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NPOs worry as child suicides tend to rise after summer break

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Exactly how are children expected to overcome the pressures that school brings?

Certainly not by suicide but by what means?

Teachers and parents need more time to be with children and to address issues that occur but sadly this is not the case as time is limited for both parents and teachers .......

As Japan has the lowest allocation of resources to education aming the OECD countries it is really not surprising that there are problems.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

First of all, Teachers; Stop overloading the kids with homework during what you all call Summer Vacation. Parents; Stop sending your kids to Juku which add to the loads of homework. The in states, kids have NO homework during the months of July and August. They are out with friends, socializing, relieving the stress put on them from school and study. Employers; Let parents spend more time with their kids. Stop over working your staff!!

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Where children are bullied to death and no one cares. Just so sad

8 ( +9 / -1 )

My schooling years were the best time of my life, which is very unlike Japan. The school system is terrible and it's more like incarceration than education.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

"NPOs worry as child suicides tend to rise after summer break"

Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum

Try acting and getting to the cause of said suicides which at a guess would be mostly related to too many forced expectations and a generally spirit crunching work load. coupled with all the other stresses kids go through all over the planet.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I always looked forward to the new school year in September, although admittedly I was bummed out the summer was done (at the same time). It says a lot about a nation where kids literally kill themselves to avoid going back to school. How about the NPOs, while I applaud them stepping up efforts to do something, start those efforts by pressuring the government to ACTUALLY deal with bullying?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Kobe White Bar OwnerToday  08:35 am JST

""NPOs worry as child suicides tend to rise after summer break"

Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum"

And if you read beyond the headline you would find that the article states in the first sentence this:

"Nonprofit organizations and other entities supporting children are stepping up efforts to prevent kids from committing suicide, ..."

and further on, some details of what they are doing.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My wife's niece is a kid who doesn't/can't attend school at the moment, hasn't for 2 years and she is now 16.

That was triggered by bullying by a senpai in the school music club, which was effectively endorsed by the club teacher, whose primary concern was getting to the regional finals. She completely dismissed the parent's complaints, and the school admin did nothing.

So the kid has regressed into this housebound, depressed, needy, emotionally volatile person, whose mother is terrified is going to do something harmful to herself.

I imagine she must be quite worried right about now. She would be a very likely candidate.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Re the suicides, I was involved in a study of this in 1996 and was told the exactly the same thing. Likewise for runaways. Conclusion: This phenomenon is not new, not even recent.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

suggesting that returning to school after vacation is a huge hurdle for children, especially those worried about being bullied.

To the parents of bullies or potential bullies: you're part of the problem & partly/mainly responsible for this. Raise your kids properly. Being a parent isn't only about providing shelter, food & buying him/her video games he/she wants. The  'system is at fault' bs is a cop out for lazy parents.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Summer Vacation. Parents; Stop sending your kids to Juku which add to the loads of homework.

and Japanese children living abroad are sent back during their summer vacation to attend school here making their summer vacation even shorter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@tamarama. thank you for your story. studies are not as trustworthy as honest actual stories. my neighbour committed suicide in toyama. my friend in another country. i understand that life is up and down, but people need to be more compassionate.

one in six children suffer at the poverty line. there is big pressure for children to get into the top university. it is the hope of parents to have successful children to look after them after they retire.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These problems are known to the public since a long time, and bullying has been addressed here even long before other countries. It's scary to think nothing changed.

@Tamarama

An all too common story. Kids shouldn't have to go through that... Wish her the best.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is something in schooling that is so fearsome and they might not get enough of vacation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This seems to be an ongoing saga of neglect of students by all adult parties involved, but especially the government. It needs to do these four things:- firstly to distribute free to all parents, schools and medical professionals what are the signs of distress in children. It should also tell parents what they can do about it and encourage them to do it.

Secondly it should make it very clear to all involved in the education system, and especially teachers, that they are required (and that would need to be stressed and maybe reinforced in law) to follow up any observed problems with the principal and the parents, and if necessary to refer the child initially for counselling regardless of what parents may want. These actions should be recorded.

Thirdly, they need, as others have pointed out, to provide more counselling services. Here in Victoria, Australia, all schools have access to counselling services, and they don't just counsel students but provide education sessions on recognising and dealing with stress in children, including bullying, for parents. Both the bullied and the bullies may well need counselling.

And fourthly, a clear and non-negotiable expectation should be made of the teaching staff that bullying in any form is not to be tolerated, and that records are to be kept of incidences which will be inspected by the authorities, so that a suspicious dearth of incidents in any one school can alert them to the need for further investigation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The school system is terrible and it's more like incarceration than education.

Yet no country seems to wax nostalgic about (and even fetishize) education as much as Japan, judging from the number of television quizzes with adults in school uniforms answering quizzes based on the school curriculum, dramas involving high school students etc. There seems to be a disconnect between how education is in reality and how it's portrayed in the media.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Goolucktoyou, Bintaro - cheers.

The Senpai/Kohai system is meant to be a type of mentoring process, which is a great idea and I know exists in many top level schools. In those schools, the older kids are trained and prepped beforehand on what good mentoring looks like, leadership and communication strategies, and are monitored as part of the process. It doesn't always work, but it's based on compassion, nurturing and a promoting a sense of community.

A lot of what I have heard about the Senpai/Kohai system in Japan is that it is just blatant bullying of someone who is somewhat akin to a personal slave. It's meant to be 'character building', teach the kids to conform to a system and understand very strongly the idea of an age related hierarchy, but it breaks people.

That's not a constructive system. It should be kept, but seriously overhauled. The problem is that their are all kinds of social and cultural norms in Japan that will impinge on it's modification. The first is that it is a deeply imbedded cultural norm in and of itself. But other concepts such as 'Gaman', 'Ganbateru', 'Uchi and Soto' etc, etc. mean that it's a very tightly woven fabric to undo.

I'm not saying that this is the only reason for why kids find themselves in this predicament, but based on this girl's experience, it was certainly the catalyst.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Governments around the world force children into school and then make teachers produce little robots.

I feel sorry for small children forced BY THE GOVERNMENT into rigid schedules without their mothers around.

It's really unnatural when you think about it. Five-year olds forced into a grown-up world.

In the US, the wealthier families send their kids to Montessori schools or religious schools where the people are more relaxed and loving.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Raising 3 kids and all of them are in international schools. No, I'm not a rich expat, it has been a severe financial sacrifice, but one that has been worthwhile. My kids are happy, bilingual, bicultural, popular and enjoy school. Putting kids in J-state schools is just cruel, especially for haafu kids.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@Leila

Yeah, 'loving' is the right word. Especially at some Catholic schools.

I'll stick with the government....

0 ( +3 / -3 )

 Putting kids in J-state schools is just cruel, especially for haafu kids.

My mixed-race (Japanese and white British) sons go to the local state elementary school and are happy there.

I also haven't heard of any problems from friends in similar situations.

On top of that, my wife is an elementary school teacher in Tokyo with about 20 years of experience and on average has one mixed race kid (usually Japanese dad, Filipino or Chinese mum) each year and has never encountered bullying. Anecdotal evidence I know, but quite a lot of it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Tamarama

I wouldn't go as far as to say that the senpai/kohai system IS bullying, but it sure can be a way in. This system involves a kind of education, whereas bullying is pure meanness. But there's a thin line between the two.

One of the biggest recurring, and shocking problem, that you also mention in your story, is the endorsement by adults.

There is still too much denying with sayings like "boys being boys", "he/she should defend him/herself" or "it will make him/her stronger". And more recently, "you should understand, bullies certainly have problems too". And you hear that from parents as well as from teachers. Victim blaming at its finest.

For things to change, parents and teachers first need to understand that bullying is a serious issue with immediate and long term effect.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Governments want women to work. Can't expect them to work without an education.

Teachers are not good in the US. Research shows that kids learn better using behavior modification programs. So, a TV set could teach them more effectively, as long as the kids had to stay seated.

Public schools are backward in the US.

The immigrants are pulling down the GPA's.

Japan is so much more concerned about education. Very competitive and ambitious nation.

Maybe more mom involvement at the schools. For the human touch. And they can watch for bullying.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Holiday break Homework not done until the last few days, is undoubtably a hugely stressful period.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tamamarama's acquaintance is just one example, but black (abusive) clubs exist and are not limited to the sports ones. A tv special about bullying at clubs drew viewer comments from kids at music clubs collapsing or vomiting into their instruments during practices. In that situation, it's all too easy to imagine that kids will be bullying others in the name of encouraging them to keep up. This approach also rests on what I think is the fallacy that effort conquers everything,that the experience of kids practising the tuba until they collapse can somehow equip them to lead better lives. Human progress has largely been an exercise in making things easier, in making natural forces and phenomena work for us and instead of us. We achieve things by being smart, not by working past exhaustion.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@leila26 - In the US, the wealthier families send their kids to Montessori schools or religious schools where the people are more relaxed and loving.

bwahaha! I guess you've missed all the reports about children (mainly boys) being sexually abused in religious schools.

It's not just the school system. Young people don't have much of a life in Japan. Most sleep in a room with their parents until junior high school or beyond. The only real activity they have outside the home is their father taking them to the park once or twice a month on a Sunday. Their school vacation times are totally wrecked by homework and school sports clubs. And, some are made to go to juku as well.

That's the crazy thing about the Japanese education system. Most kids are spending 50-60 hours a week at school and juku (plus homework), but they don't learn a flipping thing! They only learn how to memorise answers for a test and, after the test it is quickly forgotten. Many Japanese people have no idea how to rationalise, prioritise or to use even the simplest forms of critical thinking. This creates huge amounts of anxiety and leads to depression because they don't know how figure out a problem without becoming over emotional about it. As a result, they jump in front of a train.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There is one point that the above comments have missed, the NPO, is this a voluntary service? if so we need to get on board with these guys and help to support them with some finance, with out them helping children, there will be plenty more children taking there own lives. would the news team run an add/campaign to promote this service? is there any awareness on the usual social media like Facebook?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Brian WhewayToday  02:37 pm JST,

No time right now to read through their websites but both organizations mentioned have at least some info in English (or something resembling that).

http://www.childline.or.jp/en/

http://www.jidoukan.or.jp/english/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A nation with an ageing population and a declining birth rate should probably consider child hood deaths as a threat to the national survival and perhaps resulting a need for grater levels of immigration.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My kids are happy, bilingual, bicultural, popular and enjoy school. Putting kids in J-state schools is just cruel, especially for haafu kids.

Poppycock. My haafu kids are happy, bilingual (one of them multilingual), popular and enjoyed school - both are now well-adjusted adults. They went through J-school no problem, and have no qualms about sending their own kids through the same system.

We made a 'severe financial sacrifice' not in sending them to an expensive International school (had a friend who taught in one, she was a good teacher but we weren't impressed with the school she taught at - neither was she, seeing it from the inside) but in making sure they had everything they needed outside school, including holidays, pets and a Mum who was home when they came home in the afternoon. I do not think we were cruel in the least.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@ Civitas Sine Suffragio

Raising 3 kids and all of them are in international schools. No, I'm not a rich expat, it has been a severe financial sacrifice, but one that has been worthwhile. My kids are happy, bilingual, bicultural, popular and enjoy school. Putting kids in J-state schools is just cruel, especially for haafu kids.

Happy for you, but that's the easy option. The real trick is to put your kid through J schooling in a caring manner. Now, going nose to nose with your kid's teachers isn't easy but see how quickly they will back down when you're a westerner. I want a good education for my son but, at the end of the day, I know what's right for him and they don't!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ Civitas Sine Suffragio

"Putting kids in J-state schools is just cruel, especially for haafu kids." is a truth i know in my heart but am battling in my budget. Gonna just avoid HS i think. Well done to you though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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