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  • Japan Today Kuchikomi: Oddly includes NJ stats in article on gang rape at Kyoto U of Education

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on June 6th, 2009

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    Hi Blog.  Here’s something pointed out this morning in a comment on by E.P. Lowe, about a ponderous essay on Japan why students do the things they do, such as gang rapes in Kyoto University of Education.  And then, with no particular need whatsoever, we get stats on how many foreign student are attending.  Not sure why that’s materiel for this article, especially given the tendency by elements in this country to drag foreigners into reports and policy proposals on crime, even when they are unconnected to the crime being discussed.  Unprofessional, Japan Today.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


    Gang-rape incident a by-product of Kyoto’s lenient academic culture

    On the night of Feb 25, some 95 people attended a pre-graduation “sayonara” party for university seniors at a pub in Kyoto City. At some point in the evening, a co-ed, aged 19 at the time, fell into a semiconscious stupor from overindulgence in alcohol, was escorted into an adjacent room and sexually assaulted by six members of Kyoto University of Education’s American football and soccer teams.

    On June 1—more than three months after the incident—university president Mitsuyo Terada appeared at a press conference to announce that the institution would slap them with an open-ended suspension for having committed “obscene acts.”

    “A university is not an investigating body,” Terada stated somewhat lamely. “The measures we took were intended as corrective in nature.”

    A police source informs Nikkan Gendai (June 3) that it was not until March 27 that the woman, described as “unable to hold her liquor,” consulted the police regarding her assault.

    “The six men were arrested on June 1,” the source relates. “Four admitted to going all the way; two insisted they only ‘touched’ the victim but did not rape her.

    Kyoto University of Education is a public institution with roots going back to 1876, when it was founded as a pedagogical school. Its adjusted standard deviation score (class curve) of 53 would place it in the mid-tier in terms of academic standing. According to its English website, 52 foreign students are enrolled.

    “The university is well regarded as an institution that graduates teachers,” remarks Yutaka Doi, a Kyoto-based author. “This city, with a population of 1.47 million, is home to 37 universities, of which seven are public. Kyoto University of Education rates in the top segment. But I think this incident ruins whatever image they had as a ‘clean’ school.”

    Four years earlier, Nikkan Gendai recalls, members of the American football club at the elite Kyoto University, a world-famous institution, had been involved in a gang rape.

    With 138,509 university and junior college students—approximately one-tenth of the city’s total population—Kyoto is a said have long enjoyed the status as a “student-friendly” town. But for Kyoto University of Education not to expel the six for committing rape is taking indulgence too far.

    “The problem is that the perpetrators were students in the Faculty of Education,” opines the abovementioned author Doi. “In Kyoto, these students still engage in chug-a-lug contests at parties. Under the pretext of preserving tradition, they think they’re entitled to special privileges, and that they can get away with anything.

    “They’re more overbearing and insolent than students in Tokyo,” Doi adds. “I think it was this kind of smug attitude that led to the rape incident at Kyoto University (in 2005) and this recent one.”

    It would seem, the reporter concludes, that the downside of Kyoto’s convivial climate for students is that it fosters a sense of entitlement that all too often leads to their running amok.


    10 Responses to “Japan Today Kuchikomi: Oddly includes NJ stats in article on gang rape at Kyoto U of Education”

    1. norik Says:

      I believe they are trying to implore the idea that KUE is internationally trusted and respected institution. When I was looking for a place to continue my education and checked universities, in their brocures they always emphasized the fact that they have foreign students enrolled(as if we are kind of accesory or an exotic spice there) even if the brochures were in Japanese, for Japanese applicants.

      BTW, when I went first time there in 2002, I was in Kansai, and there were talks among foreign students about a foreign research student in Kyoto U, who commited suicide, due to some troubles with his professor and the overall athmosphere in his lab. I tried to find something that time, but the only information I could get was from a blog of a student there. Now, you can’t find even this (it had many negative, if not offencive comments even then, so maybe the guy simply deleted it). Basically, the guy was from some technical faculty, but was very disapointed from his working conditions and Japan, and tried siucide, but they saved him and put him on the first plane home immediately-you wanna kill yourself, do it at your home country), but he commited suicide at the airport.

      — Who’s trying to implore this? The article? Unclear. Anyhoo, 52 foreign students is hardly evidence of of an internationally trusted and respected institution. It’s less than three percent of the total student body.

      Also, thanks for narrating, but I’m not sure why we’re having this (sad) story of the suicide.

    2. Intricate Says:

      I wonder why things like this happen so often. It’s not just Japan where the media includes stats unrelated to the article itself. I imagine it has something to do with spicing up the article or something but it’s all too often that I hear stuff like, Moroccan community this or Turkish community that. To the point where people believe the (in my case Dutch) government should take different courses of action towards those groups of people (this has been explicitly stated), because they allegedly cause the most crime.
      Or in the case of the US, to take action against Mexicans specifically. Or states where a large amount of people still believe in racial segregation being a good thing.

      I don’t think it’s as bad in Japan though, but these kinds of things, i.e. adding stats about a certain group of people, are what get people angry towards that group of people.
      For instance, when it’s about a crime and the suspect’s appearance is known, there is no need for the media to tell the masses what (s)he looks like. It’s of no concern to the general public whatsoever, especially when stating that person’s nationality, the only thing you get is unjustified hatred towards people of that particular community.

      At least Japan isn’t as far along with this moronic media policy as most (if not all) Western countries.

    3. km Says:

      I think that it’s more that this is an English language article intended primarily for NJ English speakers. I had to search pretty hard for the part you found unprofessional – I didn’t sense any link at all between the offenders and the foreign headcount at the university.

      — Then why mention it? Information that is not materiel or linkable should not be included in an article. That’s what’s called editing.

    4. Deepspacebeans Says:

      I think that the addition was indeed intentional on the part of JT, but not in order to imply some sort of potential link (that many readers would see it in such a light is a sizable blunder on the part of their editing staff). JT has always ran stories with this strange notion that they, as an English-language source, feel some kind of need to link events in Japan with the NJ community whenever humanly possible. Sometimes, this is the result.

      I find it disheartening to think that the writers and editors might be guided by a notion that we do not care for news that does not involve “us” or that we would care more if foreigners were somehow involved… but after reading so many articles with this type of useless, pointless, meaningless information, I have to conclude that this must be the case.

    5. Alexander Says:

      I don’t understand. Why not mention it? It is the freedom of the publication to mention it. Some editors may call it superfluous and cut it, others may not. Personally I like English publications in Japan that actually customize articles for their target audience rather than just reprinting articles from overseas and translating Japanese ones.

    6. AWK Says:

      “Japan Today”…well….this is the most censorshiped foreign media in Japan. Cannot be trusted, free speech on forum is not allowed (soon is removed such person), many of their articles are based on Youmiuri Shinbun which we know is not NJ friendly and so on. People, better read or Japan Times, than corrupted GoJ friendly “Japan Today”.

    7. Brad Says:

      What’s more, take a close look at how poorly this article is written. We get no attribution in the first paragraph (not even mind an “allegations” anywhere in there). Then we get an anonymous police source quoted from another paper’s article with a quote. No fact-checking or background checking by JT indicated anywhere. After that, we get a statistic about number of students enrolled based on what source? the admissions department? a university spokesmen? Nope! We get sited from a website, which could be erroneous or out-of-date for all we know. Lastly, here’s the kicker – the last paragraph says “it would seems…”, which is a pure conjectural statement that isn’t in the least journalistic. What’s more, there is no by-line to indicate who did such a sloppy job of this reporting. Overall poor journalism, which is par-for-the-course for JT. By the way, I posted these concerns about the article to the Japan Today site multiple times and every instance of these comments were deleted by the editors. Apparently, it’s okay to make a comment on the JT site as long as it doesn’t induce readers to think critically about the garbage they are publishin.

    8. Johnny Says:

      Japan Today is published by Gplus media, which also runs Gaijinpot. Enough said.

      Gplus Media goes out of its way to suppress any free speech that they think may offend their advertisers.

    9. Claus Says:

      Regardless of the mentioning of foreigners in the article, I’m appalled by Kyoto University only slapping the wrist of the rape offenders with a suspension. In the case of the Foreign student caught with pot in Tokyo University, the university spent no time and immediately expelled said student.

      Talk about double standards.

      — Provide a link to an article on that Toudai student?

    10. Roy Berman Says:

      “I’m appalled by Kyoto University only slapping the wrist of the rape offenders with a suspension.”

      Not Kyoto University, Kyoto University of Education.

      “In the case of the Foreign student caught with pot in Tokyo University, the university spent no time and immediately expelled said student.”
      I’ve seen a dozen articles of Japanese college kids getting expelled for pot, but never one on a foreign student. I’d like to see a link as well.

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