Japan Today

Boy struck by train dies in apparent suicide


A 14-year-old boy was struck by a train and killed Monday night in Machida in suburban Tokyo, police said Tuesday.

The incident, which took place at a train crossing near Tamagawagakuen-mae Station on the Odakyu Line, is being treated as a suicide, TV Asahi quoted police as saying. Eyewitness say the train, a rapid service to Odawara, was heading toward the crossing at around 9:30 p.m. when the boy climbed over the barrier and threw himself into the path of the oncoming train, TV Asahi reported.

The boy was rushed to hospital, but doctors said his injuries were extensive and he died 90 minutes later. According to police, the deceased was not wearing a school uniform, but he was carrying textbooks used by junior high school students.

Police said that the boy had been recently complaining to his mother that he was getting tired of studying, according to Sankei Shimbun.

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you know, i am tired of working but life must go on. i got help - why can`t others????

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Police said that the boy had been recently complaining to his mother that he was getting tired of studying, according to Sankei Shimbun.

Sad way out. RIP

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Then how about just not studying as a slightly less extreme alternative??!

It sounds like there was more to this - extreme pressure? Bullying? Depression?

-1 ( +2 / -4 )

Students in Japan are pressured into MELTDOWNS by their own parents - i've seen it before.

Junior High + Juku + No Social Life + Meltdown + Depression + Low Scores = Suicide SOME parents do not know how to talk to their kids.

Being a teacher in Japan, I've seen kids cry, hate their parents with a passion, and etc.

It's up to the parent to mentally support THEIR kid. It's great if they are throwing money into WORTHLESS JUKU'S. But if the parent doesn't positively motivate their kid. More sucides will occur.

Maybe this kid took a Junior Toeic, or whatever.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Parents cannot even hug their kids here let alone support them mentally. The poor boy broke down and lost it. Now the parents have to pay for the train delay, and the boy more than likely knew that.


-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Pretty extreme way to deal with too much study, poor kid didn't know how to deal with it and goes and does this. What a sad sad day for the kid and his familly, shame he had no one to talk too and his parents were so disfunctional and had no way of communicting with their child.

-1 ( +3 / -3 )

The teenage years can be pretty horrendous for kids. Your body starts changing, your skin launches a full on rebellion, all new emotions and feelings you aren't emotionally mature yet to know how to handle. Any molehil can seem like an insurmountable mountain to a teenager. Firm boundaries laced with tons of support, attention and love is important. I was bullied briefly at high school. Whilst it upset me, I managed to shrug it off and dealt with the bullies concerned. That was partly due to my personality....I don't take poo poo from anyone.....but I got through it with tons of family support.

Teenagers despite thinking they know, seen and have done it all, are still children. A 14 year old is a child. He might have asked for help, he just might have been overwhelmed by all of those built up feelings and this tragedy has now unfolded. I hope that as a parent I can show my kids that whatever they've done, whatever has happened and however they feel that they can always, always come to me and talk about it. It's one of the major points Intry to work on.

Not all but most parents I know here seem to treat child rearing like some kind of equation. Have a child. Child into youchien. Supervised outside classes. School. More/ different private classes or juku. Japanese mums cannot believe me when I tell them my kids have one private class each a week. Something my kids want to attend, not something I want them to study.

Homework is done round the kitchen table while I am cooking dinner. We are all there together. Actually the kitchen table in our house is the official family headquarters. It's where we talk about our day during dinner.....something I had to really push japanese hubby into doing. I cannot understand this whole 'you must buy a desk' thing as soon as kids enter primary school! Send them off to what might as well be Siberia to do their homework. I want my kids to study and do well too. The big difference is how we as a family go about it.

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Japan Gal, I'm guessing you are not 14 and Japanese. What do you think the likely response he got from his mother was? "Ganbatte" I'm guessing. Clearly no one really listened to him even when he asked for help. To be told to get on with it, instead of backing off or taking him to a doctor was clearly far too much for him to handle. Im very pleased you got help, but you have no right to judge this poor boy.

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Japan needs to tackle this issue, too many people take the easy way out, there is no support lines (that I know of) and no ways to get any sort of reassurance to stop these.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A sad story.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

WTF?? RIP young boy out in Machida.

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I think you misread my English.

I did not judge the boy at all. Teens in general will not ask for any help if being bullied let alone depressed etc.

His parents, probably did not notice anything or thought he was a typical teenager. Dad probably was never home and when he was, had to do family service in grueling traffic jams.

Many teens could use counseling. But it most definitely not happen in Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I understood you perfectly, he had asked for help in the form of complaining to his mother about too much studying. Clearly she didnt do anything to help him. Saying you got help, so why cant others, sounds pretty judgemental to me. Its not that simple especially for Japanese young people.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Tired of studying' is euphemism for bullying.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Police said that the boy had been recently complaining to his mother that he was getting tired of studying, according to Sankei Shimbun.

Asking for help is very different from complaining.

And no wear in this article does it say...

Saying you got help, so why cant others

I believe you are confused unless you read an article from a different source and can give us a link. Japanese or English would be fine.


-1 ( +1 / -2 )

""you know, i am tired of working but life must go on. i got help - why can`t others????"" Sily Girl

sorry Japan girl, I mean Silly girl, too many girls.

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No probs at all.

I hope the boy found peace.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Now the parents have to pay for the train delay

Do families of people who commit suicide by train really have to pay for the train delay? I've never heard anything about this, but I guess anything is possible... I've heard of cases where families of missing persons have to pay for the search and rescue costs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He should have at least called the suicide hotline.

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Wtfftw - Japanese liability laws are a weird thing to behold. Another example would be when you are driving perfectly normally and legally through a junction, and someone sideswipes you because they ran the red light whilst speeding - You are still in part to blame by simple virtue of "being there".

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Reality check...everyone should read Samantha Zoe Aso's entry. Well written, well said right on the nail.

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clearly this is the fault of the train for not stopping.

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If he did it at the actual Machida station, it would have been much more expensive for his parents to pay. It has 6 tracks with Rapid Service and a lot of trains would have been delayed. The Tamagawagakuen-mae Station is the next station over, small only for local travel.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ Rogerrabbit! Thank you for appreciating my rambling! Take care!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No rambling at all, Samantha, your post is magnificent!! Thank You.

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Very sad indeed. I'm sure that it wasn't just 'tired of studying' but that was likely all he told his parents. As Samantha pointed out, the teenage years are difficult ones. Support and love from parents can definitely help but sometimes even with the best of parenting a child still may see no way out of his/her problems.

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@BlueWitch! Thank you very much indeed!

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I remember when I was in elementary school-7-8 years old, and I misunderstood a task-I had to retell a story in past perfect tense and I retold it in past tense only. The teacher was merciless and fixed each verb with red. When my parents saw my red notebook, they went crazy and gave me one severe beating, so my nose bled. I locked myself in the bathroom pleading for forgiveness, but this only enraged them.My mother broke the lock and beated me more. Then I remember again , when I was 8y.old and forgot some stupid match boxes for my art class, my mother said that I deserved to be dragged out and have my head chopped with the axe(in my old house my grandfather kept one big axe). When I was 14, I changed schools and had hard time adapting, and had a C. Then my mother told me that I'd better jump from the window(I lived on the 5th floor) rather than bring her another C.

Well, I lived for years and years under such pressure, why didn't I jump in front of the train?

Probably because in my coutry there are few suicides, and people are strongly discouraged from taking their own life.

Or maybe because I had a goal in my life. I had a dream and it gave me strenght to carry on and fight. I found things worth living in my life. I walked towards my goal slowly and steadily, with support of friends and teachers.

Thid this boy have a goal in his life? What was his dream-did he have one? Why wasn't there anyone around him to support him?Wasn't there anything worth living? Didn't he have a view for his future? Just like Hori in another article here points out- competitivenes alone isn't enough-there must be a prize, a goal for which to fight .And if kids are oversatisfied, or if they are squeezed by the current bureaucratic system and can't develop the way they want-then kids like this one will keep jumping to their deaths.

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14 years old means he was probably in 3rd year of JHS, preparing for his high school entrance tests. Huge pressure, and if he wasn't getting results, or didnt think he could get into a good high school........ well, that may have been a factor.

I have a son nearly the same age (15), and I vowed long ago to never subject him to the juku/test nonsense that so many succumb to. He goes to a private jhs/shs (not international school), loves his studies, participates in activities he likes, and has weekends free to socialize and make plans with his friends.

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Yes, Samantha Zoe Aso made a very effective comment. I am a journalist and have reported may times on bullying, hikikomori and depression. It is out of question that the biggest responsability lies on the parents side. I wpuld never send my kids to "cram" (juku) school, It took me a whole sentence in order to explain, to my readers ( Italy ) what is a "juku" and why it is considered compulsory.

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whiskeysour your comments are great !!!!!! Very smart and to the point

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@Sasoriza. I can't say enough how sorry I am to hear about your childhood experiences. You are an amazing person to have overcome such traumatic experiences. I honestly cannot understand the mindset of parents who treat their children so vilely. I sincerely hope you are living the life you dreamed of now. We should send you round the schools giving talks. I am not saying that children harboring suicidal tendencies will be magically cured but if one child is given that little ray of hope, who knows what knock on effect it might have.

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@ Whiskeysour! I thought your comments summed it up nicely too!

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A child tells you they are tired of studying, but you as a parent know that their future is based on getting the best grades they are capable of. Capable of, two key words,if the child is doing their best according to their ability, they should not be pushed further. Far too much emphasis on a persons future is based upon their accademic qualifications, there are alternatives, consider your childs natural skills and build on those. If he had been my child I would have given him a big hug and said ok,"lets look at the alternatives". Alas it is too late for this young boy and his mother who must be devestated, So desperately sad

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Well said Samantha. Sasoriza, thank you for sharing your story, very brave of you & humbling for the rest of us. I have a friend whose mother - a teacher- told her she'd never amount to anything & she may as well quit school & become a hairdresser in the local village- that friend became a lawyer. Why do these people have children? DS, sounds like you're doing it right. Hope the rest of us are.

As for liability, I seem to recall from my Odakyu days that they don't charge the family for the clean up & that's why that line, which also has a lot of express trains, gets more jumpers. Correct me if I'm wrong.

RIP, young man.

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And he' my age too. Scary : (

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hey stop picking on japangal! RIP kid, he's not stressed out anymore

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Japan as a whole needs a healthy dose of compassion and empathy. Forget the whole gambatte mindset. Learn to love and cherish those that are important you. Forcing them to work/study harder in the name of gambatte is achieving nothing. As a whole the nation is miserable and stressed out.

Misery and suffering should not be regarded as a badge of honor to worn with pride. Love & happiness, are the only things in life that matter, everything else is just details...

I wish more people would learn to be compassionate, instead of rating or respecting someone by how much they are suffering and struggling. It is not a contest...

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@Sasoriza - Couldn't your mother tell that you had made one mistake that affected every answer, and thus that the paper shouldn't erally have been covered in red?

I hope for your sake that she actually looked over your homework rather than blindly handing out a beating based on how much red ink was on it.

And I'm happy to see that you got through those times and now (presumably) are a well-adjusted adult.

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There are teen suicides in many countries just as in most countries, parents treasure their children. I am th e mother of twin 13 yr old daughters & worry about how they will manage & navigate their way thru high school etc unscathed. The thing is - they won't. They have already experienced bullying because they are "half" kids & getting good grades & all I can do is tell them to be strong & that this won't last forever. Would this bullying exist if we were still in Japan or any other country - that point isn't that important. All we can do is love our children & try to learn to listen to them & really hear what they are saying, it's hard being a teenager but it is also hard being a parent. Perhaps instead of laying the blame at the poor family or even worse, the teen himself, maybe we can take the time to remember the young boy & how precious life & family are...

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