Japanese School of Paris – Nurturing the Philosophy of Lifelong Learning through Friendships
Japanese School of Paris

Learning is a continuous process and it is very important to consider who your teachers are going to be in life. Good teachers are found everywhere if you harbor a tendency of self-learning while observing others or shadowing what the other person is doing. Sometimes it is more evident in people who are close to us.

We try to emulate our elders and do what they are doing in order to satiate the curiosity within. Most of the times we might not enjoy it or we might not end up with the situation we thought at first. But the important thing to take away from such experiences is that there is always one thing or the other that we learn from it. We imbibe gestures, actions, and expressions through the people around us.

People who we have grown up with and their behavior shapes our image in the society. The most impact that we have on our lives is that of the friends we make along the way. Friends influence our lives in such a dynamic way, that it redefines our lifestyle and molds us into something we were never before. That too, for the better or worse.

There is one such institution motivating the philosophy of friendship and inculcating the same in its process of imparting knowledge called the Japanese School of Paris. Institut Culturel Franco-Japonais – Ecole Japonaise de Paris (French-Japanese Cultural Institute) also known as the JSP is a Japanese International School located in Montigny-leBretonneux, France, in the Paris Metropolitan Area. It is located near Versailles.

Excellence Redefined

The school is approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, in accordance with the School Education Law of Japan and related laws and regulations aligned with elementary and middle schools. JSP promotes cultural and educational exchanges between Japan and the French Republic and focuses on educational activities to deepen mutual understanding. “We are committed to the spirit of respect for human beings, and we are working to expand the infinite possibilities of each child,” states the staff of JSP.

This school is the only Japanese school in France that has been approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology for conducting a curriculum based on the Japanese curricular guidelines. Students can take French classes in the school even though the primary language of instruction is Japanese. Its goal is to educate children who return to Japan after several years of living in France. It also helps the students who live long enough in the country under various circumstances and various positions and do a back and forth from Japan to France.

JSP educates the students of the age group 6 to 15 years. Marie Conte-Holm, author of The Japanese and Europe: Economic and Cultural Encounters, wrote that “the bus route to and from the school ‘essentially determines’ where Japanese families with children are settled in Greater Paris. She adds, “While some Japanese children attend local schools for a proportion of their time in France, even the more internationally minded Japanese parents will transfer their offspring to the Japanese School for reorientation during the latter part of their stay.”

Cultural Diagram of JSP

JSP has been approved as a ‘cultural activity organization’ for the purpose of ‘Japanese-French cultural and educational exchange’ in France. Japanese School of Paris was established on 1 October 1973 with just 101 students. There are now 217 students in the school as of February 2020. The Principal of JSP, Takashi Onoe is commissioned by the Board of Directors for ‘school management,’ ‘budget execution,’ and ‘personnel affairs for faculty and staff.’ The current Chairman of the Board is Takeshi Goto (Paris Branch Manager, Mizuho Bank).

“Our school has no school rules,” says Mr. Onoe. The children judge their behavior on their own and act as the model students of the school. The classrooms are full of gentle air with gentle voices and compassion for children. JSP is an institution where each and every student has a dream and it grows while learning with their friends. It is a school that values friendships beyond the geographical boundaries and helps students in deciding who are the people that can make a home in their heart with the goal of being ‘bright, friendly, and strong.’

“Many children leave our school every year and move out without waiting for graduation,” shares Mr. Onoe. Still, there are many students who come to the school later, and all of them show a peaceful expression to the atmosphere of the institute prevailing at that time. This story tells a lot about the children who always accept the forthcoming students warmly. The feeling is the same when the students move out and part with a smile, believing that they will someday be able to meet somewhere else in the world. “We hope that these children will remain school friends for a lifetime,” adds Mr. Onoe.

 JSP’s Dynamics

Based on the significance and value of living in France, is promoting cultural and educational exchanges between Japan and France. By doing this, it is enhancing educational activities with an emphasis on mutual understanding.

Starting from the first grade of elementary school, French and English conversation classes have been introduced. In junior high school, the number of English lessons has been increased with a particular emphasis on teaching foreign languages. There are regular exchanges with several local schools every year.

Moreover, to promote local understanding, JSP is actively conducting extracurricular activities in the local Saint-Quentin area, in Paris, and widely in France. In the first semester, children from elementary school upper grades to junior high schools engage in hands-on learning and lodging learning with accommodation in the western and southern French areas.

In the fall of this year, the elementary school will take an excursion to the Palace of Versailles, visit the Orangery, Rodin, Pompidou and Orsay museums. There is a tour. Various events are also held inside the school, but the three major events that standout the most are athletic meet in June, the presentation of the Japanese School in Paris in October, and the Japanese School Festival in Paris.

Also, ‘Exploration time’ is provided as a place for children to learn about their own problems and solve them. This is a trial method of learning that combines learning programs such as IB (International Baccalaureate), PYP, and MYP. “We are also focusing on ICT education, such as tablets and electronic blackboards, to promote collaborative learning,” explains Mr. Onoe.


She says, “I came to France for the first time in the fall of May. It was my first overseas trip ever. I was nervous in the beginning and felt that it was becoming too difficult to maintain a smile while talking to others. I attended the entrance ceremony in April and received greetings from the freshman representative of the school. This greeting proved to be a big step for me in becoming a new self. Later, through active learning, I was able to deepen my bonds with juniors as well as seniors.

During the sports meet, I was able to gel with seniors who were active sports players and it also helped me in speaking with the staff members, inevitably maintaining good communication with all the bodies of the school. The Paris Day presentation was my best memory. In this course of activity, I worked very hard to become a leader while organizing team members. I wanted to make use of the leadership skills that I acquired along the way through this experience in Japan.

Also, the drama and chorus project that I collaborated on with my seniors also made me come up with ideas that helped me in delivering a very good presentation. I spent about two years in France and made a lot of memories there at the Japanese School in Paris. It’s a miracle and I feel happy to be able to meet friends who can’t be found in Japan or who never met in Japan. I am sincerely glad that I came to France and to JSP.”

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