On March, it is the school year ends in Japan and a time of farewell and graduation season. (There are two ways of thinking about the year: one is the "calendar year which runs from January to December, and the other is the "fiscal year" which runs from April to March. In Japan, school year begins in April, and ends in March the next year.)
In Japan, many events in government offices, companies and schools are timetabled according to the "fiscal year". Many schools have their graduation ceremonies around March.
The word "graduation" in Japanese, is not only used in reference to education, but also to express the fact that many other kinds of things are "finished". On the other hand, it is said the word "graduation" includes the nuance of the word "commencement". It seems that many Japanese feel that milestones in life are reached during events, such as graduation, that take place at the end of the fiscal year.
The program of the ceremony varies among schools but many ceremonies start with an opening address and singing of the national anthem and the school song. The school principal and some guests give congratulatory speeches, and graduates are presented their diploma. Common program also includes graduation oath, speeches from current students, chorus of graduation songs.
The second button
Do you know a Japanese custom that on Graduation Day, the boy will give the 2nd button of his school uniform to the girl he likes??? We will introduce you this story on next blog topics!
From Kindergarten to university
You might even say that for Japanese People, for all educational facilities from kindergartens, elementary schools junior high schools, high school and universities, the graduation ceremonies are an Important event.
School uniform or traditional clothing
The majority of school students wear their school uniform. At university, most women dress in Japanese traditional clothing "Hakama".
My friend's kid "RUI-chan" graduated from kindergarten last year. She and also the nursery school teacher wore "HAKAMA".
Graduation ceremonies are not only memorable for the graduating student, but also for the parent. Both parents attend the ceremony with formal dress, suit or Kimono.