The island nation of Japan is located south of the Asian mainland in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. According to 800zipcodes, Japan is made up of a chain of four main islands and several minor islands. Almost sixty percent of its area of over 378,000 square kilometers belongs to the centrally located and largest island of Honshū, which is also known as the Japanese heartland. North of it are Hokkaidō and southwest Shikoku and Kyūshū.
Study in Japan – in the land of volcanoes
Since the Japanese islands lie over four tectonic plates, seismic activities of different strengths interrupt the lives of the Japanese at regular intervals. All islands are mountainous to mountainous and rich in volcanoes. About forty of them are still active. They also include the highest point in the island state, Mount Fuji, at 3,776 meters.
Due to the volcanic activity, settlement in Japan is centered on almost a quarter of the total area. Eight million people live in the capital Tokyo alone, including the metropolitan area, there are almost 36 million. Tokyo would therefore be the most populous city in the world. The total Japanese population is 128 million.
Subarctic to subtropical – the climate in Japan
The climate in the “Land of the Rising Sun” varies greatly. The North Island is subarctic with extremely cold and long winters that are very snowy in the northwest. The summers, however, are hot and dry here. The south of the island has a subtropical climate, so it is humid and humid in summer. All year round, different monsoons shape the Japanese climate and bring heavy rainfall and winds with them. Typhoons repeatedly occur in late summer on the southwestern islands and tsunamis on the coasts.
Economy and culture
The monarchy of the Japanese island state is the oldest in the world. It can be traced back to the sixth century BC. At the moment, the emperor-like Tennō Akihito heads the parliamentary monarchy with lower and upper houses.
Japan’s economy is heavily influenced by exports and ranks fourth in the world. The most important export sectors include mechanical engineering, the automotive industry and electronics. The service sector also plays an important role in Japan. Research and the development of high technologies are also increasingly shaping the country.
For the most part, the Japanese are Buddhists or belong to Shinto, a natural religion practiced almost exclusively in Japan. Many Japanese are even followers of both faiths. Studying in Japan is particularly suitable for gaining an insight into the cultural traditions, some of which are thousands of years old.
Study system of Japan
Japan’s academic year is usually divided into two semesters: from April to September and from October to March. After the end of the Second World War, the Japanese education system was restructured along the lines of the American model. Since then it has been classically divided into undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
The first part of the study in Japan lasts three to four years and ends with the professional qualifying Bachelor degree Gakushi. It begins with a general educational phase, which is followed by a specialist in-depth study of two to four semesters. In the final phase, the students write a written thesis. An exception are all medical subjects that comprise six years in undergraduate studies and lead to so-called professional doctorates. Most Japanese people enter working life straight away after completing their bachelor’s degree. As a rule, they sign the subsequent employment contract before the end of their studies.
Those who want to go further in-depth or later work in science and research can supplement their bachelor’s degree with a postgraduate course. These end after two years with the written thesis and the Shushi degree. This degree corresponds roughly to the German master’s degree or the Magister, Diplom or first state examination.
The Shushi enables access to the three-year doctoral program and the Hakase, during which the students conduct independent research. They partially replace the written doctoral thesis with a corresponding list of publications or with a long-term university career. In exceptional cases, very talented students have the opportunity to follow up on their doctorate directly with their bachelor’s degree. In this case, the doctoral program takes about five years.
The numerous Japanese colleges offer instruction at a non-university level. They are aimed at young people between the ages of 17 and 22. At the public and private junior colleges, they can take two to three-year short courses with a high level of practical relevance.
Studies at the state-run technical colleges, on the other hand, last five years, as lessons begin in the last three years of the upper school level. The colleges award so-called associate degrees with diplomas or certificates. The recognition of these degrees in Germany is very difficult, as there is no equivalent in the German study system.