Japan Today

Girl hit by train may have committed suicide due to bullying, say police


Police said Monday that a 13-year-old girl who was hit by a train in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, is believed to have committed suicide as a result of bullying.

The girl was hit by a train at a crossing in Zama while heading home from her school in Tokyo at around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Police arrived at the scene and found a suicide note in her bag that made reference to her having been bullied at school, TBS reported.

The girl’s school reportedly told police that her father had sought a consultation in November to discuss the issue of bullying. An investigative commission convened on Sunday to discuss bullying and to question the students named in the girl’s note.

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Sad that such a young person sees no other way out that to kill herself.

Japan has a lot of good points but the suicide rate is one of the most shameful things I can think of. And it's all becuase people are so damned scared of showing emotions, standing their ground or becuse of their seemingly chronic fear of opposing opinions or conflicts. Sure, people can smile and say "good morning" to you but most are enormously scared of sticking out, helping a person in need etc.

From what I read in this article, responible people are nowhere to be found: Father wants a "consultation". School (who I am pretty damn sure knows very well what's going on) tries to make it a police matter (bullying is not a police matter) and nobody lifts a finger.

The longer I live here, the more ashamed I feel on behalf of the Japanese people for their lack of courage.

17 ( +16 / -1 )

While I agree with you basroil in adding more gates, if these people wanna end their lives, I'm sure they'll find other ways to do it if they can't do it by train.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Obviously the questionnaires and survey the BOE conducted was meaningless if kids are still killing themselves due to bullying. Poor family :(

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Dad should get the school to get the kids find them kids who bullied this little girl and make them held accountable for their kids actions as well as the kids. If the school is being difficult then go to the media and make yourself heard. Don't let this case get "hushed" like a lot of the other cases of bullying in Japan. People should stand up and make the people held accountable, even if they are still kids they need to learn that bullying is NOT TOLLERATED in this world. Let's see how these bullies feel when they are shamed in public. And to all you people saying ohh that is bad and think of what it would do to their minds and feelings in the future, what about the kid that killed herself because of their abuse. At least these bullies will have a life still to live and be able to change their ways. The other kid won't.

2 ( +6 / -4 )


Suicide is not an impulse action.

I've researched, interviewed suicide survivors and written about suicide for many years now, and I must say you are DEAD wrong. More times than not, suicide is very much done on impulse, and every shrink/therapist in the world would agree.

2 ( +5 / -3 )


Suicide is an act by someone with complete disregard for others. She would never have sincerely apologized to anyone regardless, as she never cared about them in the first place. Perhaps she would say the words and look sad, but would only do so out of self pity and other egoistic sentiment. Suicide is a crime where the victims are everywhere, her parents are victims, her classmates are victims, and those random people that could have easily been injured by her actions are victims (2007, suicide in Metro caused 6-7 people to be hospitalized because the train was full and stopped for over 40 minutes).

Surprised I have to point this out, but my comment was meant as sarcasm.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just don`t get it!! These kinds of things continue to take place all over Japan, and the Japanese people seems like they can never get a handle on this to make things better for not only the kids in Japan, but also for everyone that is living in Japan.

You would think with all of the suicidal people in Japan, the Japanese government would try their very best to make things better for everyone in Japan.

But do they do that!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

They rather concentrate on the Nuclear reactors in Japan and on how to make everyones lives very complicated and stressful.

Japan and the Japanese people needs to wake up and realize that what they are doing to their kids, and how much pressure they are putting onto themselves are slowly destroying both their country, and the lives of the people that are in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That is so sad.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Of course, determined people will find a way, but adding gates would stop people who commit suicide on impulse.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It's a shame they always have to convene a session to talk about bullying after a person kills him or herself. Even more of a shame is that they are probably only doing it to take the spotlight off the fact that they failed to address the issue when it would have mattered.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This story was on tonight's news. From the initial contact that the parent had with the school and her suicide was roughly 6 weeks or so and it appears that the parent contacted the school twice, by phone, and that the school and her homeroom teacher discussed the problem with her on a number of occasions and with the class as a whole as well.

While we may never know the full extent of the story, I pray that her case teaches both the school and her classmates how precious life is.


1 ( +2 / -1 )

Stopping tragic suicides like this one isn't only about adding platform gates, but changing teaching the youth about tolerance and respect for each other.

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May the poor girl Rest in Peace. The government really needs to do something about the chronic problem of bullying. Banning repeat offenders from attending any government school - having security guards keep them out if necessary - would be a good start - as well as increasing the penalties ie serious jail time for them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Always doing the investigation that should have done before it was happened. What kind of brain and heart of those teachers and authorities. Damn them all!!! They should have died instead of those girls and boys who took their lives at the end of the closed tunnel!!! Damn them all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

adding gates may stop drunks...not the suicidal

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Heyey, let's stop "blaming" the father for not doing enough. People are different and perhaps he was very unsure of what to do?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Of course, determined people will find a way, but adding gates would stop people who commit suicide on impulse.

And you know this how? From what I have studied the overwhelming number of people who commit suicide do it after a long drawn out process and once the decision is made there is an almost sense of relief.

Suicide is not an impulse action.

There are gates that have been developed by a company here in Japan that could handle any situation, they were shown on TV a few weeks back, BUT the problem is getting the funding to install these new types of gates.

However if someone is determined enough there is no way a gate is going to stop them.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

YubaruDec. 10, 2012 - 04:35PM JST

And you know this how? From what I have studied the overwhelming number of people who commit suicide do it after a long drawn out process and once the decision is made there is an almost sense of relief.

Suicide is not an impulse action.

For most suicide is an impulse action, especially those in the case of platform suicides. While they may have thought about killing themselves, the choice to do it at a particular station at a particular time just doesn't seem to exist according to statistics. In fact, the places that installed even half height platform gates have seen suicides in trains simply decrease. They simply stop happening at stations with full height gates, and statistics have shown that those SUICIDES DO NOT GET DISPLACED INTO OTHER STATIONS. For your "not an impulse action" statement to be true in the least bit, the statistics should show an increase in suicides at stations not retrofitted with gates.

Full height platform gates are 100% effective against suicide and accidents alike! They should be mandatory on all subways and all major train stations (certainly all within metropolitan Tokyo)

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Adding gates will only stop in convincing commuters. They'll find other places to stop being bullied and afraid to go a get an education. Teacher: do you jobs and educate! Protect our children from those bullies please!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I was bullied my entire school life and the bullies always waited till there were no teachers or adults around.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There is no way more painful and tragic than suicide in this way. I hope people to stop doing that since life is too precious.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can't help but feel like this poor girl wasn't getting any of that at home, which would definitely be part of her problem.

Probably not. Many parents here seem to think that raising kids is the job of the child's homeroom teacher. ONE meeting with dad? Come on! If the problem is that bad that this kid killed herself her parents should have been there days on end demanding meetings with the bullies and bullies' parents. Thing is, many parents don't do such thing and then turn around and blame the school when the teachers really don't know there is an issue. Why aren't kids and parents dealing with this together?

RIP - I hope the bullies and the bullies parent's are held to account for this.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Bullies will be bullies. Talking to them does not help. Punishment does little. But getting a taste of it from a peer sometimes adjusts their attitude from my experience. But girls play more mentally damaging games.

Very sad for this girl and her loved ones. A pox on the bullies.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The girl is a human being. But she is under the accountability of government (schools),father,mother and teachers. Where is the rol of government?.Where is the PTA's?. And after this suicide,after the girl sacrified,what happens with teachers and her friends,family?.I can't believe that there is not justice after all. Really:No one can believe this except japanese people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is easy to blame bullying for her suicide, but fora 13 year old girl to kill herself I am sure there are more emotional factors that contributed to her suicide.

I don't know what it is with this generation. Bullies were around when I grew up I am sure they were a lot worse. Are the kids getting soft?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Jjss5324mx: "where is the PTA" there are in Mister Donuts or Denny's talk to each other about their kids and husbands.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What a sad story. Sometimes I'm so scared about being a father...I can't imagine a worse situation for him to be in right now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is very sad. I know you cant do much about someone choosing suicide as a way to run away from their problems, but something needs to be done.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is so sad. I have an eleven year old kid and i dread to imagine him ever being in a situation like this. Bullying seems to be the trend here. I hope and pray that parties concerned will find a way to prevent tragic incidents like these. Rest in peace you poor thing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think this is happening because Japanese characters are so enclosed within their emotion and no one to talk to even to their parents. So sort of decaying CLOSE-FAMILY TIES.

My other gaijin friends are calling their sons/daughters everyday while at work, with pictures of their kids everywhere. While Japanese father very seldom call their family and kids just to say Hi and I Love You.

Even when visiting others houses, AMERICAN and other Asian countries will proudly introduce their sons and daughters with pride and even kissing their kids in front of their guests, and the kids also kiss their parents before leaving. The introduction of the Japanese parents, specially the father introducing his son is something like this... a humble introduction saying MEET MY (stupid) SON or THIS IS MY STUPID SON.

Back to the topic, Japan family and clan ties are vanishing.

In other Asian countries, if you bully someone in the school, they will confide with their parents and the parents will ask the support of the relatives and will formulate plan B.

The bullies will be warned officially thru schools. then thru police blotter or complain blog. If they still continue their bullying, then plan B will be executed by the family and relatives and sometimes the whole clan..

The Plan B is that a relative or a close friend hundreds of kilometers away will come and may pump cal. 45 bullet in between their eyes. I heard that in Asian countries, cal 45 are just made in the backyard. Can be made manually by manual lathe machine in just one day.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I feel sad for such a tragic life. I wonder, will the people that were bullying her realize what they have done and become hikikomori and shut themselves in? Or will they just blow it off and be thankful that it wasn't them. From what I have seen in my interactions with Japanese society, there may be a few in the crowd who don't want to go along, but do so just to make sure that they will not be the "odd man out." I am sure that there is a group of students that will probably fit this profile in this case.

I can imagine that if there was one person, they probably didn't have a positive home life, and if they are going to be blamed for this, I would tend to believe that their distant family relationship that they have now will be even more strained when their parent(s) realize what they might have done.

The girl was hit by a train at a crossing in Zama while heading home from her school in Tokyo

Isn't it a bit too far for a kid at 13 riding a train from Zama to Tokyo daily to just go to school? I am sure that there have been studies done on the effects of long commutes for the adults, but putting that type of daily commute on a 13 year old girl is probably not a good thing, and may have helped to contribute to her feelings of hopelessness. Just sad from all aspects.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I DON'T BELIEVE this ---T !; this happened not 500M up the street from my apartment ! I would have HAPPILY gone to school with her, and BEAT the ---T out of WHOEVER was doing this to her...Poor girl...she was YOUNGER then MY daughter...poor thing...RIP girl...OMG... So Sad...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


In the same way that someone who is brought up to think suicide is bad will naturally think suicide is shameful, there are those who think that to not commit suicide is shameful. Who is right? The question can't be answered because we only know what we know and what we are taught. Who's to say what is right or wrong? But it is shocking to think that kids as young as her (and sometimes younger) are willing and capable to kill themselves in this day and age. Shocking, but not shameful.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bullying is, unfortunately, typical in school. Suicide as a solution for problems - seppuku - seems to be rather uniquely Japanese. Western societies regard suicide as a problem. I'm not sure about China or Africa. Is Japan the only country where suicide is considered an acceptable apology? I think this is the bigger problem. There just isn't a support network in Japan. Suicide is "regrettable" but acceptable. At least that's the impression I get. Am I wrong?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Too sad for words......

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

RIP lil girl, I've read enough about these kids being bullyed that I'm ready to take a baseball bat up to the school myself. No child should feel that death is a way to solve their problems. It's heart wrenching. RIP

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bullying at schools are inevitable the world over, especially in developed countries. Children are liable to consider suicide as the easiest solution available to relieve them from their suffering, heavily influenced by the extreme media coverage of every suicide which continues to take place, one being triggered by the other. Of course these are all impulsive and can be prevented, all the more why the schools most certainly when they are actually consulted by the parents who were consulted by their own child (certainly a critical red light warning) should handle the situation with utmost attention, caution and sensitivity. More discretion is also required on the part of the media with ideally more emphasis on the negative implications of suicides than simply pointing fingers at the bad guys for mere temporary catharsis and evident risk of inviting another.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There are a surprising and somewhat doubtful number of people posting here who are experts on suicide, have had access to interview 'suicide survivors' or have committed to extensive research on the matter. For an on-line community of mostly foreigners living in Japan, and presumably in some sort of normal employment, it seems an interesting and unusual hobby.

This was a 13-year old child. All your theories on whether it was premeditated or an impulse based mostly on what adults have speculated or adult survivors have (questionably) reported are pretty much irrelevant. As the parent of a 13-year old girl myself I can tell you that their thoughts, emotions, moods and actions are not necessarily what you would expect from all these doubtful 'statistics' mentioned. We would be better to confine ourselves to thinking what she went through, the waste of a life and the anguish and pain her family are suffering rather than intellectual snobbery about whose theory is the most accurate. bullying is the problem here - not the height of platform gates.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

the spirit of a young soul has left us alone on earth, we should accept others opinions and decisions in life, rather than brain washing each other with who's normal and who's different !! the young people are the ones who make life interesting for everybody everyday !!

why are we in such a rush all the time ?

if we all slowed down just a little here and there there would be less news of young suicides.

if all the trains slowed down before entering the passenger platforms, and then entered the passengers platform at a very slow speed, i bet that we could all get used to a little slowness, and very happy to know that there is a higher percentage chance of our young family members to be home with us tonight safe and sound !!

if there is going to be to many people unable to board the trains during rush hour , then why not run a double amount of train cars, and make a second stop for the remaining passengers, and if necessary run three times the amount of train cars, making three stops for every station entered.

no pain = no gain !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

suicide is a major crime that the lawmakers haven't had in their family.

for every suicide, we all loose the fruits of life, because when there are to many people thinking the same way, life can really get boring and lonely-some .

maybe we just lost a potential talented musician, engineer, designer, surgeon, or somebody who could discover a way to make life more easy and pleasant for everybody, or some one who would have discovered how to stop many different diseases !!

today we all are taking a massive loss of life , because we don't know how to live with each other and many more reasons too !!

only a special person can do spectacular things in life !!, bullies only have one way of thinking which hurts victims and non-victims too !!.

think positive of everybody and everything, because we all exist for better reasons than to hear any garbage talk !!

my very strict parents taught me to always say positive things to everybody, and if i can't find anything positive to say that then i am better to keep quite until i find something positive to say !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

i fought like crazy and once wouldn't be enough to change (or improve) the school system regarding on this matter.. Those who bullies...IF only more people will really understand it more, those truly hideous ways of doing to destroy a soul is unthinkable that the doers are as young and innocent as their victims...The school has improved on that matter somehow. But only after all the damages being done...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Platform gates would not have prevented this suicide. The article says she was hit by a train "at a crossing".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't really advocate violence but I do feel it is justifiable against bullies. Ultimately, school bullies are cowards, if they feel that their lives are threatened, they will give the victim a wide berth. Hence releasing berserker rage on them and showing them that the wimp has fangs would be an effective reminder. I was a small sized and shy child in elementary school. Initially I was a popular target for bullies. I was often used as a punching bag and a subject for insults. It got so bad that I dreaded going to school. One day, I snapped and I almost put one of my bullies into the hospital when I went berserk on him. After that, news spread and the bullying stopped almost overnight. This is an option to consider. Some might say that violence doesn't solve anything but think on this, history and countries are shaped by war.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bullying is just part of how the Japanese "harmonize" with each other. Look at every facet of this soiety : schools, work places, housewife groups, variety TV, ..it's all based on some sort of hierarchy where bullying is a prime ingredient. Back in my home country office bullying is rarely an issue...Here it is often "the" issue.... Bullying happens in every society. The difference is that the prevelance usually declines the more mature people become. In Japan however, it seems that the people are in a terminal state of stated growth. Overt bullying simply becomes more passive aggressive. I don't have hope things will change much here. The people just don't have the ability to change..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

techallDec. 11, 2012 - 12:30AM JST

They simply cannot install gates "immediately" at all stations, just the purchasing and manufacture process will take more than "months".

JR already has several gates already ordered and just not installed because they don't want to pay the overtime to have them installed at 2-5am in one shot. For other platforms, the parts can be surveyed, ordered, and delivered within 6mo if they use the best company for the job rather than the one that provides the most kickbacks to the people in charge. Mechanically and control wise these gates are incredibly easy to build, with most parts being off the shelf and the remainder just the outer shell.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

cierzo98Dec. 11, 2012 - 09:45AM JST

bullying is the problem here - not the height of platform gates.

No, poor mental health support is the problem, platform gates are the immediate and 100% effective solution. Doesn't mean the kid won't then decide to jump off a bridge or building, but at least there's less chance they will hurt others (and likely give them more time to actually think about how pathetic they really are)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

ben4shortDec. 10, 2012 - 06:35PM JST

I have to point this out, but my comment was meant as sarcasm.

It was a good way to connect Yubaru's statements about not being impulse to the eventual statement that the the person is simply a victim (which has been stated by yubaru before).

There are two types of suicide though, planned ones, where the person actually considers the possible effects and continues through it, and impulse ones where they don't. Train platform suicides tend to fall in the latter (as do most suicides in general). Basically it falls to whether they make a conscious decision to hurt others indirectly, or an instantaneous choice to ignore everything but themselves. Easy way to stop a good deal of suicide is to simply make it socially unacceptable. Not only for the person committing it, but also for the place it happens at. Plastering that someone committed suicide at a certain company, or belonging to a certain school, and also announcing their name everywhere might be a good start if you want to solve the problem rather than treat the symptoms (though stopping train track suicide is ridiculously easy and very cheap)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The girl’s school reportedly told police that her father had sought a consultation in November to discuss the issue of bullying.

So the school knew! Heads should roll!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Since clearly the root causes of these suicides are impossible to clean up in a few months, they should at least force JR and others to add platform gates to as many platforms as possible immediately.

They simply cannot install gates "immediately" at all stations, just the purchasing and manufacture process will take more than "months".

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. That's what needs to be instilled in these kids now. You are 13 (or 14 or 15 or 16 whatever), in a couple of years you will be away from your tormentors. You have your whole life ahead of you. You will find a job, you will have friends, you will take Krav Maga lessons and kick the living crap out of those jackasses who torment you now.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

crampDec. 10, 2012 - 07:42PM JST

adding gates may stop drunks...not the suicidal

Tell that to London and Singapore. Platform gates are effective against suicide and those suicides are not performed at other stations without gates.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Since clearly the root causes of these suicides are impossible to clean up in a few months, they should at least force JR and others to add platform gates to as many platforms as possible immediately. Not waiting until 2015 to announce they will need another 5 years to complete it (and then 2020, 2025, etc), since most platforms service only one type of train (or can be made to do so without affecting service). Tokyo metro hasn't released suicide statistics in a long time (in english), but I can bet you that trends probably plummeted at certain stations after gates were installed, and overall suicide also down.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

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