QUOTE (chiuchimu @ Nov 8 2010, 11:01 PM)
Bullying is a problem in Japan. It is called Ijimeru. Living the vast majority of my adult life in the states, I don't fully understand it myself.
Ijimeru is not like bullying in the U.S., In Japan, it is everyone(the entire class or neighborhood) picking on one person like a wolf pack picks on the omega member. In a way, by picking on this one person unifies the class. No one dares to be friends with the targeted kid, or else become a target himself. This existed since before my grandmothers days and probably much longer than that. Although halves and foreigners could become the target of bullying, the vast majority are Japanese kids -we are talking like a million to one so it's not a race driven thing.
Who gets targeted? Poor kids, weak kids, socially inept kids. Lets say a rich, handsome, smart, popular and expert fighter will not ever be targeted. Also, bullying happens only during school years elementary to High School. I've never heard of Bullying cases in college
I don't know what causes it. I think it's a social/cultural failure. Japan is a very group oriented society. Also, people are expected to play their roll in society. Not only in terms of position like the 'teacher', the policeman' but also as characters like the 'handsome guy', the 'nerd'. the 'fat girl' etc.. Also, another part of this is social ordering, a non formal cast system, like in India. The guy at the top can pick on any one below him, the guys below him can pick on lower guys until the guy at the bottom who has no one to pick on - the sh!t rolls downhill principle. Combine this with kids desire to be bad sometimes and I think bullying is the result. Kids are imitating society in a way so that they can be bad and release tension and anger. Yet, Japanese society ingrains these kids to work together and be harmonies. So what appears to be happening is these kids are harmoniously working together to pick on one targeted kid. they are sacrificing one innocent classmate for the stability and harmony of the rest.
The bullying never stops on its own. They keep picking on him until he/she transfers, quit school or kill themselves.
It is unfortunate that this girl who was half Filipino /Japanese got targeted. But the truth is, Bullying is a wide spread problem in Japan that mostly happens to Japanese people and not halves or foreigners. No one in my country knows how to solve this problem. Everyone recognizes it is wrong. Even the kids doing the bulling know its wrong. Yet, year after year in every school in Japan, bullying is occurring.
QUOTE (chiuchimu @ Nov 14 2010, 09:39 PM)
First, I must stress. Bullying is a Nationwide problem and affects mostly Japanese students. I'm not saying Japan has no racism, it does of course. I am saying it's no different than anywhere else. In particular, I have never heard of any special problems between Filipinos and Japanese. I'd say the relations between Filipinos in Japan and the Japanese are as harmonies as they can realistically be. In fact, many very popular stars in Japan are Half Filipinos like AKB48's Akimotot Sayaka or Hayami Mokomichi. That just doesn't happen if there are any degree of resentment going on.
OK, back on topic.
Lies. The school and homeroom teachers all knew what was going on. This going to the house to apologies is simply damage control. They knew and did nothing about it.
One reason why bullying doesn't get handled by the schools is the powerful retaliation that the kids can fire back. The kids will plot to take down any teacher or school staff that tries to interfere. Example, suppose I was a teacher and I told a bunch of kids to stop bullying this kid or I will take action against them. By the end of the day, the principle would call me to his office to discuss a complaint filed against me. Several parents would have called saying their daughters have told them I have been sexually inappropriate with them. Every student in the class would confirm these allegations. Even the bullied kid will stand with the class in fear of even worst action for betrayal. The parents and community will be in an uproar, bringing up the subject of bullying now would look like a cheap way to escape. The school staff in fear would stop any actions against the bullies. I lose my job. Furthermore, no one would ever hire me as a teacher again with a sex scandal rumor. the bullying goes on unaffected.
Examples like this is why schools don't get involved or try to ignore whats going on. they don't want the situation to backfire or blow up in their face.
I enjoy reading your posts. It's like sitting in my sociology class. A long time ago I watched this television series called GTO. It was a live action series, it had it's lame scenes but also very emotionally potent drama. Apparently it was the most watched TV series in Japanese history, that's how I initially stumbled upon it. But after reading what you've written, I can totally understand the success behind the drama series.
Also, after watching that you tube documentary, I can totally understand why a kid would blow their brains out. Not saying I'd actually do it myself or endorse it.
Speaking from a North American POV, I believe there are 3 critical underlying problems.
1. Japanese culture teaches the idea that stability & harmony is the greatest common good.
(In North American culture, if a citizen see something not right or a crime is happening, they would "call him out on it" make it public. Take a look at this video G20 Summit in Toronto
. However, in Japan like the saying goes, you see but don't see. They are shush shush "ignorant" to the situation cause no one wants to cause a ruckus.)
2. The Japanese cultural aversion to risk and more importantly, they are afraid to lose.
(They are afraid to lose in more ways than one, they are afraid to lose face, reputation, a job, lose out on opportunities to get into a better school. Where as in NA it is culturally accepted that it is better to take the chance or risk than living with a regret or asking "WHAT IF".)
3. Japanese aren't taught to cherish the value of life at a young age nor the finality of death.
("It's 9:45 in the evening these kids are in night school" As english teacher pointed out "only study by the desk, and don't teach other things in LIFE
". Needless to say NA kids are educated plently about life outside of school)
The Japanese education system in it's entirety is the problem, but it is also the solution.
If you really want to get technical look up Emile Durkheim's Theory of Suicide. He created this thing called the suicide U-Curve. On one end suicide rates are high if you have a culture that is too Egoistic, but it is also high on the other end if the culture is too Altruistic. Japan sort of falls down that line. I scoured the net for the image but to no avail.
Google it yourself.