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Opening a language school in Japan

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Opening a language school in Japan

Postby Enresshou » Sat 10.01.2005 5:37 pm

Hello, all; I've been to this website a few times before, but this is the first time I've ever entered onto the forums, and I need a bit of help.

I've been studying Japanese diligently for about four years now, and have a fair grasp on the language (by no means fluent, but by no means floundering when conversation arises). I'm majoring in English in college and am currently studying Japanese on my own, and, considering what I'm going to ask next, considering business as a minor.

I've been to Japan once before for a period of a month, and I'm going to be going back in about a year for three months, and I'd like to start getting groundwork done and making connections for opening up a language school (possibly a chain, later on down the road) in Japan. Does anybody have any resources for helping me through this? Would it be better to start off as one of the franchises before moving to my own (note: I'm going to go on the JET programme before I do any of this, so I'll have teaching experience by then)? What are some of the major obstacles I'll need to surmount?

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RE: Opening a language school in Japan

Postby Supergrunch » Sat 10.01.2005 6:42 pm

Well I remeber seeing somewhere that in order to run a business in Japan, you had to have JLPT 1kyu.
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RE: Opening a language school in Japan

Postby Harisenbon » Sat 10.01.2005 10:20 pm

Although I don't have any specific advice for starting/running a language school in Japan, Japanese fluency is not a requirement (as long as you know someone fluent enough to handle the business side of things.)

I would work for a while at an english language school before starting your own. Also, if you are set on starting a language school, I would not recommend JET, as it is not a language school, but rather a program for puting AETs in public Japanese schools. To get a better idea of what goes into a private language school, I would try to find employment at a smaller language school somewhere. Something like ECC or Nova would even be good, but as they are very large companies, it's doubtful you'd be able to learn much about the business side of things.
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RE: Opening a language school in Japan

Postby Enresshou » Sun 10.02.2005 5:04 am

Thanks for the tips :) I understand that the JET programme puts you into public schools, but I mean trying to use the time spent as an ALT to find a method that works for the particular area I'm studying in (and Supergrunch, I already planned on attaining a 1st kyu JLPT...didn't know it was mandated, but thank you for the heads-up). I think I know of a small language school where I might be able to wangle something during the time I'm in Japan, but I guess a couple specific questions I have are:

1) I'm trying to learn more about immigration and such to Japan, and I've heard conflicting things about owning property--is there a certain amount of time you have to live in Japan to be able to own property?
2) Would it be better to open up a language school in a more rural, less urban area (ideally Sado island, but considering most havent really ventured there, another area would do :)) than in Tokyo/Kyoto/Oosaka/etc?

Thanks a lot for the help and patience!
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RE: Opening a language school in Japan

Postby Kates » Sun 10.02.2005 8:36 am

Well, first I was going to say "in a city would be better" but you know what? EVERY SINGLE child in Japan MUST study English. Even the kids in the rural areas. So, while you may have fewer clients, I'm sure you'd get some--especially if you could make a chain in several rural areas, that way the kids there might not have to travel. (And I wonder if any rural kids don't even enroll in English schools because they are too far away...?)

I suppose this is something you could do more research on, perhaps with a Japanese person who knows better the English school system in Japan.
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RE: Opening a language school in Japan

Postby skrhgh3b » Sun 10.02.2005 12:02 pm

i have only one question... can you give me a job? :D
♪夢も見たくない 幸せなんか要らない
恋もしたくない お金なんか要らない
ぼくに必要な眠りを眠らせておくれ♪
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RE: Opening a language school in Japan

Postby Mukade » Sun 10.02.2005 10:39 pm

Opening a school in the countryside might not be a good idea. There just isn't the population density or disposable income available out there to provide enough clients.

Having said that, there are plenty of cities large enough to support language schools that aren't in the Tokyo or Osaka area.

----

As far as ownership laws: Foreigners cannot own land in Japan. Even with Eijuuken (their equivalent of a Green Card), you cannot own land. You can buy a house, but you cannot own the land it is sitting on. If owning land is your wish, you need to apply for Japanese citizenship.

It's a terribly xenophobic law. It's main intent is to keep foreign companies from buying any property in Japan.

You'll also find that loans are very, very difficult for foreigners to get, as most financial institutions are leery of giving money to someone who may leave the country at any moment. If you have Eijuuken, you chances are higher, but even then it will be difficult. Especially for a high-risk venture like a language school.

I don't mean to be negative - I just want to give you a heads up on the reality of the situation.

----

Finally, I will echo Harisenbon's comment that you don't need 1kyuu to do any of this. As long as you can communicate with the right people, even if it's through an interpreter, then you're okay. I've met several foreigners (mostly owners of bars) who have managed to set up shop here with barely passable Japanese. One guy, in fact, opened an English school despite the fact that he doesn't understand but a handful of words in Japanese (mostly things like "excuse me," "sorry," and "beer, please").
Last edited by Mukade on Sun 10.02.2005 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Opening a language school in Japan

Postby Cherie061403 » Fri 10.07.2005 1:23 am

I wish you luck with all your plans. This is something I hope to accomplish one day! ^_^
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