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Hyogo school says it was unaware that suicide boy was victim of bullying

18 Comments

The parents of a boy who committed suicide earlier this month in Hyogo Prefecture have discovered that their son was being bullied by his classmates, despite the fact that school authorities reported that no bullying had taken place.

The news has reignited the national discussion over the detection and prevention of bullying in Japan's schools.

Bullying continues to feature heavily in Japanese headlines following the suicide of a 13-year-old high school boy in Shiga Prefecture in October 2011 and the subsequent creation of a bullying taskforce. However, Japanese media have reported on a series of incidents in which authorities were unaware of the bullying that was taking place in their schools, casting doubt on the government's ability to fully investigate the problem.

The latest such case is that of a 17-year-old high school student from Kawanishi, who committed suicide by hanging himself at his home on Sept 2, Sankei Shimbun reported. Following his death, the boy's school told his parents that there were no problems in his school life and that they were unaware of any bullying. The boy did not leave any written notes.

However, following his funeral, the boy's parents discovered a mourning letter written by a classmate and addressed to their son, which revealed that he had been bullied. The boy's parents contacted his school and were told that the school principal had also heard reports from other sources that the boy had been the victim of bullying.

Witnesses became aware of the bullying in the spring of 2012, the school said. Early indications are that the boy was called names and that dead insects were placed on his chair, Sankei reported. School authorities said they intend to conduct a survey of the boy's classmates in order to ascertain the scale of the problem.

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18 Comments
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The principal denied any bullying in September....witnesses were aware of bullying on the spring of 2012....when the parents contacted the school the school principal admitted hearing reports of bullying. WHEN? In the spring or after the funeral? Need answers.

Surveys may ascertain the scale of the problem but actions will speak louder than words.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I see it everyday. How do they Japanese teachers not see it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nobody is responsible. Nobody knows anything. It's always somebody else's fault. This is the land of lack of accountability.

How do they Japanese teachers not see it?

I saw an interesting hypnosis show once. They had a guy forget the number 3. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get to 5 without skipping 3. Later the hypnotist said that self hypnosis is the most common type. And it manifests when we completely "negatively hallucinate" things we don't want to see.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Get ready for the school to deny, deny deny, then admit, apologize, say they had no idea, then admit they knew completely but could do nothing, then admit the teachers did nothing, then the principal resigns to an amakaduri position at City Hall, and then they go on to figure out how they can best put a lid on the issue.

This society is rotten to the core.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

despite the fact that school authorities reported that no bullying had taken place.

Another young life is senselessly lost because Japan has created a culture where it is accepted, no, actually expected, for no one to actually be proactive and find out what is really going on. Better to just bury your head in the sand so the "Wa" is maintained. Afterall a life lost here or there is a small price to pay to allow everyone to keep the illusion of Japan being a peaceful and harmonious culture going. Appearances are more important than reality anyway -- right?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

100 a day.

What I heard the suicide rate in jpn is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well said 'herefornow'. If Japan doesn't take the first step maybe gaijin should? Well, we could try. Unfortunately I don't work as an ALT and when I try to discuss these issues with my adult students they refuse to comment or voice an opinion. Anyway, yes the blame will be passed around or swept under the rug until it has all blown over. So sad. Severe punishment might deter (some) bullies from bullying. It's such a shame Japanese people can't openly discuss social issues to resolve them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's ignorance and then there's burrying your head in the sand, which apparently is what a lot of school officials and teachers do in Japan. Perhaps identifying and dealing with bullying should be part of the curriculum for future teachers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a JHS ALT, I recently became aware of a girl who was being punched regularly by several boys. The girl and the boys were in 3rd grade and a couple of them were pretty big. The girl just smiled and took it, as she wanted to be 'one of the boys' or whatever, but it was blatant she was close to tears and the punched were hurting her. Concerned, I told the JTE. He's a nice guy actually, but he just said, 'Don't worry about it.' And that was that. It might have been seen as a game to the students, and the JTE. but to me it looked like bullying. I intervened the next time I saw it happen and asked the boys to stop, pointing out they were hurting her. I don't know whether it happened again, but I would imagine it did. Gaijin can get involved, yes, but remember we are NOT INSURED for any issues that may arise and we will be blamed should anything untoward happen. It's a sad fact that such issues are simply best left for the Japanese to deal with themselves, because no matter what, we are outsiders.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

this is just such a horrible thing - they HAD to know what was going on - we entrust our children to these people for 7-8 hours a day. they ARE responsible for what happens in their schools and if they have no idea what is going on WTH are they doing during the school day? it is time for this stuff to STOP, to come out into the open and for the schools to be proactive instead of hiding under it under the tamami for the sake of the schools reputation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"being bullied by his classmates"...bullying? i don't think this is something common in Japan! !!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are any number of ways bullying can take place without anyone but the parties involved being any the wiser--off school grounds, after hours, online, etc. But educators and parents should learn to recognize the signs of bullying in the everyday interactions of victim and perpetrator, and certainly schools need to get past this irresponsible "just kids being kids" attitude, especially in the upper grades as bullying goes from being focused on things like looks or parentage, to deeper issues like sexuality, disability, or personal beliefs. It's fine that bullying is being dragged into the open as a root cause of many of these youth suicides, but it's just as important to identify what's behind the bullying in the first place, something that's almost never mentioned here, and certainly not something that's ever tracked statistically.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bullying is present in all modern countries and sadly often in schools. Each of us can take steps to stop being a bully, it is not our place to point the finger at any one school or country, I am sure the school is thinking hard on how to improve. We can hope these tragic events will lead to healing and help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see it everyday. How do they Japanese teachers not see it?

Because what you see and what they see are two totally different things even though you are both looking at the same thing.

What you may consider bullying, in some cases, may not seem like it to the teacher.

Many of us gwaijin here in Japan are more conscious of our surroundings and the people as well. We literally are more awake and aware about what is going on than many Japanese people are. Most times it's pretty mundane, but there are other times when it's important to know the differences and point them out to the proper authorities when you encounter them. Just be careful how you do it. Dont be accusatory in your approach, but make your point known.

If you see it everyday and dont do anything about it then you are a part of the problem, as well as a part of the solution as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As usual, the parents are clueless. Stop blaming the schools for this when parents clearly don't have open communication with their kids. Pathetic. The whole system here is based on bullying and nothing will change until Japan. as a whole, gets rid of the kohai/sempai/older is senior thinking.

And yes, society is rotten to the core but why blame only the school and teachers Smith? PARENTS are the ones that are supposed to raise their kids and should notice differences. If this all started in the spring, teachers who haven't taught this kid before wouldn't see a difference in personality. Parents on the other hands if they bothered to pay attention to their child... probably would have. And how do kids become bullies? They watch their parents and other adults. This isn't the school's fault. They are always the scapegoat.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

tmarie it is not just the parents it is the whole culture, what if the kid just didn't tell anything, then the school should have informed the parents. it is the way of thinking that needs to be changed

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I 100% agree it is the culture - did you miss that in my post where I stated "it is the whole system here"?

What is the school didn't know anything? Teachers aren't mind readers and at 17, most kids don't hang out and chat abotu how they are being bullied. I 100% agree the way of thinking needs to be changed but to continuously blame schools and teachers isn't fair. When do the parents step up and admit they have a communication problem with their issue? Why did these parents find out AFTER that their kid was bullued?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

yes, i agree parents should know what is going on AS WELL, but those hours spent in school the students are entrusted into their care - same as in my country (and i was an elementary and junior high school teacher there and was a high school teacher here).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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