The Reflections on the Gender Discrimination Scandal in Japanese Universities

Table of Content

Recently, an article written by Greg Wheeler called “The Tokyo Medical University entrance exam scandal: lessons learned” was published in the International Journal of Educational Integrity. In the article, the author Outlines the news that TMU secretly cut scores of female applicants in order to reduce the number of female medical students, and such sexism is not unique to many Japanese universities. At the same time, the author also analyzes the reasons why universities have been able to carry out discriminatory practices without control for more than a decade, and puts forward corresponding Suggestions on how universities should take measures to correct this phenomenon and how to avoid similar scandals in the future.

Such a measure of TMU makes many women miss the opportunity to attend excellent universities, and also makes some female students who have entered universities lose the qualification of tuition reduction. For female students, this is both an educational and economic loss, as well as a kind of psychological trauma. There is no doubt that this is unfair. “Although it has not just been female applicants affected by TMU’s score-lowering scheme, it is the ugly specter of gender discrimination.”(Greg Wheeler, 2018). Today’s society should be civilized, rational and fair. A good person is always good, and that’s not directly related to gender. And As for the male and female doctors who have an advantage, in an essay published December 19 in the journal, compares the male doctors and women doctors in the treatment of patients with in-hospital mortality and readmission rate, the results showed that mortality in patients admitted to hospital 30 days (11.49% female doctor vs. 11.07% male doctor) and readmission rate (15.57% female doctor vs. 15.01% male doctor), women physicians data is lower than male physicians, difference reached statistical significance. (Tsugawa Y, Jena AB and so on, 2016). From this research, we can see that in some ways women doctors can do better than men. However, the school denied all female medical students for some one-sided and superficial reasons, which not only violated the concept of educational fairness, but also produced many negative effects. Undoubtedly, it should be corrected.

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The author’s analysis of the causes of discrimination policies and corresponding Suggestions are quite reasonable. By making college entrance exams more transparent, and making their scores public, and distributing the results to individual candidates, you can actually reduce the amount of manipulation that happens. At the same time, it would restore its credibility as an institution of higher learning, regain the trust of those it lost in the scandal, and raise its standing with the public. The improvement of the social image of these schools can also bring them more excellent students.

If people want this kind of scandal to stop happening, in addition to the above mentioned improvement in the educational selection system, people also have to make improvements in the social aspect. In this case, the university’s reason is that women’s careers are shorter and leaving after childbirth would increase pressure on scarce medical resources. (The Japan Times, 2018). It’s true that women have to leave their jobs temporarily while giving birth, but that doesn’t mean their career ends after giving birth, which is definitely a prejudice. Some women don’t return to work after giving birth, in fact, because of family and company pressure. Some companies even directly dismiss women who take maternity leave, which is undoubtedly unreasonable. The government should make corresponding restrictions, to reduce workplace discrimination against women, and make corresponding preferential subsidies, giving women more flexible work environment and more support to encourage women to return to work after childbirth, so that women workers balance work and family, and for women’s career life.

More deeply, the root of the scandal is the strong atmosphere of sexism in Japanese society. Even if the admissions system changes, there is little guarantee that universities will try to restrict women elsewhere. Only by changing the nation ideologically can we fundamentally prevent the emergence of such a situation. First of all, I think we can publicize the awareness of equal rights between men and women for the young generation since childhood in terms of basic education. Second, the government should publicize the corresponding idea of equal rights, create a good social atmosphere, and formulate policies to combat the prevalence of gender discrimination.

To sum up, the author summarized the contents of the entrance examination scandal of Tokyo medical university, introduced a lot of knowledge about the examination education in Japan and the social atmosphere of gender discrimination in Japan, and put forward many constructive suggestions. Of course, the change of the whole society will be a long and arduous process. But as long as there are positive people working hard to promote social reform, we are bound to have a better future and prevent such scandals from happening again.


  1. Greg Wheeler. (2018). The Tokyo Medical University entrance exam scandal: lessons learned. Retrieved on 18th September, 2018 from:
  2. The Japan Times. (2018). Tokyo Medical University discriminated against female applicants by lowering entrance exam scores. Retrieved on 20th August, 2018 from:
  3. Tsugawa Y, Jena AB, Figueroa JF, Orav EJ, Blumenthal DM, Jha AK. (2016). Comparison of Hospital Mortality and Readmission Rates for Medicare Patients Treated by Male vs Female Physicians. JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 19, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7875

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The Reflections on the Gender Discrimination Scandal in Japanese Universities. (2021, Aug 25). Retrieved from

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