Student Commits Suicide After Corporal Punishment By Coach

The education committee apologise for the corporal punishment.

The education committee apologise for the corporal punishment.

The Osaka City Education Committee is investigating the suicide of a second-year high school student who killed himself after he allegedly suffered frequent corporal punishment at the hands of the team coach.

While the education board have yet to admit that the corporal punishment played a role in the boy’s decision to kill himself, many netizens strongly disagree. The article also brings up questions about opinions of corporal punishment in the Japanese education system.

From Yahoo! Japan:

Did Boy in Second Year of High School Kill Himself Because of Anguish Over Corporal Punishment?: Captain of Competitive Basketball Club, Osaka City.

On January 8, after the Osaka City Education Committee held a press conference explaining the fact that a second-year male student (17) from Sakuranomiya Municipal High School had committed suicide last year, they announced that the day before he killed himself, the boy had received corporal punishment from a male teacher (47) who was the club coach. Aside from a suicide note, a letter addressed to the teacher of the student who had been tormented by the corporal punishment was also discovered.

Education chief Nagai Tetsuro expressed his remorse, saying, ‘At the present time we cannot say with any certainty that there was a cause-effect relationship, but we are seriously concerned by the matter. Corporal punishment is absolutely unacceptable.’

The student belonged to the basketball club, and had been in the role of captain since September of last year. In his letter, there were statements saying that the boy was anxious about the corporal punishment and his responsibility as captain.

At around 6am on December 23 2012, the student hung himself on the second floor of his family home, and was found dead. On the previous day, December 22, the teacher had slapped the faces of students who had made mistakes during the practice game several times while the game was underway.

The teacher took his post at the high school 18 years ago. He was the teacher responsible for health and physical education, and was the adviser for both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams. The boys’ team had competed in the national high school championships three times in the past five years.

In relation to the teacher’s actions, information had reached the municipal education committee last year that corporal punishment was being carried out, but the school had informed them that ‘It was not corporal punishment’. Given the possibility that corporal punishment was being carried out habitually in the school, the municipal education committee will request an inspection by an external inspection team comprised of legal professionals.

Comments from Yahoo! Japan:


They can definitely say there was a cause-effect relationship.


Corporal punishment is a difficult one. I guess it changes based on the time you were in school…I’m in my late twenties, but I never thought that being slapped and scolded was corporal punishment.


Teacher, principal, education committee, put yourself in our places and make the situation clear rather than running to save yourselves.


In the article in the Mainichi Shimbun in the municipal education committee survey the adviser said that the ‘corporal punishment happened once or twice’, but when they asked other members of the club it seems that they responded that ‘there was corporal punishment on a fairly frequent basis’. To lie even though a precious life has been lost is just the lowest kind of person.


Don’t escape to suicide…please, see that your own life is precious.


There is a 99% cause-effect relationship here.


I guess the coach has admitted it, so there is the possibility of a cause-effect relationship, and if there is also the letter saying that the student was distressed about the corporal punishment, then it’s pretty consistent.


Wouldn’t it have been over if he’d just quit the basketball club.


I guess he was a kid who had a strong sense of responsibility? It’s not so simple as saying it would have been over if he’d just quit the club. I don’t think that all corporal punishment is bad, but if you’re the coach then you should know the personalities of the kids on the team. You shouldn’t happen in amateur sports that coaches just demand results.


When you look at other articles, it seems that if they made a mistake during a match they’d get slapped across the face. I think that’s a bit crazy. Based on my own experience, corporal punishment was quite normal when I was in school, but there was never anything like getting slapped across the face if you’d made a mistake when you were trying your best. Of course, if you did something bad you’d get beaten, but you never felt that it was unreasonable.


I don’t think that corporal punishment is necessarily bad, but the teacher is bad. If you’re an adult, you have to make a way for the child to get out of the situation.


I can’t imagine corporal punishment to the extent the you’d be driven to suicide….with the pressure and the fear, I suppose the student wasn’t in a normal state of mind. Just like in the Otsu incident [where a middle-school student committed suicide due to bullying], to what extent are the facts of this situation being made clear? The words and the actions of those from the school concern me.


At the present time we cannot say with any certainty that there was a cause-effect relationship………The education committee are idiots, as usual. Seriously.


There’s a letter, so I guess there is a cause-effect relationship.


What kind of corporal punishment? That’s what I want to know.


The poor thing, to have been beaten so much that it drove him to suicide…There is most certainly a cause-effect relationship.


The coach should explain himself!


If the corporal punishment is written about in the suicide note, then I think that there is a cause-effect relationship with the suicide…

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  • Ruaraidh

    I hope the teacher is punished for his actions, but not those of the student.

  • elizabeth

    He could have told his parents about it and they should have been able to put a stop to the corporal punishment. Or is that not how it works in Japan?

    • pinky

      by reading Japanese articles, he told his parents about this, the teacher admitted he slapped a few times, but his parents are saying there were a lot more. i grow up in japan, i got slapped by making a mistake during match. this kind of punishment used to happen a lot in Japan, i think it is getting less nowadays. still it happens a lot, and people take it for granted, I mean, i do not want to say it is normal, but yeah it happens quite often. we have totally different back ground so it is hard to explain, but let me try…
      we were not allowed to drink water nor take a break for a long time during hard training, if you sleep during class, you get slapped by a textbook, (which happened to me), if you are late to class, you stand in a hallway sometimes carrying a bucket filled with water, one of my classmates did it, and the teacher threw a chalk at a student who is sleeping during class. I saw this more than a few times when i was in elementary. i do not know if these happen in classroom now expect sports club, but it did 20 years ago, at least my schools…

      • elizabeth

        That sounds harsh. Being punished for mischief is acceptable but not for unintended mistakes. In the context of schools, we learn through mistakes. If we don’t make mistakes, we won’t need teachers.

        If mistakes are repeated excessively, there is likely something wrong that cannot be solved just by slapping or carrying heavy buckets. Punishment could at least be constructive or address the root cause.

        Corporal punishment might be appropriate for recalcitrant behavior as a last resort. Even then, it should only be done, after thorough investigation, by the principal and no one less senior.

  • Even if the principal bows down in apology, the kid ain’t coming back.

    • MizKiwi

      It’s a hell lot better than trying to cover his tracks

  • the ace of books

    Likely there’s more wrong with the student’s internal situation than just the corporal punishment. The punishment might be the proverbial straw, but hanging takes a bit of prep… kid might’ve had pressure, might’ve felt socially impotent (no pun meant there), might’ve been alone, might’ve had study problems – shit, there could’ve been a lot wrong. Even if in his letter he mentioned it, I don’t think it was his only worry. Suicide’s too big a thing for a couple slaps to trigger.

  • Madesu

    Being slapped on the face for making mistakes? If I had been one of that students who got slapped, I would have kicked his balls. I would rather run laps or something like that since I might deserve it. But if I no more had joy in playing the game to the point I thought of suicide, I would quit no matter what.
    I would rather believe he has other issues that much much more significant than this. This issue is really not worthed to die for.

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