Senaiho “Hair Police” School Bullying Case Update 4: Civil lawsuit launched against school bullies, gaining traction with other international couples

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Hi Blog.  Here’s the latest update from NJ resident Senaiho (previous updates three, two, and one here), whose daughter was not only bullied by school peers, but also had her hair forcibly cut by schoolteachers in public, causing her so much PTSD that she dropped out of school.  This is yet another incident of Japan’s institutionalized school bullying of children of color that Debito.org has long called “the Hair Police“. 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.)

The difference now is that Senaiho has launched an actual civil court case.  Over more than a year now Senaiho has tried other channels, such as taking it before school authorities and asking for criminal investigations, and all they have gotten is stonewalling and official coverup.  So now he’s suing the bullies themselves.  Let’s see what precedent this is going to set.  Given that others are now standing up against insanely intrusive Japanese school conformity rules (“burakku kousoku”, including warmer clothes in winter, freedom of assembly or travel, and even the color of their underwear!), this may be a landmark case.  Meanwhile, Senaiho offers an update with a newspaper clip below.

Well done, Senaiho. Stay the course!  Debito Arudou Ph.D.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

From: Senaiho
Subject: Brief update
Date: February 7, 2020
To: debito@debito.org

Hello Debito,
Included is an attachment from the Yamanashi Nichi Nichi Shinbun 2/5/2020 shot of an article that just gives an announcement of our case in the court, so I won’t bother to translate it all. It does state that the parents of the bullying perpetrators say in documents filed in the suit, that they think bringing awareness of N.J. and prejudice/bullying of these people should be the job of the schools, not theirs as parents. I think the school will argue that is the job of the parents, and not the schools. Passing the buck.

What I can say in addition to the article is that while we have a mountain of documents that the school and city officials provided according to the freedom of information request we made, there are glaring gaps in these documents — so much extensive redaction made that they become almost worthless. What we hope to do through this suit is use the power of the court to force the school officials and city office to provide us with complete files of information regarding us. This should include the names of the co-conspirators that engaged in the bullying, who hopefully can be brought into this suit at a later date.

There is also the option of reopening the criminal case with the prosecutors office if we find additional evidence. We have three years to do this.

We have also been contacted by several people from various parts of the country asking for advice on what they should do in their own bullying/futokou cases. Our impression is that children of international and mixed marriage couples suffer disproportionately at the hands of bullies, and school officials which is no surprise to you I am sure, but they also tend to suffer more because of a lack of support and isolation in getting information they need. There is also a great variety of policies that various school systems have around the country which makes it more confusing.

Thanks again for everything. Sincerely, Senaiho

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////

The article:


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8 comments on “Senaiho “Hair Police” School Bullying Case Update 4: Civil lawsuit launched against school bullies, gaining traction with other international couples

  • Jim Di Griz says:

    Well done Senaiho! This is excellent progress!
    ‘ parents of the bullying perpetrators say in documents filed in the suit, that they think bringing awareness of N.J. and prejudice/bullying of these people should be the job of the schools, not theirs as parents. I think the school will argue that is the job of the parents, and not the schools. Passing the buck.’

    So the parents and the school recognizes prejudice/bullying of NJ and now they’re just fighting between themselves to avoid responsibility for it. That a HUGE step forward from claiming that there is no prejudice/bullying and it’s all just ‘Japanese culture that NJ don’t understand’.
    They KNOW they done wrong and are throwing each other under the bus.

    Reply
    • “They KNOW they done wrong and are throwing each other under the bus. ”
      I hope so, but at this point, they are most likely trying to avoid liability by pointing the finger at each other.

      Reply
  • Loverilakkuma says:

    Excellent. Hope this will raise cultural awareness of non-traditional student in public education. Historically, Japanese schools are so terrible at treating students with respect and dignity especially for those with disabilities and those who are not speaking Japanese as first language. What’s more problematic is a serous lack of accountability and transparency for bullying and harassment in school. Regarding that schools appeared in the newspaper are public schools–not charters and vouchers that have little to zero accountability in general, this is nothing more than national embarrassment to Japanese education system.

    Time to make Yamanashi City pay for keeping its DeVos-esque BOE in their eco-chamber.

    Reply
  • In some documents we got recently they (the bully classmate) argues that she could not public have engaged in anything like racial discrimination because she has never met a foreigner. She also claims she could not have done any bullying because she has never met a person who is a victim of bullies so she doesn’t have any idea what their complaints are, and if they have any, it’s their problem.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry

    — Laugh at the absurdity. Let them cry after trying that argument in court.

    Reply
    • Agree with Dr. Debito; it’s a meaningless excuse and a straw man argument: who has ever claimed A) one must have prior direct contact with NJ in order to harbor racist opinions? (Hint, no one. Idiots get racist ideas from parents, friends, colleagues, TV and other media, never from the victim).
      This is a total failure of logic and critical thinking and is perfectly understandable in the light of the Japanese education systems failure to teach and develop these faculties. Literally, it’s an idiotic attempt to ‘explain’ something away that merely exposes the lack of understanding on the part of the speaker.

      As for the second part, well yeah, I can believe it. I can absolutely believe that a school bully in Japan is unable to see their own behavior as bullying and unable to recognize that their victim IS a victim; this is just ‘business as usual’ in bully-culture Japan, combined with the often exhibited total lack of empathy that Dr. Debito has written about.

      Reply
    • I could not have committed this murder because I have never met anyone who was murdered. Q.E.D.

      This cannot be proved, I know, but um, trust me.

      Reply

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