According to the Nikkei, SME will no longer accept the job application called “entry sheets,” but will instead require the applicants to submit a two-minute, self-portrait movie answering four questions. This clip should be recorded on a mobile device, such as a smart-phone. A TV commentator said that there were too many similar and well-written entry sheets submitted, and that it was very difficult for SME to distinguish between the originals and the copies. As such, SME struggled to select the genuinely talented applicants from the pool.

This is the product of Japanese education, where the students are expected to follow strict rules, act and think similarly to classmates, and wear the school uniform almost 24/7 so as not standout individually.

It is interesting to see that the products of both US and Japanese education systems are no longer valued by their own business societies as they expected to be. There are many US college graduates who are saddled with large tuition debt, but are not able to fine suitably paid jobs to pay off the debt. In essence, what they’ve learned in school is not valued in the “real” world. Similarly, Japanese college graduates lack the creative and technological skills needed to apply for competitive positions. In both countries, it is evident that the higher education systems fail to prepare their students adequately to become financially successful, participative members of society.

In spite of these traditional education systems, there are incredibly unique and creative people succeeding at finding niche markets all over the world. Have you seen Kyary Pamyu Pamyu,(skip the first ad by clicking>) who is definitely a product of Japanese Otaku (nerds) culture (and the education system) and yet has succeeded in becoming a unique fashion icon? Sadly, examples such as she are few and far between.