Jinseki International School is due to start operating as Japan’s first Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-accredited international boarding school for primary school pupils in April 2020. It will be located in the eastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture, on Japan’s main island Honshu.
“In Japan, it has long been considered that the role of the school is to provide education”
The firm behind the school is Next Educational Environment Development, led by Minako Suematsu. Her son studied at a boarding school in Europe, and she has said the school will advocate “fostering courage and friendship that opens up the future” and will mix Japanese and international education.
“The school we are thinking about is an elementary boarding school for children who are considering going to a boarding school in Europe in the future,” Suematsu previously said.
The school will provide a Japanese-English dual-language, multicultural educational environment, while offering families European-style boarding, without having to travel overseas.
“In Japan, it has long been considered that the role of the school is to provide education, while the role of parents is to teach self discipline at home. In Europe however, it is the standard to leave both of these tasks to professionals. We intend to offer such an environment in Japan as well,” she explained.
NEED hired previous head of Le Rosey school in Switzerland, Michael Rob Gray, as advisor in October 2018.
To boost numbers of international students and awareness of the new school, Gray has travelled to Seoul, and more recently to Taipei, to hold seminars to introduce the school to prospective international students.
“Jinseki, from the way it has been conceived, is going to focus on the most important things of education,” according to Gray.
“It has a philosophy of going back to nature, but also for looking at the best of Japanese culture, but mixing and marrying that with the best of international education as well. It’s going to be a genuinely international boarding school in Japan, with the strength of Japanese education, which are very considerable, but also the strengths, creativity and the innovation of the best of international education as well.”
However, Jinseki will not be Japan’s first school that offers boarding. Although the school claims to be the first to be MEXT-accredited, the International School of Asia, Karuizawa opened in 2014, and Kaiyo Academy – dubbed the Eton of Japan – began operating in 2006.