Universities allow students to celebrate start of a new academic year with a few conditions attached

Japan Times -- Mar 28
What's a Japanese spring without university entrance ceremonies in cherry blossom season? That&'s precisely what happened last year after many festivities were canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Things then took a turn for the worse. For the class of 2020, campus life in Japan was reduced almost entirely to remote lectures and online interactions with people the students never actually met in person.

One year later, universities nationwide are getting ready to hold a new round of entrance ceremonies and welcome new students, albeit with strict precautions observed by both the faculty staff and the freshmen.

The University of Tokyo, which was the first institution in Japan to hold online lectures when the outbreak emerged last year, announced earlier this month that an in-person entrance ceremony will be held at Nippon Budokan Hall — the university’s traditional venue — on April 12.

The University of Tokyo is by no means the only university to stake out a claim at Nippon Budokan Hall — Toyo University and Meiji University have booked the venue as well. Nippon Budokan Hall had been off-limits for these events in 2020 as it was being renovated for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Back in business, Nippon Budokan Hall’s entrance ceremonies may pave the way for other large event venues to open their doors.

NHK reported on March 10 that some universities in the Kansai area are holding double ceremonies — one for freshmen students, and another for sophomores that missed out on their own in-person ceremonies last year.

- Japan Times