(Otobe town, Hokkaido)
School entrance ceremonies are held across Japan in early April, when the school year starts. The ceremony gives incoming students a chance to think about the kind of school life they'd like to lead and allows older students to welcome their new schoolmates.
The ceremony is usually held in the school gym. The older students and parents take their seats first and give the new students a big round of applause as they march into the room.
In a typical ceremony, the principal of the school makes some opening remarks, encouraging the new crop of students to have an enjoyable and rewarding experience in school. The homeroom teachers are then introduced, and one of the older students makes a welcoming address. A speech by an incoming student on behalf of his or her class follows.
(Shinonoi Nishi Middle School, Nagano)
As the speeches continue, the new students, who were a bit tense when the ceremony started, begin to relax, and they start identifying themselves more closely with the school. The ceremony often ends with a school song sung by the older students.
Afterwards, the new students are led to their classrooms by their teacher, who explains what they can expect in the year to come. Textbooks are handed out, and commemorative photos are taken on a class-by-class basis.