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Police suspect girl who jumped to her death in front of train was being bullied

19 Comments

Police believe a girl in the second year of junior high school who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train in Fujisaki, Aomori Prefecture, may have been bullied at school.

According to police and school authorities, the incident occurred just after 10 a.m. on Aug 25 at Kita-tokiwa Station on the JR Ou Main Line in Fujisaki. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the girl jump off the platform in front of an approaching train, Fuji TV reported.

According to school representatives, the girl attended the opening ceremony for the beginning of the new academic term on the day before and had sat in all her classes for the rest of the day.

Classmates, however, were quoted by police as saying that the girl had been bullied since her first year at the junior high school and was kept away from other groups in her class.

The girl was scheduled to take part in a dance competition in Tokyo at the end of August, a friend who had exchanged messages with her days before her death, told the media.

School representatives were quoted by police as saying that at this stage they cannot make a statement on whether the girl had been bullied or not, but they are conducting an internal investigation.

Police are also questioning the girl’s family over any recently reported problems that may have led her to ending her life.

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19 Comments
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Why should she sit separate if others are bullying her? Shouldn't the bully be the one sitting separate or being expelled for assault? As an adult if I harassed someone everyday I would be arrested eventually. These high schoolers should be taken out of regular school and sent to a reform school if their bullying persisted.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Kids who have communication or socialising difficulties are often separated and excluded from events

So the person that needs help gets segregated from those who cause the problems.

Once again poor translation is causing havoc with comprehension, and no wonder. The girl was not separated or segregated by the school. The classmate who police quoted actually said, あの子、結構いじめられていて。1年生の時からです。仲間外れにされたりしていました

(She was bullied a lot, ever since the first year. She used to be shunned.)

http://www.fnn-news.com/news/headlines/articles/CONN00334589.html

Nakama hazure (exclusion from the group, sending to Coventry) is a common bullying tactic; the victim is simply ignored. No one is actually doing anything to the victim, no violence, no punch-ups, no bruises or bleeding, no torn clothes or broken possessions, so it's easy for the school to claim that 'nothing happened'. Not nice for the victim, though.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This is a huge problem in Japanese schools. Kids who have communication or socialising difficulties are often separated and excluded from events. Unfortunately, there is not much else the schools can do under the current structure. I've worked in private high schools for over a decade and many students with learning and social disabilities end up in private schools due to bullying from public schools, especially in junior high. The school I work in at present has six or seven special needs students. The advantage of private high schools is they are much more strict than the public schools, which lessens the amount of bullying on the kids, but this is not to say it doesn't happen. Kids get bullied all over the world and when I was a kid (some 35 odd years ago) we used to deal with it with a playground punch up and you'd all be friends again in the afternoon. It's saddening and disappointing to see that so many kids in Japan feel the answer to their problems is jumping in front of a train.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Internal investigation? Fat lot of good that will do when teachers, admin staff and students turn a blind eye to bullying.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That poor girl...oh...I feel so bad. I really am sorry to her family and friends. Hopefully, she's in a better place. Though it's still so sad to see this happening a lot in Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So the person that needs help gets segregated from those who cause the problems. So short term problem solving makes it ok, when the problem still exists? How about getting rid of those problem causing students altogether? Never mind all those speech made from the principal on stage and moral education lessons, if teachers notice bullying they must act on it immediately. How many more young lives need to be affected!

The only thing Japan learns from bullying is that it needs to learn from bullying.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"attended the opening ceremony for the beginning of the new academic year "

The school year starts in April. She attended the ceremony for the beginning of the term.

Local news us saying she was not only shunned, but also verbally abused by classmates.

This suicide made national news, probably because it involved a train (although fortunately not causing any injuries to passengers). On the 19th, a junior high student in another Aomori Prefecture town killed himself at home. He left behind a note saying if he hadn't been bullied he would have continued to live. He also named at least one classmate that he says bullied him. His mother had consulted his teacher about his being bullied a couple months ago but the school investigation hadn't confirmed any problem.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How about teaching kids from a young age that what other people, who you don't particularly care for, think of you means nothing in the overall scheme of things!

Oh wait, that would undermine the whole Japanese social mind control thing. Sorry, I'll try to think of something else.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nakama hazure (exclusion from the group, sending to Coventry) is a common bullying tactic; the victim is simply ignored.

That happened to a girl I knew in high school. I only went to that school for a year, and someone introduced me to her at lunch one time - she was sitting by herself in a separate area from everyone else. I asked her why, and she said everyone hated her. I hadn't noticed it before, but after that I noticed that almost no one ever talked to her.

I'm still friends with her to this day, but I remember feeling so bad for her at the time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

News 23 just featured these two cases and the fact that suicides among school children peak at exactly this time, end of summer vacation and beginning of the fall term.

Kudos to you, Strangerland, for befriending the shunned girl. It's wonderful that years later you are still friends.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ thepersoniamnowAug. 29, 2016 - 04:46PM JST

Why should she sit separate if others are bullying her? Shouldn't the bully be the one sitting separate or being expelled for assault? As an adult if I harassed someone everyday I would be arrested eventually. These high schoolers should be taken out of regular school and sent to a reform school if their bullying persisted.

I totally agree but this is japan bullying is sadly part of the culture.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This isn't just a Japanese problem every country has their bullies. My son was bullied on the bus home from school, (punched in the face and poked in the eye) and he's only in the first grade! I immediately contacted the school authorities and made it clear to the boy if he every touched my son ever again he would have to deal with me and I would press charges for assault. They heard that loud and clear! This poor child did not get the protection she desparately needed! Parents need to stop trying to pacify others and authority figures and let the bully know that they will be held acountable for their actions. Most bullies think they are getting away with it and need to be put in check. They need to be taught how to respect others. Only a coward preys on the weaker because they can not stand up to an equal. It's so sad no one cared enough to stand up for her. Every one needs to stop talking about what others should do and act if they see such injustices occurring around them!

My friends and I were bullied in school ( Japanese school) in my youth by older boys we fought back and won. The principal tried to make us apologize and we refused saying we did nothing wrong .( defended ourselves being in 3rd and 4th grade girls and the bullies were 5th grade boys) We won the respect of everyone and months later were asked to translate the principals welcome speech to the new English teacher in front of front of the entire school. Everyone is so afraid of standing up for others for fear of being judged. Every one will judge you either way, it's time to put a stop to bullying!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Several posters seem to assume that 'bullying' is restricted to violence against the victim. What happened here was the opposite; she was ignored by her classmates, excluded from the group, treated as if she didn't exist. There is no suggestion that anyone hit her or did anything that she could put right by 'standing up' to her tormentors. CCTV would show nothing, just a girl not joining in with the activities of her classmates. Classmates not doing anything, not talking to her, not looking at her, certainly not hitting her or even acknowledging her presence. Just a girl sitting alone.

It's pretty easy to discipline a child who is being physically abusive to another child. Assault is an action that can be addressed and dealt with. The child herself can fight back, as Ellebelle describes. But how do you discipline a child who is literally 'doing nothing'? It's difficult to ascertain even that anything is happening; to adults, it merely seems that the victim is a 'loner'. You can't force kids to 'be friends'.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is a huge problem in Japanese schools.

It is a problem in schools worldwide.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Teachers often are involved in the bullying in Japan. More often they just allow it.

When I was in school in the States, children were never left unattended, teachers stayed in the classrooms. They did retreat into the teacher's office. Their desk was in their classroom. Not so here where teachers have their desks in the teachers office and the students are left to their own devices for considerable amounts of time.

Small wonder faculty and staff know little of what goes on.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why should she sit separate if others are bullying her?

I think, what they mean is that she was left to sit by herself, not that they told her to go sit away from the others.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Strangerland

You might have saved her life.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Install CCTV cameras in all classrooms, corridors, libraries, auditoriums, playgrounds, etc in all Japanese schools nd make them available 24-hours online to parents, guardians, teachers, etc. Japanese sense of honour hates nothing more than being shamed. It may NOT be the perfect solution, but there's none anyway.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Though it's still so sad to see this happening a lot in Japan.

Such incidents get reported. Whether the frequency is greater than other countries is open to question. Aomori is a long way from Tokyo but an incident like this is national news.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

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