Adolescence has frequently been depicted in modern society as a time of problems. Despite the fact that repeated studies fail to support a link between the physio-psychological changes brought on by adolescence, popular opinion in Japan and the U.S. is that adolescence is a time of “sturm und drang” (Bandura, 1964; Rutter, 1976; Rosenbaum, 1991). Most Japanese believe that there is a connection between adolescent suicide and academic pressure, although the available evidence suggests this is simply not the case (Rohlen, 1983; Cummings, 1989; Zeng and LeTendre, 1998). If we are to understand the problems young adolescents have with school, we need to set aside sensational media reports and view problems with school in terms of the modern Japanese life course.