Last time I talked about the concept of filial piety, or oya koko, which is the respect you pay to your parents because without them you wouldn’t be here. This formalized tradition of respecting your parents is part of Confucian teachings which exerted influence on Japan during the Edo Period (1603-1868). In the U.S. the top universities are private schools like Harvard, Princeton and MIT, while inexpensive state-funded schools (like mine, SDSU) are lower in the rankings, but in Japan this is reversed: the public universities are where everyone wants to go, in large part because they’re much cheaper than their private counterparts like Waseda or Keio. One way kids show oya koko to their parents is by studying extra-hard so they can get a cheap education at Tokyo or Kyoto University, which are around $6000 per year. As a father with two kids who will be starting university in a few years, this is one kind of parental respect I am very much in favor of.
If you can pass the test to get into Tokyo University, your parents will be happy.