March is the season for graduation ceremony and farewell in Japan!

日本の学校(がっこう)生活: Japanese School Life

Japanese article is here;

Speaking of March, it’s the season for graduation!

Hi, this is MIKA!

We have some warm days around Tokyo because it’s already in March, how about your country or town?

By the way, today’s theme is “Graduation ceremony”, special topic of March!

In Japan, the start of fiscal year is April and the goal is March, that’s why March has been the season for graduation necessarily.

Actually you have a graduation ceremony at university in your country. But surprisingly, we have it not only at university but also elementary, junior-high and high school!

Only Japan and Korea hold the ceremony with the exception of university.

Then, how is Japanese graduation ceremony at elementary, junior-high and high school?

About Japanese graduation ceremony

We hold it solemnly

The graduation ceremony in Westurn countries is cheerful and enjoyable, however, Japanese one is basicaly held solemnly.

All of graduates, enrolled students, teachers and guests are gathered at the gymnastic hall or hall. Then, principal of the school and guests make speech, and graduates receive the diploma by the principal.

Most of the students take their uniform decently, sit straight on the cheir, and never chat with a serious expression.

You might think it’s too strained, however, they just value its atmosphere because Japanese are serious.

The diploma in university and others

The diploma of elementary, junior-high and high school is “卒業証書(そつぎょうしょうしょ)” in Japanese.

It proves they have finished all of the curriculum of each educational institutions.

On the other hand, the diploma of university is “学位記(がくいき)” in Japanese.

Because they receive the degree, “学位(がくい)” in Japanese after the graduation of university.

Chorus of the song for graduation

After the conferment of the diploma, graduates perform a chorus of the song for graduation. It’s natural for us, but unique habit of Japan.

These songs have the lyric to be unwilling to the farewell, be grateful to friends and teachers, and expect their brighter future.

There are some typical songs for graduation, but now I introduce you “仰(あお)げば尊(とうと)し”, the original one.

*It doesn’t have a copyright, feel at ease.

Its lyric is written in old Japanese, so I write the summary.

“Our teachers and friends, thank you so much until today.

We’ve worked hard at our lessons, and these days have been finished so fast.

However, we never forget our memories forever!

And let’s independent to be a praiseworthy person.

Now it’s the time to say good-bye. See you teachers, and see you friends.”

……How about it? It’s nice heart-warming lyric!

We have more songs like them;





There are many songs for each generations, so try to listen if you’re interested in them.

Enjoyable events after the ceremony

“The art on the black board in the classroom”

The ceremony is held solemnly, however, we have some enjoyable events after that!

First, we write the messages like “Congratulations on your graduation!” and drow the illust of Sakura; we call it “The art on the blackboard in the classroom”.

If we have a classmate who is good at drowing, it’s promising the artistic works!

We write the messages on “The gradiation album”

Also “The gradiation albums” are distributed for each graduates in the classroom after the ceremony.

It’s the special album which has the pictures of all of graduates’ faces, classes, and taken at the school events.

There are some blank pages at the end of the album to write some messages each other to make their precious memories.

Present “The second button” for the person in their thoughts

In addition, there are some boys who give their “Second button” for the girl in their thoughts or girls who say “Give me your second button” to the boy!

It’s the second button of the uniform from above. By the way, why we have such a custom?

There are various theories, but the most convincing one is this reason;

“Because soldiers give their second button to the person in their thoughts before going to the front in WW2.”

At that time, young men have gone there with their school uniforms because they couldn’t receive military uniforms in short supply. That’s why that custom has been taken over.

The reason why they give the second button is it’s most close to their heart, and if they take off the first one, military senior officer criminate them because it’s untidy.

Final comment

How was it?

This time, I’ve told you what we do at the graduation ceremony.

It’s very rare we have it at elementary, junior-high and high school in March, isn’t it?

However, the flowers of Sakura are full-blooming at the end of March, that’s why it’s the best season to celebrate their departure with a happy feeling!

Additionally, most of college women attend the ceremony with Kimono and Hakama; it’s the remains of the style of girl students in Meiji(1868~1912) and Taisyo(1912~1926) era.

At the end of March, enjoy Hanami and the fashion show of college women!