No Smoking, Please

It’s struck me throughout my research on juku that the juku industry is largely a no-smoking world.

One of the reasons this has surprised me is that many of the juku-cho I interview are of a generation with a very high share of smokers (now in their 1960s). A subgroup of them also has some counter-cultural roots which would further predispose them toward smoking, I imagine.

Conventional schools obviously have fairly strong prohibitions against students smoking and these prohibitions fall under the “guidance” I discussed in earlier posts. Since my research has concentrated on juku for some time now, I have not spent much time in schools, but my sense from school-based TV dramas at least in the 1990s was that smoking was not uncommon among (male) teachers then, though this may have changed significantly now.

I find it even more surprising how little smoking there is around juku given the large number of university students who teach part-time at juku. While the proportion of smokers among university students is declining (I imagine), it is still not uncommon to see students smoking, but I don’t think I’ve seen any teachers dug out of the juku for a smoke in breaks more than once or twice.

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