What is Japanese Graduation Ceremony Like? When is the Farewell?




Have you attended any graduation ceremony in Japan?

This post summarizes basic information on Japanese graduation ceremony.

Find out how and when it is taken place.



What is Tsukemen? Popular Ramen? → How does Tsukemen Taste?


What would you do during Golden Week? → Popular Activities for GW




What is Graduation Ceremony Like in Japan?


Graduation ceremony in Japan is quite different from other countries.


Typical ceremony is taken place like below:

  1. Entry of Graduating Students
  2. Introduction of Graduation Ceremony
  3. Singing National Anthem
  4. Receiving Graduation Certificate
  5. Introducing messages from guests
  6. Sending Message from Graduating Students
  7. Sending Message from Students
  8. Singing School Song
  9. Exit of Graduating Students


Graduating students receive their graduation certificate from the principal.

Their name is called and they would go on to the stage to get it.



When is Graduation Ceremony?

Graduation ceremony in Japan is usually held in March.


This is because new term starts in April. It’s just like September in North America.

Students graduate from school in March. They would start working or studying in another institution in April.


Exception applies to some high schools in Hokkaido (North part of Japan) where the ceremony is held in February.



What do Japanese Wear for Graduation Ceremony?


Hakama, a kind of Kimono worn on Graduation Day


Those students who have school uniforms would wear the uniforms.

Those who don’t have school uniforms would wear anything formal.

It could be suits or kimono, for instance.



What do Japanese do on Graduation day?



Typical graduation is held in the institution and students and their parents are welcome.


It depends on school and students but they usually stay in school after the graduation ceremony to take pictures and talk to friends and teachers.


Other possible activities include:

-eating out with close friends

-going to karaoke

-writing message on blackboard or whiteboard

-distributing letters to teachers or friends

-getting flowers or gift from younger students

-exchanging cell phone number, email address, etc… with friends

-telling a boy or girl you like him or her

-getting the second button from loved ones



What is the Second Button Custom?


There is an interesting custom for graduation ceremony in Japan.

Some girls want to get the second button of school uniform from someone they like.


For example, if a girl is dating a boy, she would get his second button on graduation ceremony day.

If a girl is not dating but likes someone, she might ask the boy to give her the button. If she doesn’t like anyone, she wouldn’t get any button.


Why is it the second button?


There are different theories: some argue that it originates the World War.

When young Japanese men had to leave their hometown due to war, they would give the second button to loved ones as a remembrance or keepsake because there was nothing else they could give.


Some argue that it originates old Japanese song, whereas others argue that the second button is the best because it is the closest to heart.


Some popular boys may give all the buttons because girls ask so.

And if there is no school uniform, you won’t get any button.




I remember that I was bit sad and happy on my graduation ceremony.

I was sad because I wouldn’t see close friends and teachers everyday.

I was happy because I would start new school and life.


Ceremony itself is kind of boring and guest speakers talk too much, but it is definitely a special day for graduating students, their parents and teachers.



What’s your memory of graduation?






What is Tsukemen? Popular Ramen? → Is Tsukemen Popular?


What would you do during Golden Week? → Popular Activities for Golden Week in Japan



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