The summer vacation period in Japan is generally four-to-six weeks from mid-July to the end of August. This “summer holiday” was officially established in the Elementary School Teaching Guidelines in 1881.
The idea of giving students summer vacation is commonly believed to be inspired by western countries. In Europe and the U.S., they believed students and teachers should be given time off during the hot summer months. Since the new school years start in September, summers are suitable for long vacations. At the time, Japan adopted the western education system and decided to incorporate such vacations during the season.
However, teachers assign a lot of homework during the summer period because the new school term in Japan starts in April. On top of that, the vacation period is shorter compared to the U.S. and other western countries. In the U.S., summer vacations are about three months long. Therefore, students may forget some of what they learned from their classes the year prior. In Japan, this problem doesn’t occur as often because they assign homework and the period is shorter.
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