Kumon Logo – What Does It Mean?

One of my favorite business logos is the Kumon Logo. At first glance, it seems as if the Kumon logo’s face represents an unhappy boy. But is it? What exactly does the Kumon logo symbolize?

The Kumon logo is described as the “Thinking Face,” similar to the standard thinking face emoji. It represents Kumon students’ faces who learn, think, and grow within the Kumon community.

It also represents Kumon Instructors and staff faces who think about their students and all other activities they can develop for them.

Read on to learn more about the Kumon learning center logo. Aside from The Thinking Face, we will discuss all the other aspects that significantly contributed to making this simple yet recognizable logo.

The Meaning Behind the Kumon Logo

Kumon logo

The Kumon logo, which features The Thinking Face, represents every individual within the Kumon community. It emphasizes that the students are not the only ones thinking within the center. Instead, everybody else does — including their teachers and all the other staff.

Kumon has created an environment wherein both students and instructors think critically to solve problems and figure out answers. The Thinking Face is the language of interested and committed students, instructors, and staff members. They all have a shared desire to progress, evolve, and succeed.

You may have noticed that the logo is color blue. The Kumon website explains that the Kumon Blue signifies honesty, intelligence, and the sky. The Kumon Blue also signifies a hope that the world will unite as one.

It looks forward to that time when the future of all children will progress on a grand scale. That someday, everyone in the world will take education more seriously.

Let’s talk about the history of Kumon and its method of learning to determine if it truly adheres to the meaning of its logo.

Brief History of Kumon

In 1958, Japanese educator Toru Kumon founded the Kumon Maths Centre in Moriguchi City in Osaka, Japan. Before he established Kumon franchises, Toru was a teacher at the Tosa Junior / Senior High School and the Kochi Municipal High School.

Because he wanted to teach his own son, he decided to develop a curriculum focusing on rote memorization.

During Kumon center’s first 16 years, it gained more than 60,000 students. In 1974, Toru published the book “The Secret of Kumon Math,” which led to a remarkable increase in Kumon’s number of students.

It then opened several locations in the United States in 1983. By 1985, there were more than 1 million students enrolled in Kumon.

Kumon Institute of Mathematics

For years, Kumon was operating at the Kumon Institute of Mathematics. But when it added other subjects, the management changed it to the Kumon Institute of Education. This then led to the creation of the first-ever Kumon logo.

In Alabama, the Sumiton Elementary School was the first school in the U.S. to have implemented the Kumon method of learning.

The school incorporated the Kumon Math Method of Learning into its regular K-4 mathematics curriculum. Its success has influenced other schools also to integrate the Kumon method into their curriculum.

By 2008, Kumon had more than 26,000 centers worldwide and more than 4 million enrollees. In the U.S. alone, there were over 2,000 Kumon centers in 2018 with over 400,000 registered students.

Baby Kumon

In 2012, Kumon launched Baby Kumon in Japan. It was a tutoring program that focused on children aged one to two years old. Unfortunately, Baby Kumon has not yet been utilized in other countries.

However, in North America, Kumon launched the Junior Kumon program in 2001. This program focused on teaching children aged two to five years old.

Kumon Method of Learning

Kumon is a remedial or enrichment program in which instructors develop lessons that tailor each of their students:

Diagnostic Test

An initial assessment is given to each student to gauge his or her abilities. They call this the “Kumon Diagnostic Test.” The test is a series of exams with 20 to 60 questions. A Kumon instructor will then develop an individualized study plan based on the diagnostic test results and the student’s study skills.

Easy Level

To establish study habits, Kumon initially provides an easy starting point for all its students. This method then establishes concentration as well as a strong understanding of the lessons.

As students’ study skills improve, Kumon instructors then prepare to take their students onto the next level — which is the difficulty level.

Difficult Level

Under the Difficult Level, Kumon instructors develop a lesson plan that will challenge students even more. However, instructors make sure that the lessons are not too difficult to prevent students from getting discouraged.

Kumon instructors update their lesson plan regularly to ensure that it matches each of their students’ skills. So, even if the instructors have a standard study plan, they tweak its difficulty level based on each student‘s performance.

The students also take a mastery test based on accuracy and speed. Once they complete it, they then move on to the next level. The mastery test has no passing or failing grade. Students are merely given chances to practice and take the test repeatedly until they exhibit significant progress.

Kumon Core Programs

The two core programs of Kumon are Kumon Math and Kumon Native Language Program.

Kumon Math

The Kumon Math Program effectively advances children’s math skills, which is advantageous during and after school.

Two Sessions a Week

If you enroll your child in a Kumon Center, he or she will have to attend two sessions a week to complete the Daily Kumon Math Worksheets. Each session will only take approximately 30 minutes.

Aside from the center’s activities, your child will also have to complete five assignments at home. This should not come out as a stressful activity for him or her.

Your child is allowed to work at his or her own pace. He or she has to master each concept before moving on to the next level.

Despite working at his or her own pace, you will be amazed at how your child adapts to significant math skills. You may even notice that your child’s skills have become more advanced than his or her peers.

Kumon Math Worksheets

As of June 2020, the Kumon math worksheets are available in 11 different languages to cater to students worldwide.

Mr. Toru Kumon, a high school mathematics teacher, believed that understanding calculus was essential, particularly in university entrance exams in Japan.

So when Toru was creating worksheets for his son, he focused on topics that needed a strong comprehension of calculus by relating it to the fundamentals of counting.

Kumon learners are strictly not allowed to use calculators. Instead, they are all trained to solve problems by mental calculation. Typically, Kumon tutoring consists of a group of 6 students to one tutor. Once students have completed the program, they are known as Kumon Completers.

Kumon Native Language Program

This program aims to help students develop advanced reading skills through self-learning. At the beginning of the lesson, the instructors will discuss new and familiar vocabulary with the students.

Initially, they will learn letters and then gradually shift to characters in the context of words. Then, they are taught words in the context of sentences.

Students then learn to comprehend sentences and paragraphs. Before they know it, they can already read and even summarize literary masterpieces on their own.

To help them practice, Kumon has a Kumon Recommended Reading List (RRL) for their students. RRL consists of a list of books from different genres. This list is arranged based on the difficulty level of each book. The aim, of course, is to promote reading among their learners.

This program is available in several languages to cater to learners worldwide. Among these are Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, and Thai.

The Kumon Native Language Programs aim to expose learners to a wide range of texts. This way, they strongly develop the skill of reading comprehension.

To teach proper pronunciation, audio CDs are provided to students. Even these audios are provided based on the skill level of the learners.

Other Kumon Programs

It is no wonder why Kumon chose such a logo to represent its business.

The Kumon logo face represents The Thinking Face. It doesn’t only represent Kumon students’ faces who learn, think, and grow within the Kumon community.

But it is also a representation of Kumon Instructors and staff faces who continuously think about their students and all other activities they can develop for them.

Let’s talk about the other program offered by Kumon. These include Foreign Language Programs and SAIDO Learning / Learning for a Healthy Brain.

Foreign Language Programs

Kumon’s foreign language programs aim to help students develop an advanced level of reading and comprehension skills. This program begins by allowing students to listen and repeat fundamental words and sentences using audio players.

Then, they advance to practicing verbal reading and until they learn the correct grammar.

Once learners have mastered basic grammar, they start comprehending long passages. Gradually, they learn to read and understand classic literature in various genres. 

In June 2020, Kumon launched the English as a Foreign Language Program in more than 30 different countries and regions. Now, Kumon has started offering German and French programs in Japan. There are also Japanese programs for learners in other nations.

Among the foreign language worksheets studied in different nations are the following:

  1. English in Indonesian
  2. Japanese in Portuguese
  3. English in Chinese
  4. French in Japanese
  5. German in Japanese

SAIDO Learning® / Learning for a Healthy Brain


The SAIDO Learning® / Learning materials for a Healthy Brain are all based on brain science research. These have been developed to retain cognitive function, minimize or eliminate cognitive decline, and prevent dementia among Kumon learners.

Students communicate with supporters as they work on exercises in arithmetic, writing, and reading. Doing so helps activate the prefrontal cortex of the brain and improve cognitive function.

The activities also improve communication skills among the students and their ability to perform daily living activities or ADLs.

The learning exercises come at various levels. They are assigned to learners based on their cognitive function level. 

Among the SAIDO Learning® / Learning for Healthy Brain worksheets available are the following:

  1. Reading and Writing in Japanese
  2. Simple Calculation in Japanese
  3. Reading and Writing in English
  4. Simple Calculation in English

Kumon Instructors and Assistants

Basically, Kumon is a franchise model wherein a senior instructor manages Kumon Education Centers. Each center also has a team they refer to as Center Assistants.

Each Kumon instructor is qualified and trained to master the Kumon method of teaching. Kumon instructors are not only highly familiar with the curriculum.

But they are also experts in observing the study habits of their students. Furthermore, they are experts in individualizing the programs to ensure that they tailor their students’ abilities.

Once Kumon Instructors have mastered all their duties and responsibilities, they then train their Center Assistants. They make sure that, like them, the Center Assistants have mastered all tasks assigned to them.

Conclusion – Kumon Logo

The Kumon logo face is a representation of The Thinking Face. It doesn’t merely represent Kumon students’ faces who learn, think, and grow within the Kumon community.

But it is also a representation of the faces of Kumon Instructors and staff who continuously think about their students and thoroughly plan all other activities they can develop for them.

Suffice it to say that all parties involved in Kumon do not only master standard lessons. But they also believe in continuous learning. They believe in tweaking standard lessons to the advancement of their learners. Hence, the Thinking Face.