How to Get Into Tokyo University

Someone has done research and written a book on the common characteristics of those admitted to Japan’s most prestigious institute of higher learning, Tokyo University, a.k.a. Todai. According to this book, “Todai no Kodomo, Do Yatte Todai ni Itta no ka? (How Did the Neighbor’s Kid Make it Into Todai)“, just over 58 percent of Todai students ate breakfast and dinner with their fathers when they were between the ages of 4 and 7. Mark Schreiber writes in the Japan Times, “With dad presiding over the evening meal, the book theorizes, a young child’s brain receives the highest quality stimulation – a considerably better way to promote his or her development than, say, sending preschool kids out to classes in English conversation or math.” At first I bristled at this – what, only dads engage in intelligent conversation? – but then I realized that if two adults are present at the dinner table, they may talk with each other at a higher level than one adult and one or more kids. Just a theory. When I told my husband about this finding, he said, “What about that kid who started a fire because his dad was always nagging him about homework?” Perhaps a little more research is in order…


4 thoughts on “How to Get Into Tokyo University

  1. Interesting! My husband and I often have to spell things at the dinner table in front of our 2 year old and 4 year old…maybe they will be national spelling bee champions one day!

    I didn’t see an email address for you and wanted to pass this information on to you. My husband’s cousin’s son is an outstanding athlete on the US Power Soccer Association team. He has just earned his spot on TeamUSA and will be competing at the Power Soccer World Cup in Tokyo in October. I thought that you and your family might be interested. If you have the opportunity to attend, please let me know.

    The website for the team is


  2. I think you’re okay, Jean, as long as your husband is at the breakfast table.:-)

    Kelley, we live in Tokushima which is on that little island just south of Osaka – quite a ways from Tokyo. But there’s a good chance that the soccer games will be televised. I’ll keep an eye out. Thanks.

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