Lifestyle: Why Japanese parents let kids walk to school by themselves

(From Japan Today)

Many foreigners in Japan are shocked to see young Japanese schoolchildren walking to and from school by themselves, or even taking the trains or buses alone. While these sights would probably lead to more than a few concerned stares in many countries overseas, they’re perfectly typical scenes in Japan.

japanese kids

Australian TV channel SBS 2 recently shared a mini-documentary titled “Japan’s independent kids” on YouTube, which gives a brief look at the differences between one young Japanese girl’s commute to school versus that of a young Australian girl, while examining some of the societal factors that lead to differing expectations regarding independence for children in each country.

Take a moment now to watch the approximately eight-minute video below, then scroll down for our summary of its major points and net user comments.

The short documentary begins by sharing the Japanese proverb “Kawaii ko ni wa tabi o saseyo,” or “Send the beloved child on a journey.” This saying, which holds that children should learn to take on challenges and difficulties from an early stage in life, alludes to the fact that Japanese children are typically socialized into becoming independent and taking care of themselves at a younger age than are many children in Western countries. One striking example of this young independence is in how Japanese elementary school students commute to school on a daily basis. Read More


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