Bullying and Extortion Related Suicide in Japanese High School

February 9, 2008

A student killed himself in a bathroom at school. Everyone around him seems to think it was “bullying” or ijime in Japanese, but the school will never admit it. If it’s determined that the cause is ijime, the school, teachers, guilty students, parents of the guilty students, and all the levels of school boards up to the prefecture will be held responsible.

I could only find numbers from 2006, but according to the Ministry of Education here, there were only 6 ijime related suicides in 2006. This article tells the story of a girl whose cell phone was completely full of horrible text messages from every kid in her class, and often consulted her family about her treatment at school. The school refused to do anything about it. Right before she jumped out of a window and killed herself, some boys in the class dumped eraser crumbs all over her. The school claimed that they had no evidence that shows she’d been bullied.

That’s right! They always contribute it to other factors, like “trouble with friends” (the larger, older “friends” who were extorting money from him), or “worries about his studies” (means he had bad grades on top of money being extorted from him)

Here’s the first article I’ve seen in English about this particular case in Hokkaido.

Note the statements in the article – “beaten and kicked by three senior students”, and the comment about him asking his mother or inordinate amounts of money. They knew about the violence against him in May and the students involved “stopped making contact” with him. If it comes out that these three students were members of the badminton club with him, and no one quit the club, then obviously they were still making contact with him.

This case will also most likely end with the school refusing to admit that it was ijime.