The education system
Having examined some of the enormous variety in the type of neighbourhood in which a child might ﬁnd itself growing up, we shall turn now to a part of that process which is at least in theory much more predictable. Although children do ﬁnd themselves learning about their regional location, and possibly too about the economic activities on which their families depend, the education system in Japan is carefully regulated by central government with the aim of providing an equal and comprehensive basis for learning. At the state schools attended by the vast majority of children, a standard form of Japanese language is expected, regardless of dialectical differences used at home, and the geography and history of Japan place local communities within a broad national context. Schools are thus an important source of shared knowledge and national identity, and throughout the compulsory period of education, quite a uniform understanding of the wider world.