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Boy, 14, killed by train in Nikko following school disciplinary warning

47 Comments

A 14-year-old junior high school student in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, died after being hit by a train on Monday afternoon after attending a behavior guidance meeting with teachers at his school, police said Tuesday.

According to authorities, on Monday afternoon at about 4 p.m., the boy was told his parents were going to be contacted about his behavior. "I don't want you to call them," he was quoted as saying by one teacher. He was then left alone in a room to reflect on his behavior.

His parents were called to the school but when they looked in on him at around 5:40 p.m. they found that he had left the premises without his belongings. Around 50 minutes later, the boy was struck by a train on a railway line two kilometers southeast of his school.

Police said they have not yet determined whether the boy's death was an accident or a suicide.

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47 Comments
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Very tragic news. RIP little man.

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Meh, kid sounded like a punk. Read too many of these kinds of stories already. Kids these days need to learn to man up and take responsibility.

We all had issues as kids, we all had to learn how to deal with them and make adjustments. It seems as though he couldn't adapt.

Hopefully the parents upbringing had nothing to do with this.

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What kind of weakling goes and kills himself cause he got in trouble at school?

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I blame the schools/teachers/dinosaur system.

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lovejapan21

I blame the schools/teachers/dinosaur system.

Yes, that is the easiest and most useless thing to do in this situation...

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thepro - What kind of weakling goes and kills himself cause he got in trouble at school?

Pro-san, I've worked in high schools for many years and I can tell you for a fact that, the teachers use bullying, character assassination and humiliation as their disciplinary tools. I have seen them badger and bully teenage boys to tears so many times it makes me sick just thinking about it. Plus, gawd only knows what kind of monsters this kid had for parents or what sort of abuse was waiting for him after the school contacted his parents. I'm sure everyone is aware most Japanese kids don't have a strong character to begin with. A sad state of affairs indeed!

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this is big problem in my country. People feeling too much stress. Nobody knows what stressfull life this boy had. Suicide is seen by western culture as weak but we have different history and different view with afterlife. I think it is sad. I hope for his family this is just sad accident and not suicide because when family kills themself it affects all the other family who still alive. Sad story and sad response from other people on this website.

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What kind of abuse did this kid endure at home so that he'd rather kill himself than face the parents (father). You don't have to be Freud to know that bullying kids often turn out to be abused themselves.

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I'd like to say I feel sorry for the kid instead of calling him a wimp and blaming the school/parents. might be difficult for some of you to comprehend.

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Sad story, hope it turns out have been an accident and not suicide. RIP.

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shogun36 - what a cold, heartless statement. So, you feel you have enough info from this article to judge him to be a 'punk' and not being enough of a 'man'? Idiotic statement.

hoserfella - where does it say he was a bully??

What unbelievable insights people seem to have here!

I, too, hope it was an accident, but part of me thinks otherwise (given what little info we have in this article).

My thoughts go to the parents and any of this boys friends.

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NO one knew what his plight was, but him. RIP.

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How could he leave the school without anybody noticing? Isn't there a security guard at the front gate? They put employees everywhere in Japan even when not needed (parking lots, construction sites), they could surely employ a guard for checking entrance/exit at each school.

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See the reality in this society. Stress, bullying, suicide......

Children need good models to follow and to have confidence to act for present and for future.

Where is the model for children to follow. Family-divorce, Society-free sex, Work-nothing but slavary, Money-do not give satisfaction, religion-controlled by communist ideolgy, clergy-child sex, Young-smoking, and alchahol,

Life- no future and no hope-end of own life!!!

TIME FOR A NEW IDEOLOGY TO GAIN REAL and LASTING HAPPINESS

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This is a sad ending to a situation that should have been changed 20 years ago. It is the culture to not bring attention to the school and the parents. Early intervention in elementary school which requires teachers to notify parents if there is a problem in the classroom may help parents understand that schools are not their child care centers. Schools are there to educate and provide guidance. Other articles on Japan Today have referred to the "Fear of Parents" that teachers have. Studens are learning in many ways outside of the textbook and need to know that the parents support disciplinary decision in schools just as it was "in the good ol' days."

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So sad that he thought it was better getting hit by a train (if it wasn't an accident that is) than to have his parents find out about the problems at school.

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Suicide is a very personal act that is hard to generalize. Maybe he had a long string of problems leading up to this, or maybe he didn't, and it was just an impulse act. Maybe he was panicked about being in trouble with his parents because he knew they would react badly, or maybe he just thought they might react badly and was scared of the possibility. Maybe the trouble involved his parents finding something out about him that he didn't want them to know. Maybe it was the school's fault, or the parents, or maybe neither. Either way he's not around to tell us and we'll never know.

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shogun36 - A child died. Maybe the seriousness of that is difficult for you to understand but 'meh, the kid sounded like a punk' is a pretty harsh thing for you to say seeing as he is no longer living. RIP

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Suicide. Sad.

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Japanese teachers are bullies, and so are corporate bosses. What a bunch of babies.

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@forinagai yes, I feel there was enough information in the aritcle to determine that the kid was a punk and wasn't man enough.

Have you ever been to Nikko? Granted I have never lived there, but I have visited there or passed by there enough to know that the trains are not like the ones in the city. They come once every hour or so, and even then, they move so slow (near the stations anyway), so from the limited information in the article, I have concluded that it was on purpose.

He was called into a guidance behavior meeting with the teachers. Have you ever seen how 14 year olds act in Japan and how much they get away with? They have to be pretty bad or at least constantly bothering other people to be called into a meeting like that at school. As a result I concluded that he was a trouble maker.

As soon as a teacher makes the threat of calling his parents, he cries about not wanting his parents to be called. As a result I concluded that he was clearly a wannabe tough guy (punk.)

So unless someone threw him in front of that train, I would say he wasn't big enough to stand up for his own actions.

I never said any of this was the parents' or school's fault, in fact I hope they can all overcome the grief as soon as possible. I feel bad for the people around him. If he was in fact bullied at school or neglected at home and he wanted to end it all, then I would feel some remorse and take back what I said.

But from the looks of the article, it appears that the kid caused trouble, got caught, and couldn't deal with the consequences. He was 14, not 4, and old enough to make his own decisions in life

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....so many comments, so many assumptions.

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It sounds like a suicide on the surface, especially that the boy was in trouble and was likely quite afraid to face the music, but it could be just one of those awful coincidences. Either way, RIP. Fourteen is too young to go, even if the kid was a punk (can't be confirmed based on this story, although for the parents to be called in it would have to be pretty bad).

goddog: "Japanese teachers are bullies, and so are corporate bosses. What a bunch of babies."

Corporate bosses, more than likely, but while the odd teacher might be a 'bully', I'd say in general it's quite the opposite -- they are so apathetic that they will pretty much let anything slide. Hence my comment about this boy probably being quite bad if they had to contact the parents. Look at the tens of cases in which a student kills themselves due to bullying; what's the first thing that comes out of the administration's/teacher's mouth? "We were not aware there was any problem", despite being called several times or what have you by the parents.

While I don't necessarily blame the system, as lovejapan21 clearly does, I DO think that a better disciplinary system needs to be put into place, as well as support for students who are troubled. When corporal punishment was (rightfully) ended, nothing was put in its place; schools and parents expected the children would abide by social morays and general ethics. Since kids know they really don't have to face any consequences for acting out or what not they've stopped abiding by such 'laws', and the system is more or less powerless to do anything about it.

In this case, though, there's simply not enough to go on. The school will definitely take a beating (especially if we're dealing with monster parents), but it's not necessarily the school's fault. In that respect, again, a better system needs to be put into place with the legalities on what they can/can't do better spelled out so they can enforce it with no potential legal ramifications (not that Japan is all that litigious).

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The 'behavior' the school was going to call the parents about, and told the kid to reflect on, and which shogun63 assumes proves the dead kid is a punk, could have been the kid telling a teacher to stop bullying another kid. Since this article is lacking so many details, assumptions are being made based on our own experiences.

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Keep in mind that he was hit by a train, not a car. Even in do-inaka Nikko, one doesn't "accidentally" wander onto train tracks. Those train tracks are well marked.

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If an accident it was Karma. If suicide it was his own problem. He shouldn't have had bad behavior to be reprimanded in the first place and if he couldn't deal with being scolded then it's his tough luck to choose the path of the railway lines. Trying to blame others for someone's personal decision is just childish.

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@Piglet, Guard at the gate? Not a chance. Never heard of a guard at the front gate of a school. Every other building perhaps, but not a school. Even if there was, he'd be there to stop intruders getting IN, not to stop students getting out after school hours.

One of our lads was in trouble with his teachers in jhs. Over the phone they ranted and raved about how awful he was, how he was vandalising the school with graffiti, how he was repeatedly late in the mornings, etc. Then at the meeting it was all very polite. What a lovely boy, it wasn't him scrawling graffiti, and he was only late 3 times in the whole term. It was a relief of course, but left us wondering what on earth these teachers are on.

Perhaps this boy's trouble was something equally silly, or perhaps not. But it would be out of character for a thuggish bully to top himself. Walk out of school, yes. Feel remorse and fear to the point of suicide, no. So either he wasn't so bad, or he mis-timed his escape from the tracks when the train came. Either way, it's a sad loss. Even a thug has a chance of leading a worthwhile life if he gets the chance to grow up, and there's nothing in this article that suggests he was anything like a thug.

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Which line? Tobu or JR East? Yet again JT fails to tell the full details.

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Never heard of a guard at the front gate of a school.

There was either a guard or a school employee at each of the public schools I went to (not in Japan). For junior high school, the gates were open (even for exiting) only for limited periods (around 8am, 4pm, 5pm). Outside of these, we had to show proper school ID for entering and exiting.

Maybe this might have helped in this case. Also, why did they leave the kid alone in a room knowing that it might take a long time for the parents to come? If I was the teacher, I would have let him in the library and tell the guard about him, or I would have stayed in the room, maybe try to talk with him to "reflect on his behavior" and help him for school work.

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Suicide. He was probably afraid of what his parents would do to him. Sad that a 14 yr old would choose such a drastic step.

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shogun36 - the only reply I'll make to your comments is: ... People - reflect on what you write. Try to imagine your kid being in that position - have a little decency for goodness sake!

Stupid, idiotic comments to the effect of 'he should toughen up/be a man/was a thug' show absolutely no understanding of this story and why people feel the need to kill themselves.

A kid died/felt the need to kill himself. Simple 3 letter word. Sad.

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How busy are the train track in Nikko? I've been there once and don't think I even saw a train track. If I have to guess, this is not an accident.

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Guards at the Gate? yes at most private schools they do. They are usually pretty strict about it too. As a teacher in Japan private schools are the only ones you want to be at. As for this kid, who knows what his deal was, but its an odd story none theless and sad that it ended in such a way

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Which line? Tobu or JR East? Yet again JT fails to tell the full details.

Is that really important? I'll answer that - NO.

It's a sad end to a young life - too bad that so many young people around the world feel the need to end their lives like this.

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So they left the boy alone in a room for an hour and 40 minutes?! If what the boy had done was so serious the teachers should have contacted the parents and told them what happened and then set up a meeting with them at another time. If it was suicide then it seems that this boy really feared what his parents might say or do to him. Whatever the case, this is truly tragic.

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Is that really important? I'll answer that - NO. It's a sad end to a young life - too bad that so many young people around the world feel the need to end their lives like this.

Did I say it wasn't sad? I'll answer that - NO.

Next time, try being smart to someone else.

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Did I say it wasn't sad? I'll answer that - NO.

You might as well have asked what color the train was, or how many people were delayed. A young man's life is over for nothing and you can only think of "Oh, they didn't tell me if it was JR or Tobu!"

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This is sad.

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This is sad.

Extremely sad here too.

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I agree with forinagi and the last two comments: simply sad :(

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Trying to blame others for someone's personal decision is just childish.

He was 14 years old. He was a child. Personal decisions are what adults make, not 14-year-olds.

As for the earlier poster who said "we all survive", actually "we" don't. Only survivors do. Take the time to learn what "survivor bias" is before you post again, and that is meant as friendly advice.

Otherwise I agree with Sarge and the posters who followed him.

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Sorry there, it was "we all had to learn to deal with", not "we all survive". Should have checked before writing. But the same thing, and same bias.

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A teenage boy was left alone for nearly two hours to let all kinds of wild punishment scenarios swirl around in his head and accumulate until he felt he had to simply flee. He likely happened upon a train bearing down the tracks, gave into the imp of the perverse for just a moment and stood in its way, maybe fully intending to move out of the way before it struck him, and for whatever reason, that simply didn't happen. To suggest what he did even rises to the level of a "choice" is something we can't really do, but I imagine he wanted to take it back a millionfold at the moment of impact, and would now and forever if it were only possible.

We can pretend like it's even possible to ascribe some kind of reason to this and events like it, but that's just because the deep-down shared knowledge that we can't is too unnerving for some people to accept, and they have to comfort themselves with their own simple and tidy explanations.

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Poor kid...

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The teachers were responsible, in that they were the recognized caregivers for him at the time of the accident. No shirking that or generalizing it into cultural practices.

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Phew! I was thinking about calling a parent at one of my schools, but now I'm glad I didn't. Luckily, I will be changing schools in April. Looking back, what could I have done differently?

I didn't make rules, but I sensed they needed some nit-picky ones to plug the holes. There was always ambient noise in the class. Should I have been stricter with clicking pens, acrobatic pens, bad posture, talking, being overly critical to skit, speech performers, playing tic tac toe, sleeping, kicking shins, flipping other classmates off, etc. Other classes had the same behavior, but somehow, I knew the attitude and the intent to behave badly was done with purpose in that problem class.

Anyway, they are someone else's problem now. I just have to tough out a couple more lessons with them.

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well if an Accident its Very SAD. but if suicide, Ill NEVER understand it. such a cowards way out. 14!? it would have been better & Million times more easy to deal with punishment from Parents.

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