12-Year-Old Girl in Suicide: “I Hadn’t Finished My Homework”

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Japanese children continue to kill themselves at ever earlier ages, the latest case being a 12-year-old girl who apparently opted to hurl herself to her death rather than face the prospect of not handing in her homework on time.

The incident occurred in Kumamoto city, where a 12-year-old girl in the 6th grade was found collapsed outside her home, having apparently thrown herself 7m down from a third floor window.

She survived the fall with severe injuries, but remains comatose in critical condition.

The attempt occurred the day before school recommenced after summer break, and she had just told her family that “I don’t want to go back to school as I haven’t finished my homework.” Police are investigating the case as a possible suicide.

There has been a certain amount of speculation as to just why she might have considered her homework a grave enough matter to kill herself over, assuming it is indeed the real reason she did not want to go back to school.

The school authorities claim she was not being bullied and that no bullying has been reported at their school this year – although this in itself is probably grounds for concern, particularly in light of the record of the nation’s schools in such matters.

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  • This shows how some countries are putting too much pressure on children to ‘excel’ in school. My parents were much more reasonable, saying that as long as I got C’s they would be happy.

    There were some classes where I wanted to excel because I liked the class like gym, science, etc. but for most classes I just tried to keep a C average.

    Median is enough for 99.9% of things in the world, unless median means a much increased risk of someone dying.

  • The future of Japan isn’t looking too bright.
    Between the declining birthrates and youth suicide, and the fact that survivors have to deal with bullying and molestation rates higher than the police will admit (although not as high as we exaggerate), what is the next generation going to be like in a few years?

  • Well she doesn’t have to finish her home work now! Those secret classes the girls get in all countries that about age, what 1st grade level?, that tells them they are super secret aliens that are shape shifters and they are not to shape shift with male-things-beings of this planet because they are only here to observe them, take notes and destroy as many of their lives as they can class instruction is probably responsible.

  • mnan this is the type of education system they want in the UK? Seriously they constantly pushing in europe and UK a more asian way of working in education. Which clearly just leads to ridiculous amounts of stress and suicide!

    • it doesnt happen in sweden though. here it is mainly political indoctrination and sex education in schools.

      stuff people need to learn are not as important it seem and they always change in the school system or experiment with it -which has led to the school getting worse and worse…

      But i guess they want braindead slaves.

      btw
      some schools even banned homeworks -to make it “equal”(Rich and poor) for everyone because some parents doesnt have time to help their children with it.

    • Social pressure and ungodly working hours/environments is a much bigger problem. Their education system is rather simple and you just have to stick to certain rules of memorizing certain information. Their tests and exams aren’t very creative. It’s not so much about actually learning rather then just force-memorizing for finals.

  • Im not surprised anymore as this was suspected with the high demand on children these days, they expect so much of these children they threaten them with failing, staying back, being expelled, etc and on top of that humiliation and being picked on by other students family and teachers rather than face that they chose death. they have some of the strictest school systems as far as i know, the US system is simple compared to JP and then they have there so called pride for being the best adds to the pressure

  • Oh, for the love of–

    You can’t kill yourself because you didn’t finish your homework. If you haven’t finished it and failed, learn from your mistakes. What she did there is a coward’s move.

    • Suicide is cowardly most of the time. Doesn’t mean it can’t make sense though. If someone’s in a lot of (emotional or physical) pain and see no end to it, sometimes it’s better (for the individual) to end it. Most of the time it is the worse option they could have taken when considering their friends and family as well in the equation.

  • “The school authorities claim she was not being bullied and that no bullying has been reported at their school this year”
    RIIIIGHT… Any school claiming to have no bulling is clearly intimidating their students to not denounce it.

  • Wait, she killed herself the day before school resumed from summer break because she didn’t finish her homework? Do Japanese schools give you homework to do over summer vacation? That’s fucked up.

  • Back when I was in primary school I’d probably get beaten for not doing homework or not doing it well enough for that matter. In high school some teachers tried to dump break homework on us but we just colluded to not do it saying that we had no recollection of said homework.

    Luckily teachers never gave massive summer break homework because you won’t be their student next term since you’re changing grades plus students just finished studying/cramming for end of term exams anyway, but since japan’s school system likes to follow the seasons you end up with that massive summer break after the 1st term.

    There must have been some form of enormous pressure or threats on this girl or a serious guilt trip for her to want to kill herself over homework.

  • No, it’s clear and totally obvious she was being bullied.

    It’s just not called “bullying” when parents, teachers, and society as a whole does it by making kids feel like they’re worthless if they don’t meet expectations.

    • Yeah. I’ve sort of been in her shoes, only I was lucky and my busy workaholic perfectionist parents didn’t have the patience to notice that there was homework to inspect and punish me for not doing perfectly the first time I did it, if they didn’t see me doing any. Which lead to me ceasing to do almost all homework after a few years of school. Fucked me over royally, especially since some of the trauma of having someone be in the same room as me was still present when I was in university, leading to me having to drop out. Cutting my parents out of my life has done wonders for me, a pity this girl will never have the chance to cut whatever was hurting her out of her life. I tried killing myself at the same age as her, I was trying to do it in a way that wouldn’t bother other people since I was already “such a horrible bother”. Failed in spite of all my planning (unexpected turn of events) and a proper lack of suicide note (seemed to me when I was at that age like it mainly is a thing for attention whores who weren’t really committed to trying, or just wanted to emotionally blackmail from the grave), went into even more depression though first I made sure to cover up any tracks of having tried in the first place, otherwise I would just have gotten even more punished. Then I spent a year being stuck in deep apathy.
      Hm, rambling. Oh well, as long as it might help others see how these things can happen.

    • Yes. And as the bullying doesn’t meet the kids’ expectations either, they know they are making the parents, teachers and society feel worthless by the same token. Which brings them down even deeper.

    • Just for the diversity, i’d go with “overcaring” parents, who made sure to remind the girl all the time that her grades were the most important thing ever.

      P.S. But even if it is bullying, it’s still guilt of the dysfunctional family: it is family (mother, father) which should stand by their kid in times of trouble. Not seeing the trouble is no excuse – but sign that parents do not really bother to communicate with their kids.

    • Either that or someone told the poor girl ‘c’mon, don’t be such a wimp… all the cool kids are doing it! You wanna be a cool girl, don’t you?’

      I hope she comes out of this having learned an important lesson from it all. And a speedy & complete recovery.

  • I know turning in your homework on time is important, but really!! Now I know that Japan, and many other Asian countries, place a VERY heavy emphasis on getting a good education. However, this mindset should be dialed back a bit. This report and many others like it show this practice’s detrimental effects.

    • It’s not getting things on time, but rather staying in sync with the kind of reality schools bring about and foster. Move too slow and you might be unprepared for what derives from what you didn’t internalize. Move too fast and you might find yourself acutely at odds with the motivational techniques used, and right when you need motivation all the more, because what you do is already independent of your own needs and goals. The domino effect takes care of the rest, even if your conditions don’t stay bad all the time. So yes, one stall and you can corkscrew out of the altitude, or out of the sky altogether – forever.

    • This is common practice in Japan. They have a nice stack of work to do over vacation, it does not take up the entire break… but it takes a few days to finish and is not something you can cram done the night before. Such Assholes. They have half day school on Saturday as well (every other week, at least when I lived there) it is no wonder people want to kill themselves.

    • No. Sounds like something she could normally do, yet the conditions she was immersed in prevented her from doing that, and probably many more things she cared as much or more about. That’s what the suicide attempt tells you. After all, IF homework is done for the sake of development of abilities, it ranks as fun. Otherwise it’s just somebody else’s fictional work and nothing to be worried about.

        • Nah,or, well yea, true, but there also exist many alternative educational models in which any thing kids have to learn (be limits, discipline, PE or even math) is about fun.

          Or some more complete models like “Montessori” which is intended to adapt the learning environment of the little brat to their rhythm of development.

          Of course parents have to pay some bucks in order to send their children study where these models are applied. But yah parents can be in calm, their kids will never suicide nor being bullied or bully.

  • Here’s an idea, investigate the teacher. The reason she was upset over not having her homework done was most likely the punishment received for not doing it, or she was scared of what the teacher would do from past experience.

    And yes, I agree that homework should be banned. Families pay heaps of money to put their child through education to learn at school. Why the hell should they have to take their work home with them?
    If parents wanted their kids to learn at home, they wouldn’t put them through public education, they’d teach them at home for free.

  • Briefly saw some of the comments here insulting the girl for doing such a thing. They assume the girl must be stupid to consider such an action, but they have no idea what her circumstances are like or what anything is like outside of what they’ve experienced in their own environment. What a display of ignorance and small-mindedness.

    Unlike certain places in the Western world that have very poor education standards, the school environment in places like China, Japan and Korea is extremely competitive. It’s not just Japan. Asian parents in general tend to be VERY harsh on their children when it comes to how well they do in school. There’s also punishments and bullying/social ridicule if the child fails to keep up. I’d imagine there are probably even more issues that I can’t think of.

    Most people attempt suicide because they realize that living is worse than dying, when they have nothing left or when they strongly desire to escape from what they do have.

    These kinds of issues are what people should be focusing on – the problem that drive people to such extremes. Instead, people like to focus on stroking their own ego by insulting others in an attempt to establish themselves as superior. Good going, humans.

    This news also reminds me of an article I once read, about a six year old girl who had said something like “there’s no point in living” and eventually committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. The article was full of people arguing that “a six year old can’t possibly understand what makes life worth living”, but what I thought was “perhaps this six year old understands everything better than everyone else”.

    • Homework is tedious and no one likes to do them. But seriously, homework does help memorize things. It’s there to force children to actually rework the stuff they’ve done in class.

      In University, where there’s no homework mostly, I really noticed how my grades went down quite a bit. And in the few courses that did require me to do homework, I’ve felt learning for the exams was easier and took a lot less time and earned me better grades because I memorized a whole lot more than without HW.

      Hands down, would you actually revise stuff at home you weren’t forced to?

      • That is actually dependent on how a person learns. Some people learn better through repetition and homework helps them learn the material. Other people (like me) don’t learn that way and requiring homework just makes it harder on those people.

    • You have no idea what is homework for, have you?

      It’s great tool in regular case of single teacher with multiple students. First of all it adds practice, even more, practice that you are doing yourself like in real life, not being guided like in classroom. Second it allows everyone to finish at their own speed – everyone thinks at different pace and it’s quite hard to make regular group practice without half of the class yawning and the other half blinking with no idea of what is going on and trying to copy from the neighbor.

      On the other hand I feel really bad for children so stressed over homework to even turn to suicide. My guess the reason is home and parents because if the child has good support at home no matter what is happening at school he won’t be pressed to breakdown (if things are really bad – would be transfered to another school).

      • Or for those people who don’t actually need it, homework is just forced labor, which if you refuse to do can result in failure of the entire class. You learned the material, but because you didn’t do the extra work the children who actually need it did, you fail. Thankfully my teachers figured that fact out and passed me along my classed with a D- because they saw my tests coming back with A grades despite never turning in a homework assignment. The bottom line is, it’s an antiquated system that desperately needs revision, and should not be allowed to count for enough to auto-fail a student that doesn’t do it.

      • Finish at home at my own pace? Hell when i was at school I was like fuck group practice. I finished b4 every one in class and the teacher didn’t like it my reaction why the hell should i slow my pace to their level. I am not wasting my time to stay with the class i like my work done and over with as for homework with a little talk to my guidance counselor and my principal who use to be my history teacher i got homework removed and placed as school work. Never had homework ever not even in 2nd grade did it on the bus don’t feel school work should be at home. I rather hang with friends and play video games all day btw my GPA was 3.83 or A with elevated classes in high school was 2nd best unfortunately girl beat me with a 3.91

    • Its not just that. Teachers these days are lazier than ever! Most of the assignments they give are just “Find these 50 definitions in the back of the book and write them down.” or “Here’s a worksheet.”

      Seriously, the only reason they haven’t been replaced with computers is because machines have trouble recognizing kid’s handwriting and spelling errors.

    • Agreed, not to mention Japan’s education system is to competitive. In America the highest suicide rate is in colleges, but for children to kill themselves at such a young age is just saddening.

      But my main concern is whether or not this is really the case. As we seen in recent school scandals, this may be another cover up with bullying.

      I pity the girl that she didn’t die in a proper manner, now she has more hardships ahead of her.

      • In North America, grade school is really easy, and then university is like a sledgehammer to the face. In Japan, grade school is the difficulty level of NA University (for each grade’s age) and University is a breeze. University is Japan is pretty much for you to get in so you can learn a little, then use the university’s name to get a job.

    • I made it a habbit to stay longer in school and do my homework, once im in front of my computer or console I cant bring myself to do it.
      Sometimes I wasn’t at home until late in the evening, that’s bullshit.. This has to change.

    • To quote uncle Buck though I’m changing the age in the quote.
      But six or twelve it’s the same BS for kids in Japan.
      “I don’t think I want to know a 12 year-old who isn’t a dreamer, or a sillyheart. And I sure don’t want to know one who takes their student career seriously.”

    • By God, there are people who still fall for that?
      The police are hiding again the motive!
      Surely there must be a case of bullying or sexually molested.
      Just kill yourself for so little, a homework?
      Meanwhile the government cares about tattooed people and exaggerated fashion!
      And bullying is treated as a national sport ..

    • america is a country based on bullying. you got most of your resources from bullying other countries so how could you american foreigners understand a person who has been bullied when your culture is steeped in bullying???

    • It’s not just Japan. Korea has the same problem, as do many other countries I’m sure. I find it disgusting that many parents in Korea look down on games as bad influence. Here’s a tip to all these parents:

      If your child is addicted to games and shunning responsibilites, look for the reasons that are “causing” these actions.

      A good chunk of the cause of gaming addiction is Korea’s education system. In the US, elementary school kids go to school for about 8 hours a day, spend 30-60 minutes on homework, then spend the rest of their time playing with their friends and family.

      In Korea, homeworks alone can take hours to complete, then they have to take additional classes and tutoring that take up another several hours a day. Elementary kids have to put up with tremendous amount of stress from the education system alone. And when these kids finally have some free time, they can’t hang out with their friends since they also have to study. They can’t hang out with their family since they’re also busy. So these kids turn to TV and games as the only choice left. Considering they deal with so mich stress and games let them escape that, of course a lot of them have a hard time letting go.

      Then when kids spend too much time with games trying to relieve stress, what do the parents do? They blame games for ruining the kids’ lives and prevent them from relieving said stress… then they tell them go study…

      Sadly, majority of parents out there don’t realize this and are just quick to blame things in front of them, instead of being smart and figuring out what the cause of their kids’ gaming addiction is.

      • …and America needs to actually start trusting that students aren’t retarded and actually give them some more to shoot for. Get dodgeball the fuck back into elementary school so that games teach them if they are bad at physical sports and have no recourse but to accept it and do something they are good at, or get stronger and faster and be better than the rest. God forbid younger life represent and allegory for older life.

        Japan just needs to unfuck its perceptions on work as a whole. Sadly this article IS an allegory for its adult life. This girl is merely an overachiever. …or I guess in their corporate mindsets, an utter failure because she didn’t succeed.

        • i loved how at my school, they had students get other students to not take the sats

          that said, american schools need to get good teachers, not ones that are burnt out on helping kids, i had to many of them, where their classes blew, but when they had a study hall or were outside of teaching, they were decent people.

          they also need to stop focusing on getting your ass a job, o yea, that was fun, a 1 year long required class that was all about getting that factory job, and crushing any remaining hope you have of not having a fucking shitty job. the class went so far as to tell you collage rarely works, and you will most likely still end up in a shitty job, just 4 years behind the rest.

          than after that, another year long class all about how the government works, how its infallible… guess which two classes almost made me take a 5th year of highshcool.

    • You fail to realize that for some children raised within a pressuring environment, specific things are life or death. I hope she survives and her life turns for the better. Japan is too fucked right now…

        • You got rewards for good grades? Lucky. I got punished (sometimes mental abuse, sometimes physical – but never anything that would leave too many marks because they didn’t want the government to get involved) if I didn’t get great grades. If I got so good grades I got one or two questions wrong on a test (the kind of test that would have 20+ points), that meant I got punished too, just not physically. After all, if I got so close to getting all the points, that meant I just needed to have studied harder and that I had been a lazy ungrateful child.
          Rewards for good grades… AND an allowance. Did you even have to contribute with a significant amount of household chores, and take care of younger siblings? You had it so good.

        • In North America, we see a lot of the other extreme, where teens feel under so little pressure to make an effort in their schoolwork that many end up barely getting through high school, if not just dropping out entirely, then get stuck living paycheck to paycheck working two or three shitty jobs.

        • And you let your experience cloud your mind? Not everyone had the same parents, teachers, classmates as you.

          I had no pressure with homework, but I can imagine the cicumstances it would take for a 12 year old to try and commit suicide due to stress over homework. It’s fucking horrible.

        • Outside of certain east Asian countries 12 year olds normally do not take home work too seriously.
          My biggest fear of not finishing home work when I was 12 was simply getting lectured and not getting my allowance for the week.