On the night of Feb 25, some 95 people attended a pre-graduation "sayonara" party for university seniors at a pub in Kyoto City. At some point in the evening, a co-ed, aged 19 at the time, fell into a semiconscious stupor from overindulgence in alcohol, was escorted into an adjacent room and sexually assaulted by six members of Kyoto University of Education's American football and soccer teams.
On June 1 -- more than three months after the incident -- university president Mitsuyo Terada appeared at a press conference to announce that the institution would slap them with an open-ended suspension for having committed "obscene acts."
"A university is not an investigating body," Terada stated somewhat lamely. "The measures we took were intended as corrective in nature."
A police source informs Nikkan Gendai (June 3) that it was not until March 27 that the woman, described as "unable to hold her liquor," consulted the police regarding her assault.
"The six men were arrested on June 1," the source relates. "Four admitted to going all the way; two insisted they only 'touched' the victim but did not rape her.
Kyoto University of Education is a public institution with roots going back to 1876, when it was founded as a pedagogical school. Its adjusted standard deviation score (class curve) of 53 would place it in the mid-tier in terms of academic standing. According to its English website http://www.kyokyo-u.ac.jp/ehp/english/index.html, 52 foreign students are enrolled.
"The university is well regarded as an institution that graduates teachers," remarks Yutaka Doi, a Kyoto-based author. "This city, with a population of 1.47 million, is home to 37 universities, of which seven are public. Kyoto University of Education rates in the top segment. But I think this incident ruins whatever image they had as a 'clean' school."
Four years earlier, Nikkan Gendai recalls, members of the American football club at the elite Kyoto University, a world-famous institution, had been involved in a gang rape.
With 138,509 university and junior college students -- approximately one-tenth of the city's total population -- Kyoto is a said have long enjoyed the status as a "student-friendly" town. But for Kyoto University of Education not to expel the six for committing rape is taking indulgence too far.
"The problem is that the perpetrators were students in the Faculty of Education," opines the abovementioned author Doi. "In Kyoto, these students still engage in chug-a-lug contests at parties. Under the pretext of preserving tradition, they think they're entitled to special privileges, and that they can get away with anything.
"They're more overbearing and insolent than students in Tokyo," Doi adds. "I think it was this kind of smug attitude that led to the rape incident at Kyoto University (in 2005) and this recent one."
It would seem, the reporter concludes, that the downside of Kyoto's convivial climate for students is that it fosters a sense of entitlement that all too often leads to their running amok.© Japan Today