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Yamanashi high school soccer club members assault younger students in shower

40 Comments

Seven third-year high school students have been accused of assaulting younger students at a Yamanashi high school, media reported Thursday.

The high school, which is affiliated with Yamanashi Gakuin University, is known for the achievements of its high school soccer team. However, the soccer club was embroiled in a bullying scandal this week, when it was revealed that seven third-year students allegedly assaulted and injured junior club members, Fuji TV reported.

According to reports, the youths punched and poured hot water on second year students in the club's dormitory bathroom. School officials said no criminal charges have been filed yet.

During questioning, the youths reportedly claimed they were "just having fun," a school official said.

The school has ordered the students to remain home until further notice and said it would ensure they were given guidance to understand that what they did was wrong, Fuji reported.

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40 Comments
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Japanese version of hazing! Happens often in HS athletics and rarely comes to light. These guys should get punishment in kind!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The school has ordered the students to remain home until further notice and said it would ensure they were given guidance to understand that what they did was wrong, Fuji reported.

Oh and just who are they going to find to give these guys guidance? Oh I get it, they will be counselled on how not to get caught next time!

Idiots, bullying permeates society here and these guys should have been educated about this at a much younger age.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It is crap like this that makes me worry about my sons entering athletics in Japan. I know that there is some form of hazing in pretty much all extracurricular activities, and especially so in sports. This, however, is going way too far. I agree with you Yubaru: punishment in kind.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

If those seven aren't ban from soccer then the school should be.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

School officials said no criminal charges have been filed yet.

I hope they are promptly. These boys are an absolute disgrace, and the fact they say they were "Just having fun" is insane - what are they - like 16 or 17?!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The very last sentence is absolute bovine excrement!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"First-grade high school student commits suicide after being bullied by senior sports club members"....in 3...2...1....

1 ( +4 / -3 )

First off, hats off to the first grade students for reporting this, and to the school authorities for taking it seriously and taking some action. This is a real step in the right direction. Too often the students are silent and the school authorities are unwilling to take action.

Second, I bet if they dig a little they'll find out that the senior sports members suffered exactly the same sort of hazing when they were juniors, and thought it was okay, normal, and even their duty. I'm not excusing their behavior, merely pointing out that the action taken thus far is important. By clearly signalling that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated the school has broken the tradition and clarified its position, and this will not longer be normal or routine. In effect they've weeded out those doing this out of some misguided sense of tradition and they can deal with any future incidents with far greater force since those students will KNOW what they did was wrong from the outset.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Isn't this fairly common in all male sporting environments? All over the world? Maybe not malicious bullying but a bit of elders and betters giving juniors a hard time?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

i don't know. this just seems like harmless hazing to me. if this happened throughout the season then that would be a concern, but this is the just the start of the school year. i just think we're being to PC about everything nowadays.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

AKBfan, I got a scholarship to play Division 1 sports in the US, and never, ever heard of this in my sport, nor in any other sports at my university.

Glad those boys could stand up for themselves. They shouldn't have had to be in that position in the first place, but bullying really is rampant in this society isn't it? I fear for my kids when they enter JHS/HS, too.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

i don't know. this just seems like harmless hazing to me. if this happened throughout the season then that would be a concern, but this is the just the start of the school year. i just think we're being to PC about everything nowadays.

Rickyvee, Hazing is NEVER harmless. It is straight out bullying, and its attitudes like yours (and the team players and the coaches) which end up with kids killing themselves, as we see all too regularly on the news here.

"Its just a bit of fun" is almost never fun for the victim.

When you have kids, who come home crying because some bigger kids assaulted and humiliated them while (assumingly) naked in the shower, then you will change your mind.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

News? Really? C'mon! A bunch of sport kids dishing out a bit to and fro in the change rooms? Gees!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I still can't believe that in japan it is considered manly and kakkoiii to attack in groups. look at all the dramas: baseball groups, high school, yakuza... all in groups! Bunch of COWARDS

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yeah picture is not that nice. Reminds me of the time I was kid and being afraid to play after school hours in the school yard. Bigger kids will come, take our ball and humiliate us - some times phisically.

Now my kid is in JHS team and I can feel first hand the way clubs are dealt here. It's a soldier-like organization. Everyone has to obey and do same things. For example the whole club goes to the matches and they have to stand up all of the time - with the travel to the venue more than 9 hours on legs. Most of the kids not playing and training a little in the half time... And this is imposed by the school coaches - mild form of bullying or way to "break" the spirit and make marionettes?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have been bullied in the showers at school. I can't remember whether I cried or reported it but I know it did not make international news headlines.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

"The school has ordered the students to remain home until further notice and said it would ensure they were given guidance to understand that what they did was wrong..."

Easy to do: reformatory. The usual 'please understand' and 'you're damaging the family reputation' and finger wagging doesn't work anymore.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Doesn't sound like bullying. Initiation has its ups and downs, and it sounds like the media is blowing this one up to be a bigger story than it truly is. The true crime is making these kids play soccer.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I

have been bullied in the showers at school. I can't remember whether I cried or reported it but I know it did not make international news headlines.

TimTak - Are you saying the victims should suffer their assaults in silence?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Doesn't sound like bullying.

jforce - so you wouldn't mind if your son or daughter was scalded in an initiation?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It's just the sempai/kohai thing. Don't let it worry you.

It happens in the UK too: it's called 'boarding school'.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It is crap like this that makes me worry about my sons entering athletics in Japan

Do tell about the country you come from and how athletics are completely safe.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

DudeDeuce: "Do tell about the country you come from and how athletics are completely safe."

I can tell you for a fact that a scalding or other radical hazing or abuse would result in criminal charges, expulsion, and lawsuits in my country, and that is just for starters. The school would probably be sued as well for 'allowing' it to happen. Why do you defend the apathy here? This wouldn't even be an issue at all if not for all the bullying-related suicides going on (which schools at first deny, then admit and apologize, etc.).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Pretty hard for kids here ot realise that the kohai/sempai relationship is based on bullying and needs to stop. I am sure these kids had the same things done to them when they were the kohai so saw nothing wrong with continuing on the tradition. THIS is why bullying is so rampant here. Everyone gets abused when they are the kohai and then turns aroound and does the same when they become the sempai. It's disgusting and needs to stop.

And yes to whomever said they worry about putting their kids into sports here. I'm an adult and I refuse to join any clubs here because of this type of behaviour. I won't put up with being treated as less than an equal. Shame the locals don't feel the same way.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Aren't third graders around 8 or 9 years old? Does the article mean third year students?

Moderator: Yes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

TimTak My sympathies. also, I know we all love JT but not sure I would classify a story on here as "international news headlines"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

For those asking these kids ages, they'd be around 17 or 18 if they're in the last year of high school, well within the age to know the difference between right and wrong.

For those saying "this is just normal hazing" or "it's not that big of a deal", you obviously can't read as the article states junior club members have received injuries from these assaults (which, BTW, is counterproductive to a sports team) or you just don't have any form of compassion or sense of justice. This is wrong through and through.

From DudeDuce:

Do tell about the country you come from and how athletics are completely safe.

As always, I agree with @smithinjapan. If this had happened in America, these young men would have been arrested at the least, definitely expelled from their high profile school, and the school would have most likely suffered a whole host of punishments, the least of which is preventing their "well-known" soccer team from competing, maybe for multiple years.

Lastly, I agree with everyone else's pessimistic statements about the last sentence in the article. Nothing with be done other than covering it up and saving face for the school. My heart and prayers to those that were bullied in this situation. Here's hoping that more brave young men like these can step forward and break the cycle that is rampant in Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Pouring hot water is going too far, but I remember my classmates ganging up on a guy one year younger, giving him "swirlies" and "wedgies." At the time I thought it was funny, but I suppose it can be considered bullying.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

i don't know. this just seems like harmless hazing to me. if this happened throughout the season then that would be a concern, but this is the just the start of the school year. i just think we're being to PC about everything nowadays.

So you are a supporter, or at least tolerant, of hazing? Please tell us what is the point of this behaviour?

If one of my kids was on the receiving end of hazing the perpetrators, and maybe their parents, would be answering to me personally.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Teenage kids often lack a moral compass and rely on their instincts. Through a long history of evolution bullying has also evolved as self replicating force in the gene pool. But so have respect and caring for others. Someone or some force at the top has to show the kids the right way. The best way is to get the kids to discuss it themselves in class, allow the students including the bullies the chance to say it is stupid behavior. Shame and repent is better than just punishment. That requires some pretty good teachers though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Easy to do: reformatory. The usual 'please understand' and 'you're damaging the family reputation' and finger wagging doesn't work anymore.

I'll agree that "Please understand" or "reputation" or "shame" doesn't work anymore and I don't want to defend apathy. But an official reformatory would seem excessive. This overly legalistic approach may be a cause of the high crime rate in America.

What you might want to consider is that this isn't being bad in the same way as for example volunteering as a street thug or petty criminal, something clearly out of societal norm. We are talking about someone who would probably agree that pouring hot water on a random person is a bad idea but may do so on a in-club kohai as an "initiation" because this is statistically acceptable and even expected (in effect, developing a localized moral blind spot).

In fact, it is possible even simple guidance would be sufficient, at least for some of them, though I understand the concern of "Did you do anything at all?" But in any case to give them the same punishment as a street thug is excessive, and putting them in with such thugs may turn an otherwise decent individual with a correctable blind spot (moral blind spots are hardly unknown in history) into a criminal proper. It is too optimistic and simplistic to think better too heavy than too light.

IMHO the coach, obviously, has to go. His views are probably too deep set and in any case an example has to be made. The sempai I'm more ambiguous. It'll depend on the details, but given the limited information available, my idea of an "optimal" solution (workable over a large range of possibilities) will involve the Seniors being permanently banned from the sport with recommendation (the not really voluntary sort) for transfer. The latter is less because they really deserve it than as a precautionary measure against cheap retaliation.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kazuaki: "I'll agree that "Please understand" or "reputation" or "shame" doesn't work anymore and I don't want to defend apathy. But an official reformatory would seem excessive. This overly legalistic approach may be a cause of the high crime rate in America."

While I appreciate the tone of your comment, we're going to have to agree to disagree, and I'm afraid it will be at the expense of kids in this kind of situation if it simply let go as it has been here. How many times last year did we read about rapes, abuse, bullying, etc. allowed to go on due to negligence? What does it take for people to enforce the law and get serious about stopping said abuse? I'm not American, by the way, but the laws I mentioned that should be and would be followed in my country seem pretty common-place to me. What 'guidance' do you suggest for these kids who poured scalding water on another? I still remember vividly when I came here the better part of two decades ago seeing a big kid pounding on a small one inside a school grounds and I entered to break it up. I remember as well then seeing the vice-principal of the school making BOTH of them apologize to each other and shake hands, despite the bully AGAIN hitting the kid when he said 'summahen' and bloodying his nose. More shocked yet the kid hit was then scolded by the VP for getting involved in being beaten while the bully was 'warned' at let go.

The prevailing attitude here is still to turn a blind eye, and once again the only reason this is getting ANY attention is because of the high number of suicides that are the direct result of said attitude. So, some posters say this does not deserve the attention of being a headline.... will it take the kid committing suicide after he cannot cope anymore?

Yeah, the coach needs to go for letting it go, but the school needs a good upper-cut for letting it go as well. That's not bullying, it's the truth.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

if this is their idea of fun then they are sick! they deserve a good punishment for doing this to their juniors. bullying needs to be handled more strongly in schools!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

time to stim up and torture the bullies. god...bullies do talk differently once their limbs get broken.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"they were "just having fun"

Let's see if they still think it's fun after being punched and having hot water poured on them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ah the old "It happens in other countries too" argument.

a) that desnt make it ok and b) UK boarding schools? Maybe in the "old" days but these days if it happens it is dealt with, swiftly. Usually with suspension and/or expulsion. Certainly not with "guidance".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@rickyvee,

i don't know. this just seems like harmless hazing to me. if this happened throughout the season then that would be a concern, but this is the just the start of the school year. i just think we're being to PC about everything nowadays.

"Harmless hazing"? Tell that to the parents of Robert Champion. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/02/13-charged-in-hazing-death-famu-band-member/ You CAN'T tell it to Robert because he is dead. Yeah, a single punch is usually relatively "harmless", but when 7 people are pummeling you, the damage gets serious very quickly. The article says these kids were injured, so it most definitely was NOT "harmless".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is news actually. I read an article on bullying in Japanese schools in an international newspaper quite recently. Apart from the general interest of the issue itself, it also connects to the status of Japan's olympic bid.

One thing to note about this school is that it is private, and not public. Private schools generallly have become more proactive on issues of this kind recently, and there is an obvious financial incentive to do so. Amongst many reasons parents have for choosing private education is the fear of bullying at their local school, particularly if the nearest one to where they live has an unsavoiury reputation. The last thing private schools want at this time of declining population and increasing competition from other private schools is a reputation for being worse for this sort of thing than state schools.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't know other countries but in USA, these students are arrested to go to juvenile jails if they are under 18, or jail if they are in adult age. Then lengthy court appearance. If victim suicide, charged as invorountally manslaughter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wouldn’t say it is harmless "hazing" or whatever...initiation, pranks...What these boys did could have caused serious injury. But let’s face it, they are only young. Why have them arrested and charged and gain a criminal record for being immature idiots. Harsh penalty, definitely, but criminal records...come on guys. Let’s stop acting like a lynch mob and remember we all make mistakes and deserve a second chance. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be punished, but just not for the rest of their lives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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