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Elementary School Bullying and Harassment

Bullying and related harassment is a large problem in Japanese schools, especially targeting those that do not align with class-based social standards. For example, special needs children, foreigners, and children who are different often face discrimination simply because of what or who they are. Japan has a high rate of youth suicide compared to other countries, and recent cases in the news have shown that continued bullying can result in life-changing consequences for both bullies and the bullied.

The following is a survey of students in an elementary school in Gunma that illustrates the thoughts and actions of students related to bullying. Numbered responses follow a ranking from greatest number of responses (and largest percentage) to least number of responses.

Have you ever been bullied?

  • Twenty percent of the students state that they have been bullied before. Bullying reportedly occurs most often during 1st and 2nd grades.

Where and when does bullying occur?

  1. At school during recess or break times.
  2. On the way home.
  3. Outside of school.
  4. At school, after school ends.
  5. During classes or in school.
  6. At lunch or cleaning times.

What do students do after bullying?

  1. Talk to a friend.
  2. Talk to the person being bullied.
  3. Be cautious of the bully.
  4. Talk to parents or teachers.
  5. Pretend nothing happened.

Whose fault is it when bullying occurs?

  1. The bully’s.
  2. The bully’s and the victim’s.
  3. The people who pretend nothing happens.
  4. The victim’s.
  5. Other.

What should we do to prevent bullying?

  1. Think more about bullying by ourselves.
  2. Talk about bullying with others.
  3. Make friends with each other.
  4. Talk to a school counselor.
  5. Other.