Japanese education tends to get a bad rap. Class sizes are large and the learning famously leans towards passing tests with only the “correct” answers rather than encouraging student participation or active engagement with a subject. This is a problem in particular when it comes to studying a foreign language, where communication is paramount
But the problems are not only caused by the education boards and curriculum. There are also social issues with certain school populations. Most infamously this has manifested in bullying, which hit a record high in 2015 and sometimes even results in suicide.
Students can be unruly as well, as exposed graphically in a recent video that has exploded from social media onto the national news.
It shows a 16-year-old student at a high school in Fukuoka not only refusing to obey his teacher and sit down in class, but actually assaulting the 23-year-old educator. The video starts abruptly in the middle of the confrontation with no context given for how it started. The unnamed boy then stands behind the teacher as he tries to continue, soon kicking him four times. His classmates are thrilled, laughing and encouraging him.
The teacher eventually shouts at the aggressive student and the confrontation appears to de-escalate.
Later news reports explained that the incident took place during a first-grade sociology class on September 28th taught by a newly hired teacher. The educator was forced to confiscate an iPad from the student, who was not concentrating on the class. The assault apparently took place immediately after this. The male student was subsequently arrested by police for causing bodily harm.
The footage was taken by another student and then shared on LINE, where it spread to Twitter and beyond. The school held a press conference, though their statements seemed to focus mostly on apologizing for how the footage leaked out and their failure to communicate this to the teacher.
Whatever Japan’s reputation for conformity and social timidity, some kids are certainly not content to be just another brick in the wall.