The men in uniform white shirts and dark shorts sitting in the classroom looked too old to be junior high school students; some had gray hair, close-cropped.

The students are attending Kiri Branch School of Asahi-machi Junior High School, the only junior high school in the nation run inside a penitentiary. The students are inmates who never completed compulsory education.

This unique public school was opened in Matsumoto Juvenile Prison in Nagano Prefecture in 1955 to educate young prisoners who had not finished compulsory schooling, some due to war and social upheaval.