Education: Mass Production in Tokyo

In cavernous classroom No. 350 at Tokyo's Nihon University, 800 drowsy students, dressed mostly in the traditional black tunics and black trousers, stared dully at the far-off rostrum. Suddenly, the 8 a.m. mood was shattered by the magnified rumble of a professor clearing his throat into a powerful P.A. system—and a lecture on commercial law was under way. The Japanese call it masu puro kyōiku (mass-production education), the style of academic life in the world's most university-populated city. Within Tokyo are no fewer than 102 universities with nearly 500,000 students, roughly half of...

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