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Hashimoto apologizes to parents of student who killed himself

37 Comments

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto on Saturday apologized to the parents of a 17-year-old boy who killed himself on Dec 23 after he had been physically punished by the school basketball coach.

After meeting the parents for about an hour, Hashimoto told reporters that the teacher's treatment of the student was unforgivable and that local administrators were also at fault, TBS reported. Sakuranomiya high school, which the boy attended, is under the jurisdiction of the Osaka municipal government.

The boy, who was the captain of his basketball team, hanged himself at home with a tie after being physically punished by the coach. The student told his mother he had been struck 30 to 40 times the day before he died. The 47-year-old coach has admitted slapping the boy to "toughen him up."

Hashimoto said that the boy's mother asked him to send a strong message to teachers and coaches that it is wrong to use corporal punishment in schools.

Hashimoto said that he himself used to think that corporal punishment was a necesary part of discipline, but has changed his mind and now realizes that it is a practice that must be corrected, TBS reported.

Osaka police are investigating the incident which has sparked a national debate about the place of physical punishment in Japanese sports.

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37 Comments
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Hashimoto said that he himself used to think that corporal punishment was a necesary part of discipline, but has changed his mind and now realizes that it is a practice that must be corrected, TBS reported.

BS Politician looking for a chance to get face time. I wont believe him until he forces changes and says "zero tolerance" for abuse by teachers. Until then, he just blowing in the wind.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Hashimoto said that he himself used to think that corporal punishment was a necesary part of discipline

Why does it take the death of a kid to make these people wake up and realise that any sort of physical punishment is just plain old abuse?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

but then this mentality is so ingrained with the Japanese psyche...no pain no gain. What doesn't kill you will make you stronger said the Joker...I think the japanese invented it first.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Hashimoto said that he himself used to think that corporal punishment was a necesary part of discipline

I just hate liers! The death of this poor kid didn't change his sick mind at all!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The Hash is back. This tragedy is the perfect opportunity for him to show his mug again and he won't miss this for the world. Sadly, I think many people buy into his empty words and that he will grow in popularity.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

i actually think corporal punishment is needed in schools, but what this coach did was abuse. hitting someone 30-40 times is sickening. when used appropriately, corporal punishment can serve as a deterrent to bad behavior. some kids these days deserves a good whack on the head or arse to get them in line. but it should never be more than once.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Hashimoto's policies give the lie to his words. His administration is widely viewed by progressives in Japan as being out to bully people (city workers with tattoos teachers who oppose being forced to inculcate patriotism). The teacher's violence, the coverup by the principal--these are symptomatic of a national ethic that defers to hierarchy and authority. The disease goes far beyond Hashimoto, as many of the comments on Japanese Yahoo news indicate support for taibatsu.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Hashimoto should stay away from national politics and sort out his own backyard first but, like many others, I think he is full of wind and is only using this sad situation as an excuse to get his face in the media.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Apology... Apology... Apology... All of the apologies in the world will not bring back the life of this child. Japan is famous for making a whole lot of apologies and not fixing the problem at hand. When will these people start. To wake up and do things that will better the lives of the people that are around them.

This teacher that dis this to this child probably did it many times before to other students too. He should be severely reprimanded and made to pay severely for his unprofessional actions. And as of the principal of the school that this child was attending, he should be made to step down immediately because it sure looks to me that he can't do his job correctly in a professional manner.

Comments like mine should be thought about sincerely and be used as an educational tool to teach people how to act correctly.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Rickivee - Corporal punishment is needed in schools? Are you serious? Do you have kids? How would you feel about another person hitting your children? I do not ever hit my children and anyone who does hit my children will be facing assault charges

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The bullied become the bullies in turn. I'm sure that basketball coach had the bejesus whacked out of him when he was a kid. Japan is caught in a rut of this self-perpetuating system and it's not going to end any time soon.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They can bow and apologize but they don't really mean it anyway.

The only way to bring about change is sue the bleep out of the ones responsible.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

From primitive societies, old dissipated begrudge handing over to young. So they devise tortures for the young to filter the deserving but actually to empower themselves by forcing compliance from youth power.

Let this custom die out. Young should not be damaged to prove themselves worthy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Corporal punishing a child is a parents decision and right . No other person outside that child's immediate family should touch that child without explicit permission from the child's parents. Hopefully the parents are of sound mind if they should do so because children shouldn't be punished playing a game or sports.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

many of the comments on Japanese Yahoo news indicate support for taibatsu

Yes, many do, because there are a ton of comments, but most I read are very much against it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Apology... Apology... Apology... All of the apologies in the world will not bring back the life of this child. Japan is famous for making a whole lot of apologies and not fixing the problem at hand. When will these people start. To wake up and do things that will better the lives of the people that are around them.

This teacher that dis this to this child probably did it many times before to other students too. He should be severely reprimanded and made to pay severely for his unprofessional actions. And as of the principal of the school that this child was attending, he should be made to step down immediately because it sure looks to me that he can't do his job correctly in a professional manner. . I'm agree with this comment at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So if teachers start committing suicide because of their declining salaries and increased workloads, will he change his tune then?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The bully issue. Problem is huge. The legal system doesn't have the rules or fortitude in place to stop this from happening. What little rules are in place are squashed by ...cultural ethics handed down for generations...people afraid to come forward to file complaints because of the fear of reprimand for doing so....the legal system which has very little in the way of dealing with minors...there's a huge problem within Japan on many levels concerning bullying and abuse inside the school board and outside of it in workplace/society environments.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Believe his apology is only half-done. He has never been shy about his supportive position on corporal punishment. As I pointed out earlier don't think the influence of his views as city mayor towards the mindset of the teachers in Osaka should be overlooked here and thus believe his apology would need to be more about himself than that on behalf of the local administrators he supervises. The media should get more into accusing him to also be the one at fault.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I swear The Hash just looks for opportunities where he can voice an extreme opinion, so his followers will feel "he's a strong leader who's not afraid to say what he thinks".

Besides that, however, I hope he does eventually back-up his statements here. I'd like to seem some change seriously implemented. A zero tolerance stance might be needed for a while.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Watching politicians is like going to the opera ...you may or may not enjoy the show and not a word uttered is worth more than the paper it was rehearsed off of.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Saw slapper's photo with splendid physique boys. If he can't train his own physique, what authority has he to smack boys into shape?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Smacks of envy!?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The boy, who was the captain of his basketball team, hanged himself at home with a tie after being physically punished by the coach.

I hope this is just the fault of a poor translation. Punishing this boy means that there was at least from the coaches point of view in this case, that the boy did something wrong that deserved reprimanding and punishment for what ever misdeed.

This wasn't punishment, it was abuse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fine Hashi, apologize but when will YOU change the system of kohai/sempai and bullying? Oh right, you won't because you're a fan of it. For a guy who states parenting is his wife's job, he sure seems to like to pretend he's a good father.

I ask again, what did this kid's parents do? If mom knows he was hit 30-40 times, why was she not demanding something be done?? I highly doubt this was the first time. Teachers get away with this crap because parents, for the most part, support this crap. I've seen countless kids smacked by their parents, they allow the nasty sempai/kohai system to exist and look the other way when THEIR kids are bullying and smacking others around. This needs to end and parents need to teacher their kids that bullying is not the way. Then the parents have to show that bully is not the way. Until this happens we will continue to read about kids offing themselves because of how they were treated. We will continue to read about moms killing their kids due to stress and office workings ending their lives because of office bullying and stress. Wake up Japan!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Principal at a school spends 3 to 5 years at a school. On the other hand this coach was there for about 18 years which is rare. I doubt it was this Principal's decision to keep the guy there. However, there was a ton of mistakes that this Principal did seem to subcome to. I am not for switching teachers and administrators but when one teacher has been at a place for a long time it becomes harder for others to regulate them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When, oh when, will we read of an abuser hanging HIMself (it's never a woman doing this abuse) in shame of his actions?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ranger_Miffy2: it's never a woman doing this abuse

Check this video and you'll change your mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wer7tSSEy4

Where were the parents? What did the boy's mother do after he told her that the teacher hit him? The responsibility of the parents is NEVER, EVER discussed in Japan. It's either "monster parents" trying to earn a yen or two or parents who "work too much" and don't have the time to listen to their children. Every single time I hear of a student commiting suicide or some crime it's always as if they are orphans. The parents and their negligence is never discussed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The kid should have hit the coach in the head to toughen him up since obviously he beats on children to make himself feel good. I hope that criminal charges are levied on that piece of crap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, this is just sad, sad, sad; a waste! But the road to change is not for tomorrow. The craze for stardom in japanese sports seems to be what justifies such practices, sometimes with the knowledge of parents under the pretence that the practionners are doing something they like. On the other hand, it derives from traditions like having kids walk on hot coal with the believe that it makes them grow stronger and healthy...yet no one cries foal in these cases; traditions they call it! Well, the tradition is here to stay, because there are never bad traditions!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is blown out of proportion. Apologize? for what? suicide is an easy way out, face up to your problems some way and succeed. wimp

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

(it's never a woman doing this abuse

Is that a joke? Have you ever spent time with large groups of females? The bullying and pecking order is clearly laid out to anyone who cares to observe. Women don't often resort to physical violence but they are horrific with the mind games and ripping down others' self esteem. There has been more than a few cases of murder/suicide due ot the bullying from mothers here. I recall one Chinese women killing two or three kids a few years ago (Fukui was it?) because of bullying from other moms.

Pid, Japanese dads get ripped apart all the time. Japanese moms? Watch out! They are the scared cows of Japan. Why is beyond me though.

Fad, Hashimoto pointed this out. Usually teachers move every 5-7 years. Someone decided to keep this guy where he was because he was getting results for the basketball team. WHO did that needs to be unearthed but even then, so many meetings and the like that no one will take responsibility for it. This is how it works in Japan. Meetings so no one is the fall guy when clearly, someone is.

I hope this guy suffers from guilt for the rest of his life. Though I doubt he will. Why on earth he hasn't been fired for assaulting a student is beyond me. Forget the suicide, let's focus on the assault. No way was this kid the first one so why aren't others coming forward??

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Suicide is an easy way? Face up to your problems? Sounds like the same tough love mentality behind the militaristic browbeating that kids get. And also behind the neoliberal ethic since Koizumi and Takenaka that blames the weak, the poor for their own predicament--if you fail, it is your own fault. I work with the poor and see how their treatment mirrors that given to all the weak in Japanese society. No different from the Scrooge mentality where Dickens has him saying that it would be better if the poor died so as to decrease the surplus pollution. Not strictly a Japan disease, we can see it in other societies as well, where survival of the fittest distorted Darwin. These thugs who pose as educators are accepted by a society which has been conditioned partly by culture but mostly by neoliberal "philosophy" which infects every segment of society. Thus when a Kita Kyushu public official rejected a welfare recipient 's plea for public assistance and told him to keep searching (the same policy seen in Tokyo's Taito-ku treatment of the poor, where I worked), he gave up and starved to death. The lines between the tough love drill Sargent and the heartless welfare official are clear-you live or die by your own effort, and if you fail, your effort obviously wasn't sufficient. The public has short memories, and the slick talking Koizumi who advocated such policies which destroyed the social safety net was seen as a maverick, just like Hashimoto. But when it is your kid who is murdered by this mentality, maybe you begin to realize what a grand deception it was.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Corporal punishment is illegal in Japanese schools. It has been since the Meiji period, although it was very common before and during the war. If Japan is a nation of laws, the teacher should be arrested, just as if he had hit someone on the street or on a train. Violence against persons and property is illegal.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I despise basketball and a-hole coaches with no coaching expertise. If any of you are athletes and grew up around these types then you know how crappy this is. But, the thing is you're still alive. You didn't coward out of life. I find the whole thing repulsive.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Here's the thing: "Back in the day", kids were beat for any transgression. When they grew up, they said to themselves, "I was beat and I turned out fine, so it's probably the right way to do things." They repeat the process on the kids they deal with and the kids learn that that's the way you deal with others - beat on them if they don't do what you want.

So the kids think beatings are SUPPOSED to happen and instead of trying to end the beatings, the kids end themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The 'coach' needs to be locked up!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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