I am studying the reasons behind the recent rise in bullying in Japanese middle schools. When I was in Japan, I participated in a home stay program and I had a host sister who was in her third year of middle school. About two or three times per week, she would come home with stories of bullying incidents at her school. At first I was not so surprised to hear that bullying occurs in Japanese schools because it is also a problem in America. I was alarmed when the stories continued without any word of consequences or resolutions.

One evening during dinner, I asked my host family why the schools do not do anything to fix this problem. My host sister responded that the school authorities do not have the power to do anything about it. I found this to be an odd answer so I decided to do a bit of research on my own. What I found was shocking. Bullying in Japanese schools is actually a problem that is rooted deep in Japanese society. Starting with these social problems, I would like to analyze why bullying in Japanese middle schools has become such a problem.

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  • 30 October 1890: The Imperial Restrict on Education was issued, outlining post-shogunate goals for Japanese education including producing students who thought alike, acted alike, and had the same store of knowledge.
  • Late 1800s- 1945: According to the Imperial Restrict on Education, Japanese students were educated in a strict system focusing on rote memorization, uniformity, and reverence to the Emperor and the Empire of Japan.,
  • 1970s (post-war Japan): Students began to rebel against this education system by acting violently against fellow students, teachers, and school property.
  • 1980s- 1990s: Japanese students who had been educated abroad began to return to Japan and became targets for bullying by both students and teachers alike for being inherently “different,” because of their foreign views and behavioral patterns.
  • 1992-1996: The number of Ijime (bullying)-related arrests fluctuated at an alarming rate.
  • 1998: The National Diet took action calling for reforms that would end “mind-numbing” and competitive examinations that students were required to take.
  • November 2006: In the span of just 4 days, a string of 5 student suicides across Japan was reported; all cases were linked to bullying.
  • Present: Abuse has taken the form of “Cyber Bullying” in an attempt to bring the bullying outside of school jurisdiction and hide it from the authorities. Methods such as text messages and internet bulletin boards are used to ridicule, torment, and harass students and teachers.


“Sensei” a Mainichi Shimbun Editorial

Calls of complaint came on both Saturday and Sunday: “Students are smoking outside of my house.” As there were also reports of fireworks, people could not help but practice caution while wondering why their safety was in the hands of mere students. The vice-principal of the local middle school was beginning to become irritated.

Fukuoka Prefecture- middle school. The problems arose when in Spring 2007 a third-year male student transferred. Few sympathized with his situation. This is when the real trouble began.

After arriving to school late one morning, the student roamed the halls, kicking the walls and breaking glass.

“I’ll punch your face in, Ki-san!”

Upon hearing this, a teacher rushed to call the police who later arrested the student. Following the incident, the rest of the third years experienced a very hurried and sour graduation from middle school.

The Imperial Rescript on Education

  • Issued in 1890
  • 1890年に作られた教育ニ関スル勅語です。

Japanese Education Since 1945

  • A history of post-war Japanese education.
  • 戦後の日本の教育の歴史です。

Cyber Bullying

  • One of the recent methods that students are using to escape authorities.
  • 最近、警察を避けるために生徒たちはこのいじめ方法を使っています。

2007 Statistics on the Knowledge of Bullying Occurring Between Japanese Children

  • A site dedicated to making it known to the public just how serious bullying has become in Japan.
  • このサイトはいじめがこん何重い問題になってきたサイトです。

Entry contributed by Sarah Taylor

Japanese Professional Baseball


From the establishment of the Japanese Baseball league in 1934, baseball has always been popular.  Even now, sumo is the Japanese national game, but watching baseball is more popular.  Each team has its own zealous fanbase and special cheers, so to Japanese baseball fans, baseball is not just a hobby, but a way of life.  The Japanese watch baseball as a sort of vent of emotions, so they can run away from problems of everyday life.  But, since the bursting of the Bubble Economy, professional baseball has begun to have its share of problems.  From the criticism of Japanese baseball players leaving for America to the dissolution of the Kintetsu Buffaloes and the 2004 players strike, Japanese professional sports have also seen problems appear that stem from the bad economic period.

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  • 1872:  Introduction of baseball to Japan
  • 1908:  First baseball game played against Major League Teams
  • 1934:  Greater Japan Tokyo Baseball Club (present: Yomiuri Giants) established
  • 1935:  Osaka Baseball Club (present: Hanshin Tigers) established
  • 1936:  Japanese Baseball League Established
  • 1950:  Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Established
  • 1993:  Hideo Nomo’s departure to America
  • September 18, 2004:  NPB Player’s Strike
  • 2004:  Kintetsu Buffaloes dissolution


Kintetsu Buffaloes History

Website about the (storied) history of the Osaka-based Kintetsu Buffaloes

What is the Cause of the First Strike in the History of Japanese Professional Baseball?

Website outlining the cause and possible solutions to the Japanese Professional Baseball Strike

From the site:

Q: What is the cause of the Professional Baseball Players Association strike?

A: The cause of the strike was the reduction of teams from 12 to 11 due to the merger of Orix and Kintestsu.  In essence, the team reduction was similar to company-internal restructuring, cutting the number of players by 8%.

Q: Is the Japanese Professional Baseball Players Association a labor union?

A: Professional baseball players are individual entrepreneurs, as opposed to company employees, but the labor union is recognized by the Tokyo High Court.  The foremost major different between this and ordinary labor unions is that all members are contract employees.

The second is the huge disparity in pay; there is no salary regulation.  Union members range from making millions of yen (tens of thousands of dollars) where even next year’s pay isn’t guaranteed, to those with multiple year contracts making several hundred million yen (millions of dollars) per year.

Japan’s First-Ever Player Strike

Article regarding the 2004 Nippon Professional Baseball Players Strike

The Ichiro Paradox

Article about Japanese baseball and its relationship to America and Major League Baseball

Japanese Professional Baseball


1934年に日本野球連盟の設立から、野球はずっと人気があります。今でも、相撲は日本の国技ですが、野球観戦の方が、人気があります。それ ぞれの球団は、熱狂しているファンがいるし、特別な応援とかあるから、プロ野球のファンには、野球が趣味だけじゃなくて、生きる道みたいなことです。日本 人 は、ストレスのはけ口として、野球の観戦をしますから、日常の問題から逃げられます。でも、バブル景気が終わってから、プロ野球は、いろんな問題を抱え始めまし た。アメリカに野球をしに行く日本人の選手への批難から、2004年の近鉄バッファローズの解散とプロ野球の労働争議に、日本のプロスポーツも、不景気 による問題がたくさん出てきました。

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  • 1872年(明治5年):日本に野球の導入
  • 1908年(明治41年):初めのメージャー戦
  • 1934年(昭和9年):大日本東京野球倶楽部(現代の読売ジャイアンツ)の設立
  • 1935年(昭和10年):大阪野球倶楽部(現代の阪神タイガーズ)の設立
  • 1936年(昭和11年):日本野球連盟の設立
  • 1950年(昭和25年):プロ野球(NPB)の設立
  • 1993年(平成5年):野茂英雄のアメリカへの出発
  • 2004年(平成16年)9月18日:NPBの労働争議
  • 2004年(平成16年):近鉄バファローズの解散




日本プロ野球史上初のストの原因は?新規参入球団は? 「猿でもわかる選手会ストQ&A」







Japanese Baseball Players Strike For First Time


The Ichiro Paradox


Happy Science


Since the Sarin Gas Attacks in March 20th 1995, shinshinshuko (“New New Religions”) have become a taboo among contemporary Japanese society. The mere mentioning of this term can quickly end a conversation. However, the post-war phenomenon of New Religions has, if anything, been exacerbated in the post-bubble climate.

I’m particularly interested in the development of “Happy Science” (kofuku no kagakaku). Founded in 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, Happy Science promises spiritual healing to the alienated and disillusioned middle-class. Happy Science is a fast growing religious organization whose leader has outspokenly declared himself a reincarnation God, Buddha, Jesus Christ  (to name a few). What separates this shinshinshuko from Aum Shinrikyo or Soka Gakkai, is the conservative right wing element to their organization. With the establishment of the “Happiness Realization Party” (kofukujitsukendo) just in this past summer, the organization’s militaristic and nationalistic elements should not be overlooked. Furthermore, as a student of East Asian studies, I believe it’s important to understand the cultural significance of “Happy Science” instead of simply labeling it a taboo.

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  • 1860s: Bakumatsu period sees founding of Tenrikyo, Kurozumikyo, Oomoto
  • 1946: Emperor Showa (Hirohito) announces Ningen-sengen (Humanity Declaration), revealing that he is not living god, ending State Shinto.
  • 1956: Ryuho Okawa is born in Tokushima, Japan
  • 1981: Through Grand Enlightenment, “El Cantare” (the syncretic idol of various religious disciplines) reveals to Ryuho Okawa the religious mission of Kofuku no Kagaku.
  • 1984: Shoko Asahara forms Aum Shinrikyo in Japan.
  • 1986: Kofuku no Kagaku forms.
  • 1994: “Nostradamus’ Horrible Revelation” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 1995: Sarin Gas Attack in Japan by Shoko Asahara’s guidance.
  • 1997: “Hermes’ Love is like the Wind” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 2000: “The Laws of the Sun” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 2003: “The Golden Laws” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 2006: “The Laws of Eternity” releases in Japanese theaters.
  • 2008: Kofuku no Kagaku changes from a romanized name to “Happy Science” in Foreign Countries.
  • 2009: The Happiness Realization Party is founded with Ryuho Okawa as Prime Minister elect. There are 32 main temples (shojas or shoshinkans) and 200 local branches across the Japanese mainland.


From “the New Japanese National Constitution” by Ryuho Okawa, Leader and Founder of Happy Science and the Happiness Realization Party.


We the Japanese people—with the hearts of the gods and Buddhas, the aim of peace and prosperity on Earth in both Japan and the world, and with the sanctity as Nature’s, Buddha’s and God’s children as the foundation for humanity—hereby establish the New Japanese National Constitution.

Article III,

Under this administration, a National Referendum by the People will enforce the Presidential system. The President’s electoral process and term limitations shall be fixed by the law.

Article IV,

The President shall serve as the country’s sovereign leader as well as the Chief Executive of the Country’s National Defense. The President shall also have the political power to appoint and dismiss the Cabinet Minister.

Article V,

On behalf of the protection of our citizen’s right to life, security, and property, defense forces such as the Army, Navy, and Air Force shall be organized. Domestic order shall continue to be the responsibility of the police force.

Article VII,

In the event of a contradiction between the Executive and National Diet, the leader of the Supreme Court shall intermediate. If consensus cannot be reached within a fortnight, the President shall take precedence over matters.

Article X,

The opportunity to equality and liberty shall be extended to all citizens with respect to the Law.

“Happy Science” (Ryuho Okawa, IRH Press, 2009)

幸福の科学 公式ホームページ

Happy Science’s Homepage

“The Happiness Realization Party” (The Happiness Realization Party, 05/23/09)

The Happiness Realization Party

“Happy Science of Japan Establishes a New Political Party, the Happiness Realization Party” (Happy Science USA, 07/23/2009)

Their new party, the Happiness Realization Party.

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Entry contributed by Daniel Wolfe