English page

Greetings from our Director and Principal

"Build your dreams, focus on your passion"

We here at Furukawa Academy’s Joetsu High School, established in 1904, celebrate our 110th anniversary more than 100 years later in 2014. With the school motto of "Independence. Sincerity. Propriety," we strive to prepare young minds to enter the world with the tools for success. About 24,000 students have contributed to society in their respective fields after graduating from our program.

In June of 2013, we started our 110th Anniversary Celebration Project which began the construction of a completely brand new school. Keeping in mind such concepts as "A school which raises young and prosperous hearts," "A school which supports the desire to learn," and "A school linked with the community," we were able to build a bright refreshing and appropriate senior high school for our students.

To future high school students, to cope with this complex and global society having the ability to learn advanced skills and the vitality to apply them is in high demand. Therefore, educators at Joestu Senior High School all work face to face with its students to help them grow and developed the will to learn. This is a private high school that believes in attentive education which is tailored to each individual student's personality and goals.

Joetsu High School is located in Teramachi, a town with an ambiance of culture found within the area of Takada Castle grounds, close to Kasugayama Castle the birthplace of hero Uesugi Kenshin.

Education Incorporation Furukawa Academy Board Chairman
Doctor of Engineering, Furukawa Yasuo

"Education at Joetsu High School"

At this school, we are giving our full support to the study and preparation of an environment that helps to realize student's future dreams; with the establishment of our Global course which emphasizes university acceptance and global education, and our regular course which is divided into two to four separate classes putting focus on the acquisition of qualifications, each student's personal and academic goals are all brought to their full potential. Also, the activation of independent work such as after school activities, volunteering, etc. and the preponderant effort to instill decorum through disciplined leadership help us raise students with the dignity to take action; all grounded within the school's philosophy of "Independence. Sincerity. Propriety."

In an effort to include international comprehension education aiming to improve international communication ability using ICT, our program was adopted the "Attractive Private High School Project" in 2014.

Through programs such as ALT classes, online English conversation practice, English Camp, English Proficiency Test preparations, as well as exchange classes that mix language study with other subjects that include foreign studies, we strive to nurture capable people that flourish in a world that has shifted its focus toward a global society.

Our newly refurbished school is waiting for you with its white base tone for a bright atmosphere, electronic whiteboard and wi-fi enabled classrooms, fully equipped air-conditioning for a pleasant study experience, indoor running road built into the large gymnasium, and many other innovative features. We hope that three years at this school will help further expand your future dreams and for you to realize those dreams through knowledge and social capabilities that you will gain here.
Joetsu Senior High School Principal
Kazama Kazuo

Find your future!
All learning is an important link to your dreams

Translation by: Pamela Mendoza

Voices of Exchange

“I became more open-minded”

In Joetsu High school, I really immersed myself into the Japanese culture. In order to adapt better to the Japanese lifestyle and to communicate with friends, I learned a lot of the Japanese as well.

During my 5 months in Japan, I made friendships, which will hopefully last a lifetime. In the beginning every exchange student struggles with the new rules and language, but I experienced so much kindness, respect, and generosity, that I didn’t feel very uncomfortable.

I became more open-minded and sensitive towards other people’s feelings. Now that I’m back home, I miss being able to apply all these rules and habits in my daily life, as I had become so used to them.

The life of an exchange student is also extraordinarily pleasant, as well as salutary. Within the large selection of extra curriculum activities, I chose Kendo - where I also met new and interesting people. In my free-time, I came to like Karaoke, taking walks in Takada Park or exploring the city of Joetsu with friends. I keep these things as some of the most significant memories, representing my Japanese life.
Spring of 2015 AFS Exchange Student
Laura Kacl

Why Learn English? - ALT's message to students -

Language is essential for human life. It is the primary means by which we communicate our ideas, our thoughts, our desires and our dreams. Without language it would be difficult to build and maintain relationships.

English, as a language, came to England with the Anglo-Saxon invasion, after the Romans left in the mid-5th century. This form of English, known as “Old English”, would be almost unintelligible to modern English speakers.

With the Norman invasion of the 11th century, many French words were added to English. This form of English is referred to as Middle English. The famous writer Chaucer wrote in Middle English.

With industrialization came the need for new words, and with it the development of Modern English. Shakespeare wrote in a form of Early Modern English. Since then we have witnessed the development of various forms of English, most notably American English with its influences from Spanish, French and West African.

Historical factors, namely the rise of the British Empire and, more recently, the spread of American culture through Hollywood and popular music, has seen English become the dominant language of world communication. Today, about 2 billion people regularly communicate in English. In the fields of business, culture and science, English links the world together.

On a personal level, a command of English opens up new possibilities for world travel. Go to any city or town in the world, and you are likely to find at least one person who can communicate in English. For those who speak English, the opportunity to live and work overseas is greatly expanded. In the world of business, “globalization” has become the new catchphrase. In this global business culture, a command of English would surely enhance one’s chances of landing a good job.

On an even more personal level, I would never have met and married my (Japanese) wife, Yoshiko, if she wasn’t fluent in English. While it may be true that she is (was) (kind of) cute, for me, her fluency in English was and is a major part of her charm. Without our common language, we could never have exchanged the words of love that helped us to build a marriage and family that has lasted for 35 years (and counting). After all, for me, isn’t that what life is all about?


Yearly Events


School Entrance Ceremony:
  When we welcome the freshman students into the school
Opening Ceremony:
  When we mark the start of the new school year


Spring Excursion:
  Where each grade go on an outing to a place of their choice for the day.
Student Body Meeting:
  The entire student body comes together to discuss issues and address problems as a group.
Mid-term Exams:
  A stressful time for students but an interesting time to observe studying habits.


Establishment Anniversary:
  A day off to enjoy the school's establishment.
Athletics Festival:
  Students compete in 5 large groups in a variety of challenges like relays, races,
  cheering/performance, and banner designs.
Final Exams: Then comes the looming storm of exams.


Sports Tournament:
  Where the students compete class against class in a variety of different sports games to build class
  comradery and lift school morale.
Parent/Guardian Counseling:
  A special time that teachers put aside to talk to students' parent or guardian and discuss how to
  work together for the students’ personal growth.
End of Term Closing Ceremony


Mid-term Exams


College/University Campus Visits:
  Seniors can take time to visit college and university campuses that they are interested in applying to.
New Term Opening Ceremony:
  We welcome the start of a new term with an official ceremony.


Alumni Experience Presentations:
  A special presentation given by Joetsu graduates on their personal experiences in society after graduation.

Fall School Festival:
  The school is transformed into an open forum similar to that of a convention with food stalls
  and stage performances. Individual classes come up with their own concept - haunted house,
  Halloween cafe, planetarium, and many others.


Final Exams
International Field Trip (juniors only):
Parent/Guardian Counseling (freshman and juniors only)


End of Term Closing Ceremony


New Term Opening Ceremony
Student Council Elections
End of Year Exams (seniors only)


Ski Lessons (Freshman Only):
  Freshman are taken to the nearby ski resort, Ikenotaira, for lessons on skiing.
End of Year Exams (freshman and juniors only)


Graduation Ceremony:
  Seniors take their next step into the world.
End of Term Ceremony:
  The school marks the end of the school year with one final ceremony.

About Joetsu City

Joetsu City is an ever growing urban area that still holds the beauty of the countryside. It is a place that thrives on community and shows its nieghbors support and comfort. On April 24, 1971, the cities of Takada and Naoetsu were consolidated into what is now known as Joetsu City. At the time, it was part of the Nakakubiki District. However, on December 30, 2004 it broke from the district and in January of 2005 it merged with the surrounding towns and villages to form one distinct and strong city.

The new Joetsu-Myoko Station, completed in spring of 2015, runs the Hokuriku Shinkansen that connects Joetsu city with neighboring prefectures as well as Tokyo in less time than ever before. Joetsu area also has two railway companies, JR East and JR West, running through it. They extend to various parts of the prefecture and also connect to Kyoto through the Thunderbird. Joestu also benefits from the Hokuriku Expressway and Joshinetsu Expressway, both gateways for traveling by car to enjoy the vibrant scenery of the east coast or the lush nature of the west.

Historical Characters

Uesugi Kenshin (1530 - 1578)
Kenshin was the daimyo, feudal lord, of the Echigo Province during the Sengoku Period (1467-1603) of Japan. As one of the most powerful lords in the Kanto region, it was well known that Kenshin had a strong command of the battlefield. He had been nicknamed "God of War" by his followers for his military expertise and strong belief in the Buddhist god of war, Bishamonten.

On top of being a skilled soldier, he was a masterful administrator. He helped cultivate the growth of local industries and trade, marking a rise in the standard of living in the Echigo Province unlike ever before. He was a great leader that is still revered today with the Uesugi Kenshin festival every summer with a large parade and historical battle performance often portrayed by famous Japanese singer, Gackt.

Maejima Hisoka (January 24, 1835 - April 27, 1919)
Hisoka was a statesman, business man, and politician during the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912). He is most well known as being the "Father of the Postal System." Born in Shimoikebe, Echigo Province (now Joetsu City), he was adopted into the Maejima family in 1866. He studied English and medical science while in Edo (present day Tokyo). In the same year, he wrote an unsolicited proposal to remove Chinese characters from the Japanese writing system. He also sent a proposal in 1868 to move the capitol from Kyoto to Edo after the Meiji Restoration.

After the Meiji restoration, he was sent to United Kingdom to study their mail delivery service and returned to Japan in 1871 with new proposals for the Japanese postal system. Operation began in April of 1871 linking Tokyo and Osaka with 65 offices in between. The Japanese word for postage stamp, "kitte," was coined by Hisoka himself. He also created postal savings banks in 1874 to make the system self-supporting and to help extend the modern economic system in the countryside. By the time Hisoka retired in 1881, the Japanese postal system had expanded to over 5,000 post offices and was continuing to grow. He is now honored on several Japaense postage stamps.

Events and Festivals

Lantern Festival (Feb): Impressive snow lanterns line the walk ways of Joetsu's popular ski resort, Cupid Valley, for this winter wonderland experience.

Hanami Festival (April): A time for enjoying the fresh spring air and beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms considered Japan's top 3 best places for night viewing.

Joetsu Festival (June): Joetsu summer festival meant for the entire city to enjoy. There are performances, dancing, and a parade where various local businesses and people dress in summer yukatas to dance to traditional festival music.

Naoetsu Fireworks Festival (July-Aug): Held on the beach side of Noetsu this festival marks the start of summer and is celebrated with music, dance, and an amazing fireworks display.

Joetsu Lotus Festival (July-Aug): The lotus flowers of Takada Park blossom at this summer event made to honor their beauty.

Jokamachi-Takada Flower Road (October): The streets of Takada are lined with creatively designed flower panels.

Echigo-Kenshin Sake Festival (October): Joetsu City's local breweries come to the city central to line the streets with stalls offering samples of their latest and greatest creations. There are also food stalls, street performances, and other mini events held throughout the day.

The International Understanding Education Program

With the support of Niigata prefecture since 2013, our school has been engaged in building an institute with an “intercultural training of talented individuals” appeal.

Main Efforts

Elevation of International Communication through ICT
Objective and Purpose of Implementation
We believe it is critical that students coming into a globalized society be equipped with a strong sense of self identity as a representative of Japan, be able to understand other countries, and be capable of proactively cooperating with those who hold different values from themselves.

1. Emphasis on English Communication in class
In our English classes, we have implemented a native English speaking Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) who leads communicative activities through team-teaching. She is also a couch for students writing English essays.

2. ICT Application in Class
Through the use of smart boards and notebook computers, we can stress the importance of visual and auditory learning.

3. Online English Learning
Students independently study English, with the use of tablets or personal computers, at their own pace after school or at home.

4. Cultural Exchange Classes with Study Abroad Students
We invite study abroad students and foreigners currently living in our area to lead classes that provide a healthy exchange of opinions. The students engage in many courses that help shift their focus to the world, not just English.

5. English Camp
We take a break to join regional native English speakers in a training camp where students use English in communication activities to build positive attitudes towards cultural exchange.

6. GTEC Assessment Courses and English Proficiency Examinations
As an objective gauge for students’ English ability, we have implemented a twice a year assessment with the GTEC for STUDENTS examinations. We are also noting a growth in the ratio of students taking the English Proficiency Exam and those that pass.

7. English Club
We deepen intercultural understanding and raise English ability through fun exchanges with our ALT and exchange students. With the establishment of our English homepage, we broadcast our school activities and our regional history to the world.

8. Creation of “International Understanding Day” for presentations
Students work in groups to study a topic that is related to what has been learned that year; if chosen by their classmates, they present their findings in front of the entire student body.

9. Overseas Field Trip
Our school is currently running an overseas field trip program. This precious experience exists as a chance to broaden students’ perspectives. On site, there are one day group activities with university students that actively encourage exchange. Besides, we have correspondences with other senior high schools and for the sake of cultivating a better understanding of “globalization”

10. Exchange Students
Every year, students participate in study abroad programs while we take in a student wishing to study in Japan.


Address:3-4-34, Tera-machi, Joetsu-city, Niigata, 943-0892 JAPAN
Phone:025-523-2601(an office)
    025-524-1249(Academic Affairs Room)