The Japanese school year starts in April, after a relatively short spring break. In 2022, though, a larger-than-usual number of kids in Japan will probably be happy to get back to class, thanks to the opening of Japan’s first gaming high school.

Yes, though it may sound like the setup to an anime series made to promote a mobile game, there really is a facility being built in Tokyo where teens will gather to hone their gaming skills as part of the curriculum. It’s not in some far-flung corner of the city, either, but right in the middle of downtown’s Shibuya district, just a short walk from the station (and, conveniently, the Nintendo specialty shop).

▼ Even the school’s website looks like a game start screen.

eSports High School, as its straightforwardly called, operates with support from NTTe-Sports, the competitive gaming division of telecommunications company NTT, and Japanese pro soccer team Tokyo Verdy’ e-sports offshoot (which plays games outside the sports genre as well), with members of Verde involved in student instruction.

The school’s Shibuya e Stadium facility boasts large monitors and multiple high-spec gaming PC rigs, where teachers will conduct lessons centered on popular games in the first-person shooter, third-person shooter, real-time strategy, and MOBA categories.

The facility also includes a “care training space,” where students will learn about how to properly take care of their physical and mental health, both aspects of pro gaming that newcomers often underestimate the importance and difficulty of.

If the idea of a gaming high school seems absolutely baffling, it might make a little more sense if you keep in mind that in Japan, high school is not part of the compulsory education system, and high schools with a trade school-like element to their curriculum aren’t uncommon. eSports High School itself isn’t pedaling the dream that its graduates will all go on to live cushy lives off of their e-sports tournament winnings either, stating “Pro gaming, as an occupation, is very difficult, and so our goal is to provide students with skills that can be used not just in competitive gaming, but in a variety of ways.”

Essentially, eSports High School is positioning itself as a trade school for the growing and diversifying gaming media sphere. In its chart of possible lines of …….


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