According to this article Japanese parents are not as big on cram schools as are their Korean counterparts. Maybe it’s because the area of Osaka I teach in is somewhat poor-ish, but I have to agree — every day when I walk home all I can see is our kids hanging out and playing basketball, soccer, and rugby, sights I saw little of in Korea.
Kamiya Takeshi, 36, a reporter at the Seoul office of the Japanese Asahi Shimbun who has lived in Seoul for three years, says, “the quality of Korean and Japanese products is similar, but gradually Korean goods, such as coffee, wine, clothing, golf, and eating out, are becoming more expensive than in Japan.” In 2000 the cost of goods in Korea was 58% that of the United States, 38% of Japan, and 56% of the United Kingdom, but, according to the OECD, in July of this year they had become just below those of the advanced countries — 93% of the US, 82% of Japan, and 79% of the UK. This agrees with the experiences of foreign correspondents who have stayed in the world’s most expensive cities — New York, Tokyo, London, and Hong Kong.
Japan is a country where, like Korea, private education is expensive but needed to enter university. Compared to other goods, education is relatively expensive, so if they can’t help give their child get good grades people try to invest in education early.
But from the costs of kindergarten through university 15 kinds of education can be considered, more than there are in Japan. Seven educational fees, including for kindergarten, public high schools, and university exam preparation hagwons, are more expensive than in Japan, and in the case of private tutoring by college students the two countries are similar.
There are seven which are more expensive in Japan including hagwons for art and physical education, private schools, and adult English hagwons. Income in Korea is 54% that of Japan. [more like 66% –ed.]
Reporter Jeon Hye-jin, who lives in Seoul, wants to send her child to preschool next year, when he will be three years old, and has already done an age test. The cost of the school, Wiz Island, for 3- to 5-year olds is 14.36 million won. The famous Gangnam kindergarten Sung Joseph costs 4.52 million.
On the other hand in Tokyo’s Setagaya district the private Okusa kindergarten is considerably cheaper at 497,000 yen, or 3.91 million won.
Are local daycares cheap? One found in Jamwon-dong in Seoul charges 180,000 won per month for 5-year olds and 317,000 for 3-year olds, three to six times as much as one in Tokyo’s Shibuya which charges about 50,000 won per month.
Before sending their child to elementary school many parents send them to English kindergartens. The Bangbae-dong-based LCI Kids has over 40 franchised locations throughout the country. Their entrance, book, and lesson fees come to 1.089 million won combined. However the gip English kindergarten in Tokyo is considerably cheaper with initial fees of 70,000 yen (550,000 won), but its attendance fee of 442,000 yen (3.48 million won) would be among the highest in Seoul.
There is also a difference in the art schools that elementary students attend after their classes end. The cost of the 니시닛포리 piano school in Tokyo is half that of the Brahms Piano Academy in Jamwon-dong. But art and physical education hagwons are more expensive in Japan. The Young Rembrandt Art School in Dogok-dong, Seoul costs 1.46 million won for six hours of lessons per month, but Tokyo’s Minamioyama art school costs 174,000 yen (1.37 million won) for three hours per month.
In the case of public high schools the entrance and lesson fees at Seoul High School is 1,772,400 won, 500,000 higher than the 1.28 million required to enter Habiya High School, the top high school in Japan. University entrance fees are also higher than in Japan. Seon Eun-jeong, special correspondent in Tokyo, investigated the hagwon fees for high school students and others re-taking their university exams at Gawai Hagwon in Shinjuku, finding that for a single one-month of six instruction hours students paid 16,800 yen, or 132,233 won. This is a more or less moderate price compared to hagwon fees in Daechi-dong, the most expensive in Seoul. The fee for those sitting the university exams again was 12,000 won lower.
Private high schools and universities are more expensive in Japan. The registration fee at Tokyo’s famous private high school Geyogo High School is 27% higher than Seoul’s Daewon Foreign Language High School at 781,150 yen (6.15 million won). Geyogo’s entrance fee is ranked 7th. But Japanese parents don’t bother with separate private cram schools when sending their children to famous private schools, because the quality of instruction within those schools is high enough to render other lessons unneccessary.
Hiroshi Soichi (50), president of a large company, said, “in the two years from the 5th grade of elementary school, we spent 10 million yen each year to send our daughter to a top private middle school. But after she went there we didn’t use any private tutoring and sent her to a top university.” In Korea, however, students at expensive language high schools still go to two or three hagwons costing 2 to 5 million won each per month.
At universities, if only the registration fee is considered then Seoul National University (48.3 million won) is 6.1 million won more expensive than Tokyo University, but including the tuition Tokyo University is much more expensive.