On July 5, a 23-year-old Kobe elementary school part-time teacher was arrested for allegedly photographing nude children with his smartphone.
Lewd conduct by teachers is causing growing concern. As this column reported last month, citing Shukan Post, education ministry figures show 205 public elementary and junior high school teachers nationwide – more than ever before – being disciplined for obscene behavior inside or outside the classroom.
Now Shukan Bunshun (July 16) takes up the issue – from a different angle. Whereas Shukan Post provided example upon example, Shukan Bunshun poses a question: Is anyone doing anything about it?
The answer is a firm “Yes, but.” The goal is clear: to get pedophiles out of schools – those already there, and those among young graduates applying for teaching jobs. The means exist – at least some means do, notably stricter psychological testing of applicants. The Rorschach ink blot test is an old favorite – show the testee a splash of ink and ask what it represents, the answer being indicative, presumably, of the state of the testee’s psychological health. An alternative, increasingly popular in Japan, is a test developed in the 1940s at the University of Minnesota. It’s known as MMPI – the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.
“Lolicon” is a Japanese neologism that’s been around since the 1990s, when the nation somewhat flamboyantly shed a layer or two of sexual repression. It means “Lolita complex,” which refers to a taste among older men for very young girls. The Lolita of Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel of that name was 12.
MMPI is an aptitude test consisting, in its latest form, of 383 questions, to be answered “yes,” “no,” or “neither.” Some of the samples cited by Shukan Bunshun will make the reader wonder how they can possibly catch anyone with anything to hide: “Are you strongly drawn to persons of your own sex?” “Are there any problems in your sex life?” “Do you (to men) sometimes wish you were a woman?” “Do you (to women) ever regret being a woman?”
But those who devise the tests are experts, and we must suppose they know what they’re doing. Does it work?
“We’ve been using MMPI for the past five years,” Shukan Bunshun hears from an unnamed school board executive in an unnamed prefecture. “It’s possible, certainly, that Lolicons or people with other questionable sexual tendencies will find ways to hide that. On the other hand, we have noticed that, compared with prefectures that don’t use MMPI, our episodes of obscene behavior have decreased – to zero, in fact, over the past couple of years.”
From another school board official in another prefecture Shukan Bunshun hears this story: A young applicant came across to examiners as very impressive. His written test results were tops. In interviews he conveyed fluently and convincingly his ideas concerning education. And yet there was something ever so slightly odd about him. He seemed, at times, to be looking about him furtively and uneasily. Perhaps it meant nothing.
On the other hand, you can’t be too careful where children are concerned. The board sent the applicant’s MMPI to a qualified counselor for expert scrutiny. Sure enough, the expert detected Lolicon tendencies. The man was not hired.
Score one victory for children and one defeat for sexual predation – right? But was the man really Lolicon? Tests are indicative, not infallible. What if he wasn’t? Whose victory is it then?© Japan Today