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 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

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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20 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.

    • “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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Brief Update
    Yesterday 4/20, we had our third court appearance. The short is that the court posed about ten issues that the court requests the city expound upon. If you who keep up with our case will recall, we got mountains of documents that were so heavily redacted they were worthless. What the court requested yesterday was that the city provide this information to us unredacted along with records that pertain to our daughter, which they refused to divulge up to this point.

    This was a major point of our suit and our lawyer is very happy the court took it upon itself to request these records without our having to petition these records be released. These should show their negligence which is why the refused to release them up to now. If they want to play the “we lost them/can’t find them” game, good luck with that

  • Legal Argument Of A Bully
    We are beginning to see the legal strategy of our bully with arrival of a legal brief this past week end. In it they state that the “smell” of our daughter was so repulsive it caused the defendant emotional distress to the point she had to resort to wearing a mask, sitting in seats away from the source, avoiding any close contact, and of course verbal abuse (which is not mentioned for some reason). They claim this caused her to lose her appetite so much it affected her performance on the volleyball club team which her teammates became aware of…So they banded together to eradicate the cause of her distress. This last part is not mentioned in the brief, but is in school documents that are heavily redacted.

    So logically a court or school officials might ask: “well, if you were so distressed by the odor of another, why didn’t you take the issue up with your teacher or school nurse, or even seek professional help in dealing with the psychological distress?” The
    answer is of course….? What?

    Unfortunately for them our legal response will be: “OK, then where is the evidence of such offensive body odor that would cause the reactions you claim. Hard to prove. They also have requested that the two lawsuits be combined to be able to share liability with the school officials. In other words point the finger and blame someone else for your own wrong deeds.

    It will probably become a mutual responsibility avoidance, circle shoot.

    — Omigod Senaiho, stay the course! Let us know if you want to have another update full blog entry.

    • Thank you. The court has ‘requested’ the school officials release unredacted copies of documents. In these are named three co conspirators in the volleyball club. We know who they are, but when we have evidence, our lawyer will add them as defendants to the suit. That’s the plan anyway. I will put together a more complete summary and ask you to post it at a later date when we have more details and are further down the legal path. Thanks again for your patience and support.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Strange how they never mentioned all these problems that the bully was having way back earlier in these proceedings. They’re so fake a blind guy could see through it. I bet they haven’t got anything to back it up except what they say right now.

  • Keep us all posted on developments. This is utterly disgusting. I hope that when this all finishes, you at least write an article about it and that article is published. I suspect that this goes on often in Japan and while the children involved in the bullying are not blameless, the adults who didn’t stop it, were derelict in their duty of care.

  • No doubt the situation involves many more persons of interest and issues than you had, in your discretion, previously written about in the past. But it is new to me that other students were also main actors involved in the bullying. I was expecting the teacher who actually cut your daughter’s hair in class, and that teacher’s superiors, to be the main defendants of your civil litigation.

    I know things get complicated though, so there is probably a lot of important info I am not privy to. Good luck and I pray for a positive outcome for your family.

    • I really should condense it down to a readable and understandable form, however events are still unfolding and it is covering a great length of time, 4 years in fact to this date with. I do appreciate your patience and support always.

      • You absolutely have our support, and please don’t worry about informing us as a priority. You are concentrating on your family’s fight and so you should. Let us know what happens only when you have the spare time and the energy.
        Until the next update we pray for justice.
        Cheers mate!

  • A Strange Day In Court
    In my last post, I said that the court requested about 10 things they wanted to know from the city concerning our case. The legal brief we got in response addressed none of these questions. It only said basically that we were the cause of EVERYTHING that happened to our daughter. They even declined to submit unredacted copies of documents we already have. Redacted of course. The Yamanashi city lawyer was there, but claimed he didn’t know anything! So the court asked us to fill in the details it requested from the city, but declined. So we did. To our advantage? I hope so.

    The city even went so far as claiming they lost a lot of what the court wanted. This is supposed to have dire consequences, but who knows. We can only assume that what they would have revealed would have been worse than anything the civil court could do to them for not giving them up.

    So it’s all our fault, and they know nothing. By the way they argued that the cases should NOT be combined. We will see.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Well done! They ‘lost’ all the relevant documents? Mmmm, that doesn’t sound like they’ve got anything to hide, nor knew they were in the wrong, nor understood their accountability at all! Ha! They are so stupid!

    • Japan doesn’t have contempt of court powers so these people who are ignoring the courts instructions to produce evidence cannot be fine or jailed like they could be in the west. However, if the defense doesn’t hand over the requested documents, it allows the court to make a finding that the plaintiff’s assertions are all true regarding those documents.


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