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Japan on suicide watch as children go back to school

20 Comments
By Karyn NISHIMURA-POUPEE

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Maybe if the kids didn't have tons of summer "vacation" homework they'd be a lot happier and relaxed.

Try creating a school year and bukatsu system that's more humane. Then we might see a drop in suicides.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Yeah... facing the prospect of continued bullying until March is just not something these poor kids should have to live with. Japan... and other countries need to strongly start to portray bullies in anime, TV and Movies, as the kids with the real problems.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Yeah, too much pressure.

I quite like the "just go to the zoo" idea. The typical Japanese response to every problem is "ganbarimasho", but that's the last thing you should be saying to someone who is stressed, depressed or has suicidal tendencies.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

They should be more concerned about fixing the school system that causes so much stress. It's more like going back to prison than school.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

"Japan on suicide watch as children go back to school"

What a sad headline! Rather than having a "suicide watch", why not change the system to give children a real summer break? There will always be children with issues but the pressure put on school kids in Japan is unnecessarily overwhelming!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Japan on suicide watch as children go back to school

Japan...

...watches them bully each other

...watches them fall into crushing depression

...watches them jump in front of trains

...watches them hang themselves

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Apparently a negative image towards Japanese education and society amongst the younger generation. Sad title indeed!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yes, Japan has the highest overall suicide rate among G7 countries, but the writer fails to say that Japan is 38th in the world for suicide by young people.

Countries like New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Norway, Canada and the US have higher rates.

Let's tell the complete story and not jump to conclusions from a headline designed to incite emotional responses.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Horrible article to read about!

Both my kids 12 and 14 were happy to go back to school. My daughter 14 loves her junior high school and my son has many friends that he is happy to see. Obviously my wife and I have helped to create kids with positive outlooks on life. Talking to my students makes me sad as most kids and adults only complain about things.

I don't get it, they have too much crap to complain about and when I give them a positive outlook they complain back. I tell them you can complain all you want but I will only start talking to you when you talk positive and they pep up, its funny! But here in Japan everyone condones negativity, I don't as for everything you think is bad, there is a good in it as well, it sounds stupid and corny but its true!

I talk to my students and the 3 top reason why they don't like going back to school is;

On the first day back they have to take test! Yaaaaaaa thats awesome!!

They have to sit through a long boring ceremony as they teachers give boring speeches. WoooHooooo I love you teachers!

They are rushed to finish their summer homework which everyone seems to cram into the last 3 days. Oh ya, learning about old dudes a long time ago who took control and stole peoples money with taxes is fun!!! Yaaaaaaaa

But I don't think any of these are true facts to the point that someone must take their own life.

Im sorry but the there are a lot of things that can change for the students here to possible bring on more joyous outlook from day to day.

I don't agree with the whole summer homework thing but beings as thats what it is we deal with it easily by letting the kids our kids do an hour day. It sucks but there are some fun things about doing science together and painting pictures together.

I have no idea if the first day of school brings this on, but suicide for me a big issue with deep moral roots that have gone wrong. I personally don't kill any bugs, it scares me thinking what if that was me being smashed, so for someone to have the COURAGE to take their own life... that means a lot!!! What has truly happened for things to come to this point? That is an individual problem for each person.

For many reasons I feel deeply, the whole school system here in Japan needs to erase all that they know start over taking some very critical key points from countries with happy kids running around. Is that possible? Who knows as most people here are too hard headed to even open their minds to new ideas, even kids not just adults!!

I have to admit living in Japan is very tough overall, there is too many mind games going on with laws, rules and standards set by everyone and everything!

BUT, lay back and have fun, learn to stay foolish and enjoy the moment while living in the moment!! These are things only a few people get here but the most just don't get it!! Life is good, love is good, cherish both!

Im glad I have the ability to let kids enjoy class and learn to love the simple things in life, I wish I had more time with all of my students to teach them better qualities of living and appreciating of how good life is. If you open your eyes and see that what you have NOW! This is as good as it gets right in front of you, so enjoy it! Laugh about it, and take it for nothing serious as its just a test, its just a person saying stupid things or its just something you have to do, so just simple do it and have fun! The most important opinions in life are you own and living for yourself to better yourself is a very important quality of living!!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Countries like New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Norway, Canada and the US have higher rates"

Not true! Here is a list from 2016,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@Nicholas Poetker

And to complicate matters further, Ireland's teen suicide rate is 4th highest in the EU.

http://www.thejournal.ie/unicef-suicide-report-3450547-Jun2017/

Anyway, it's not a competition. Kids, wherever they are, are subject to so many anxieties. Pressure to do well in exams and bullying being the main ones.

Bullying has to be tackled and there needs to be more awareness of the problem. Simply saying "man up" is of no help.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

BUT, lay back and have fun, learn to stay foolish and enjoy the moment while living in the moment!! These are things only a few people get here but the most just don't get it!! Life is good, love is good, cherish both!

Nicholas Poetker - lovely sentiments that sound like you are in the motivational speech racket. Only one thing, you haven't given any concrete solutions to the problem of teen suicide other than to "Turn the frown upside down"

Whats your solution to those with substance abuse problems? "Just say No"?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Let's read better. I said suicide by young people. Search again.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Let's tell the complete story and not jump to conclusions from a headline designed to incite emotional responses. the complete story is while Japan may have a slightly lower suicide rate among the young in the G7 it has the highest overall rate in all age groups, meaning that the rate of suicides increase as you get older in Japan, while in the G7 it decreases. Which shows that as people get older their experience helps them cope with life pressures, but in Japan it actually increases, I wonder what could be causing that!?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What a sad state of affairs all around. Japan seems more intent on just hoping things will go away, yet again, and depending on volunteers to man phones or places where kids -- and I mean small children -- are so stressed out they have gray hair at 13 and think the only way out is death. There are SO many things schools and the government could do to lessen the stresses of school for most, if not all, but they just won't. Even bullying, a universal problem but one that leads to far more suicides here, and even INVOLVES staff in the bullying, could be dealt with a LOT better.

Change the school year to start from September, and eliminate homework and club activities in the summer.

Why they should: It would be a TRUE holiday, and kids could relax and let off steam in community groups, at part-time (full-time in summer) jobs, or just relaxing. When they go back after the holiday, it is to the start of a new school year, with different teachers (maybe), classmates, etc. This change would also make overseas exchanges and investment easier.

Why they wont: Parents need the free babysitting of every day clubs and school activities. Also, Japan is scared silly of change, and when given good reason why they should, just get defensive and insist it's some kind of attack on their ideals. School is a microcosm of the world to come. What kind of life-long zangyo-sabisu slave laborors would they be if they had too much free time, and did not have to go in even on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays? Most kids I know who are in sports clubs don't even know what the word "holiday" means, and if asked about their plans just say, "club" or "homework". It's a training ground for the company to come.

introduce a no-tolerance system for bullying -- mental or physical -- that suspends students who engage in bullying, and expells them permanently for repeated offences. Any teacher found to have engaged in bullying, especially leading to suicide, should be jailed immediately, and needless to say those who know about it and ignore with the same end result be fired and stripped of licensing, and possibly jailed. BOE members or anyone else, for that matter, too. I am sick of the "we can't kick someone out of school! Education is a right!" until you point out that the "rights" of that one bully causes the "right to live" for others to go out the window, or even if it isn't to the point of suicide, bullies are allowed to disrupt classes, cause fights, and cause severe angst and depression in other students. Some of this would be alleviated through an ACTUAL discipline system.

I could go on, but it would take forever.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Let's read better. I said suicide by young people. Search again. cherry picking the statistics doesn't show the complete story, which is Japan has the highest suicide rate of all G7 members, across their entire populations. stating that Japans young has lower suicides than the others is like saying, I did well in the first 20% of the exam but failed the rest.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The story is about child suicides, not all suicides. The test analogy is ridiculous.

Cherry picking is only considering G7 countries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Conflict Resolution, Peer Mediation, Resorative Justice: comprehensive peace-building. I won't hold my breath for these bureaucrats. Zero-tolerence is legal-speak for "produce statistics showing something is being done." It's about the society and its institutions. That's the change. It holdimg my breath.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From what I read, the reason for such a high number of suicides is due to bullying, mainly. So make bullying a crime with a hefty fine that should be paid by the bullies' parents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You know there's something completely wrong with your education system if you need to go on suicide watch when it's back to school time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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