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Student hangs himself in Hokkaido; note hints at being bullied

35 Comments

The Yubari Board of Education announced Monday that a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at home on Sunday, and said that bullying may have played a part in the death. Officials are currently interviewing fellow students to get more details.

Yuukichi Fujimoto, principal of the school, said at a press conference on Monday evening that the boy's body was found by his mother at around 11 p.m., hanging from a rope that was tied to the guard rail on the top of a bunk bed. A handwritten letter was found in the room saying "I often thought people laughed at me to show that they hated me."

The boy was reportedly a cheerful student who was active in both his studies and after school activities.

Fujimoto said of the tragedy, "This is really heartbreaking for all of us, and we're putting our utmost effort into understanding the details behind it."

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The boy was reportedly a cheerful student who was active in both his studies and after school activities.

They say that about every student.

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Two things have to happen......crack down and begin a zero tolerance on bullying beginning today...not tomorrow, not next week, not the beginning of 2010, and secondly people have to grow a backbone to shrug off the bullying and get on with their life. If the bullying doesn't stop....FOR CRYING OUT LOUD stand up for yourself and do something about it if others wont. Dont think that ending your life will solve the problems.

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If the bullying doesn't stop....FOR CRYING OUT LOUD stand up for yourself and do something about it

Unfortunately, this is terribly unrealistic.

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FOR CRYING OUT LOUD stand up for yourself and do something about it if others wont. Dont think that ending your life will solve the problems.

If it was that easy, there wouldn't be bullying at all. Suicide is never the answer, but honestly, this type of thing is hard to fight. And sometimes standing up for yourself makes it even worse.

It breaks my heart that kids like this don't know what to do when faced with problems like this. No one, ESPECIALLY a child, should ever feel that alone in the world that taking their own life is the only option left.

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They say that about every student.

Youre right! Ive noticed this too!

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If he was getting bullied that bad at school and did not feel he had an open dialogue at home, where could he have gone? poor guy. maybe foreign English teachers should go on an anti bullying crusade in the schools.

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“I often thought people laughed at me to show that they hated me.”

Hey, it's only in your mind!

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ratpack has hit the nail on the head. Bullying should be stamped out with no mercy shown. If you are a parent, you should stand up for your kids and not take any crxp about this issue. Going in too hard is better than having to cut your kid down after they have hung themselves.

My elder son used to get hassled at school here in Japan by some of his less intelligent classmates (including one kid who has built up a rather impressive rap-sheet by the age of 14). After convincing my wife that it was time to sort this out once and for all, she finally consented to me marching up to the school and raising hell.

First, I sorted out the teacher who was supposed to be in charge. I told him to stop trying to be the kids' friend, and start being their leader. The look on his face was amazing. It was as if I had just reinvented the wheel.

Next, I went around to the other kid's home and talked to the father. Apparently dad has the reputation of being a bit of a hood. He actually tried to threaten me before I enlightened him about my previous profession. I also gave junior an ear-full and told him all bets were off.

Anyway, the outcome of this little exercise was that I received numerous phone calls from other parents whose kids were victims of this little punk. I also got an invite from the school to give a lesson on ethics (dotoku in Japanese).

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I read somewhere that over 70percent of reported bullying happens in junior high school. Maybe it's because kids reached puberty and they start to have to look after themselves=most fragile period. Someone should really look into why over 70% bullying occur in junior high and really do something about it

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Timorborder

He actually tried to threaten me

oh really by what did he try to call the authority?

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Although there are many virtues, this is the really sad side of Japanese group centered society.

A child is locked into his pier group from birth. If a nasty nick name sticks at a young age or they are kept outside of the group, this will dog a child through school and even life. Even the most subtle pier neglect ostracizes a child from social acceptance and weighs heavy on their identity and self respect. This is why there are so many hikikomori kids and/or childhood suicides.

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Bullying goes on in all countries. I am now urinal shy because of it. I also had a tie stained by mustard because some clown shoved my hot dog in my face. I also had the pleasure of having a teacher nick name me spider, and a cruel teacher calling me and two others out of the shower in Junior High and whipping our butts with a meter stick for no reason at all. I stood up against them all and gained respect, but most kids cannot do that. I was probably a giver also when I think back to it, but it was not to outsiders, just people within my own group of friends. Kids need better protection from other kids and cruel teachers.

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I was bullied,nearly strangled with my tie and this continued for 5 years until I finally fought back and gave the bigger guy enough of a hiding that he never tried it again.I bumped into him years later and he apologised to me.These kids need to go to Billy's boot camp and man up.

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I agree with Timorborder and ratpack - zero tolerance. Bullying should just not ever be acceptable in any shape or form, and teachers that support it either overtly or covertly should also be brought to task. Enough is enough. Some kids can fight back but not all of them, and they need to be protected, first and foremost by their parents.

What a shame so many parents here just don`t seem to consider it part of their role.

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Couple of Quick Comments:

What a shame so many parents here just don`t seem to consider it part of their role.

This is another good point. Despite my son being in junior high school, I still make every attempt to take an active role in his life as his father. On the other hand, there seem to be a large number of parents who renounce their parental responsibilities and rights, and leave everything up to the teacher. As such, if a child gets caught shoplifting, it is often the case that the child's homeroom teacher is contacted by the police before the parents. This is crazy. Why should teachers be involved in acts of criminal behavior that occur outside the school? Schools are for the purpose of education, not for the purpose of childminding. Moreover, incidents like this story highlight the fact that schools cannot be trusted to safeguard the welfare of children in place of good parenting, despite the fact that teachers have a legal duty of care to prevent any acts of criminal behavior that occur inside a school.

oh really by what did he try to call the authority?

Not quite sakura. I am good mates with a number of local police. I sometimes do judo training with them when they want to beat up a white guy (lol). The gentleman in question approached me waving a wrench (used to change the tires on his dump truck). Apparently he has tried the same trick with other people as well (a bit of intimidation). He realized the error of his ways when I offered to give him a free reading of his horoscope.

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if parents gave a darn, especially fathers, who are too busy working and too tired to have any sort of relationship with their children, this kind of crap wouldnt happen. My father taught me the only way to get rid of a bully is to fight even if it means losing. This way the bully would rather go after an easier target. Perhaps we all need some sort of pep talk, even if it means being viloent here and there. I am not saying this is the ONLY way to solve such a problem. It is just ONE way. There are more peaceful and effective ways as well. All I am saying is that at least I got some advice!! Fathers, do your jobs AT HOME!!

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Yelnats. I bet you were a giver :)

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body was found by his mother ----- Ugh,,,, can everyone even imagine finding your own child's cold body? terrible.

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The violence and bullying in Japanese schools seems out of control. Schools and government seriously need to address this: I'd recommend suspending kids who are found to be bullying or making serious threats against other kids. I don't think kids are taught here to respect people being "individual" - if you are not an exact clone of what is considered "normal", your life will be misery. RIP to this poor kid. Let's hope the Japanese can change this "bullying" aspect to their culture.

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20,001. One more suicide that could have been prevented and so devastatingly sad when it's just a kid.

Kirakira: I totally, agree.

Parents need to be more involved in their children's lives and keep the lines of communication open. Well, it can't be easy raising a teenager but it seems like timorborder has the right idea! Be there for your kids. Help them to have self-confidence and self-respect. Teach them to stand up for themselves.

Of course, teachers have to do what they can to stop bullying too. I've been in junior high schools in Japan so I know what they are like. Many classes had 30-35 students so it was hard for some teachers to connect with all of the students. However, I think, in general, there needs to be more discipline in schools and there needs to be consequences for kids who bully.

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Sad story, but it appears that in spite of what his note may have said, no one hated him as much as he hated himself.

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understanding the details behind it.”

I'll tell you exactly what was behind it. Kid had fears, pain, anxiety, emotional trauma, and NOBODY he could turn to (teachers, PARENTS) who would do anything other than say "Ganbare!"

If this kid could talk to his mom and dad about his problems, this wouldn't have happened.

I can understand lonely, ALONE, people that kill themselves, but a kid in a good should NEVER feel alone.

Sounds cold, but SHAME ON THE PARENTS. It's your job to take care of your kids, not just hand them over to the machine called Japanese society and hope they turn out ok.

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bamboohat , i couldn't agree more!

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If the bullying doesn't stop....FOR CRYING OUT LOUD stand up for yourself and do something about it

Unfortunately, this is terribly unrealistic.

What's unrealistic about bringing an older cousin, or a baseball bat for that matter, to the playground? If not physically solved, then surely someone at school would have helped if they were properly informed. Every problem has a solution. Unfortunately these kids are not being taught how to solve problems.

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@naruhodo1

I totally agree with what you said!

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Going in too hard is better than having to cut your kid down after they have hung themselves.

The mere fact that you are in their corner will make all the difference in the world.

I'm a high school teacher and I embarrass the hell out of the bullies. I figure if they hang themselves, nobody's gonna miss them.

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“I often thought people laughed at me to show that they hated me.”

Same happens to me, people bully me and i feel sad, but this is life... He should have asked for help firends, relatives, counselors etc. Suicide is the worst choice for anybody.

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It is too bad. Bullying also happens in North America, at least when I was in high school and teachers used to ignore them until the Columbine instance. I used to be bullied by others when I was in school. Since I was in an all boy school, so we played really rough. After a while, I learned one thing, preemptive strike. After that, they stopped.

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it is sad but maybe he wasn't really bullying? it didn't go further laughing. if people find you jerk, it's sad for you, but they have right for their own point of view. the boy was too cheerful, it wouldn't last long. but he decided to stay as he was, already forever.

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I agree with just about every comment I've read on this story, which might be a first for me!

There is NO excuse for Japanese parents ceding the responsibility for their child's welfare to a school or a teacher. Teachers have dozens of students that rotate year to year, but parents will only have ONE little Billy, or Amy, or Yuki, or Ken. It is the PARENTS who are responsible for making sure their child grows into a productive, confident member of society, not the schools. The schools teach the math, the history, the grammar; they teach the kids to be good students. But it should be the PARENTS who teach the children how to be good people.

Everybody's busy and time is always at a premium, but just making the effort and letting your child know you're SINCERE in caring about his or her welfare will do immeasurable good. It's one thing to offer lip service and a jovial, "Ganbarre!" and quite another to actually LISTEN to your child's problems, offer support, advice, and reassurance, and actually take action when necessary. Admitting to fear, sadness, worry, or depression is SO hard, and even the most secure, self-confident person in the world can have trouble asking for help when they need it. But a child should know that they can ALWAYS go to their father, mother, brother, sister, grandparent, uncle, whoever, and get the love, support, and help they need, no strings attached. I'm not saying this unconditional love wasn't available to this boy, but if it was, he didn't know how to use it. If someone had asked him, "Son, how was school today?" maybe this wouldn't have happened. We'll never know, and I can't begin to understand the pain and trauma his mother must have felt when she found him. It just breaks my heart.

While we're talking about reforming family attitudes, let's not forget the parents of bullies as well! For every bully who is made into a bully by a bad family situation and/or role model (timorborder, that sounds like a contributing factor in your case with that thug father!), there is another bully who is the product of coddling parents who let their little darling get away with blue bloody murder without a lick of proper discipline, expecting the schools to take care of it for them. That's failing your child, and failing every other child your bullying son or daughter will pick on until someone finally takes the little brat to task. Parents are just that -- parents. You aren't there to feed your child's ego. You are not your child's best friend. You have a responsibility to teach them right from wrong, and that means making them own up for their bad behavior, not indulging them. Just as parents should listen to their children and support them through difficult times, they should also observe their children's behavior and correct it when necessary.

Please note I'm talking about DISCIPLINE, not abuse. Too often people make the mistake of believing the two are synonymous, and nothing could be further from the truth. Discipline is the correction of negative and/or anti-social behavior through punitive measures that are reasonable in relation to the offense. This means that if your child throws a tantrum because he or she doesn't want to eat peas for dinner, you send the child to bed without dinner, or you don't let them have dessert. You do NOT give them a black eye and a split lip. Any reasonable person should know the difference, and if you DON'T know the difference then you shouldn't be allowed to have or keep your children.

Poor child. RIP, ototo-kun.

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mnenosyne23: You've summed it up very well.

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dolphingirl..You read all that. I thought it was heading towards a dissertation; too wordy.

Bottom line, this kid is one more that slips past the radar of society. No one he felt he could turn to. Masking his pain with smiles and joining activities when he clearly was not happy. I'm not really sure there is a 100% fix for this.

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Suicide is too common in Japan these days.

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Lots of good points raised here! I definitely agree that parents should make it a point to be there for their kids to talk to, but unfortunately most parents don't have that kind of relationship with their children. Sometimes you really do just have to step in as a parent and put your foot down! Of course, ideally, we'd like situations to be resolved as peacefully as possible, but sometimes the bullying party involved doesn't make it that easy, and children sometimes have to physically defend themselves as well.

My children are the victims of bullying, and I always make it a point to tell them to stick up for themselves, because if they don't the bullying will continue, possibly even progress. There's "supposed" to be a tough no-bullying policy at the school. One of my sons told me a kid in his class pushed him at school, even spit water and then food at him. I told him to report it to his teacher (because that's proper protocol, right?). He said he did, but nothing was really done about it. I then told my son that if that kid pushes you again, push his a** back! He said the teacher told him that if he did, he'd be suspended or expelled even. I feel like this, that if a kid can give a lick, he can sure as hell take one! I told my son not to allow anyone to put his hands on him, and in the event he gets in trouble for defending himself, not to worry about being in any trouble with me because I have nooo problem in letting the school or the parents of the bully know where I stand! Damn that!

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When I was in Junior High, there were between six and ten people who bulied me every day for an entire school year, and most of the bullies were girls. Is it possible to survive being bullied when seemingly nobody will listen to you when you report it? Well, I did. This bullying actually went on from my 8th grade year until my sophomore year of high school. Did I think of suicide? MANY times. However, there were people around me who encouraged me, prayed for me, and helped. My Dad suggested that I pray for those who were bullying m,e. Now, I know what a lot of the people on Japan Today think about God, prayer, and anything Christian or Religious, but I will tell you that praying for these six-to-ten people every day for three years worked. Today, 2o years after we all graduated high school together, all ten of them are friends. Yes, there is help waiting for anyone who is being bullied. All you hafta' do is ask, and He'll be there. Yes, I did take my frustrations out in other ways, and other avenues, such as weight lifting, football, and biking, but the key was praying for those bullies. Doubt what I'm saying? I DARE anyone to try it....

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