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Wayward general wants to whip Japan's wimpy civilians into winners

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Former chief of staff of Japan's Air Self Defense Force, General Toshio Tamogami, was dismissed in 2008 after he published a politically incorrect magazine article that rankled Japan's civilian political leaders. He now spends part of his retirement writing a weekly column for Asahi Geino.

Tamogami's previous columns have generally touched on military threats by neighbors such as China and North Korea. But in his latest installment (June 14), he turns his attention to the status of Japan's civilians, particularly young males, who he complains have "no gumption."

He recently advised an acquaintance, the president of a small company, to encourage his staff to laugh loudly, since laughter will boost their "power" and, since laughter is contagious, will be beneficial to co-workers as well.

His other bit of advice was, "Make your subordinates set work and personal goals." When he was commander of an air wing, at the start of each year, he ordered his 1,500 subordinates to write down two personal objectives. The first was their objective toward their work, and the second toward their personal lives.

"As long as people live, there will be things they want to do," he writes. "I get the feeling that the malaise among so many of today's young people is due to their having no dreams or goals. By encouraging young people to have goals that overlap with both their public and private lives, their motivation will be boosted."

Tamogami admits that the young people of today have been raised in "unfortunate times." Due to interference by parents or the parent-teacher association, a school will become ensnarled in the regulations if even a trivial dispute arises between students, leading to a huge outcry. Stifled by so many rules and regulations, children have no outlet for their energy. While it's important to take proactive measures to avoid injuries, won't children become tougher after they've experienced a few bruises and scrapes? It used to be a natural part of growing up; but due to over protectiveness children are insulated from learning from their stumbles and falls.

In primary and middle school, children are constantly admonished, being told "You can't do this" or "You can't do that," and they grow up not knowing how to wield their own power. In other words, the have few experiences to stir up their motivation.

Humans exert both beneficial energy and bad energy simultaneously, Tamogami believes. It is important to do a good job of suppressing the bad energy, but when it is reduced to zero, then the good energy likewise falls to zero.

His point, it appears, is that sometimes kids benefit from having some sense knocked into their heads.

"It has already been some time since corporal punishment was banned outright," he writes. "But for children who don't listen to adults, how can you make them learn anything without the application of one or two fists?"

He rambles on, asserting that when corporal punishment is meted out to children who misbehave, its purpose is to redirect their energy in a good direction. By ignoring that principle and banning corporal punishment outright, a child will grow up thinking, "No matter what I do, I won't get whipped for it," and not reflect on their own badness.

Obviously it's "excessive," he concedes, to strike a child to the degree that causes an injury; but the trend to halt all corporal punishment is no different from saying not to scold them when they misbehave as well.

"One facet of growing up occurs when the child first realizes the existence of adults who are to be feared," he writes.

"The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has issued criteria concerning corporal punishment, but I wonder if such criteria are necessary. It should be left to the prerogative of the teacher."

And if the teacher is a brutal sadist out for blood? The general doesn't say, but asserts instead that in today's society, people have no awareness of how to bring up a child, a situation that's come about because society has placed the emphasis on making the job easier for parents and leaders of society.

So when all else fails, it would seem, one can always fall back on tough love.

© Japan Today

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What % of this guys life to date has been spent in sole control of his childrens childcare reins? Just curious...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In primary and middle school, children are constantly admonished, being told “You can’t do this” or “You can’t do that,” and they grow up not knowing how to wield their own power. In other words, the have few experiences to stir up their motivation.

Yeah, they grow up not knowing how to wield their own power and say stupid things... like you.

He recently advised an acquaintance, the president of a small company, to encourage his staff to laugh loudly, since laughter will boost their “power” and, since laughter is contagious, will be beneficial to co-workers as well.

Forced laughter always the answer...

Humans exert both beneficial energy and bad energy simultaneously, Tabogami believes. It is important to do a good job of suppressing the bad energy, but when it is reduced to zero, then the good energy likewise falls to zero.

Nut ball. Don't get him upset or he'll point at you with his magic coral.

His point, it appears, is that sometimes kids benefit from having some sense knocked into their heads.

This I do agree with though.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Former chief of staff of Japan’s Air Self Defense Force, General Toshio Tabogami, was dismissed in 2008 after he published a politically incorrect magazine article that rankled Japan’s civilian political leaders

...... and he said Japan was drawn into WW2 by Chiang Kai-shek and FDR. Japanese army's acts of brutality where just rumors spead by China..... thus he was removed and forced to retire...... Involvement with Japanese nationalist groups....... then he said many in the military share his views..... Just so everyone one knows people like this in the military cause military coups....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Asahi Geino is a pretty sleazy magazine -- just the kind Tabogami would be likely to shut down if he were to be put in charge of things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He recently advised an acquaintance, the president of a small company, to encourage his staff to laugh loudly, since laughter will boost their “power” and, since laughter is contagious, will be beneficial to co-workers as well.

Well reading about this idiot's rantings is certainly perking me up this Monday morning. Ha ha!!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A bit of conscription like France,Israel and S.Korea wouldn't go amiss here. Toughen people up.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

He rambles on, asserting that when corporal punishment is meted out to children who misbehave, its purpose is to redirect their energy in a good direction.

No, when corporal punishment is meted out to children who misbehave its purpose is to make the one inflicting the corporal punishment feel good or powerful or revenged.

By ignoring that principle and banning corporal punishment outright, a child will grow up thinking, “No matter what I do, I won’t get whipped for it,” and not reflect on their own badness.

So that's why both my kids grew up doing whatever they liked because they never got whipped (whipped???) and are now two totally out-of-control hooligans beating up their parents, terrorizing the neighbourhood and eventually headed for a life eating cold porridge. Oh hang on, no they're model citizens and upstanding members of society. Where did I go wrong, I wonder.

Raise a kid proper in the first place and they won't have any 'badness' to reflect on, General On My God I Cannot Believe That This Jerk Was Ever In A Position Of Authority In The Armed Forces, I Hope He Doesn't Have Any Kids Of His Own Tabogami. Teach them instead that it's the privilege of authority figures to beat the living daylights out of those below them on the ladder....and watch what happens when they think they have or want a bit of authority.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"He rambles on..."

He certainly does.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

In just about every pile of chaff there are a few grains of wheat......

Taken at face value much of what he wrote is difficult to swallow yet he makes some very valid points;

His other bit of advice was, “Make your subordinates set work and personal goals.”

This is something that children need to be taught from a very young age. It also helps them to develop their own opinions and ideas, something that is very lacking in an average Japanese school.

You can’t do this” or “You can’t do that,” and they grow up not knowing how to wield their own power. In other words, the have few experiences to stir up their motivation.

This is a fact, Ive seen too many teachers hammer down on kids for showing initiative in their classes, bursting their bubbles of natural curiosity and desire to learn.

(Sorry more later got to run....)

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This is both good an not so good here in his opinions. Yubaru makes some good points.

And I am not against corporal punishment, but I recognize that it can get out of control.

its purpose is to make the one inflicting the corporal punishment feel good or powerful or revenged.

That is not its sole purpose. I never used it that way on children. But I know that some do. Corporal punishment is a useful tool when used sparingly and controlled. The danger is that there are people who lose control or get off on it. And on the other hand, I don't have anything against people who never use corporal punishment, however, those are special people who have the brains and drive to do it right. Cleo, you are an intelligent person far above this world full of average people. You cannot expect them to keep up with you, nor can you expect their children to learn and react as yours do. I have met a few kids that needed the corporal punishment because their will was very strong and they were out of control. I am not saying it had to be a total smackdown with a shinai, but they were beyond simple psychological control.

Maybe they weren't raised right? In some cases sure. But the horse had bolted. Closing the barn door now won't help.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I can see where this guy's coming from, even though I don't agree with this specific recommendations. The bottom line is if you remove responsibility for bad behavior, or good rewards for good behavior, you get a bunch of zombies that will only do what they are told.

One of the main problems is that any goals "authority" (teachers, parents, government, nutjobs like this guy) might have for you are likely going to be different than the ones you have for yourself.

When you tell people to choose a workplace goal, they will likely choose one that will keep them out of trouble and keep them out of the spotlight. Likewise for a personal goal. Because they've been taught since a very young age, personal goals that don't mesh with society are absolutely forbidden.

Now, let people truly pursue their own goals and be rewarded financially when they succeed, and suffer economic consequences if they don't, and that will create a powerful and wealthy society.

True wealth is only created when somebody makes something from the heart that everybody else in society is happy to pay for. That kind of creativity is sorely lacking in Japan, and most other countries as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Corporate punishment should be labeled correctly as child abuse. Unfortunately most educational and psychological debates about corporate punishment are characterized largely by polarization and those who are opposed want to rule it out entirely. Those who are in favor tend to have a arrogant defense of the practice that is insensitive to many reasonable concerns about the dangers and abuses of this form of punishment. Corporate punishment can lead to abuse, is degrading, psychologically damaging, stems from and can cause sexual deviance. It can also teach the wrong lesson and does not deter. Most importantly it can cause poor relationships between teachers or parents and children. Although corporate punishment is not always immoral, frequent and severe physical punishment is morally wrong. Hence many arguments about corporate punishment rests, at least in part on empirical questions. These are difficult matters to settle. As a result empirical data are insufficient to defend any extreme view that physical punishment should never be administered. Therefore we need to be open to further research and be prepared to adapt our views accordingly

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Corporal punishment is the proverbial "slippery slope". At some point it becomes child abuse. What's better? Treat your child with respect. That wil not only pay dividends later in life but you'll also have a clear conscience.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

outlawed doesn't mean it doesn't happen anymore

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In the Tabogami household the first one to stop laughing gets a sound beating.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have met a few kids that needed the corporal punishment because their will was very strong and they were out of control....Maybe they weren't raised right? In some cases sure. But the horse had bolted.

Or maybe those kids had been raised on the principle of control by beatings - if you don't get beaten for something, it's OK to do it again, and adults who don't attempt from the start to tan the hide off your back are weaklings who can be ignored. Sounds like the horse has not merely bolted, but has been chased out of the stable with a monkey on its back digging in the spurs.

In a backwards kind of way, it's a self-fulfilling loop; a child who starts off being controlled by beatings is going to be out of control without beatings. That doesn't mean beatings are good or even acceptable, or have any part to play in raising a child; and by continuing to attempt to control the child with the threat of violence simply reinforces the impression the child has that violence is the way to go.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Why, whenever I read Tabogami talking laughter, does the adjective "maniacal" come to mind? Is it because you could substitute "Dr. Evil" for Tabogami and the content would be no less strange?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Or maybe those kids had been raised on the principle of control by beatings

I do not deny it cleo. It happens. But the only way for the average person out there to never resort to corporal punishment and not have out of control kids is going to require EXTENSIVE reeducation. You have brains enough that you don't need it. You can sort it on your own. But the average Joe is just not going to discipline his kids at all for not knowing what to do.

And I see it everyday. Since Japan did away with corporal punishment in schools, it just took a tool away from the teachers but gave them none to replace it. The teachers just don't have the skills to control through methods like reverse psychology, humor, and mild shame. They will sooner reach for brow beating, and that is not much better than an actual beating. They need to be taught methods because they simply don't have your IQ cleo.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sorry I was out for a bit....in continuation!

He rambles on, asserting that when corporal punishment is meted out to children who misbehave, its purpose is to redirect their energy in a good direction. By ignoring that principle and banning corporal punishment outright, a child will grow up thinking, “No matter what I do, I won’t get whipped for it,” and not reflect on their own badness.

Corporal punishment is not the way to go. I remember as a child getting beat by my father for any number of minor infractions and all it did was make me fear him and want to run away.

He does however hit on an important point though. Teachers in school no longer have any type of punishment available to them other than sitting down and either talking or yelling at a student. Students become numb and dumb to all the talk and end up ignoring everything, long story short, nothing gets to many kids.

Teachers need more punishment "tools" and I am not talking about corporal punishment either. Students must realize the consequences of their action(s) or inaction(s). This is not the place to get into specifics but people I believe understand the point that talking alone does not work either, particularly in a country where silence is an accepted answer.

The general doesn’t say, but asserts instead that in today’s society, people have no awareness of how to bring up a child, a situation that’s come about because society has placed the emphasis on making the job easier for parents and leaders of society.

There is quite a bit of truth in this, many children are having children, parents believe that their child can do no wrong and blames schools and or teachers for their child's misbehavior and refuse to accept that their little Taro can do no wrong. Self responsibility is being lost, there no longer is a feeling of shame for being called out to answer one's misdeeds, too many children are being allowed to run wild because their parents overly spoil them. Instant gratification is becoming the norm and working hard to attain one's goals is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

valued customer - I don't think IQ has much to do with it. The idea that teachers don't have the training to deal with kids without resorting to violence is mind-boggling. What were they doing at teacher training college? I for one would certainly not put up with any teacher taking it on him/herself to get physical with one of my kids - or using mild shame, humiliation or scorn. It happened once; the teacher in question did not do it again. I myself was never subjected to physical punishment at school, but I didn't burn the school down, stab the headmaster or grow up to be an out-of-control yobbo.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This Guy should be the prime minister :)

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

The guy has a good point about the importance of setting personal goals, but it's a shame he didn't set 'be less of a nut-job' as one of his own, because he is.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yet another crazy hawkish old man... I agree with some of the things though.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

He recently advised an acquaintance, the president of a small company, to encourage his staff to laugh loudly, since laughter will boost their “power” and, since laughter is contagious, will be beneficial to co-workers as well.

This guy is a living cartoon! Can you imagine visiting an office and suddenly everyone bursts out laughing loudly, then carries on with their work? The guy is a nutter...

“It has already been some time since corporal punishment was banned outright,” he writes. “But for children who don’t listen to adults, how can you make them learn anything without the application of one or two fists?”

No no no no... this man is dangerous! Keep him far far away from kids.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Due to interference by parents or the parent-teacher association, a school will become ensnarled in the regulations if even a trivial dispute arises between students, leading to a huge outcry. Stifled by so many rules and regulations, children have no outlet for their energy. While it’s important to take proactive measures to avoid injuries, won’t children become tougher after they’ve experienced a few bruises and scrapes? It used to be a natural part of growing up; but due to over protectiveness children are insulated from learning from their stumbles and falls.

There is quite a bit of truth here. Moderation is the word, but not being able to climb a tree because some parent is worried about their child getting hurt is not the way to go. Sometimes, within reason of course, taking chances is what kids should be doing, and learning on their own what they can and can not do. It's a part of childhood.

If the parent is that worried, stand underneath the tree and catch their kid if they fall, but let them climb to new heights.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't agree with his ideas on corporal punishment but he's right about setting goals, the interference of education by parenting groups and monster parents and the fact that kids these days are just spoiled but are not allowed to do anything do to the suffocating rules. Punishments clearly need to be brought back into the schools here but the thing is, the parents are too urusai about it if it is their perfect child facing punishments and the teachers are just too tired of dealing with the urusai parents so.... kids run wild, or do nothing at all, and teachers are powerless to do anything. It isn't just a problem for schools, it is a problem for society. It breeds nothing but lazy and spoiled kids with little motivation to do anything. Parasite single and self entitlement are becoming more problematic everyday. When is the public going to wake up to this??

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Japan's wimpy civilians .... particularly young males"

Particularly those herbivore young males.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm pretty certain that his last name is read Tamogami. Not Tabogami. Although you "could" read it that way.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Quite right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I personally am against the idea of corporal punishment. I am a person who advocates speaking and reasoning. And when the child is too young to understand reason, a fist is even less appropriate. When they don't know why they are doing something wrong, they won't know why they are being beaten either.

However, to equate all corporal punishment as child abuse is fallacious. To say that all cases of corporal punishment is only to satisfy the urges of the punisher is also fallacious.

Before corporal punishment was viewed with such negative light, and (possibly) commonly used in the upbringing of children, most although not all cases were well intentioned. The reason corporal punishment was largely rejected by society is not because it is always an avenue for sadists to torture their children, but rather because there were some cases where sadists used it as an avenue to torture their children. Please note the difference. Being one of the generation who was brought up while corporal punishment was still the norm, I am grateful to my parents for their love and attention in correcting my flaws. Certainly they could have done so in a non-violent way, and I certainly do wish they had, but I'm not going to point at them and call them sadists when they were just doing what they taught was right, for my own good. They punished me with good intentions, and I understood, and learnt, from that.

The turn away from corporal punishment is a good thing for society. Children can be properly taught and brought up without the use of force. However, this does not mean that children cannot be properly taught and brought up with the use of force. They can, but sometimes people simply cannot see where the limits should be. So, in order to reduce all cases of child abuse (intended or not) via corporal punishment, it was rejected by society.

Personally, I am against the idea that is presented in the article, that the ills of today's youth is caused by this rejection of corporal punishment. A return to the usage of the cane will not help solve most of the problems of lack of motivation and initiative. As many astute posters have pointed out, this is caused by other factors of the society that we live in today - an education system for the masses can only promote rote learning, and a capitalist economy inculcates the wrong values in children. Most of all, of course, busy parents who are just as lost themselves are failing to teach their children the right values.

None of these will be solved by bringing back corporal punishment. Perhaps the general is reliving days of nostalgia, when he was punished and learned from it to become a better person, but while he may have been right in pointing out some of the society's problems, his suggestion can only fail to solve those very problems he identified.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As my dad says from time to time, "We grew up doing all these things that are currently considered too hazardous for children to do, yet despite that, we survived anyway." Sounds like my dad would get along fine with this former General.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sounds good to me. After all, the last time the military took the lead in Japan it worked really well, didn't it?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

" or grow up to be an out-of-control yobbo."

Actually there are rumours out there Cleo...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yasukuni - Nah, dey's all wrong. I'm a totally in-control yobbo. And some people do claim I never actually managed to grow up. ;-)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Perhaps the general is reliving days of nostalgia, when he was punished and learned from it to become a better person

But he didn't become a better person. He became a person who wants to see kids disciplined with fists and whips.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I aggreed with the first half of the article about having personal and work related goals. Its something that most people should do but don't. Disagree with the tough love part. The article as a whole is good. Wouldn't mind reading exactly what he wrote.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

so what happens when these kids who never gets punished grow up and break the law? jail isn't corporal punishment? welcome to the real world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It was a great article until he rambled about corporal punishment.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They need to make military service compulsory and institute the draft like in South Korea. Too many young people lost with no place to start.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This guy is a living cartoon! Can you imagine visiting an office and suddenly everyone bursts out laughing loudly, then carries on with their work? The guy is a nutter...

I don't think so. I have been in a few Japanese offices where it was very eerily quite and everyone had their heads down. When I asked what was going on, I was told they were working. When asked what they were working on, the person couldn't tell me what. Yet these same people will be forced to go to an after work drinking place to have fun. What's the difference in that. I say, while at work, let them at least be able to express themselves. Maybe something good may come out of it.

Some of his comments are off base, but he's not all that loony. I think coporal punishment should be given, but not used to beat someone into submission. If a child is acting up well above what is normal and causing a major disrutption, then they should be spanked, not beaten. For not knowing a lesson, then no hey should not be spanked. Common sense should be applied.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Teachers don't punish students in order to squash the kid's dreams, curiosity, and imagination.

We punish them because the kid is poking his pencil into another kid, is continuously re-asking whatever questions other students asked, is taking four minutes to sharpen a pencil, is thumping his foot on the floor, or is doing any number of annoying, distracting, attention-seeking, negative activities to impress his/her friends or some girl or boy. Adults know it's wrong.

Parents: Believe your child's teacher, not your child. We both care about your kid.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

young males, who he complains have “no gumption.”

This is very interesting. I was at Narita airport recently and kind of saw something like this. At the baggage claim, there was a group of Japanese young males. The way they dressed with the straight leg jeans and the time they spent fixing their hair as they waited for luggage reminded me of teenage girls. It seems these "boys" were more intersted in looking as more feminine or androgynous. The way they tried to pick up their luggage reminded me of a woman who has trouble trying to pick up a heavy object. I have seen the women at the ticket check in counter handle heavier bags better than these guys.

At the same time, a group of American males was there. From the close hair cuts (and the fact that their luggage was duffle bags), you could tell that these guys were miltary. But their mannerisms and dress was definately more masculine than their Japanese counterparts.

Not saying that the Japanese guys were straight or gay, the miltary guys could have been that way also these days, but the manner in which the two groups acted was telling. The young Japanese males acted as I said in more of a wimpy and soft way. The American GI's, were acting the way you would expect a man to do. Not so much as going around challenging people and thumping their chest, but acting as a man, and not like some J-Pop idol.

So I get what the General is talking about on that point.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Stifled by so many rules and regulations, children have no outlet for their energy. While it’s important to take proactive measures to avoid injuries, won’t children become tougher after they’ve experienced a few bruises and scrapes? It used to be a natural part of growing up; but due to over protectiveness children are insulated from learning from their stumbles and falls.

In primary and middle school, children are constantly admonished, being told “You can’t do this” or “You can’t do that,” and they grow up not knowing how to wield their own power. In other words, the have few experiences to stir up their motivation."

I liked this part. In general, people here are quite obsessed with safety and everything is dame, dame. Kids should be allowed to be a bit wild in terms of running around and playing, imo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe the Big Man from Tokyo can put him in charge of the Senkaku Islands once the islands are purchased. He can take all the wimps and turn them into a fighting force that the Chinese wil have to think twice before trying anything.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“I get the feeling that the malaise among so many of today’s young people is due to their having no dreams or goals. By encouraging young people to have goals that overlap with both their public and private lives, their motivation will be boosted.”

This part seems like good advice for those in the "no gumption" condition.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a joy he must be to have around the house.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There are things I agree with and don't agree with in this article. I am curious how his children turned out and how his relationship is with them. Given that I'd make my decision to raise my children as he did.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Salute to you Tamogami San! Kids in the west are even lazier and need a kick up the bum to be real man or unemployed should join the military to become REAL MEN not girly boys

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@cracaphat

A bit of conscription like France,Israel and S.Korea wouldn't go amiss here. Toughen people up.

Agreed. Not just Japan either.

Don't believe in punching kids. But a little corporate punishment does not hurt. Kids, especially boys, are going soft in the head, getting whatever they want and getting away with what they want. Besides conscription, traditional martial arts that teach discipline and respect. The actual fighting part is just part of the whole, it's the character-building part that is most important.

For the pacifists (they have my respect), a stint in the peace corps, etc, would be good as well. Or do both. The arts of war and peace both have merit .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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