Japanese Cultural Festival

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The Japanese Cultural Festival (文化祭 bunkasai?) is an annual event held by most schools in Japan, from Nursery schools to universities at which their students display their everyday achievements[1]. People who want to enter the school themselves or who are interested in the school may come to see what the schoolwork and atmosphere are like. Parents may also want to see what kind of work their children have been doing.



According to Curriculum guideline by the Ministry of Education, the Cultural Festivals of the Japanese schools are part of Special activities and are defined as a sort of events of arts and sciences which aim to do activity for using the results of everyday learning synthetically and to heighten the will of motivation of improvement more"[2][3][4].

The Cultural Festivals are parts of regular lessons in elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools, so the students are obligated to attend for graduation. In universities, the cultural festivals are placed as extracurricular activity, so attendance is not required.

 Traditionally, most schools hold Bunkasai in autumn. This is around late October and November. Normally it is held on a Saturday or Sunday sometimes even both.

[edit] Name

"The Cultural Festival"(Bunkasai) and "The University Festival"(Daigaku-sai) are common nouns in Japanese, so the names of cultural festivals depend on each school in reality. For example, the festival of University of Tokyo is named "Komada Festival"(Komada-sai), Not "Tokyo University Festival" or "University Festival".

The Japanese Cultural Festivals are sometimes called Gakuensai(学園祭), "Gakuinsai"(学院祭) or "Gakkōsai"(学校祭), but they are completely same. The difference is how to call "School" in Japanese.

[edit] Names of Cultual Festivals in each education

The following names are common nouns, so names of cultural festivals in reality are named specially.

School English name Japanese name
Nursery school Daily life exhibition Seikatsu-Happyou-kai(生活発表会)
Kindergarten Daily life exhibition Seikatsu-Happyou-kai(生活発表会)
Elementary School Literary arts exhibition
Learning exhibition
Junior High School Cultural festival Bunka-sai(文化祭)
High School Cultural festival Bunka-sai(文化祭)
University University festival Daigaku-sai(大学祭)

[edit] Variation of name of Cultural Festival in Secondary education

The Cultural Festivals of junior high schools and high schools are sometimes named differently, the names in the following list are same things.

English name Japanese name
School festival Gakuensai(学園祭)
School festival Gakuinsai(学院祭)
School festival Gakkōsai(学校祭)

[edit] Reality

The Cultural Festival are originally held to display the students' daily learning, but many people who visit the cultural festivals come to the festivals just for fun. Food is served, and often classrooms or gymnasiums are transformed into temporary restaurants or cafés. Dances, concerts and plays may be performed by individual volunteers or by various school "clubs" such as the dance club, the orchestra club, the band club and the drama club.

The Cultural Festivals are intended to be a fun event, but it is also the only opportunity each year for students to see what life is like in other schools. It is also intended to enrich people's lives by increasing social interaction.

Cultural festivals are frequently depicted in anime and manga.

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