All About The Japanese Cleanliness Tradition And Why Nigeria Should Learn From Them


Most first-time visitors to Japan are struck by how clean the country is. Then they notice the absence of litter bins. And street sweepers.

So they’re left with the question: how does Japan stay so clean?
The easy answer is that residents themselves keep it that way. “For 12 years of school life, from elementary school to high school, cleaning time is part of students’ daily schedule,” said Maiko Awane, assistant director of Hiroshima Prefectural Government’s Tokyo office. “In our home life as well, parents teach us that it’s bad for us not to keep our things and our space clean.”

Including this element of social consciousness in the school curriculum helps the children develop an awareness of, and pride in, their surroundings. Who wants to dirty or deface a school that they have to clean up themselves?
“I sometimes didn't want to clean the school,” recalled freelance translator Chika Hayashi, “but I accepted it because it was part of our routine. I think having to clean the school is a very good thing because we learn that it’s important for us to take responsibility for cleaning the things and places that we use.”

On arriving at school, students leave their shoes in lockers and change into trainers. At home, too, people leave their street shoes at the entrance.
Even workmen coming to your house will remove their shoes and pad around in their socks. And as the schoolchildren grow, their concept of what constitutes their space extends beyond the classroom to include their neighbourhood, their city and their country.

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