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3 Japanese schools believed to have kept human skulls for teaching

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"3 Japanese schools believed to have kept human skulls for teaching"

What did they learn?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Only a person with an agenda would first think of "WWII POWS" when seeing an article about skulls in schools in 2019 when the war ended in 1945. The possibility that the skulls came from mutilation by US troops during WWII is also exists, but like your POW suggestion, not likely. Please stop digging a deeper hole for yourself.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Your comment is ridiculous because you attempt to force fit your anti-Japan WWII agenda into a story that has nothing to do with it.

My anti-Japan WWII agenda? You're making an incorrect assumption.

Did the Japanese perform medical "experiments" on POWs? Yes. Is it possible that these skulls came from one of those POWs? Yes. Do we know where the skulls came from? No. This means my question wasn't ridiculous.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Outside of just how they got the skulls, I fail to see the problem. My friend's entire skeleton is on display, as will mine when I die. It will be among a collection of over 300 skeletons donated by their former owners, for use in study by doctors.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Killroy was here... and still is.  :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My school was very poor. We had an ant’s skull....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My previous school had a fetus as a specimen. Whats wrong with a skull?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Chip StarToday  07:53 pm JST

Ridiculous comment. For that matter maybe they were Japanese skulls that were repatriated.

Why is it a ridiculous comment? There is ample non-Wikipedia sourced information of the Japanese using POWs and non-combatants for medical "studies." A lot of these studies are also known as war crimes and atrocities.

You really need an explanation? WWII has been over for 74 years. How many people who may have been the source of the skulls have died during that time? Your comment is ridiculous because you attempt to force fit your anti-Japan WWII agenda into a story that has nothing to do with it. The example I gave of a possible repatriated Japanese head from WWII is equally unlikely but presented so you get the point, which you obviously did not.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Following the probe by the education board, the school moved the skull to the teachers' room so that students cannot see it.

That must have made for an akward lunch break.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ridiculous comment. For that matter maybe they were Japanese skulls that were repatriated.

Why is it a ridiculous comment? There is ample non-Wikipedia sourced information of the Japanese using POWs and non-combatants for medical "studies." A lot of these studies are also known as war crimes and atrocities.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I wonder if they got one for the drama club as well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My High School back home had full skeleton! It had been there for decades. Biology classes and art classes used it. I heard it came from India.

Curiously this NPR video about another HS in the USA confirms it may have been from India. Historically India supplied a lot of skeletons from the 1800's onward

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ7A6Nw0My4#action=share

Researched a little more: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16678816

Medical students across the world rely on anatomical models to become informed doctors. What many don't realize is that a large number of these models are stolen from graves in Calcutta, India.For 200 years, the city has been the center of a shadowy network of bone traders who snatch up skeletons in order to sell them to universities and hospitals abroad. In colonial times, British doctors hired thieves to dig up bodies from Indian cemeteries. Despite changes in laws, a similar process is going strong today. Throughout parts of Calcutta, many of the cemeteries have been empty for generations."When I die, when I'm gone, my body will also be stolen," says Mohammad Jinnah Vishwas, a farmer who lives in the village of Amdanga. "Before we didn't understand where all the bones were going, now we know that they were taken by criminals." A legal multimillion-dollar business throughout the 1970s, the export of human remains was banned by India in 1986 following rumors that traders were murdering people for their bones. The new law pushed most of the major companies out of business.

well there you go, bit of research shows there is good chance it my have been from India and acquired by shady means.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

(takes the skull) Alas, poor Yamato san! I knew him, Harmaru, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. —Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Why is this news? Skulls do not end up in schools by chance in Japan.

Not a big deal.

@madmel-All the grandiose conjecture in this thread is stupid. Ditto.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

madmel, #me too! I had one of those at college in the US, bought from a friend at medical school, and even brought it to Japan with me in my suitcase. My plan was to do zazen staring at it, and hopefully overcome my fear of death! In retrospect I hate to think what my landlady must have thought, and what might have happened if it had been found by customs officers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They wanted to help the students bone up on their science knowledge.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My first reaction was SO WHAT! Every medical school had full bodies that are worked on for education. I found a Skull in the trunk of a cusotmers car by accident. It fell out of a case/presentation box by accident. It had the top cut off and the top was attached by a hinge. I also knew his first name was "Dr." So it was a non issue. He even appologized to us for leaving it there but then we asked him to explain what it was for....learned a lot that day. All the grandiose conjecture in this thread is stupid.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I don't understand why this should be in the news...it's not as if they murdered someone to get the skulls for the school right?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If you think this is bad, what do you think of the use of cadavers in medical schools around the world? It is a fact that dead body parts and even whole dead bodies are used for educational purposes the world over.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

No, it is not illegal, whether it is immoral is up to your religion. Many people choose to donate their bodies to science or medicine for the puropose of helping educate others.

There is also no reason to suspect the school obtained the skulls illegally; as human skeletal specimens can be obtained through medical or lab supplies catalogs cheaper and easier.

https://www.skullsunlimited.com/collections/humans

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I can understand in a university medical school, but not a high school or lower. Isn't this somehow illegal? What's more, it was not donated to the school for science, it was bought -- which of course means it was sold. Is selling human remains not illegal somehow? If they Don't think it is in any way disrespectful or wrong, how about using a former Prime Minister or Imperial family member's skull after they pass away... for science purposes. I'm betting people are disgusted or offended even by the idea.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Cremation of the whole body.

But according to Buddhist beliefs it does not matter what happens to the body itself. But my response was to the contention made by another poster regarding their belief that Japanese believe that the entire body must be together to get into heaven.

That is not true.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My guess is that one of the parents made a fuss, and now the faculty have to pour through mountains of purchase records dating back to when Nixon was president.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

for me, they just want to make case over nothing as a result of lack of work.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There must be many more out there. It was entirely normal and educational to display such things not too long ago, although most have probably been gathering dust.

Will this start a chain reaction around the world? Do you dispose of them quietly, give them a full burial, move them to another room, or tell the police?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Alas, poor Yoriko...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The reason the schools don’t know who or how the skulls were purchased is most likely because they were purchased decades ago or were handed down from a university or laboratory and the persons involved are long gone.

I was thinking much the same thing. And with a staff turnover of three years at schools, the likelihood of someone still being there who knows where it came from is pretty limited, meaning that they are going to have to go through some unknown period of files trying to figure it out.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'd much rather have my skull in a classroom where kids can lark about with it than in a grave near future generations' houses. We live in an old community in inaka and have graves on both sides, albeit thirty yards away and set back from the road and hidden by large trees. Some people live directly opposite graves or have to overlook them from their living room.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is a foreign skull, they always use them .

Sounds like a conspiracy theory.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The reason the schools don’t know who or how the skulls were purchased is most likely because they were purchased decades ago or were handed down from a university or laboratory and the persons involved are long gone.

Remeber when you were in high school, the storage rooms full of junk and never used in decades equipment. I suppose this case is similar.

When I was in high school, we had an entire real human skeleton in the science lab, and preserved specimens of all sorts of animals and a human fetus in the supplies room. We also dissected frogs and fish, which is pretty normal in most schools.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Chip StarToday 06:42 am JST

Are these skulls from WWII POW that were tortured and murdered?

Ridiculous comment. For that matter maybe they were Japanese skulls that were repatriated.

"During World War II, some members of the United States military mutilated dead Japanese service personnel in the Pacific theater of operations. The mutilation of Japanese service personnel included the taking of body parts as "war souvenirs" and "war trophies". Teeth and skulls were the most commonly taken "trophies", although other body parts were also collected."

"..the behavior continued throughout the war in the Pacific Theater, and has resulted in continued discoveries of "trophy skulls" of Japanese combatants in American possession, as well as American and Japanese efforts to repatriate the remains of the Japanese dead. "

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_mutilation_of_Japanese_war_dead

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Following the probe by the education board, the school moved the skull to the teachers' room so that students cannot see it.

Heaven forbid the students see... a SKULL!!!!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I don’t care if they use my skull for education after I die.

This. I prefer this more than the crushing of bones with chopsticks after the cremation to be honest.

But remember, this is Japan, different customs. Also I don't believe things like organ donation are common or even allowed here? I could be wrong.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It is a foreign skull, they always use them .

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Mostly these remains came from prisoners, those executed by the state or the poor and dispossessed.

Sounds like a conspiracy theory.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This is pretty common in universities all over the world, maybe not in high school, but the idea is the same, not a big deal as long as they obtain it legally.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Mostly these remains came from prisoners, those executed by the state or the poor and dispossessed.

How do you know this?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

You are aware that human remains are constantly used for teaching purposes, correct?

Of course, many people donate their bodies to ensure medical students and others can learn in order to help others. The important thing is they consented. Unless any institution can prove the deceased consented for their remains to be used in this way then they should be should be disposed off respectfully. Mostly these remains came from prisoners, those executed by the state or the poor and dispossessed.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

"a real skull was purchased as a specimen,"

How is this not normal. And why is there any reason to belive otherwise. I studied real human skulls when I was in school back in the USA. It was for uni anthropology. But I see no reason why any school might not have one for educational purposes. Bodies are donated to science daily all over the world.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So, If what you suggest here is "true" then explain the use of cremation here?

Cremation of the whole body.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

And you know these remains are being used with the consent of the deceased?

None of us know, which is why with the current information we've been provided, we cannot logically come to the determination that there was any problem with these skulls being in the classroom.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

This is why many people are against organ donation - the belief that the body must be intact to go to heaven. 

The belief in Buddhism, which is probably the main "religious" sect that is followed in regards to death and issues surrounding it here, is in fact 100% against what you are saying here!

In Buddhism the belief is that the physical body is literally "trash" , it's the mind and spirit that lives on.

So, If what you suggest here is "true" then explain the use of cremation here?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

And you know these remains are being used without consent of the decedent?

And you know these remains are being used with the consent of the deceased? Impasse either way. Let's hear what the schools have to say - and you'd think they'd have said it already and it would've been included in the article:

"Oh yes, we bought it from a reputable source, look, here are the documents to prove a legitimate purchase."

Instead, we have vagueness, downplaying, and passing the buck:

The school also said teachers have been told that "a real skull was purchased as a specimen," although it was not clear when that occurred....No students had complained about the skull, according to the school.

Yoshiro Matsumori of the education board said it is left up to schools to choose what types of specimen they want to use in class.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

When the body's occupant has decided that it be used for this purpose, yes. If it were done to you or to a family member / loved one, without permission being sought, would you be as blase?

And you know these remains are being used without consent of the decedent?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

You are aware that human remains are constantly used for teaching purposes,

When the body's occupant has decided that it be used for this purpose, yes. If it were done to you or to a family member / loved one, without permission being sought, would you be as blase?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Human remains should not be used in this way, it's extremely disrespectful. How is this legal?

Not necessarily. I don’t care if they use my skull for education after I die.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Human remains should not be used in this way, it's extremely disrespectful. How is this legal?

You are aware that human remains are constantly used for teaching purposes, correct?

19 ( +21 / -2 )

I agree with Luddite - it is irrelevant where and when it was bought. The chances are, the family and the deceased did not donate it for such a purpose, it was removed from the body.

What makes it worse is that the Japanese themselves believe that this is wrong. This is why so much time, effort and money is spent retrieving the remains of a Japanese body. This is why many people are against organ donation - the belief that the body must be intact to go to heaven. Whoever bought it and whenever that was, it is unacceptable that the schools have continued using the skulls.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

Human remains should not be used in this way, it's extremely disrespectful. How is this legal?

-19 ( +5 / -24 )

So? If it was purchased through a official source there really should not be any problems with this.

Granted, nowadays there are plastic one's available, but use of a real one should not be an issue if it provenance can be established and it was not procured illegally.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

that thought had crossed my mind but I didn't want to be the one to say it

-15 ( +9 / -24 )

Are these skulls from WWII POW that were tortured and murdered?

-18 ( +10 / -28 )

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