Original Ijime Article (please click for full-size)

Ijime

Japanese

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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Timeline

  • 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.

Linkography

“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

Post Bubble Culture

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Japan’s Post-Bubble culture is characterized by an inherent confusion within society.  There is an apparent gender gap between pre-war and post-war Japanese, and thus there is a widespread misunderstanding not only internationally, but nationally as well as to what constitutes “Japanese” culture.

Immediately following World War II, Japan was literally bombarded with ideas of culture, government, and society from the west while trying to maintain their own Japanese ideals and values that had been the cornerstone of society since the beginning of time.  This led to chaos and confusion among Japanese citizens and thus the only aspect of their lives that they could count on to lead to positive success in their lives was business and prosperity.  The Japanese economy responded in kind and experienced a rapid growth spike unlike anything ever seen on the international scale.  Japan thus became one of the most competent competitors in the international market… until the collapse of the economy in 1990.  a.k.a. the burst bubble.  People who had been focused on business and prosperity alone found themselves desolate and searching for meaning.  Many turned to religious cults and other forms of spiritual inspiration to pull themselves out of this conglomerate societal and cultural depression.

Some Japanese, however, decided to turn back the clock and focus on the more “traditional” aspects of Japanese society, but decided to incorporate them into modern society.  Takeda Souun, acclaimed calligrapher, has done just that by drawing Japan’s younger generation into the spirituality of expressing oneself through the art of shodo, or Japanese calligraphy.  He often does performance art with thousands of people watching because he firmly believes that the method and movements behind the art are just as important as the art itself.  In regards to post bubble culture, I have chosen this animation of Takeda’s work that depicts the character “seed.”  By using this image, I believe that Japan as a whole has begun to look towards to and recognize the values that are inherently “Japanese.”  They are thus planting the seeds of traditions and ideals of the past to grow into the future, and that is what makes up this Post-Bubble culture.

年表:いじめ

English Japanese

  • 明治2310月30日:幕末後の教育目的として、教育ニ関スル勅という政策が作られ、日本の生徒たちが全部同じ教育をもらうのが始まった。
  • 明治の初め~昭和20年:教育ニ関スル勅によって、日本の天皇と日本帝国を中心して、日本の生徒たちが厳しい制度で、棒暗記して、皆は同じの状態であろうとフォーカスした。
  • 昭和45年代:この教育制度に対して、生徒たちは激しい形で、ものすごく批判を始めた。
  • 昭和55年代~平成2年代:外国で教育された日本の生徒たちが日本へ帰って行くのを始めた。外国的な意見と経験があった日本人生徒たちは他の生徒たちや先生にいじめられた。
  • 平成4年~平成8年:いじめに関して逮捕が非常に増加していった。
  • 平成10年:日本の国会が色々な必要な無意味な試験を止める改革を作った。
  • 平成18年11月:4日間で5つのいじめに関して自殺のケースが記事された。
  • 今日:警察や学校の先生を避けるために、テキストやサイトを使っている生徒たちが「サイバーいじめ」という方法を使えるようになってきた。

Taylor, Sarah

Linkography

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。

Sarah’s Video Introduction

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Ijime, a Timeline

English Japanese

  • 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.

サラ・テイラー

English | Japanese

Sarah in her kimono

ウィリアム・アンド・メアリー大学の四年 生のサラ・テイラーです。専門はアジア研究、特に日本語です。大学の三年生の時、日本の慶応義塾大学で留学して、茅ヶ崎市に住みました。茅ヶ崎?湘南とい う海のところの中心のことですよ。やっぱり、10年を超えて水泳をやったので、茅ヶ崎の人気があるボディ・ボードするのを初めて、アメリカでも続いたいと 思います。

大学 から卒業してから、日本へ戻りたくて、もっと日本語の勉強をして、日本の中学で就職したいと思います。その時まで、友達とナミというチンチラと遊んだり、 旅行したり、よく読んだり、料理を作ったりすることの形で大学の最後の年を楽しんでいます。よろしくおねがいします!