Today I am going to discuss a topic very close to my heart – bullying. As you guys know, I have been researching into many topics regarding the Japanese culture and sharing them with you in informative blog posts; I am sure that many of you who also enjoy learning about Japan, will find my posts an interesting read and hopefully walk away having learnt something new.
This blog post is a post that everyone can learn from, not just those who are interested in the Japanese culture. I have been looking into bullying recently, especially bullying forms in Japan. I am shocked of the extremes bullying can go to, and the little others do to prevent it from happening. You might be wondering why I would feel the need to write about bullying in Japan when bullying is happening at my local school around the corner here in the UK, that reason being that bullying in Japan seems more extreme than here in the UK because of the etiquette and schooling system in Japan, and that the infamous term ‘Ijime’ and high suicide rate due to bullying is a good example of raising awareness of its seriousness. I hope to teach and somewhat shock my readers into understanding the differences in bullying, for them to be made aware of what bullying can lead to. Some of you may already be aware of the term Ijime especially if you are interested in Japan, for the rest of you who have no idea and just happened to stumble across my post, then I hope you will walk away from my post with a fire to stop bullying if you ever witness it happening.
First of all I am going to discuss my experience with bullying; I don’t want people to think that I know nothing about the topic, as I have been attacked regarding some of my previous posts by people who have not properly read the post and were not aware that I myself had gone through the issues I was trying to raise within that post.My experience:
When I started Infants school, I had 3 friends who left suddenly when we started year 2 (7 years old); I had to start again and made friends with a couple of girls who had been friends since the beginning of school (lets call them L – the main bully, and S – her partner in crime). They were supposed to be my friends and sometimes acted like it, but quite often they would either ignore me, call me names, or make fun of me and get others to join in (usually those who were their ‘friends’ as well). It didn’t happen every day but our parents were forever having ‘words’ with each other and with the Head Mistress; one time we got pulled in because there was a rumour that L had flushed my head down the toilet. It didn’t happen and apparently it was me who had spread the rumour. L began to look like the victim of having a horrible rumour spread about her, and I was terrified that I would be even more bullied now that this confusion had come to our parents’ attention. I remember crying so hard that my mother actually told me off for crying loudly instead of trying to understand why I was crying in the first place, I’m not sure where that rumour came from and never will, perhaps from L herself.I was scared of being alone so I continued to hang out with these girls and face potential bullying because I was afraid that being alone and bullied was even worse. I was invited to all the parties, and they were to mine; I went to their house for tea and sleepovers but they weren’t really invited to mine because my family were aware of what was going on and weren’t keen. You might wonder why I would continue to hang out with people who I knew were bullying me, but the bottom line is I was more afraid of being alone. The consistency of our friendship was all over the place, one day I’d be the best of friends with L and another day with S, then there would be a few days of bullying and then it would go back to how it was.When I entered Junior school (ages 8-11 years old) I was still in their class; I made friends with other people and got invited to their houses, but it never lasted long and I always ended up being back in their clique. One break-time I had been playing with some other girls in my class, but S informed the teacher that I had PUNCHED L in the stomach during this time, and she was clutching her stomach but I had been no where near her! I started crying and told the teacher it was a lie but she didn’t believe me and scolded me; no one, not even the girls I had been with, stood up for me. At the end of the day, I asked S why she said such a thing that wasn’t true, she just shrugged her shoulders and said ‘I know it’s not true’ before leaving to go home.L had managed to make herself look like the victim twice already when she was the bully. She had S doing all of her dirty work to make the lies appear true, whereas I had no one to back me up; other girls (some who had been bullied by them also) didn’t want to get involved and the majority were simply unaware of what was happening, even I myself wasn’t entirely sure as everyone made me feel like it was my fault. I was never physically touched, it was all mental and made me miserable, so often I would cry at home and pretend to be sick just so that I could stay home. The only time they were nice to me was when they were focused on someone else or one of them was off sick. Sometimes we would have a good run of days but then suddenly they would turn on me for no reason, I guess this is why I was unable to speak out about being bullied and felt like it was my fault, I mean who could say they were being bullied when they were often invited over for dinner, sleepovers and birthday parties? Well the answer to that which everyone, including myself, was oblivious to – manipulation. Less chances of getting caught bullying someone if you appear to be their best friend at the same time right?
I have no idea why these girls treated me so poorly, perhaps they didn’t realise they were doing it or understood how much it upset me, or perhaps it was because they felt the need to make themselves feel better because things weren’t going well for them at home. Maybe they felt the need to have some control over something, so having people follow them who were afraid to be bullied made them look popular, or having someone cringe whenever they came near made them feel more powerful. Quite often, that is the case; if I remember rightly, both of these girls had parents who were splitting up, so maybe they envied me? Maybe they just needed to feel like they had people at school that wouldn’t leave them? Maybe they weren’t getting enough attention at home?I made a new friend a couple of years later but just when it seemed like I was finally getting what I wanted, a best friend whom I could do everything with, her other best friend from another class was clearly jealous of me and it wasn’t long before she had roped my new friend into ignoring me and running away like it was some game. My new friend and S soon became best friends and ditched me; we would all hang out and it would either be me or another girl (let’s call her A) who would get bullied. They would run away from us and make fun of us, spread rumours and usually they would pick one of us to bully for the day. I remember that A would either not come in or would be crying before registration had even started – the majority of the time my parents forced me in, by this stage aware of why I was becoming ‘sick’ so frequently.
I did become friends with a girl two years below me, she lived on my road and we had lots of fun together but my ‘friends’ were frustrated that I had someone else to be with besides them and sometimes they would try to get me involved as much as possible with whatever they were doing just so that I wouldn’t have the chance to speak to her during play time.I was put in a different class at the opposite end of the year when I entered High School (ages 11-16 years old); I would not have to face those girls for another 4 years until both sides of the year would come together for year 10 joint classes. I made friends with a girl (let’s call her J) who was quite used to being a leader and dishing out peer pressure, there was a bit more bullying (which obviously upset me that I was to go through it again) but it wasn’t malicious like the girls before. It upset me at first but as I grew older it petered out.
I think J wasn’t aware of her actions because it was a behaviour she was used to, both at home and at her previous school unlike the bullies before. It wasn’t long before the ‘bullying’ stopped and turned into banter that didn’t really bother me. J seemed to have a real interest in being my friend and invited me over to hers every day after school. There may have been some bullying within the friendship circle to begin with, but I can’t help but feel grateful that whatever happened J always had my back and would always defend me against others, especially when my mum died; this time round I grew from the bullying.It wasn’t long before I bumped into those girls again, but they were as nice as pie to me; I was actually quite scared to face them again, I even remember saying to L one day (the main bully) that I thought she hated me when she mentioned we hadn’t spoken in a while but she told me she didn’t hate me, it was almost like she couldn’t remember anything; her and S also seemed like they weren’t as close anymore (I also remember everyone having a nickname for her behind her back), perhaps they really didn’t have any idea of how they were treating me and how much it hurt me.After all this time, I left school holding onto just Pixie, I don’t talk to any of the other girls unless I happen to bump into them. I wish my parents had been more supportive instead of thinking that I was just being silly and that it was easy to walk away from, and I wish the teachers actually looked at the situation and heard both sides of the story instead of believing the first part of the story that they were told.I even got bullied by MIDDLE-AGED WOMEN when I entered the working world. I was shy, weak and afraid of being alone, I took it to heart every time and I am still like this sometimes because I care about how others perceive me; but I am stronger now and I know how to put them in their place regardless of their age and gender, and I will not resort to bullying and gossiping just because someone has a problem with me. If they don’t like me then whatever, as long as I know that I haven’t given them a reason to dislike me, then whatever their problem happens to be is just petty and not worth my time. I never give anyone a reason to dislike me, so whatever issues those girls/women had was nothing to do with me and they must’ve just been using me as a scapegoat to feel better about themselves – I like to joke that they must’ve been jealous lol.
I was a victim of bullying countless of times by many different people; I don’t really hold resentment for those that bullied me because it isn’t worth my time, I only resent myself for not stepping forward and stopping the bullying that I witnessed, and I hold resentment for the others who didn’t try to stop it when they were fully aware of it happening to me.
Part 2 will be focusing on bullying in general, especially in Japan where the cases of bullying are more aggressive; I will be focusing on the extremities of bullying in Japan and how to spot if someone you know is getting bullied, or if you yourself are being bullied.
I hope that you will learn something new; for every person that is brave enough to share their story about being bullied and to have someone learn something from their experience, I believe that we can spread the knowledge of bullying and the seriousness of it. I have previously been too nervous to share my experience but I don’t care anymore because there are far more people out there getting bullied much worse than I ever was. There are extremities which I will share with you in the next post that don’t come close to what I experienced; bullying is a topic that everyone is aware of and yet there are only a small portion who actually do anything about it. I hope that you will thoroughly read these posts and consider – Are you a bully? If not then will you stop it when you see it happening?
Were you bullied? Are you being bullied now? If you have problems and would like to talk to someone then feel free to comment me or email me at Kawaii_Kanae@hotmail.co.uk and I would be happy to share advice. It’s nice to know that someone else has been or is going through the same thing as you; these websites also have helpful tips for bullying: