Date of Original Version




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Abstract or Description

During my time at Carnegie Mellon University and abroad at Japan's Waseda University, I have learned a great deal about the Japanese educational system. Recently, the adolescent suicide rate in Japan has risen to to be twice as high as the same rate in the United States. When studying this discrepancy, one topic that is irrevocably tied to adolescent suicide is the issue of bullying in Japan; although many school officials would prefer to push it under the rug, the fact remains that bullying is a serious issue that many youths face as they make their way through the educational system. According to Japan Times Online, 91% of Japanese students who committed suicide between 2004 and 2007 mentioned school-related problems as one of the main reasons for their untimely deaths, many of which undoubtedly include bullying. To further develop my critical analysis, I analyzed the cultural factors in both countries that shape the way in which bullying occurs and determined which factors contribute to the fatality of bullying in Japanese schools, such as why American teachers are so quick to intervene while their Japanese counterparts either ignore offenses or, in some rare cases, take part. Certainly, many Japanese students face bullying without committing suicide; however, concurrent with the rise in suicides, school refusal and rates of hermit-like behavior have also skyrocketed in the past few decades.


Department of Modern Languages

Yasufumi Iwasaki, advisor