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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bullying in Japan

This morning, I was watching a YouTube video of Asian Boss, a channel that talks about any kind of topic in Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, and even North Korea (not inside the country itself, but North Koreans that got out of the country). Their recent video talks about bullying in Japan.

Before they interviewed the people, there was a news report that happened in late April. In Sendai, a junior high student committed suicide by jumping off an apartment building near his house. Monday, after the incident, the parents and the teachers just informed there were five cases of bullying.

In the parent-teacher conference, the teacher informed the parent that bullies wrote "shine ('die' in Japanese)" on the student's desk with a marker. Another incident was that the boy broken his wrist when a classmate tripped him.

During the interview, the people told their stories on how they were bullied. One girl explained that she was shunned by her peers, and people wrote mean comments about her on a piece of paper. A guy told the story that him and her sister was bullied since they lived near Fukushima during the nuclear disaster in 2011. There was even a man that told his story that his sister committed suicide when she was bullied.

When the students saw the person getting bullied, they rather ignored the situation because it's bad to bother other people. Plus, the interviewee told that Japanese people are having a hard time expressing their real feelings. They would rather resigned their feelings than expressing them. The students are more worried about them getting bullied if they say something.

In spite of the sad stories, the interviewee explained many ways to cope with bullying inside of school. Such as, doing something that you are good/passionate about, telling someone that you're close to, try ways of building your self-confidence, etc.

The one thing that gets me the most is that the elderly man explained how in Japanese society that you have to toughen up and get over it. It's more of the same thing in America. When it comes to bullying, society teaches us to just suck it up. It's not doing anyone good. It means that the bullied kid had to suffer more up to the point that he's cornered and suicide is the only answer to getting out of the situation.

I been realized that bullying is one of the main challenges in Japanese schools and society because a lot of people gotten hurt from it and they won't do anything about it until an incident happened that made an impact to a family and the whole school. It's the same thing in America. No one would know what's going on until something happened to the bullied kid (such as him/her committing suicide), then it would be anti-bullying for a couple of days, and it would go back to daily lives. That's completely unacceptable.

I was really touched by the video not only because the interviewees talked about their incidents of bullying, but I felt the same exact way with Japanese kids that are being bullied. For people that does not know, I was bullied A LOT when I was in school. I was bullied almost every year in elementary, middle, and high school. Kids told me that I was mentally challenged, girls would never like me, even God hates you, I wish you kill yourself, the world will be better without you, etc.

At the time, I occasionally broke down crying inside and outside of school. Almost no one helped me out or reached out to me when I got bullied. Society told me that I have to suck it up or confront them, even if it means that I have to physically fight them. However, I didn't. I couldn't fight back nor told anyone because I was scared that it might backfire and it'll make the situation worse for me. So, I had to suck it up and wait until the next school year comes along, and I won't see them again. Overall, like the bullied kids in Japan, I felt so hopeless and weak.

I still remember those comments and incidents to this day, but rather than taking it negatively, I took it as a lesson and a challenge for me. I should become more vocal about the bullying, confront the people that hurt me or other people, and to take it completely serious. I am always OK with a lot of things and I do take it as a laughing matter, yet, there are things (such as bullying) that I don't take lightly.

My advice: 

For the person that is being bullied, suicide is never the answer to any problem whatsoever. If you are being bullied, tell someone that you know and is close to you about what's going on. Tell an adult (teacher, parent, coach, etc.) about it too. Or, you can confront them. There are loads of times that bullies will become weak when they are being confronted. I am not saying fight the bullies and bash their skulls off. Fighting does not workout for anything. 

For people seeing a person being bullied, please don't take this lightly at all. I cannot stress that enough. Even though it's a classmate or schoolmate that you don't know personally, at least help him/her out. They'll be grateful that someone cares, and stands up for you. It's the right thing to do! As an alternative, tell an adult what's been going on. PLEASE DON'T IGNORE IT!!

The lesson to everyone that is in school right now in Japan, don't take bullying lightly. Please tell someone immediately, and make sure to tell the bullied kid that you're never alone and you do care for him.

I don't want to let anyone in school suffer the same way I did.




Respect Everyone,
Jay Nakamura