Creative writing is no longer a class seen only in English-speaking countries. Thanks to the creative writing program in Japanese secondary schools, the world’s eighth-largest economy is now home to a vibrant community of aspiring writers.
The most recent batch of J-school graduates hopes to carve out a career in literature or journalism, both of which require proficiency in English. Yet many choose to become teachers, as the job market for creative writers is predicted to grow by 2027.
How many high schools in Japan offer creative writing classes? Let’s take a look.
The Demand For English-taught Creative Writing
In 2022, the job prospects for creative writers in Japan are looking up. According to the Japan Creative Writers’ Association (JCWA), the demand for English-taught creative writing is expected to grow by 2027. There are currently almost 300,000 job vacancies in the field in Japan.
The demand for English-taught creative writing comes not only from traditional media outlets like newspapers and magazines, but also from industry leaders seeking to capitalize on the growing popularity of podcasts and online journalism. In 2022, for example, DeNA, one of the world’s largest digital communication services firms, launched a new creative writing initiative aimed at finding the next big thing on the internet. The company’s Japanese arm, DeNA Japan, will offer a Masters of Creative Writing with a specialization in podcasting.
With a rapidly evolving economy and job market, the need for skilled writers is at an all-time high. According to the International Creative Writers’ Association, the number of individuals pursuing creative writing as a career rose by 16% in 2022.
The Number Of Japanese High Schools Offering Creative Writing Classes Has Doubled Since 2012
In the years leading up to 2022, the number of Japanese secondary schools that offered English-taught creative writing classes jumped from 4 to 16. Now, there are 24 Japanese schools that offer the English-taught creative writing diploma.
The push towards more creative writing classes in the country comes as part of a wider trend towards more English education. According to the Japan Federation of Teachers, the number of English-taught classes available in Japanese secondary schools has risen by 16% between 2012 and 2022. In 2022 alone, there will be 29,600 new teaching positions, many of which are in creative writing.
The increase in English-taught classes in Japanese secondary schools is likely a reflection of the increasing global popularity of English. Today, over 40 million people around the world speak the English language, and with so much international travel, language skills are key if you want to succeed in any career.
Why Study Creative Writing At A Japanese Schools?
If you are considering studying creative writing at a Japanese high school, it’s important to examine why these classes are popular and growing in popularity. Japan ranks third in the world for the number of patents per capita, and second for the number of people who use social media. With the world’s fourth-largest economy and some of the world’s most innovative companies, Japanese schools are known for their technological talent and drive for innovation.
Creative writing is a great option for students looking to develop their talent and gain valuable job skills. According to a report from the UK’s Office for Students, published in 2019, 65% of tertiary-level students in the UK feel that a literary course is suitable for their chosen career path. The report also highlighted that students are more likely to feel this way if their chosen course has a creative writing component.
Aspiring writers in Japan can take their pick of almost 300 different courses within the department of literature, many of which are offered at the junior level. Students can also take a range of electives in areas like film studies, cultural studies, or linguistics. Popular electives include film theory, screenwriting, or creative writing.
Why Should You Specialize In Creative Writing?
Along with journalism and literature, creative writing is one of the three ‘grandfathered’ courses in Japan. This means that students can study the subject at a relatively low level and still achieve graduate status. Aspiring writers can get a leg up on the job market with a creative writing degree, and with the unemployment rate at a 40-year low in the country, more and more people are seeing the benefits of a flexible career in the arts. According to the Japan Creative Writers’ Association, the demand for English-taught creative writing courses is set to increase by 2027. If you’re looking to enter the field, you can start getting trained now!