20+ Must-Know Japanese School Phrases For Your New School Year

Japanese school phrases - Ling

Whether you are an exchange student or a foreign teacher in Japan, you will need to use Japanese school phrases in your daily life.

If you are a foreign student at a Japanese school, you should learn to communicate effectively with your classmates and teachers. Otherwise, the language barrier might make you feel isolated and outcasted if you don’t understand any Japanese.

In another case, if you are a foreign English teacher at a Japanese school, you may have a hard time connecting with your students on the school grounds if you don’t speak their language.

Either way, using Japanese school phrases will make your school life easier. In this blog article, you will learn the essential Japanese phrases you need to make the most of your time as a student or teacher at a Japanese school.

Japanese classroom

What’s So Different In Japanese Schools?

A day in a local Japanese school would be very different than your typical day in an American school. If you’re asking, “What makes it so different?” Here are the biggest differences between Japanese schools and American schools:

  1. There are no school buses in Japan.
  2. You need to pass an entrance exam to get into a high school.
  3. You must wear a uniform in high school.
  4. You must take your shoes off and wear indoor shoes before entering the school.
  5. Most students bring bento (packed lunch) and eat at their desks in the classroom.
  6. There are no janitors in Japanese schools. Students clean their schools daily.
  7. Summer break is five weeks long in Japan.

Vocabulary For Japanese Schools

Now, it’s time to learn some vocab! First things first, you should learn how to say in what type of school you’re studying or teaching at. Also, you must know the Japanese words for the classroom, so you won’t go into the wrong one by mistake!

Elementary school小学校しょうがっこうshōgakkō
Junior high school中学校ちゅうがっこうchūgakkō
Senior high school高等学校こうとうがっこうkōtō gakkō
Junior college短期大学たんき だいがくtanki daigaku
Vocational school専門学校せんもん がっこうsenmon gakkō

Vocabulary For School Subjects

Then you should be able to talk about your favorite classes at school. Or if you’re a sensei (teacher), you can tell people what your subject is. So, here’s the Japanese vocabulary you need!

Japanese History日本史にほんしNihonshi
World history世界史せかいしsekaishi
Physical education体育たいいくtaiiku
Japanese students in the library

Vocabulary For School Routines

As I mentioned before, the daily routine in a Japanese school consists of different activities. Therefore, make sure you know the right words to understand, for example, when the seiso (cleaning) time is. That way, you won’t fall back on the class schedule.

Morning assembly朝礼ちょうれいchōrei
Food service給食きゅうしょくkyūshoku
Break休み時間やすみじかんyasumi jikan
Club activityクラブ活動くらぶかつどうkurabu katsudō

Vocabulary For School Personnel

Knowing school personnel in Japanese is super important. By knowing these words, you’ll be able to find your way around, get help when you need it, and build awesome relationships with your colleagues if you are a foreign teacher.

School principal校長こうちょうkōchō
School caretaker用務員ようむいんyōmuin

Japanese School Phrases

Now that we’ve covered the most common Japanese vocabulary for school, let’s get to some commonly used Japanese phrases in a classroom setting.

Classroom Greetings

Greetings are the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Japanese classroom phrases because they start the school day with a morning meeting. The good news is that you already know these phrases if you have read our blog post about basic phrases in Japanese!

Good morning!おはようございますohayou gozaimasu
Good afternoon!こんにちはkonnichiwa
Good evening!こんばんはkonbanwa
Thank you for your hard work!お疲れ様でしたohayou gozaimasu

Taking Attendance

Nobody wants to miss the roll call! That’s why you need to understand when you hear the word tenko (roll call), so you can say shusseki (present) and let the teacher know you’re there.

To take attendance出欠を取るshukketsu o toru
Excused absence公認欠席kounin kesseki
Unexcused absence無断欠席mudan kesseki
Japanese teacher - Japanese school phrases - Ling

Teacher Phrases In Japanese

Here are common Japanese phrases that teachers use during a class. If you’re a foreign teacher in a Japanese school, you may need these phrases for better classroom management.

  • Please be quiet. – 静かにしてください (Shizuka ni shite kudasai)
  • Please open your textbooks. – 教科書を開いてください (Kyōkasho o hiraite kudasai)
  • Please write the answer on the blackboard. – 答えを黒板に書いてください (Kotae o kokuban ni kaite kudasai)
  • Do you have any questions? – 質問はありますか (Shitsumon wa arimasu ka)
  • Please divide into groups. – グループに分かれてください (Gurūpu ni wakarete kudasai)
  • Please repeat this example sentence. – この例文を繰り返してください (Kono reibun o kurikaeshite kudasai)

Student Phrases In Japanese

Here are common phrases that Japanese students use when talking to each other during class. If you’re a foreign student in a Japanese school, these phrases can be helpful to get along with other students in the classroom.

  • Do you have a textbook? – 教科書はありますか (Kyōkasho wa arimasu ka)
  • I have a question. – 質問があります (Shitsumon ga arimasu)
  • I don’t understand. – 分かりません (Wakarimasen)
  • Please say it again. – もう一度言ってください (Mō ichido itte kudasai)
  • May I go to the restroom? – お手洗いに行ってもいいですか (Otearai ni itte mo ii desu ka)
  • Can I join your group? – グループに入れてもらえますか (Gurūpu ni irete moraemasu ka)

Before you go to Japan to study or teach, make sure you speak some conversational Japanese. I know the best place to learn the language! It’s right below!

Learn Japanese With Ling!

Ling provides tons of useful Japanese vocabulary that you can use in real-life dialogues. Bite-sized lessons, puzzles, and AI chatbots to practice real-life conversations are just some of Ling’s interactive activities.

Now grab your iOS or Android device and head to Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Download the Ling app, and connect through language!

Plus, don’t forget to visit our Japanese blog weekly to learn more about Japanese culture and language!

Until next time, じゃあまたね!

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