Education Abroad: The Wave People

As every fan of Japanese movies knows, the hordes of feudal samurai warriors who lost their masters and sought a new place in society were called ronin—literally, "wave people." The people that modern Japan calls ronin wear not swords but the black caps of students. They are high school graduates who fail to survive the staggering competition for entrance to top universities—100,000 this year—and go on to study on their own or attend high-priced cramming colleges to prepare for another feverish try. Ronin who have made three or four yearly attempts are not uncommon, and the despair of constant...

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