High School Rules in Japan vs. Canada


The comparison of school rules between Japan and Canada involves a literature review from online materials. The topic has inadequate sources of information; therefore, few used our websites, an academic journal, and a book. The results of the investigation are that although there are similarities, Japanese high school rules are tougher and stricter than those of Canadian schools.

Comparison of High School Rules in Japan and Canada

Several factors mark the differences between the high school rules in Japan and Canada. The differences are based on cultural diversity and institutional expectations for students. The school rules of Japan are more concerned with the dress code while those of Canada focuses on students’ behavior. Their common factor is that they seek to allow the student experience in school to shape their future through performance. Therefore, while Japanese high schools run on strict rules, Canadian high school rules are less strict.


In Japan and Canada, students are expected to show respect to their teachers and elders at all times. Respect and obedience are mandatory rules to be followed by high school students. Therefore, students are not allowed to talk back to their teachers, use abusive language towards them, or do anything that may be deemed humiliating for the teachers, especially during class hours (Munsch, 2019). The students are also supposed to attend all classes on time and should require minimal supervision in the absence of a teacher. In both countries, reaching the classes on time and attending all classes is also mandatory.

In both countries, students are not allowed to eat in class whether in the presence of the teacher or not. Eating in class is considered a way of causing disruption and discomfort for other students (Kitamura et al., 2019). It is also a form of indiscipline, especially in Japanese schools. Some Canadian teachers, however, are not very observant of the rule because some students can chew in class so long as they are not causing any trouble or commotion.

Illegal drugs, weapons, and violence are not allowed in both Japanese and Canadian schools. Students carrying any form of drugs to school should be sick or have a written prescription to use the drugs (Munsch, 2019). Such precautions are meant to prevent students from abusing drugs. For safety reasons, students cannot carry any type of weapon, including sharp equipment, and in Japan, students are checked to ascertain the absence of drugs and weapons. Students are expected to respect each other and avoid violence but rather report wrongdoing cases to the teachers. Indeed, in both Japan and Canada, attacking each other is punishable.


Dressing Code

The major difference between Japanese and Canadian high school rules is that the Japanese wear a uniform while Canadians wear casual clothes. This difference makes their dressing rules varied because as Japan attaches strict rules, Canada applies less strict rules. Japanese high schools require all students to wear a uniform to school as a way of balancing all their economic statuses and forming a common ground for all students to thrive equally (Kitamura et al., 2019). In the contrast, high school students in Canada are not required to wear uniforms. The rationale behind this is that the students should know the importance of learning without consideration of economic status.

Most Japanese schools require students to wear white underwear while students can wear any color of underwear in Canada. White underwear is said to be less conspicuous, especially upper body underwear (Kitamura et al., 2019). Wearing colored underwear may cause attention and arousal between students of the opposite gender; therefore, to avoid such; all students are required to wear white underwear. Canada, on the contrary, does not dedicate the color of underwear worn by students (Munsch, 2019). The school believes that high school students are mature enough to know the importance of education and good behaviors.

Japanese students are required to wear their hair black and no dye is allowed, but no such rules are present in Canadian institutions. Japanese students cannot dye their hair, and if one has any other color of hair, they should conform to school rules and dye it black (Kitamura et al., 2019). Boys should shave their hair in uniform cuts, and girls with hair long past shoulders should tie it shorter with a hairband. The reason for a uniform cut in boys is that those with unique styles are often found in disciplinary incidences. The hairstyles and colors for boys and girls are another way of unifying students in school.

Canada allows students to wear colored hairstyles and different haircuts but with limitations. High school students cannot wear hats, sunglasses, or any visuals that may seem offensive to the teachers (Munsch, 2019). The rationale for these exceptions is to ensure discipline in school amongst students. In Canada also, students can do unexaggerated body piercing and makeup, but Japanese students are not allowed. For most Canadian schools, the clothes worn should, however, not be revealing, exposing the stomach, shoulders, or arms (Munsch, 2019). Wearing makeup and body piercing does not allow uniformity in school hence is not allowed.


While Japanese high school allows corporal punishment for students, Canada prohibits the form of punishment. Even though corporal punishment is officially forbidden in Japan, teachers still beat students who break school rules (Kitamura et al., 2019). Indeed, Japanese parents state that they have no problem with teachers who beat students for indiscipline. Teachers publicly punish boys as a way of setting an example to other wrongdoers. They also believe that striking students is a way to remind them to strictly behave to the rules.

Japanese parents are also encouraged to punish their children at home because not punishing them makes them unable to follow school rules. The school system believes that students who are never punished become self-centered and find school rules demeaning (Kitamura et al., 2019). Teachers are also allowed to verbally abuse students and physically contact them including grabbing or holding their hands. Canada, on the other hand, does not allow corporal punishment but softer forms of punishment. Less serious actions like coming to class late are punished by being closed out of the class while serious indiscipline like violence calls for suspension and the involvement of parents in disciplining process (Munsch, 2019). In Canada, teachers are not allowed to verbally abuse or demean students. They are also prohibited from physically contacting students or making physical or verbal sexual advances.

Romantic Relationships

Romantic relationships amongst students are not allowed in Japanese schools, but there are no prohibiting rules in Canada. Japanese school society believes that allowing school relationships could lead to sexual outcomes and school dropping outs (Kitamura et al., 2019). It is also a loss of focus from the core mission of students to learn. Therefore, romantic relationships are awarded appropriate punishment in Japanese schools. Canada has no laid out rules against romantic relationships between high school students (Munsch, 2019). The constant assumption is that with freedom, the students will choose to learn first and date later in life. However, romantic relationships between school boys and girls are common in Canada.

Out of School Rules

While Japanese schools have several after-school rules, Canada does not have such rules. Most schools end their business with students immediately after they step out of school. However, it is different for Japanese schools as they interfere with students’ life even after school. In Japan, students cannot take part-time jobs after school, should not go out overnight without prior notice, and should not go out after 10 p.m. (Kitamura et al., 2019). The school systems state that it is their responsibility to care for student safety even after school. Indeed, students caught breaking these laws are punishable back in school. Furthermore, students caught engaging in drugs after schools are also punishable in school. Canadian school rules do not extend to control students’ life after school. However, a teacher has to inform the parents should they see students engage in drugs or other destructive activities (Munsch, 2019). Talking to such students to stop such behaviors is allowed, but no punishment is applicable in school unless the effects of such actions interfere with school performance.


Japanese schools are run under traditional beliefs while those of Canada are operated under modern practices. Japanese high school rules are tougher and strict while those of Canada are loosened. Both countries, however, care for the welfare of their students but in a different manner. The strictness in Japanese schools is based on the strict cultural practices of the nation. Japan operates schools on the assumption that being strict with students will lessen their chances of misconduct. Canada, on the other hand, holds the belief that working with less strict school rules allows students to operate with freedom and choose the right thing to do. Japanese schools register a higher rate of indiscipline, despite there being strict rules and regulations. Much research on this topic should be done as there are only a few resources about the same.


Kitamura, Y., Omomo, T., & Katsuno, M. (2019). Education in Japan: A comprehensive analysis of education reforms and practices. Springer.

Munsch, R. (2019). School rules! North Winds Press.

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ChalkyPapers. (2022) 'High School Rules in Japan vs. Canada'. 3 November.


ChalkyPapers. 2022. "High School Rules in Japan vs. Canada." November 3, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/high-school-rules-in-japan-vs-canada/.

1. ChalkyPapers. "High School Rules in Japan vs. Canada." November 3, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/high-school-rules-in-japan-vs-canada/.


ChalkyPapers. "High School Rules in Japan vs. Canada." November 3, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/high-school-rules-in-japan-vs-canada/.