If you live in Japan, you’ve probably seen a parent or coach slap a kid upside the head. You’ve probably seen this kind of thing on TV. Beat Takeshi is always bopping people on the head with inflatable mallets and such. This kind of hitting isn’t taken seriously in Japan, but I find it very disturbing.
My son attends a school that prides itself on raising kind, considerate children. And yet, I have heard from two witnesses that my son’s teacher is slapping the kids. Slapping my kid. My son is happy at school and he has never once mentioned this. When I asked him about what I’d heard, he shrugged it off said that he was at fault in both instances, and that “it’s the Japanese way.”
I’ve also heard that the some students spend all of their noon recess correcting homework and re-taking tests. According to my son, the students are given the option of doing the work at home. Maybe that’s true, but yesterday I wrote in his notebook (a private note to the teacher) that I would like for my son to be allowed to have recess. Somehow, the entire class knew about what I had written. My son told me that my note caused him misery at school. He tearfully demanded that I never write in the notebook again without telling him first. Something is not quite right here.