In collaboration with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), a new public school specialized in cosmology education in the southernmost peninsula of Kagoshima prefecture is set to recruit students from all over Japan.
The school sits 20 kilometers away from Uchinoura Space Center and will educate from 7th grade to 12th grade starting in April 2015. It will be the first public school to require all students to live in a dormitory.
Reaction to the news of the school's creation among Web users has been very positive. Twitter user ririri, who is a student, commented with excitement:
— ririri@明るい未来 (@ririri1108) 2014, 1月 7
A school that teaches “cosmology”, that's awesome. Sounds exciting. I hope a school like this will help Japan lead the future of the space age!
Some users drew connections between the school and a comic book series called Twin Spica, a science fiction story about a group of Japanese high school students training to become astronauts. In the comic book, main character Asumi Kamogawa, a female student, enters the Tokyo Space Academy:
— ピッポくん (@merlin80586) 2014, 1月 3
It reminds me of Twin Spica.
— ぽじとろ (@positoro) 2014, 1月 2
Looks like many people were reminded of the Twin Spica like me.
However, there is one significant difference between the school in the sci-fi comic book and the new public school: The latter will be only open to boys.
Twitter user APICa wondered [ja] in disappointment:
— APICa (@APICa208) 2014, 1月 7
The school is so romantic, but why does it have to be only for boys when we have female astronauts, and there are other high schools that have co-ed dormitories?
Hatena bookmark user Unimmo commented [ja] with suspicion whether the school is intentionally discriminating against women:
Are you saying that space is not for women?
Yuki pondered if the decision was less about gender and more about economics:
— yuki (@yuki_meganeinfo) 2014, 1月 2
It's sad when there are female astronauts out there. Maybe it's only for boys due to cost?
The news, however, did not fuel a gender issues debate online, though many users did continue to express their disappointment with the limitation. Despite the boys-only rule, the unique school will likely carry on gaining the attention of space-loving netizens.