Elephant-minded readers of Japan’s media might remember the “Pinocchio” Case of 2003–where a grade-school teacher had a “thing” about the mixed racial background of a child in his class. He would pull on the boy’s nose until it bled, calling him “Pinocchio”, do the same thing with his ears with a “Mickey Mouse”, and devise all sorts of public punishments (even demanding he die for having “stained blood” (chi ga kegareta)) until the child became mentally unstable.
On July 28, 2006, Fukuoka District Court ruled positively that the PTSD the boy suffered deserved compensation–awarding 2.2 million yen (continuing to push up the “market value” of racial discrimination lawsuits from the generally-accepted 1 million yen or so).
Full report at
Original Japanese at
The downside to this case is that the teacher only received a suspension from teaching for six months, and is now back on the job with full responsibilities. The man deserves, in my view, incarceration, if not institutionalization.
Moreover, this is not the first case of racially-motivated power harassment between teacher and student I am aware of by any means. I will soon be reporting on a future Kawasaki court decision regarding a Chinese-Japanese in similar straits. For now, info site at http://www.debito.org/kawasakiminzokusabetsu.htm (Japanese).
City told to pay for teacher’s bullying
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
FUKUOKA–The district court here Friday ordered the city government to pay 2.2 million yen in compensation to the family of a boy who was bullied by his teacher at a municipal elementary school in 2003.
According to the Fukuoka District Court ruling, the teacher, now 49, repeatedly tormented the boy, who was then in his fourth-grade class, after learning the child had “mixed blood” because his great-grandparent was American.
The boy’s parents had demanded a total of 58 million yen in compensation from both the city and the teacher, saying their son, now 12, suffered from serious post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the bullying.
But Presiding Judge Sumio Nojiri ruled that although the teacher’s continued harassment had caused the boy to suffer, he could not be made to pay under the State Redress Law.
The legislation stipulates that “when a public servant on duty illegally inflicts damage to others, the public organization that employs the individual must shoulder responsibility for payment of compensation.”
According to the ruling, the teacher was visiting the boy’s home on May 12, 2003, when he learned the student’s great-grandfather is American. At the time he said, “The boy’s blood is mixed, isn’t it?”
From then on, the teacher repeatedly harassed the boy at school and singled him out to follow orders other students were not subjected to. For example, he would often give the boy just 10 seconds to gather his belongings before leaving school. If the boy failed, he was made to choose from one of five punishments.
They included pulling on the boy’s cheeks, an action known as anpanman, for a popular Japanese character with a large face, or the “Mickey Mouse” punishment, which involved pulling the boy’s ears.
He also regularly dumped the boy’s school bag and other belongings into the classroom trash can.
The teacher also was found to have made discriminatory remarks to the boy, like: “As your blood is mixed with that of a foreigner, it is stained,” and, “Those who have stained blood are not qualified to live. Die immediately.”
The Fukuoka city board of education began investigating the case after the bullying first came to light and upheld the family’s claims.
Although the teacher disputed the findings and lodged a complaint with the city’s personnel affairs committee, he was handed a six-month suspension in August 2003.
He returned to full teaching duties in April this year.(IHT/Asahi: July 29,2006)
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