A 12-year-old girl has hanged herself with a scarf she knitted as a gift for her mother after being bullied by her classmates for having a non-Japanese mother.
The 12-year-old girl, Akiko Uemura, was a 6th year elementary school pupil at a Gunma prefecture school.
She was discovered dead in her room by her 41-year-old mother, having hanged herself from a curtain rail using a scarf. She had knitted the scarf herself, as a gift for her mother.
The girl had transferred into the school two years previously after moving there from Aichi. In the 5th year, she began to be bullied, with classmates calling her “dirty” and telling her not to go near them.
She was also bullied for having a mere foreigner as a mother. Her mother’s nationality has not been revealed.
Her 50-year-old father says he reported the matter to the school repeatedly, but the school never did anything:
“Since she began her 6th year, we discussed ending her bullying problems with the school more than 10 times, but they never showed any indication of actually taking action.”
As might be expected, the school principal (pictured) denies everything, saying at a press conference that they “had no idea she was being bullied” and that “we’d like to establish the truth of what was happening.”
He also claims that “we wanted to fix the situation [with other students refusing to eat lunch with her], but we didn’t realise it was a bullying issue.”
The local board of education apologises profusely and intends to conduct an investigation.
Her father says she begged him to move away and have her attend a different school, or at least transfer her to another school in the same area, so severe was the bullying.
The family was planning to move to Osaka and have her attend a new middle school in the spring – her father tried to encourage her to put up with it until her graduation at the end of the 6th year. Tragically, it seems she could not endure that long.