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Teen bullying victim who died in apparent suicide blames school in journal

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Soon after, the school recognized the bullying had been occuring and investigations by the board of education's third-party committee began in November 2017.

Right, kids have to try to kill themselves a few times before you accept that there MAY be a problem!

It may not be criminal negligence, but I for one would love to see these so-called educators and BOE career koumuin, who only get to their positions because they are circulated around the city office, and the head of the BOE is some old fart who paid his dues and really knows little about "education".

They should be held accountable along with the school!

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Although it seems the school/school board was inefficient in dealing with this, the boy seemed hellbent on killing himself.

He was taken out the harsh element, wasn't going to school and staying at home when he made his first attempt. For his third and final successful attempt at suicide, the boy was already five months out of JHS.

-17 ( +4 / -21 )

Shinnosuke Komatsuda, who died Sunday after falling from an apartment building in Kawaguchi

Falling indicates an accident. Jumping indicates a deliberate act.

"My son was betrayed by the school, abandoned by the educational board and harmed by the perpetrators,"

I'm sorry lady, but you must also shoulder some of the blame. If this kid was being bullied to the point of suicide he would have been severely depressed and distressed. What did you do about it? You are (were) his mother! Did you get him counselling? Did you try to get him into another school? Did you consider home schooling? "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

People can blame bullying all they want but young people these days are killing themselves over the most trivial of reasons. And it's not only in Japan, but around the world where even younger kids are killing themselves over a variety of reasons.

Sure bullying is serious but at what point are these people going to stand up for themselves? Bullies don't prey on the strong, they prey on the weak. If I cried to my daddy that I was being bullied, he would probably have screamed at me to fight fire with fire and be a man.

-24 ( +9 / -33 )

Reports show that bullying in Japan is being reported at record high numbers. It does not necessarily mean that bullying is increasing, just that more people are becoming aware of the problem and are trying to take action to stop it. Bullying permeates too much of society here, and not just among grammar school children either. The lessons they learn there, on both sides, carry over into their adult lives as well.

Yet just acknowledging that there is a problem means nothing, if no further action is taken, and continually sweeping it under the rug, until the next poor child dies, is not going to solve it either

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/26/national/social-issues/reports-school-bullying-japan-rise-record-high-education-ministry-survey-shows/#.XXbPYij7TIU

There was a story on NHK News at 9PM last night, about how teachers tried to correct problems with bullying in Elementary school, by having the two parties shake hands and make up. They exacerbated the problem by their actions, and then turned an eye to the problem and their good intentions inflamed the bullying and made it worse, as the roots of the problems were never addressed.

Yet the teachers, figured that the "handshake" was enough and considered the problem solved, because they "shook hands with each other", a sign of making up or friendship.

One victim, interviewed on camera behind a mosaic over her face, was diagnosed as having severe PTSD (Post Dramatic Stress Disorder), even as she has turned 20, she is unable to go out into society over her fears of reliving the sever bully she experienced. Her teachers did the "hand-shake" /kiss and make up with her as well, and then left her alone to face her bullies alone, for years afterwards, through ES, JHS, and HS

Teachers NEED to be better trained on how to identify and more importantly counsel and help BOTH the bullied and the bully!

Sadly it seems that far too many do not accept that they are part of the problem and solution as well.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Komatsuda handed letters to his homeroom teacher several times pleading for help in September 2016, but the school's lack of response apparently led to his first suicide attempt, investigators said.

While the school should have acted earlier. One thing that is difficult to do is stop bullying. When you have no one speaking up in favor of your defense, it become he said or she said against the bully. Furthermore, if it’s large scale bullying, it is hard to defend someone against that if they don’t have witnesses speaking in their favor. You can’t necessarily punish kids over hearsay.

@oldman13

Bullies don't prey on the strong, they prey on the weak.

That is not always the case. Especially for the form of bullying that occurs in Asia. Where bullying in the US tends to involve one individual or a small group of individuals. Bullying in Asia tends to involve large groups who don’t want to stick or be labeled as different. Also, bullying occurs here just because you are different.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Some people can’t fight back. If you are so unhappy at school just stay home and take the High school Diploma Equivalency Test (Dai-ken). You can apply for college entrance exams if you pass the test.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Due to the timing of things and past attempts and events, this is a very irregular case.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Record number of reports of bullying also does not mean, surprisingly, that it is becoming less of a problem, less severe or more contained. This is a story from one school only. How many schools Japan-wide have at least one unfulfilled child's life on their hands? How many rooftop fences were the last thing the abused, ignored children touched? Everyone has to take a step towards no-bullying society. If some are unable, than the less-corrupt majority is able to instate laws of both protection and sanction. In theory. In Japan? ...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

PTSD and severe depression takes its toll on the young. His anger must have been overwhelming, especially when he knew nothing was done to help him.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Well, the victim blaming came pretty fast in the comments !

I guess you can't really understand if you haven't been a victim of bullying yourself.

You can tell bullied kids all you want that they have to stand up for themselves or whatever : they can't. As said above, bullies prey on weaker people, those who can't retaliate. Plus, most of the time bullying is done in group. One weak kid against a group of stronger, meaner kids ? The victim loses. Period. And that's before adding the fact that the bullies may make their victim believe they are worthless and deserve it.

There are talk of moving to another school... But why should the victim have to go away ? Why should the victim be punished ? Shouldn't the bully be expelled if he can't treat other people well ?

Anyway, going away is not a solution nowadays as the bullying will continue on the internet.

And don't give me the "bullies often have problems at home" BS. It doesn't justify destroying another kids life.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Bullying in Japan is deeply rooted in its culture because of its vertical social structure. At the apex of this structure is the old male fart. Children are taught from an early age to respect their elders, their teachers, their older brother, their sempai, etc. Until the perpetrators and enablers are held criminally liable and a safety net established for the weak and powerless this will continue. And for a country that is dependent on its children for the future of its very existence, Japan is doing a horrible job in protecting them.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Wow, just wow! The amount of victim blaming here is shameful. It is great that some people can get over bullying and had that old stiff upper lip back in your day, but this kid was clearly let down by the system even after it was recognized that he was being bullied.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

I lost a friend to bullying which is why this topic hits close to home for me. That's a difficult place to be in for a kid, being bullied with nobody to run to for help. I don't want to blame the victim and said he should've fought back but he gave a letter to the teachers but they did nothing, why is that? Now, what should someone do in this case? Fight, Flight or Quit? If you run away, you're a coward, if you fight back, you'll get into trouble with the law. The teachers should have taken action or at least the government should make a bullying hotline, they have one for suicide, why not make one for bullying?

Take note that adults can be put into a situation like this. Agree with dbsaiya, a hierarchical structure is a perfect place to foster bullying. While it is unlikely to shake off this cultural value, what people can change is themselves. Stand up for yourself and for those who can't, you'll make enemies but that just meant you stood up for something. Don't live on your knees.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I think the system is incapable of dealing with the problem. You need to create a culture of peace through a broad conflict resolution program that includes things like peer mediation and other holistic activities. Part of the problem too, is that teachers work karoshi schedules. Right now, there's nothing to be done but accept hatred, fear and death - as long as institutions remain stubbornly and incompetently unwilling to look around and consider substantive changes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is so easy to blame the school and its system. Yet parents in Japan don't seem to understand or grasp that the school system is to educate and the parenting aspect is up to them. Working together parents and school system will be the best resolution going forward towards a solution. Bullying is a problem that will not go away regardless of how much education or training occurs. Sometimes people act in certain ways that to them it doesn't feel like bullying but rather expanding their own growth. To others it seems or take it as bullying. The best realization has to start with parents being parents and not bully the school system and let them work together towards resolution.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

This is appalling. The fact that the boy was finally successful in committing suicide (after three attempts!) after having graduated from the junior high school illustrates the long-term damage bullying can cause.

There may be be specific Japanese societal reasons for a bullying culture, but bullying is hardly limited to Japan. What Japan does seem to have is a culture more susceptible to seeing suicide as a way out of a problem.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

i love the people who think that bullying is a japan-only thing. and that it's so "deeply rooted" in this culture. no, bullying is an innate and natural human behavior. if you have kids, you see it all the time in their interactions . they oldeest will naturally want to control and dictate what their younger siblings do. and you could tell the oldest to stop it as much as you want, but he/she will still do it behind your back. so you can see how this type of behavior naturally would extend to their life at school.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

People can blame bullying all they want but young people these days are killing themselves over the most trivial of reasons.

Why do people assume that the reasons for the suicides are "trivial?" Just because they seem so to you does not mean they were to the victims.

I guess as you get older you forget what it is like to be an adolescent or teenager, and dismiss their reasons as trivial, Yet I will bet your parents said the same thing about people from YOUR generation as well! Not to mention you and everyone else is more aware of the situation because of news sites like this!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I think a lot of people blaming the victim and parents here have little understanding of what goes on in Japanese schools...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I guess you can't really understand if you haven't been a victim of bullying yourself.

@Bintaro

Statements like that are why changes fail to happen. With bullying and other things, assuming that others can’t understand because they haven’t been bullied. I’ve never been bullied, does that mean I have no emotions or feelings towards the situation? Does that mean I’m not equipped to stand up for people being bullied or speak out against it? Problems are inclusive of the society as a whole. Bullying affects those being and not being bullied. When you start excluding people, it makes it difficult to make changes or bring someone over to your cause.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I challenge anyone to show research that punishment is generally effective or that bullying stems from a lack of punishment and control. What is the behaviorist model? That children are a set of behaviors? It’s a failed and inhumane model. Children are human beings and instilling morals and ethics is a question of humanity, not a set of behaviors to be produced.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The article is brief and there seems to be a lot missing from the timeline. 9/2016 he tried to commit suicide the first time and he stayed home from school the following month where he tried to commit suicide again. He returned to school in 4/2017 and tried to commit suicide again soon after but remained at the school until 3/2018 and graduated? Or did he leave school but graduated anyways because Japan lets students even though they were absent most of the time?

I am not blaming the mother but if my children try to commit suicide due to problems with bullying, my child in no way shape or form is stepping foot on that God forsaken campus again. After the second attempt, I would have seeked outside help for my children. My children are my everything and suicide attempts are something major.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Bullying in the first place, is a cruel act that people do without even realizing that they are doing something so bad to someone physically or psychologically. I wonder how the educational boards in Japan are still overseeing this. I come from a state called Tamil Nadu in India where bullying or ragging is considered as a criminal offence and those involved in are penalized with imprisonment. School or College is a place where students go to learn and not to be bullied and die. In this case, although the boy seemed very curious about killing himself, the seed of his very thought to commit suicide was sowed because he was bullied and psychologically traumatized at school. The Government should take things seriously. Not every child that gets bullied has a strong heart to bear it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I think this survival of the fittest mentality promotes bullying. It is a wholely unnecessary concept in a modern society. Everyone has value, everyone is an ancestor reborn and everyone should be treated with kindness and respect. Not just the Royals or Parliament but everyone. Om Mani Padme Hung.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Bullying in the workplace i.e. Being made to work without pay, long hours, forced drinking parties after work. Bullying in Educational Facilities by students and non caring faculty is just as criminal. A bully and their followers thinking process is wrong and deserve imprisonment and psychiatric treatment.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Can't really think of any word besides scandalous to describe how this child was treated. Unbelievable.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

You have to take the kid's word for it that bullying did occur. After all, the third-party committee confirmed this. His journal confirms this, as, probably do the letters to the teacher.

At the same time, you also have to take the kid's word for it that he would never forgive anyone. It seems like one of those movies where someone holds a grudge, and kills themself to make the other party suffer.

So in the end, it seems possible that he may have initially attempted suicide as a reaction to the bullying, but eventually was able to succeed in killing himself in the name of spite.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

sourpussToday  12:39 pm JST

"Killing yourself in the name of spite."

Just when you think you've heard it all...

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This has been going on for decades, and nothing is being done about it. Lawsuits all around, for those who tormented him, the homeroom teacher, the assistant principal, the principal, the board of education, it's head, prefectural officials, up the chain.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One good way to stop getting bullied and have the school admin actually do something? Punch the bully in the mouth. Maybe you'll get beat up of the bully will but that'll get the attention of everyone: the teachers, principal and maybe even the BOE.

Yeah, you might get suspended or kicked out of school but why would you want to keep going to that one if they're not going to back you up? Plus, it might be the bully or bullies who get suspended or kicked out. The point is, it'll get stopped one way or another.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Just when you think you've heard it all

Just read what the article says.

Even in my second year (at the school), the bullying hasn't been resolved. I won't forgive the school and teachers

Sure sounds like he harbored some ill will there: spite, revenge or just plain malice. Not saying it wasn’t justified, just that it seemed to be a motivating factor since he included it in his suicide note. Rather than saying how humiliated he was or how depressed, he focused on going to his death without forgiving his oppressors’ enablers and making sure they knew about it by writing it in a suicide note. What else could it be, but spite? Sorry that isn’t touchy-feely enough for you, but sometimes reality just isn’t.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

The saddest thing is all that will come from this is a few more anti-bullying posters in the hallways.

Melissa Shimosato,

Your comment is (very sadly) true. 

As far as the schools, there is nothing they can really do to kids, they dont get left back a grade(because it would separate them from their peers), any other crimes their parents have to pay for. Kids are pretty much untouchable. If anyone knows anything I dont I'm all ears.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The root of the problem is education.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This happens far too often here -the BOE and teachers need to be held accountable!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Victim blaming?

Well? There is something very wrong if you think the correct response to name calling and being ignored is to jump off a high rise.

It isn’t!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Rest in power young blood. I hope you're in a better place!!! What a tragic loss.........

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Victim blaming?

Well? There is something very wrong if you think the correct response to name calling and being ignored is to jump off a high rise.

Yeah, because someone actually suggested such a ridiculous solution, right?

Um, but why I can't I see anyone making such a ridiculous solution in this thread? Whom exactly were you referring to having proposed such a ridiculous solution?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Very saddening to hear about this. I've been a victim of bullying myself, while those who I should have been able to trust and to turn to only proved to be of no help to me. I've been through suicidal depression as well, which is why I need to correct a few points that a few commenters have made in error.

Although it seems the school/school board was inefficient in dealing with this, the boy seemed hellbent on killing himself.

He was taken out the harsh element, wasn't going to school and staying at home when he made his first attempt.

Being taken away from the source of the suffering does nothing without the right after care. Even with counselling and support as well though, that's not always going to work, especially in a case like this where the victim was betrayed by the school. No matter how safe and happy his environment could have become, that kind of betrayal would hang over him for years. He would remember it whether he wanted to or not, being haunted by it in nightmares and moments of anxiety. The school should have recognised that bullying was taking place right away, and they should have acted right away. They should never have allowed the victim to reach a state of feeling betrayed. When that happens, it takes hold like a venom, one that isn't easy to cure. Also, saying that he was "hell bent" is not entirely accurate. As someone who has tried and failed suicide twice, I can tell you that failing suicide can make you more determined to try again, in a twisted way. You become angry with yourself for failing, angry that you're validating the insults that bullies hurl at you, so you determine to prove them wrong. Logic does not apply in suicidal depression. It is only if you survive that hell that you realise how illogical you were being at the time. Not many ever survive it, though.

I'm sorry lady, but you must also shoulder some of the blame. If this kid was being bullied to the point of suicide he would have been severely depressed and distressed. What did you do about it? You are (were) his mother! Did you get him counselling? Did you try to get him into another school? Did you consider home schooling?

There is only so much a parent can do, especially if the child won't let the parent(s) help. People in depression are very good at putting on a brave face to avoid showing their pain. A common trait you'll find in cases of people committing suicide after suffering depression, is that the friends and even the family were unaware that the victim was ever depressed. In some cases this is due to ignorance, in others it's simply because the victim was too convincing an actor. It's not as though the victims don't want help, it's that their desire to hide their pain overrides the desire for help. As I said earlier: Logic does not apply. Blaming the mother in this case, at least with the very little information we have, is not just jumping the gun, but also not helpful at all.

People can blame bullying all they want but young people these days are killing themselves over the most trivial of reasons. And it's not only in Japan, but around the world where even younger kids are killing themselves over a variety of reasons.

Sure bullying is serious but at what point are these people going to stand up for themselves? Bullies don't prey on the strong, they prey on the weak. If I cried to my daddy that I was being bullied, he would probably have screamed at me to fight fire with fire and be a man.

You might want to look up the definition of "Perspective". What may seem trivial TO YOU is seen as anything but in suicidal people. I will say it again: Logic does not apply. That attitude does not help, however. To trivialise a person's anguish only exacerbates things. The comment about learning to stand up for oneself is even less helpful. Standing up to one person is one thing. Standing up to a dozen, or a hundred, is entirely different. Especially when you don't know who to stand up to. Bullies are cowards. Not all of them get up in your face. Most will whisper behind your back, spreading rumours and turning uninvolved people against you. That's not something you can simply stand up to. Confront the wrong people and you'll alienate yourself. Even if you confront the right people, what will that do when there's a gang of them? It's a good way to get yourself beaten black and blue. In situations like this, talking to the teachers is the only solution, and yet in this case even that failed to yield positive results.

I can only hope that the educational board learns from this, but since this isn't a unique case I suppose I'm hoping for something a little unrealistic.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is exactly why I left Japan before my son turned school age. I have no confidence that Japanese school know how to address bullying. I do not think it’s even viewed as a problem. Teachers and school administrators hold the belief that students will simply work out the issues themselves.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why does someone who is bullied like me have to suffer so much?"

Because that's japanese culture. The one that goes unnoticed. Victim blaming. Goodbye young man.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Victim blaming?

Well? There is something very wrong if you think the correct response to name calling and being ignored is to jump off a high rise.

Yeah, because someone actually suggested such a ridiculous solution, right?

Um, but why I can't I see anyone making such a ridiculous solution in this thread? Whom exactly were you referring to having proposed such a ridiculous solution?

strangerland.... No one suggested such a solution, the kid made his own choice.

A very bad one..Killing yourself is usually a very poor solution to most problems.

Now his parents, relatives, teachers and friends, if he had any, have to suffer due to his stupidity.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

All of us have encountered bullying - period. Regrettably this adolescent noticed it, was subjected to it, pleaded with authorities about it - what he thought was the best course of action - just to find disappointment and despairs.  Again, here its reaction instead of anticipation. RIP young soul - Amen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People can blame bullying all they want but young people these days are killing themselves over the most trivial of reasons.

It may be trivial to others but only those who commit suicide know how much it hurts.

Sure bullying is serious but at what point are these people going to stand up for themselves? Bullies don't prey on the strong, they prey on the weak. If I cried to my daddy that I was being bullied, he would probably have screamed at me to fight fire with fire and be a man.

He sounds like a bully to me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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