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The question How should I approach a Tokyo University professor to join their lab? has an answer by RoboKaren saying:

For professors in Japan, taking on students is a tremendous responsibility and burden. Unlike in the United States or Europe, professors are responsible for even the extracurricular activities of students (i.e., getting arrested; showing up drunk and groping someone; having an apartment so messy that the landlord complains, etc.). They are also responsible for the student's career after they graduate.

This sounds very interesting as I have never heard such things about any other country before.

So, I want to ask:

  1. What happens/could happen to a Japanese professor if their student has e.g. a messy apartment?

  2. Is there something similar for undergraduate students (who, I suppose, do not have a professor in the sense above)? Is the university somehow responsible for them?

  3. Where is this responsibility stated? Is it e.g. in the law, or is it rather some non-official convention that everybody follows, or something in between?

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    Perhaps you should look at Japanese traditions regarding employment. I do not think this is specific to academia. – Anonymous Physicist Sep 25 at 1:01
  • @SSimon: I hope you read this here, your comment unfortunately got removed:( you said something that you don't believe this to be the case? Do you have experience with Japanese culture? Could you post it as an answer or comment? – user111388 Sep 25 at 23:09
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    @user111388 Yes. They don't care about students so much as people are incline to believe. Because of oppression during the high school and primary School, Japanese students know to be wild during University and college years. – SSimon Sep 26 at 1:57
  • @SSimon: Would you post it as an answer? – user111388 Sep 26 at 9:44
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Are Japanese professors responsible for their students' behavior outside the university? Legally perhaps not (I'm no expert), but culturally, yes.

What happens/could happen to a Japanese professor if their student has e.g. a messy apartment?

The professor gets disgraced. It's like being the father of someone who later goes on to become a serial killer. Nothing directly happens to you, but it's still going to be very unpleasant. Did you fail as a father? Even if you think you didn't, perhaps your neighbours will think you did.

Is there something similar for undergraduate students (who, I suppose, do not have a professor in the sense above)? Is the university somehow responsible for them?

Yes, if they are being directly supervised by the professor.

Where is this responsibility stated? Is it e.g. in the law, or is it rather some non-official convention that everybody follows, or something in between?

It's a social expectation, similar to how in many societies children are expected to take care of their parents in their old age.

Check out what happened to stem cell scientist Yoshiki Sasai in 2014: his student faked data, leading to a scientific misconduct probe. Prof. Sasai was cleared of misconduct, but he felt deeply ashamed and later committed suicide. Granted, this was an academic issue, but it illustrates what Japan's expectations of their teachers are.

Edit: for a non-academic situations:

Probably the strangest tasks (in the eyes of Western teachers) are things like guarding the campus and ordering the fuel oil. They are also partly responsible for their students outside school. Japanese students have to follow several rules in their leisure time: they are not allowed to smoke and to drink alcohol, to go to discos or to have a job by the side. In case of disregarding these rules, the teacher is obliged to inform the parents or even to make home visits (cf. SCHÜMER 1999, p. 34). As one can see from all this, the tasks of a Japanese teacher go far beyond giving lessons.

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    Hello and thank you for your answer! Could you maybe provide references that this extends to non academic issues. I still have problems to understand this japanese way of thinking. I can understand the "father of serial killer"-example (father has not raised kid properly), but not "professor of messy tenent" (what does society expect here?) – user111388 Sep 25 at 16:26
  • @user111388 I put in a source. – Allure Sep 26 at 6:42
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    @Allure Is that for high school or for university students? – kate Sep 26 at 6:44
  • @kate based on the source, it's for high school and younger students. I couldn't find anything for university students, I'm afraid. – Allure Sep 28 at 6:18
  • @Allure. I see. Yeah, for high school I think the teachers are responsible for the students as well, but for university students, maybe not so much.. I've never notice about it even culturally, but every experience is somehow different so what you said might be true or might be not, for university students too. Thanks for sharing. – kate Sep 29 at 5:42
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From my little experience studying in Japan,

(1) No, the professor doesn't even go to your apartment room. Why would they? Unless you two are really close.

(2) If they are arrested, maybe the university will feel somewhat responsible too.

(3) Never heard of it. But they do have the culture of responsibility: don't burden other people.

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    I am sorry, maybe my question is unclear. I am not asking if professors go to rooms, but rather if they can be fined etc. under the argumentaion that they should have "raised" (?) their student better - just as in some countries, I believe, parents can be fined/held responsible for misdoings of their children. – user111388 Sep 25 at 8:00
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    What do you mean by (2)? Is someone at the university (or the university as such) going to face any action if a student gets arrested (apart from publicity which is also the case in other countries)? – user111388 Sep 25 at 9:22
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    @user111388 From my knowledge of Japanese culture, I wouldn't expect the consequences to be formal -- no fines if your student has a messy apartment. It's more that such situations might reflect badly on the supervisor, or the supervisor might be contacted and expected to somehow resolve the situation. You might be able to get good answers on a site devoted to Japanese culture (rather than academia). – academic Sep 25 at 14:43

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