UPDATE: Senaiho on the stacked Board of Education committee investigating his Yamanashi jr. high school Hair Police complaint


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Hi Blog. What follows is an update about Senaiho’s case, i.e., overzealous enforcers of school rules in Japan’s compulsory education system acting as what Debito.org has long called “the Hair Police“. This phenomenon particularly affects NJ and Japanese of diverse backgrounds, who are forced by officials to dye and/or straighten their naturally “Non-Asian” hair just to attend school.

Bullying is rife in Japanese education, but when it’s ignored (or even perpetuated) by officialdom, this feeling of powerlessness will leave children (particularly those NJ children with diverse physical features targeted for “standing out“) and their families scarred for life.  (As discussed at length in book “Embedded Racism“, pg. 154-5.)  As reported on Debito.org last month, after months of playing by the rules established by the local Board of Education, Senaiho finally lodged a formal criminal complaint against his daughter’s school officials, and it’s smoking out hidden documents.  This blog entry is an update to the case, where he has managed to uncover just how stacked the system is against him, and why he was entirely correct to pursue this issue through criminal, not Board of Education, channels.

This is one of the worst-kept secrets about Japan — its underdeveloped civil society generally leaves the government to do everything, and the cosy relations between government officials means a lack of independent investigation and oversight.  Coverup becomes Standard Operating Procedure.  Hence “kusai mono ni futa o suru” (“put a lid on that which stinks” — instead of actually cleaning it up) isn’t a bellyaching grumble — it’s a PROVERB in Japan.

Your kid having trouble in Japanese school?  Keep an eye on this case and learn a few alternative avenues for recourse.  Debito Arudou Ph.D.


From: Senaiho
Subject: Yamanashi hair police special report
Date: February 10, 2019
To: Debito Arudou <debito@debito.org>

Hello Debito,
Things have developed much sooner than I expected. I am including by attachment my report and a picture of the identities of the special third party investigation committee. As I write this we are communicating with several newspapers and news services regarding it. I wanted to get this to you asap. Please use freely as you see fit. Sincerely, Senaiho


UPDATE: Japan Hair Police in Yamanashi

The identities of the Special Third Party Investigation Committee are revealed as stacked against us
Special Report for Debito.org by Senaiho, February 10, 2019
Original report at http://www.debito.org/?p=15489

On the evening of 2/9/2019 we received from our Ombudsman the identities of the special investigation committee set up by the Yamanashi city board of education. While we are still looking into the backgrounds of these four people, right off the bat we can make several assumptions. I don’t want to repeat what I have already stated in our previous post here on Debito.org, but I need to go into a little background to make it easier for the reader to follow.

In January of 2018 with the help of our Ombudsman and several others, we circulated a petition, and on March 27, 2018, we along with our lawyer presented to the Yamanashi board of education our petition, along with 1500 or so signatures, asking them to do an internal investigation into the case of our daughter’s bullying and hair cutting by the teachers which caused her to be so traumatized that she dropped out of school for the next two years. Up to this point we had been hoping and tried to go the most civil route possible in order to minimize relationships within our community and the school. We put good faith in the public servants of the board of education to do what was right for us and our daughter and on behalf of other bullied and truant children in our town. The board of education agreed to do an investigation and make the results of it known to us. We left this meeting feeling satisfied that things may work out for the better, and we put our trust in them. How wrong we were.

Here is the name list of the special third party investigation committee hired and set up by the board of education:

I will go down the list and just refer to them as #1, #2, etc. Their names and job titles are all there in open view. Keep in mind, they could have chosen any four people in the country as an impartial third party investigation committee, but they chose these four people:

#1 is a lawyer. It just so happens that this lawyers office is located DIRECTLY in front of our lawyers office. They can wave to each other from their office windows. They know each other professionally and informally, run into each other in the courthouse all the time. Lawyers in Yamanashi are a close knit group and work hard to not step on each others toes. Do you suppose the board of education chose this lawyer to intimidate our lawyer? No wonder our lawyer became so hesitant to assist us after this committee was formed. We since have hired another lawyer.

#2 is the boss at the counseling center where my daughter has spent many, many hours, receiving counseling and treatment and help in dealing with the trauma of her experiences. He is not her personal counselor, but as this person s boss he would have access to very private and personal information given by our daughter in the course of her treatment. He would also have access to any and all reports made by her counselor regarding her case and he would have been in a position to put pressure on my daughter s counselor to decide treatment in one fashion or another.

#3 is the boss at the Eastern Yamanashi area education office. This just happens to be where my wife and daughter spent many hours discussing personal and private information regarding her experiences at school and how to deal with problems there. They also advised us about how to get her back to school and dealing with all matters related to the school. As with #2 is not the person we dealt with directly but would have access to all private information and reports regarding our case along with being able to bring pressure on the lower level person dealing with us.

#4 is listed as a doctor but to be honest we have not been able to find the connection with us directly except he may have been an instructor of our lawyer during her time in law school. Another effort to pressure our lawyer? A personal friend of someone? He does seem to have qualifications in psychology which would make him somewhat qualified to be on this committee but his specialty is ADHD which is not relevant in our daughters case.

So there you have the “impartial” investigation committee set up and chosen by our “trusted” public servants at the Yamanashi city board of education. No wonder they were so hesitant about revealing the identities of this committee.


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19 comments on “UPDATE: Senaiho on the stacked Board of Education committee investigating his Yamanashi jr. high school Hair Police complaint

  • Another thing we learned after I submitted this report. #2 and #3 are both former school principals. OF COURSE they would be totally impartial in ruling in a case like ours in our dispute with the school.

    In case anyone out there is not aware of it, there are criminal laws in Japan about public officials using private information gotten in the course of their jobs in the public trust, but some are above the law, I suppose, at least we may find out if this is so.

  • What that might be we have no idea. As public servants they are not allowed to take payment for services other than their salary so its not hard to imagine them possibly getting something under the table. that is why the previous Yamanashi city head is sitting in prison now, for taking bribes along with giving tax money to his wife s stone carving business. You understand though that is just speculation on my part 🙂

  • Thanks for the update Senaiho! Just a quick question – You said “Here is the name list of the special third party investigation committee hired…”. Doesn’t “hired” mean paid employment? And then you later said they can’t accept payment for services other than salary. I am a bit confused. Are the investigating committee paid or not?

    Anyway it’s not a major issue for me. Quite clearly some of the committee are not impartial by any standard.

    • Before we knew the identities of the committee, our Ombudsmen was aware of money being used for it. That’s his job. That is one reason he filed for opening the name list. Since we know now who is on it and that two of them are public servants the question becomes where did the money go and to who? The Ombudsman knows that is why he is so angry.

      On another note, our daughters counsellor until yesterday had no idea his boss was on this committee. He is not happy about that and feels betrayed. We don’t know what he will do. The prosecutors office is also interested in this commitee and their doings which we will be assisting them with of course.

    • I want to add the fact that #2 and #3 were even asked to be on this committee stinks. They should have refused but they didn’t. There are laws about civil servants passing on information they got while performing their duties. They can go to prison for doing that. they both would be in a position to ask their underlings say, can you tell me a little bit about that foreigner who s daughter you are treating? or they wouldn’t even have to ask directly, they could just go to the file and read it. The fact that our counsellor didn’t even know his boss was on this committee until we told him yesterday stinks.

      Now just suppose for a minute you were #2 or #3 and the head of the board of education came to you and asked you to be on this special committee, what would motivate you enough to risk your job and maybe go to prison if you were caught leaking private information about someone? What if this information that you leaked was probably going to be used against that person? Would you do it as a personal favor? maybe. Would you do it for a handout? maybe. Would you do it if this person had dirt on you? hmmm. You might do it if this person promised that your identity would never get out. You get my point. They both should have never been asked and most certainly should have refused their services.

  • By the way, for anyone who claims, “Public workers deserve privacy” the correct answer is “No, public workers deserve absolutely zero privacy about any actions they commit during work hours, that is the trade-off they agreed to when they signed-up to get paid double, triple, quadruple higher salaries, higher bonuses, plus the extremely higher benefits of special “Public Worker health and pension” which covers far more than “regular private slave health and pension”.

    “Although it is a cliche often mentioned by folks in the process of complaining about the actions of public workers, the fact is: we the tax-payers all actually are indeed paying for those public workers to enjoy their risk-free, zero-sales-pressure, zero-worry-of-being-fired, zero-worry-of-their-employer-going-out-of-business, annual 1000man yen lifestyle (and yes, such city hall and board of education and similar level public workers do indeed enjoy annual 1000man yen lifestyles, especially when one includes into the calculation the financial benefits of the special “Public Worker health and pension” (example source: my wife’s mother, a retired city hall public worker who enjoys such extremely high publicly-funded benefits).”

    “This low-risk high-return compensation for low-stress paper shuffling is the reason why public workers can easily dry their tears about their lack of privacy with all those 10,000-per-hour yen-notes they unfairly receive thanks to the tax-payments (paid upon threat of imprisonment) by all us regular 2,000-yen per-hour or 1,000-yen per-hour slave tax-payers.”

    • The monthly salary of the head of the Yamanashi city board of education is between 560,000 and 610,000 plus bonus, plus travel expenses, plus pension, plus hardship expenses. A real sacrifice of a job.

      Yamanashi prefecture board of education officials have it even worse, starting at 800,000 yen per month, plus bonus, plus pension, plus, whatever they can squeeze out of their positions.

      • Wow! I’m shocked! Those guys are way overpaid for public servants! Not surprising that this kind of information isn’t more widely known, gotta keep putting the squeeze on the masses for more tax!

      • Loverilakkuma says:

        So, these rank-and-file prefectural BOE are paid more than the head of city BOE. And very few of those are showing willingness to investigate the case, while most American public school teachers are working like slave facing mounting bureaucratic harassment from governors and state politicians while getting paid less than half compared to these bunch of goofs? Gosh.

      • Seems like a “noruma” system, a pyramid scheme (Amway doing well in Japan) or organized crime, i.e. their salary depends on how much they can extract from the people “below” thm in the hierarchy, dependent on protection money rackets, or in this case, taxation, etc.

  • Interesting, I’ve been following this since you first posted it and this is the first time at least the city/district is identified. Yamanashi is a surprisingly diverse prefecture for having such a small population. There are many completely non Japanese families with children in the public schools (2 Napalese and 1 Algerian family have children in the elementary school my children attended) as well as many mixed race couples of all descriptions. With Japan’s policy of rotating teachers every few years it’s no longer a concern of mine but rather for the community at large because this teacher, if left unchecked, has probably moved on to a different school in a different district by now.

    Something I am curious about is what the schools problem with his daughter’s hair originally was? 2 of my children have decidedly non Asian hair, one’s hair is even brown, and it has never been a problem. The only problem we had was my son’s decision to shave the sides of his head in high school which resulted in us having to get his whole head shaved (a uniformly and fairly enforced school policy btw, he and a number of his friends got to shave their heads after that stunt.) I’m curious what the problem with the daughters hair was and why the teacher thought it needed correction after her mother cut it? (Note this is idle curiousity, the teacher should have sent the girl home if there was a problem, cutting her hair is tantamount to assault.)

    • Our daughter has never had any issues with her hair at school. No perms or dyeing. It was long at the time and unkempt (unwashed) not brushed because she was suffering so would just go to bed on occasion. It was long enough to reach her lower back but tied. Her mother cut it up to shoulder length, the next day The teachers cut it more. The teachers thought cutting it would decrease the bullying so they cut it but the reason and logic given by the teachers changes every time we asked about it.

    • After they cut it and seemed to have some remorse for what they did, I was pretty sure their intentions were not evil, they just made a mistake. That is why we didn’t pursue anything criminal but tried to work with the school and b of e to correct things. Now after all this time they want to blame us and not only that have marshalled public resources against us to make us be quiet and give up. That is what really gets my dander up and is why we filed the criminal suit.

    • We talked to the police a few times, but they seem to have their own agenda. Also the town officials and the police are too close, if fact we are suspicious of the police in this local. We filed a complaint with the Kofu city prosecutors office and are waiting to see if they accept it or not.

      • The police of Japan routinely refuse to “accept” the filing of rape reports of Japanese citizens (what a country, in which police can choose to refuse crime reports) so chances are even lower that they will “accept” the filing of this rare haircut-assault-by-a-teacher report, especially since a “forever mortal enemy” (“gaikoku race person”: the father) is involved.

        There is also the problem that public police and public prosecutors (and even public judges) anywhere usually don’t like to bring justice to other public workers, since they consider themselves to all be in the same public worker team. Bringing scrutiny to one public worker might later bring scrutiny to all public workers so they have an unspoken (often even unconscious) agreement to turn a blind eye to offenses done by folks in their team, the police blue line basically extends to protect all public workers from justice as much as possible.

        Plus, in addition to the possibility you mention about this particular town’s officials and police being corruptfully too close, and in addition to the “public workers not wanting to bring justice to public workers” factor, there is the further problem which Debito has been trying to bring light to for many decades: the fact that Japan’s culture has Embedded Racism which culturally prioritizes protecting “people who are Yamato race” from any criticism/justice, regardless of the validity of the complaint, regardless of the suffering of the victim.

        When the victim “is not pure Yamato race” and the perpetrator “is pure Yamato race”: Japan’s culture more often than not prioritizes its Embedded Racism hierarchy over justice.


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