Advice on bullying from Sakana-kun

March 20, 2015 Juju Kurihara Lifestyle, news Tags: , , , 1 Comment

In the late February, a sad news was broadcasted. A 13-year-old secondary school boy was killed. It was the end of extreme bullying 

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Some media mentioned that those bullys (ijime / いじめ) had imitated ISIS´ execution of the Japanese journalist, Kenji Goto. We don´t know the truth but the three suspects are not small kids but are adolescent of 17 and 18 years old. That´s not the age who could say, "We were playing ISIS". 

According to the investigation of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2013, 59,345 cases of violent behaviour were acknowledged at schools (primary, secondary and high schools). 185,860 cases were recognized as ijime. Remind you, these are the numbers from the schools where admit there are bullying at their schools. We don´t know how many hidden cases exist. 


After the news of this 13 year-old schoolboy came in public, many parents who also suffer from their children being bullied talked about their experiences in the social media. 

A mother said the class teacher told her that he had never noticed it and the bullies whom the mother was accusing were good students. This mother then went to talk to the principal who told her that no bullying existed in that school. At the end, the mother had no choice than withdrawing her daughter from the school, which the principal called the girl "lazy". 



The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology reported that there were 200 suicide cases of school pupils in 2011 but 58% of them were filed as "unknown motive". This is because when there was no suicide note left, the police conclude the case as "cause of the accident is unknown".   


Bullying in Japan is severe and suicides are the top cause of death among the youngers. I think this is a serious issue not only for the parents but also the society. Japan cannot afford losing children to add to the low birth rate.





Many teachers either ignore or deny the bullying in the classrooms because they are worried about the reputation of the school or their own post. 

As Nobita in Doraemon says, "The worst thing is the teachers who don´t acknowledge the bullying". He is right on one hand. But I had seen the teachers bullying the pupils when I was at the primary school. And that was when I realised teachers were also human beings but not the gods as the parents tried to teach us. 

When I started studying pedagogy, I was surprised that about 1/3 of the students there were bullied at school and all of them said their teachers wouldn´t help them. That was why they wanted to be a teacher to help kids from bullying. I wonder if it´s common in other countries. 

I understand that as long as there are group of people, there are bullies. And the type of bullying is different between boys and girls, commonly boys are more physically violent than girls and girls are meaner. 




A Berlin based Japanese illustrator, Genki Takata has recently published his bullying experience in a series of manga. He was bullied during his last year of the secondary school life. He was punched or kicked by his classmate almost everyday. Since this bully was one of the good students in the class, the teacher wouldn´t believe Genki´s story.   

Luckily, he stood up to the bully. Also he had something he really was passionate about, drawing. Genki could have been one of the children who had no choice other than ending their own lives. I don´t think so many of them are as strong as Genki. 

More manga "Boku no hansei (僕の半生)" is available HERE.





Bullying is not only humans´ problem and exists in even a fish world. This is Sakana-kun (さかなクン). He appears as a little strange guy but once he starts talking about fish, your jaw will drop. 

He was presented in the Discovery Channel as one of three people in the world who knows about fish the most. He loves fish so much that he has eaten 3,228 kinds of fish so far! 

What's more? Sakana-kun has discovered in 2010, a Japanese fish Kunimasu (Oncorhynchus kawamurae), which was thought to had gone extinct in 1940. He was praised by the Emperor because of this discovery. Sakana-kun is really a sugoi guy.


This Sakana-kun´s message "Ijime rareteiru kimi e (いじめられている君へ/ To you who are bullied)" was appeared in Asahi Newspaper in 2006. And this message has become the centre of attention in Twitter again after the incident of the 13-year-old boy. 

Here is the advice on bullying from Sakana-kun.





When I was the first grade of the secondary school, I was in the brass band club and one day all of them stopped talking to one of the club mates. An arrogant senior student suddenly got ignored by everyone in the club when he became the third grade. It just began and I had no idea what happened. 


But this was similar to the fish world. For example, mejina (Girella punctata) always swim in a group in the ocean. I put them in a smaller tank and suddenly they started attacking one. He was hurt. I felt sorry for him and separated him in another tank. 


The rest of mejina then started attacking another one. No matter how many times I rescued one, they would bully a new one. If I separate the bully, there would be a new bully.



This doesn´t happen in the big ocean but as soon as the fish are closed in a small space, bully begins. Even though they are the same species. 


The bullying in my secondary school also happened in a small club. I couldn´t ask the bullies, "Why?" But I often went fishing with the boy who was bullied. 


Outside of the school, just fishing at the coast made him relieved. I couldn´t listen to him or comfort him but I guess he felt safe just having someone on his side. 


I´m a weirdo but all bad things are gone just being in the nature or thinking about fish. 



You won´t have good memories by bullying someone in a small cage or worrying about thing when the school life is the time to make good friends. It´s a waste of time while there are lots of fun stuff outside.

Go under the big sky or to the ocean!




Original article :

Sakana-kun official website :


Stop bullying maybe difficult but as Sakana-kun did, stay with the ones who are bullied and don´t let them isolated is something anyone can do. Don´t you think?


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1 Comment

  1. Maude 8 years Reply

    Thanks for pointing out the role teachers can and should play in cases of bullying, especially when the bullies don’t have the “expected” profile. This can be very difficult for parents as well, if the child speaks up at home. Sometimes, especially with young children, the herd mentality is broken up more easily because the children don’t realize what’s happening, and don’t realize the consequences of this behavior.

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