crime

Father of bullied boy who killed himself files criminal complaint

81 Comments

The father of a 13-year-old boy who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train in Yahaba, Iwate Prefecture, has filed a criminal complaint with police after it was learned that the boy wrote in a journal that he had been the victim of bullying at school.

Ryo Muramatsu jumped onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train at JR Yahaba Station at around 7:30 p.m. on July 5.

An NPO representing victims of bullying filed the criminal complaint against the junior high school on behalf of Muramatsu's father, Fuji TV reported Sunday.

After the suicide, Muramatsu's homeroom teacher revealed that he had written in a journal that he was repeatedly being bullied. The boy wrote that he had been kicked and choked. He also wrote: "I've decided upon the place I will die."

However, the woman teacher apparently told no one else at the school and has been on sick leave since the suicide.

The boy's father, interviewed by Japanese media, said: "I knew that my son had been subjected to bullying at school, but I didn't know it was so bad that it would lead to something like this." He added that he didn't fully understand the severity of everything that occurred in his son's classroom.

He is filing a criminal complaint against the school for not informing him about the contents of his son's journal and for taking no action to stop the bullying.

It has also been revealed that Muramatsu indicated that he was being bullied for at least a year, in a school survey on the issue in late June. Other students subsequently interviewed by board of education officials said they had seen Muramatsu being bullied on numerous occasions.

On July 7, the school held a meeting of teachers and parents, attended by about 360 people. The school principal spoke briefly about the deceased boy, but no mention was made of whether or not bullying had been a factor in the suicide.

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81 Comments
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Prosecute, prosecute, prosecute and bring the full force of the available laws against the bullies, the school and he authorities and not until Japan begins to prosecute these 'people' as such this plague of needless deaths will not be stopped.

An appalling way for a young person, any person to die. STOP the bullies, put their sickness away, out of main stream society.

33 ( +34 / -2 )

More and more people should file these complaints. The is assault. A criminal offense. Our son was bullied in jhs and we did nothing, something I regret to this day. He didn't take such a drastic action but even as a splendid young man still lives with the effects. He no longer tolerates bullying and calls people out on it when he sees it.

23 ( +24 / -2 )

The parents are legal guardians and have every right to be informed. If the child gets injured, the school informs the parents; why not in this case also?

Also, as a social justice and moral direction, how about the following:

Why not replicate the same requests we see on the trains - if you see something suspicious, REPORT IT to the authorities. This should be the new campaign to at least address these types of behaviors that we should not ignore.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

In one of my schools in Tokyo Ueno area, a boy was being bullied by bigger guys. They choke him, kick him, punch and throw his things in front of other students whenever the school teacher is out. Somebody even placed a chewing gum on his hair. So I told the principal about it. And his reply? Kids will be kids.We are doing our best to prevent bullying and we have a zero tolerance to such things.

And nothing happened.

Next time, his parents came to the school to ask the school to do something. THe boy don't want to come to school anymore and has been absent for a while. The school promised to do something.

And nothing happened. A report of bullying will cause negative points on his homeroom teacher and negative points for the school. SO the school hides it and will not do anything about it.

27 ( +27 / -1 )

I don't know if is legal in Japan but if you are bullying spray them to pepper spray and run. For self defense like I say I don't know if it's legal but is a good defense! Also learn self defense like Krav Maga (not killing only self defense), or any martial art! That make you more confidence, have self steam and know you can protect yourself to any bully!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Conflict resolution programs, which include peer mediation and elements of restorative justice, are the main way to create a different dynamic within schools. Part of these programs, is the development of empathy skills and a language to express feelings. Many schools in Canada, the UK, and other countries, have been running these programs for some time with some positive results. They are extensive and take a major commitment on the part of school districts. Prosecution and police-work are unlikely to change the underlying "culture" of bullying. Sadly, I do not see a willingness to try something new as the authorities repeat the same kinds of half-hearted efforts to little benefit. Of course, it may be the structure of the institutions of education in this country feature bullying and that while this breaks hearts and lives on the front line, the higher-ups really believe that bullying is a necessary part of the overall picture of interlocking structures of continued socialization.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's the responsibility of adults to step in when children don't behave properly - that's part of the education of young people. It's firstly the parent's responsibility to recognise what it is and teach your children bullying is wrong. It is then certainly the responsibility of teachers and particularly administrators of schools to ensure it is dealt with properly in a public environment like school.

That the school did nothing is terrible - a crime. It's difficult to tell the circumstances with the teacher, but she should have had the courage to make a stand and have been fully supported by the Principal and other administrators.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This case hopefully will be the one that FINALLY wakes people up about the problems occurring throughout Japan with regards to children and bullying AND the fact that the teachers are ill prepared to deal with the problem.

On the news last night there was a story about this case and others, and they have gotten to the point where the kids are taking videos of the actual bullying and posting them to friends via line. It was sickening to watch.

However, the woman teacher apparently told no one else at the school and has been on sick leave since the suicide.

Sick leave? How about run away in shame because SHE could have prevented it, even the lowest level, poorly trained teacher would or SHOULD have sense enough to seek advice after reading this boys notebook.

She should never be allowed to teach again. Like many (sadly) other so-called teachers here, they have the brains to pass a test, get a license, but should never be anywhere near a classroom of children. They do it because of the stability of being "komuin" AND they give real teachers here, (of which there are many) a serious black eye.

She should be on suicide watch.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Reminds me of a one hit wonder band from the 80's, "Men Without Balls" wait...no..that was "Men Without Hats"...yeah, that's it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

erbaviva's story makes me think Colin Farrell's approach in this season (overall poor) True Detective is the correct one. He went to the house of his son's bully and beat the living snot out of his father, making some charming threats in the process. Any boy that dies under such extremely dysfunctional conditions has blood on their hands.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What I want to know is where the hell were the schools officials, principal, teachers? Why didn't they intervene, protect him, and expel the bullies? It's the police's responsibility to investigate these suicides, not wait till a criminal complaint is filed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That the school did nothing is terrible - a crime.

Question for you here, "How is the school supposed to do anything if they are not made aware of the situation?"

Teachers are not police, they can not be everywhere all of the time. The bigger problem, in my opinion, is that the school, and probably most others too, do not create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable telling their teachers about situations that should be brought to their attention. There is a difference between being a tattle-tail and informing someone about something that is potentially, seriously, wrong.

The education system as a whole, including MEXT is at fault here for not training teachers properly to identify and help children at risk. This system here places a portion of the blame for the bullying on the child being bullied, because for whatever reason they too are at fault, stupid as it sounds, because they focus on the group, and to be a part of the group the individual has to participate.

Screwed up for sure, hence none of my children ever attending a Japanese JHS or HS.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

I'll make a suggestion. Maybe every school in Japan needs a...let's call them a "The Bully Smasher". Notice I didn't say counselor, and for one reason. This person should stoke fear into any student who thinks they want to bully weaker students. They should be trained in child psychology as well as sell defense. He/she could even hold self defense classes at school for any who want to join. But what to do if the bullying occurs off campus? Maybe each student in fear of another, and talks to the Bully Smasher, could be given a small GPS transmitter that, when pushed, will automatically call both the Bully Master and the police.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yubaru... you make it sound like this is not an issue for schools outside of Japan. Newsflash dude...

This is horrific, and if any school won't do something about bullying, the parents should inform police.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Wow... This is seriously upsetting. I don't want to take too much attention off the bullies, because this is mainly their faults, BUT... The teacher KNEW, but did NOTHING. Neglect is just as bad, if not worse, than actually committing the crime. The teacher doing nothing makes the school liable.

The school needs to be sued. I mean, sued BAD.

Japan has always had a problem dealing with bad behavior and bullying in schools. They ignore the problems and assume that they'll go away. How dare the teacher sit on this information and do nothing. That boy needed someone... And the people who he looked up to left him there to die.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Question for you here, "How is the school supposed to do anything if they are not made aware of the situation?"

He wrote in his diary for the homeroom teacher that he was being bullied and had chosen a place to die. I would call that being made aware.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Why are the parents getting off so lightly here? Why didn't the father march down to the school and demand action be taken, arrange to see the parents of the kids bullying his boy? Why is it all down to the school? These are teachers, their job is to teach, not parent other people's kids. I can assure you here and now, if my son ever gets bullied, I will be taking action. I will only require that the school gives me the information required.

Too many Japanese parents defer their child's upbringing to the schools...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

However, the woman teacher apparently told no one else at the school and has been on sick leave since the suicide.

Yeah, I bet she is. I saw the comment she wrote in his book on TV. She probably can't look at herself in the mirror.

3 ( +5 / -3 )

An NPO representing victims of bullying filed the criminal complaint against the junior high school on behalf of Muramatsu’s father, Fuji TV reported Sunday.

Three cheers for the father and the NPO. About time SOMEONE in the Japanese justice system started to be the voice of the victims.

After the suicide, Muramatsu’s homeroom teacher revealed that he had written in a journal that he was repeatedly being bullied. The boy wrote that he had been kicked and choked. He also wrote: “I’ve decided upon the place I will die.”

However, the woman teacher apparently told no one else at the school and has been on sick leave since the suicide.

It has also been revealed that Muramatsu indicated that he was being bullied for at least a year, in a school survey on the issue in late June. Other students subsequently interviewed by board of education officials said they had seen Muramatsu being bullied on numerous occasions.

Any comment about the callousness of Japanese institutions, especially the education system, would simply be redundant. God bless Ryo's soul, and let's hope what his father is doing will serve a purpose and that he did not die in vain.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I feel sorry for the kid, but I have to ask, did the kid ever talk to the father about the situation? I can see if the father knew of this and the school did nothing. But then, the father can't blame the school if the one persons that the kid should have been able to talk to are their parents. What was the relationship between the two?

In no way am I saying the dad is at fault. I can agree with the lawsuit against the school. But dad needs to look in the mirror and ask himself if he had done all that he could have, and what type of relationship did the kid have with the father.

I at least hope that the diary held the names of the students who were doing the bullying and they hold them responsible.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yubaru... you make it sound like this is not an issue for schools outside of Japan. Newsflash dude...

Notice the banner on the top of the page here? You want to discuss bullying issues elsewhere fine, but this is about the Japanese situation, so please stick with the program.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I have also witnessed how some schools will not take any action on bullying in Japan out of fear of the PTA, which has become very strong and has made many schools reluctant to upset parents. My son was having problems with some other students in his class kicking and calling him names, because although born in Japan, he spent most of his life in Canada before returning to Japan to start grade 2.

My son told us the names of the students he was having problems with and we went to the school and talked to the principal, my wife also said that I was going to contact the parents directly if it continued. They did not like that at all and told my wife to not let me contact the other students parents, because that would cause big problems. So, apparently the school talked to the students and parents about the bullying issue and there hasn't been a problem since. Except, for in the morning on my son's walk to school another boy was starting to hit him, so I would watch them in the morning and shouted to them to stop, which worked, but I still have to ask my son each day if there were any problems.

Even though it is not the Japanese way of doing things, parents need to listen and take bullying seriously, even confront the school and bullies if necessary, watch your children on the way to school, ask if you can visit during lunch, pick them up after school if you can or have a family member do it. And if you see your child being bullied ask the bully's name and talk with not just the school locate the the bully's family knock on their door or send them a letter stating what you saw happening. Don't just expect for it to go away, do something about it.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Watching this on the news, the boy wrote many times specifically what exactly was happening to him.

The teacher each time wrote back something asinine like "Let's ganbaro", "Let's enjoy and do our best in the class presentation" etc.

Then when he wrote that he was going to commit suicide and that he had already found a place to do it, the teacher wrote back, "What's the matter? Is it school work? Club activities? ...."

The clueless replies made me wonder whether she even understood the gravity of what the kid was writing. It was as if she was on automatic pilot. His please were so clear and desperate.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Good information Speed. Thanks. I've been wrestling with how to address my University students who are studying to be teachers in the future. Assertiveness in bullying situations should be a whole class for them. But if there is no resource at the schools to deal with a bully, the teacher has no where to go. Teachers should not have to deal with bullies, there needs to be a Bully Smasher for that.

BTW, my fav cartoon after Bugs growing up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The more I read articles like this, the more I realize that I'm going to be a monster parent when my kids get older...

Not that I want to, but if the schools aren't going to tell me what's going on or do anything about it, what else am I supposed to do? Every parent wants to know what their kids are going through and to do everything within reason to make sure that school is (if nothing else) a safe place for kids to be.

What honest action is there for a parent to do? Go to the press? Protest in front of the school with signs? Talk to the police?

That would just make me look like a raving idiot....

No, none of them care until the kids are dead and it's news...and even then it's "well, we didn't expect, and we'll do something about it for the future"

So, therefore, as long as my kids are alive and until I feel the school environment they are in is safe, there is almost no other option than to be all in the school's business and monstrous.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

what the heck was the teacher thinking? a young boy pleads for help in his journal, and she just ignores it? if stupidity were a crime, she should be prosecuted. the bullies and their parents should be named and shamed, too. but i imagine them to be a bunch of yankee types who don't give a rats ar*eabout their children.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah, firing and arresting those teachers for negligence during duty (leading to death) would be just the beginning.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My son was bullied at school for being half American. What made it worse is that the teachers permitted it to happen and participated in it. Of course he hid this from us until I found out he was cutting himself and told me he was wanting to take his own life. Not going to tell the rest of the story cause the reaction from the school made me very UPSET. People can be such Sons of you know what sometimes.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

@Joshua Degreiff"Also learn self defence like Krav Maga"

Actually Japan has unique national martial arts, combat systems worth to learn since childhood. Following westernization, many young people neglect it and lock themselves in a trap. For youngsters you are considered an advanced person if you are obsessed with anime,manga, video games, chatting about lifestyle of idiotic pop-"stars" and other similar worthless trash. Almost nobody wants to learn and practice martial arts. Thus young people become weak, boneless creatures and unable to defend themselves in case of ordinary bullying on the street or inside a school.

@Tamarama "That the school did nothing is terrible-a crime".

There was also a direct guilt of parents. They did not interest of their child, they did not know of his problems. And the school system represented by the teacher also refused to help him. Poor boy saw no other solution except suicide.

@Geoff Gillespie "Why it is all down to the school?"

In some countries schools carry full and direct responsibility for students under the law. So in case of bullying the Principal is obliged to start preliminary investigation, at the same time informing a representative of local juvenile unit of police department, informing parents etc.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A clear and unequivocal zero tolerance approach starting from 'ground zero' , pre/ primary School anti- bullying and behavioural policy , supported by anti bullying and harassment leaders, co-ordinators, objectives but most of all a understanding into what defines 'bullying' for perpetrators and victims. Too late for 13-year-old boy and his grieving family.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The idea of a Bully Smasher is absurd. Who would be this person and how and with what authority would he operate? No, the impetus for change has to come from the top. The Education Department should make it clear to all school principals that that under no circumstances will bullying be tolerated at any school, and that it is their responsibility to ensure that it is not by making it clear to their staff that reporting of it to their principals is MANDATORY. The consequences for the bullies should be laid down clearly; one warning and after that they're suspended, and immediate suspension for serious offences. And then these rules should be sent to all parents and well publicised in the media as well so that parents can be encouraged to report to school principals if they are concerned about their children being bullied. And finally it should be made crystal clear to both principals and staff that action on bullying is expected of them and that failure to act will result in penalties like loss of seniority or dismissal in severe cases. The police should have similar expectations made of them and this should also be publicised as an alternative avenue for a solution for parents and students.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The problem is Japanese society's way of indirect approach and conforntational avoidance. The society as a whole does not know how to deal with any type of conflict, both good and negative. If you bring an issue to almost anyone, the normal response you get is either changing the subject or complete ignornal in which the person walks away. I feel bad for saying this but I feel the teacher and the school need to be made a precident in the situation for other parents to reference for future issues in regard to bullying.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The boy’s father, interviewed by Japanese media, said: “I knew that my son had been subjected to bullying at school, but I didn’t know it was so bad that it would lead to something like this.” He added that he didn’t fully understand the severity of everything that occurred in his son’s classroom.

It would seem that the father is looking for someone to blame for his own inaction before his son's suicide. It's difficult for to comprehend why so many kids kill themselves after getting roughed up at school. Kids these days have life too easy at school with no disciplinary action what-so-ever. When I went to school the teachers would use a cane on your hands, after school and lunch time detention were commonplace, fights were an everyday event and, if you failed, you stayed in the same grade. Nowadays, especially in Japan the students are coddled through school with easy tests and face very little disciplinary action. I've worked in over 20 different high schools in Japan and, in the public school system, at least half of the students are just lazy and disrespectful little punks that are coaxed through school. The number is much less in private schools, but the lazy little punks are still present. And, then there is the 'monster parent' scenario that all the teachers are afraid of. Sadly, this teenage suicide phenomenon is going to continue until these kids learn to respect themselves. High school life should not only be about homework and tests. Going to high school was the best part of my life (as violent as it was), but in Japan, it is the worst time of their life.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

FizzBIt - Brilliant idea with the "Bully Smasher". Well-thought out and coherent idea. We should also devise a "Bully Smasher signal" that could be projected into the sky as an alert to action. Maybe give him a cape.....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Parents of the kids who bullied the victim should be punished as well. If they did not teach their kids to behave, they should spend time in jail and made realize what they did wrong.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The main problem seems to be the same in Japan as it is here in the US. The schools want to deny anything bad is happening and cover their own ass. So they do nothing at all. It's amazing the school even admitted there was a problem. And then only when pressed after the boy's death and charges were filed. Bullies should be arrested, tried and jailed for assault. Which is exactly what would happen to we adults if we did anything like this to another person. Put them in prison. Let them find out what it feels like to be a victim of bullying. I don't care if it ruins their lives. They've already ruined other kids lives, they deserve it. And any teacher or school official that tries to cover it up should be arrested for obstruction and fired. This isn't just a problem in Japan, it's also in the US, in Britain and in many other places. It needs to be stopped cold, with severe punishments.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How many times will these tragic events have to happen over and over again before the Ministry of Education does something concrete about it? So many wasted young lives because of a culture that allows such bullying to take place, a thinking that it's just all "part of growing up," and educators who are more passive than proactive about this serious issue. Aren't there any anti-bullying programs or education for teachers and students currently in place?

Perhaps more criminal complaints like the above will have to happen before anything positive comes out of it. Hopefully, it won't have to be at the expense of another young life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It seems that parents and kids these days spend their times with their faces burried in smartphones instead of talking to each other. This problem will be getting worse.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

However, the woman teacher apparently told no one else at the school and has been on sick leave since the suicide.

Yeah, I bet she is. I saw the comment she wrote in his book on TV. She probably can't look at herself in the mirror.

@Pukey2 what did this teacher write?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here's exactly what will happen: the school will make the teacher the scapegoat, saying "What happened is very regrettable, but they were uninformed as to what was happening, and will do their best to ensure it never happens again". The teacher will be let go, and judges will side with the school board saying they could not possibly have known, and it's tragic, but they cannot be blamed, but should try and do better, etc. AND, nothing will change. End.

But I do hope more and more parents of bullying victims start stepping forward, and I hope that they have more concrete proof -- like this father with the journal and the knowledge that it had been going on for a year and no one informed -- to show the media and the world, and that schools are finally pressured into doing something, and people held responsible. I cannot imagine the grief this man and his family are suffering over the ineptitude of those who were supposed to be in charge of the boy and his life at school. Makes your heart break and your blood boil.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My son is half Japanese. In 1st and 2nd grade the kids called him gaijin. The teachers didn't do anything. One kid was fighting with him all the time, and he scratched him in the face around the eyes. I went over to the parents of the kid and was pretty hard on them. The kid never did anything to my son again.

This is classic Japanese behavior, sweep it under the rug and don't talk about it....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm so sorry nobody had the backbone to do something,

Exactly. Great point, agree with you. If it's one trait I hate about japanese people, it is that nobody has spine / backbone. Especially this teacher. She knew there was a problem & did nothing. I'm glad the father filed a criminal complaint. The teacher had a moral and ethical obligatory duty to report Ryo's comments.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The Education Department should make it clear to all school principals that that under no circumstances will bullying be tolerated at any school, and that it is their responsibility to ensure that it is not by making it clear to their staff that reporting of it to their principals is MANDATORY. The consequences for the bullies should be laid down clearly; one warning and after that they're suspended, and immediate suspension for serious offences. And then these rules should be sent to all parents and well publicised in the media as well so that parents can be encouraged to report to school principals if they are concerned about their children being bullied. And finally it should be made crystal clear to both principals and staff that action on bullying is expected of them and that failure to act will result in penalties like loss of seniority or dismissal in severe cases. The police should have similar expectations made of them and this should also be publicised as an alternative avenue for a solution for parents and students.

More bureaucracy, letters in the mail or e-mails, and words. Kinda like the no riding your bike while holding an umbrella or riding on one side of the street only. I vote for action and the Bully Smasher, a presence in the school to specifically deal with the problem. You're depending on principles who are set in their ways and inflexible to change. Good luck with that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru

How is the school supposed to do anything if they are not made aware of the situation?

Effective and responsible schools have Bullying Policies which outlines how to properly and effectively deal with bullying as and when it occurs. The homeroom teacher DID know - so therefore the school knew. Now, she was either negligent in her duty, OR, she worked in a school where the culture was to pretend bulling doesn't happen. This culture is determined by the administration, and their policies. If this is the case she would have been reluctant to report it higher up the chain. If the administration are effectively providing standards and expectations and training of their staff, the teachers should know exactly what to do in this situation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@My_Opinion

Very sorry to hear that.

If possible, please do give us more information. I think it's really important to share information about these problems.

Everyone's on your side here, I think.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yabu, sounds like you were on the giving end of bullying. I was on the receiving end. I know what the boy went through. The fact is stated; the teacher knew about it and did nothing. in most cases this is true. A real teacher can know when something is not right with one of his/her students. Prosecute!!!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

One would presume that there are laws againt this sort of behaviour, and that if the victims or their parents can identify their tormentors to the police, they would then be responsible for taking the issue up with the school authorities and the parents of those responsible. If not, then legislation should be introduced to amke this possible. A visit to the kochoshitsu from the local constabulary would put him on notice - and a joint vist to the local koban by the principal, the bullies and their parents would certainly make a lasting impression.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He wrote in his diary for the homeroom teacher that he was being bullied and had chosen a place to die. I would call that being made aware.

Since you choose to cherry-pick my answers I will point blank tell you one thing here, the teacher is responsible. The school becomes responsible AFTER the teacher, they are not one and the same.

You are making the school and teacher to be the same entity, they are not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is excellent news. Start prosecuting schools, home room teachers and school masters that don't show enough action in stopping this epidemic. Of course children will be children but that's precisely why the whole responsibility to teach conflict resolution and to actively stop abuse falls only on the adults. And if those adults are failing they should be fired without any pensions or benefits.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So sad.

I was bullied a bit and bullied a bit in Junior High. Nothing long term as this story.

One thing that struck me was in teaching at a high school in Oita the idea that an adult teacher can slap they kids as hard as they want but that is not assault. The bullying is from the top. I saw a 17 yo high school boy who may have said something smart get slapped hard across the face by a well built full grown man. Somehow that is okay but if I do it outside the hallowed school walls it is assault. Another time on a school trip two boys got back late to the bus and were publicly slapped hard by a male teacher.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Start prosecuting schools, home room teachers and school masters that don't show enough action in stopping this epidemic

Let's go and brand everyone as being at fault, better that the innocent are prosecuted along with the few bad apples right?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

" After the suicide, Muramatsu’s homeroom teacher revealed that he had written in a journal that he was repeatedly being bullied. The boy wrote that he had been kicked and choked. He also wrote: “I’ve decided upon the place I will die.” However, the woman teacher apparently told no one else at the school and has been on sick leave since the suicide. "

Wow, I am no friend of US style hysteric litigation, but in this case the dad is absolutely right. Throw the book at her! This is so clear-cut, it is outrageous the teacher did nothing.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I hope he wins and wins BIG...there needs to be a shake up for teachers to start taking bullying more seriously.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very sad story. My boy is about same age and I can see how fragile kids can be.

As many have mentioned something has to be done about bulling but it is more complex in my opinion.

The whole education system is to blame - basically the teachers and principals do not have any means to reprimand ill behaving pupils. No way to kick bullies out of school or force student to repeat year for not attending, low grades, etc., etc.

The rest is just human behavior and I sympathize to the homeroom teacher - I wonder when she saw what the boy have written and why she didn't alarm immediately parents and principal?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Folks the sad sad fact is ijime is PART of being Japanese! Its ingrained, PERVASIVE in the culture.

In short IT IS tolerated, yeah a few shed some genuine tears when a case like this happens.

BUT in no time its bad to bully country wide as usual from young to old.

I think ijime is to Japan what gun violence is to the US, they aren't willing to try to solve the problem for the most part

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A factor in this case is that home room teachers are generally new graduates who feel they have no power. The job is so bad that half of them quit in the first year on the job. That's part of the disgrace of Japanese schools. Homeroom is too important to lumped unto to solitary graduates no matter how the other teachers dislike the job. I'd say it has to given to all senior teachers, principals and administrative staff. Part of this problem is unreasonable expectations of some parents and conversely the general poor response to bullying of parents and teachers who should putting high expectations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with GW that bullying is as much a part of Japanese culture as rice is. I have lived here for 25 years and these stories happen every year with the required, "Why oh Why?" after each one. Japanese are kept in line by the fear of being bullied, The biggest motivating force that makes them act the same as everyone is the fear of being the target of them bullies. Japanese will get rid of bullying when they get rid of conformity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It looks like an apparent lawsuit of negligence on the part of the teacher and the school. I hope he wins big!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shallots wrote:" Conflict resolution programs, which include peer mediation and elements of restorative justice, are the main way to create a different dynamic within schools:

sigh, i wonder what Psyche nut wrote that money maker. Most bully's do so just because they can.

no more no less= it is just power and the exercise of power. there is no real feeling involved - there is only the ability or need to demonstrate power. if something is challenging their power and the ability to demonstrate power is to open confront the issue - or to beat up the weaker kid- the weaker kid is the one picked.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

May justice be done. I hope this woman teacher remembers every day that her inaction probably cost this boy his life.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My son was bullied at school for being half American.

Question for all posters here who have half Japanese/half Western children in elementary, junior high and high school, are your children being bullied because of the way they look? The media tries to make us think being of mixed heritage is cool and people have become more accepting of all types of people.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@DaDude

are your children being bullied because of the way they look?

Absolutely not in my kids' case.They went/go to the same (normal, not international) junior high/ high school. There was only one other "half", whose mother is a Filipina. Both were voted head of the "student council", both were chosen as basketball team captain, and both were voted prettiest/handsomest kid in the school. (No thanks to my DNA).

Can't believe how easy and how much fun it's been for them. Wish it were the same for everyone.... : (

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a truly sad case, made all the sadder in that it could have been avoided by people just talking. The teacher screwed up by not hearing the call for help in his journal. Those who apparently witnessed the acts of bullying made no mention of it until it was too late. The parents clearly could not read the signs that their own child was in a bad way, or perhaps chose to ignore them. In such an atmosphere, who can the young, insecure and vulnerable turn to?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The ONLY WAY the bullying is going to stop is the schools themselves with orders from the government to give full support to prosecute and hold the schools and the teachers responsible for bullying. The government and schools should define what bullying is and demand that teachers take courses on how to handle students who bully and to set up anonymous hotlines for students to report bullying and act on each call whether it happened or not. Each school year students should attend classes and sign and agreement saying they will not bully. Should bullying occur the student(s) that are claimed to be bullies should be pulled from school immediately until their parents attend a mandatory class with their bullying kid. Last but not least should the student who is being bullied die or become injured as of a result from a bullying student from his or her classmates the parents should be held accountable for determined damages set forth by the court.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dadude, my kids are Japanese/American born and raised in Japan. No not bullied but then a gain their dad is ex-military and taught them well. Never hit, just block. If you get hit its because you did listen to my lessons.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Again I don't think prosecution, as some suggest, is a realistic answer the the overall problem. Conflict Resolution programs are widely used in a variety of countries with, I say tentatively, good results. But it does entail getting kids to learn to take individual responsibility for their behavior. And it takes time and commitment. I'm not sure there would be a willingness to give young people responsibilities or to take time and focus away from the group socialization obligations in Japan. It's a bit of a vicious circle I suppose. But conflict resolution programs do work and are practiced widely. It's quite popular even with the police I met (just anecdotal from one meeting in the States). I suppose I shouldn't be disappointed that there is little interest in it in this thread. The desire for vengeance is powerful and prosecution is a simple answer (and is probably necessary also in this and other cases, by the way). But I'm interested in institutional change for these communities.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Japanese news is saying that the bully was bullying the boy in their first year of school, and that the principal, homeroom teacher, both sets parents, and the boys sat down and worked it out. Then the next year, the principal left, the homeroom teacher changed, and they put the boy back in the same class as the bully.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Question for all posters here who have half Japanese/half Western children in elementary, junior high and high school, are your children being bullied because of the way they look? The media tries to make us think being of mixed heritage is cool and people have become more accepting of all types of people.

Nope. One time only a kid in my daughters class told her her face was "weird" because she was a "gaijin". The teacher heard and immediately downed pencils and led a short discussion on how lucky she was to have two languages, two passports, two cultures and two sets of gene pools from which to choose the very best possible (she even used the opportunity to get into science!) As a result, without embarrassing anybody, she gave an important lesson and no kid ever commented on her being "different" again. There ARE great teachers out there!

Mothers on the other hand....! I remember sitting in a kindergarten show listening to all the kids up on stage singing "minna chigatte minna ii" - to a completely FULL house, EXCEPT for the seats in front of, behind, and either side of the ONE foreigner in the place (me!). I actually sat there peeing myself laughing at the irony!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Bully schmully. Ever hear of fighting back?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Again I don't think prosecution, as some suggest, is a realistic answer the the overall problem.

Yes, it is. There are plenty of schools that do not do what needs to be done. They will when forced to do so. Suing is the only way to force them.

Bully schmully. Ever hear of fighting back?

Every hear of no being able to fight back? Ever think the bullied are bullied because they are unable to fight back, and that is why the bully zeros in on them?

Ever think.? At all?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Black Sabbath What needs to be done?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sue the school for doing nothing, And those who bullied the poor boy may their conscience kill them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The news I have heard is that the City Ward wanted to present the idea that there was no bullying at all in their area, so the teachers were discouraged from reporting it.

If that's true, they are in some serious manure and I hope the father prosecutes them to the full extent of the law.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What needs to be done?

Follow the law. Two years ago the Diet passed an anti-bullying statute which compelled schools to report serious cases of bullying.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In response to "Many schools in Canada, the UK, and other countries, have been running these programs for some time with some positive results..."

Just so we know how effective these programs are, here are some stats from Canada:

A study on bullying by the University of British Columbia, based on 490 students (half female, half male) in Grades 8-10 in a B.C. city showed:

•» 64 per cent of kids had been bullied at school. •» 12 per cent were bullied regularly (once or more a week). •» 13 per cent bullied other students regularly (once or more a week). •» 72 per cent observed bullying at school at least once in a while. •» 40 per cent tried to intervene. •» 64 per cent considered bullying a normal part of school life. •» 20-50 per cent said bullying can be a good thing (makes people tougher, is a good way to solve problems, etc.). •» 25-33 per cent said bullying is sometimes OK and/or that it is OK to pick on losers. •» 61-80 per cent said bullies are often popular and enjoy high status among their peers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hold parents accountable. Usually the kids are not much different than their parents anyways. My son was respectful and nice at age 3. Its not impossible if you start young...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

At the risk of being redundant, I'm going to try to elaborate on my opinion because I think this problem is very important. My wording was unfortunate before. Conflict Resolution programs are one important tool, not the only answer, that I think school dristricts should have in their toolbox. For me, I'm interested in the problem of bullying as well as how to make a more just and compassionate society and world. That means more just institutions in the future. It's one of the least popular answers, perhaps. But I wonder why? Wouldn't it be a better world if young people learn to express themselves and recognize others? Wouldn't it also be better if those that perpetrate wrongs on others learn to take responsibility for trying to mend some of the damage? I think this has the potential for reducing the problem of bullying across society. But it is only one answer. However, I would say that it's quite practical as it's already been implimeted widely and it's favored by school systems and justice systems in many countries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The boy’s father, interviewed by Japanese media, said: “I knew that my son had been subjected to bullying at school, but I didn’t know it was so bad that it would lead to something like this.”

Well, i can't say that i didn't saw this coming. When it comes to Japan, there's always the idea that bullying has a good side. That it has the child to stand up for himself.

I understand that everyone have to "man-up", but there are many other ways of doing it, but, let me share my story, in my case, my father put me to work with him at the family's store since i was eleven. He'd give me a bigger allowance for every day i worked there, i've understood since then, that i had to work in order to get anything i want.

They started to bully me because i was able to buy expensive bentos with the money provenient of my so-called "big-monthly- allowance" of ¥25.000, back there it was a LOT, till some of them, with their parents, saw me working at the store, picking crates and products, stacking them on the shelves, cleaning the floor..

Since then, bullying no more. Work works. Least it did for me.

Of course, it's just an option i've wanted to share, pretty sure there are many aspects that could've make it fail. But, it's a far better option than bullying i guess.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So let me understand this - if you give someone being bullied a job, the bullies will leave them alone??! SMH...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Kenlay Friesan I honestly don't know how to interpret those results. Do you? I admit we're both dealing anecdotally. My mind is open to being proven that CR has no value. But your stats don't get me there. I've seen evidence that CR does good things. It's a mainstay of the criminal justice system in Australia. I don't know which school systems have used it in Camada and how to evaluate them based on the stats you gave. Just anecdotally, I've met police who believed it helped and I've heard from teachers who said so as well. But I'd have to admit that I was wrong to say it's the best way. It's a way I believe should be part of what goes on in education. But I'm open to being proven wrong. Until then, I'd like to see kids learning how to express themselves, deal with conflict, take responsibility for their wrongs, learn skills for avoiding violence and practicing empathy, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Often times the teachers are the biggest bullies in the whole school, especially the PE teacher. This is how the kids are learning to become bullies, by watching their teachers. I see it every day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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