the Absence of Single-Sex Juku

In 2008, I had posted a version of my “why are there no girls’ juku” puzzle to SSJ-Forum and received some replies.

For example, Ron Stewart (Prefectural University of Hiroshima) wrote:

I think you will find there are no single-sex hagwon(juku) in Korea either. […]

Evidence that choice of university in Japan is not purely driven by university rankings, can be seen in the in the rise and falls in enrollments in various university departments. It can also be seen in the seemingly endless reshuffling of old departments and creation of new courses, majors and faculties at Japanese universities in order to attract students.

“Humanities (which have for a long time been the focus of womens universities’ curriculums (the idea of refinement through arts) are losing appeal in favour of vocational training (once the realm of senmon gakko and tandai) and some more ‘unrefined’ and ‘masculine’ areas such as rikei. I think this change is across most of tertiary education here in Japan.


Another example is the rush in recent years by many Japanese universities to create, nursing, welfare, health and pharmacology courses and departments, geared towards giving students qualifications for an ever expanding health and old age care sector. So I think the attraction to traditional womens universities curriculums (literature, art, music, culture, and language) is being erroded these days. Some public womens universities are being phased out through a need to expand through mergers, to offer more options and services to students and put them on more sound financial footing, as they are being forced to become public foundations these days (koritsu hojin). […]

As many womens universities here are Christian (there are examples in Tokyo, Okayama, Nagoya, Hiroshima and other places), they may well stick to ideas of women being able to study more effectively away from the ‘immoral temptations’ or ‘moral corruption’ of having males in close proximity, and stick to ideas of being a primary socializer and producer of ‘refined’ ‘feminine’ women. Maybe reading these universities’ rationales on there homepages and comparing them to those of juku may offer some clues as to with both exist and how they differ in worldview/ideology.

Merry White (Boston University) responded:

Some time ago when I looked at juku I found that there were, effectively, boys’ juku – by economic selection.
That is parents were more willing then to spend extra money for a son’s educational enhancements than for a daughter’s; the investment in her future wouldn’t have the same payback, or wouldn’t be needed through juku.

And for top, high-standard juku the effect seemed even greater. I think, though I am not sure, that the gender-based investment strategy no longer holds as couples have fewer children and invest in their educational futures in a gender-neutral way. Juku by the way used to refer to all kinds of classes – including music lessons. We are talking here about academic advancement juku, yes?

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