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Juvenile Crime Education and Society – between Japan and the U.S.

misuzu copy.jpg A 14-year- old school boy horrified the nation by murdering two children and leaving the severed head of one of them outside the gate of school in Kobe. That crime was the newest and the most horrible thing to me when I was the same age as of the boy, and that is vividly reminded in my life. School crimes are tragically not that uncommon in the United States, but, in Japan, an attack of this nature and scale has never happened at a school. Although Japan is still one of the safest developed nations in the world, youth crime has dramatically increased in recent years.


The fact is that today’s young people are woefully lacking in the moral values that are necessary to make them understand and value the basic importance of life. Because of the development in biological, economical, political, psychological, and sociological factors, more people are individualized to cope with the new environment and even more young people are pressurized by these factors. In other words, socio-economic changes are the root cause of the problems. Thus, I strongly believe that if the education improves then the society also would improve and prosper, because social moral is always learned from the education.

Education is all that matters in the world. This essay will discuss and compare the main causes of crime both in Japan and the Western countries especially in the United States. Then, this essay will explore the problems in protection for children and providing civil education to students, and the ways of how to remedy the problems by two choices; one is the rebuilding the bonds of family-ship and neighbor-ship if it’s possible to bring back the tradition in today’s society, and the other is to be independent like westerners.
There are a variety of reasons for problems; children who are too spoiled, schools are too lax, and a pressure cooker society that looks down on failure. The school crime in Japan is not like the States, but the crime rate is significantly getting higher today. Rate) This date is about the number of minors aged 12 to 19 who committed serious crimes such as murder and robbery.
There are similarity of Juvenile crime both in Japan and the United States; economical development, Individualization, lack of motivation in learning, and lack of moral values. Due to the development of economy in society became individualized; IT revolution, globalization, and international development, the more people live differently so that they fits the special needs of a particular thing, and the more juvenile in both countries are also individualized as their parents and tend to easily affected by their around like computer simulation of war game. In fact, most of juvenile crimes in the developed countries are causes of such as IT revolution. For example, from the recent news in Japan, there was a horrific juvenile crime –a 12-year-old schoolgirl stabbed to death by her classmate. The girl and the victim had fallen out over messages they sent each other on the internet, and also investigators say that the girl might be affected by the horror movies which is about creating murders and fighting at school. Compared to this incident in Japan, the number of serious crime by juveniles in the States are also affected by the computers. In the movie, “Elephant,”2 schoolboys commit crime at high school. This movie was based on the real story that happened in Portland in Oregon. The 2guys commit crime simulating the killing game with guns which order from the internet. They killed so many students just for fun. It was horrible. They are woefully lacking in the moral values that are the basic importance of life. If more enriched curriculums to motive their interests are offered to the juveniles, it could increase their motivation in learning and could be prevent the crimes.
Also, there are differences of juvenile crime both in Japan and the United States; Juvenile crime in Japan is significantly lower than the States, Japan is a disciplined society because of “haji” moral, which means Japanese people have acute consciousness about how they appear to others and about keeping their reputation intact and it’s important to be considered part of the group to emphasize the benefits of harmony in Japanese culture compared to the value of being an individual in western culture, and also access to guns, drugs and alcohol are limited in Japan, and the gap between poor and rich is not existed as a big issue in Japanese society. The gap between poor and rich can be a root of social issue in several countries, though fortunately we don’t have that because of the Japanese government social security. If people had no chance to get a good education because of poverty, they might think another things such as committing crimes. Moreover, Guns and drugs are easily available in the States, unlike Japan. Even it’s easy for juveniles to get alcohol in Japan, drugs are more effective to people. Thus, those factors; easy access to guns and drugs and alcohol, and the gap between poor and rich produce more juvenile crimes in the States and the other developed countries are not like Japan. In the other words, Japan had been keeping lower rate of crime because of those factors.
Education system in Japan, Environment especially after school, and Society are main reasons of juvenile crime in Japan. Japanese schoolchildren study very hard in order to pass the entrance exams of higher-level universities because after entering such schools, they will be respected and sure to get a job at a good company. However, they are pressured by their parents to work hard even they don’t want to do. Compared to the western education system especially to the American, as a comparison, western education style is like “wild tree”, and Japanese education style is like “bonsai”(dwarfed tree). In the other words, western education is more flexible and Japanese education is more rigid. Though schoolchildren in America learn that “To make the difference” is an expression that always has a positive meaning whether they are talking about something about big or small because their parents believe their natural ability, schoolchildren in Japan learn that harmony of group is important to work hard together.
As the proverb says, “The nail stands up will be pounded down”(Deru kui wa utareru). Individuals within the some group have a tendency to act in similar way, partly because protecting themselves from being ostracized (murahachibu). Such group protection also causes individuals to refrain from becoming independent, however, and there are many examples of groupism working negatively.
(The Japanese Mind, 197)
Schoolchildren in Japan have a weaker sense of individuality, so they are not free to express their will. Even those things should be taught in the civil education to motivate juvenile’s interests, unfortunately, that have been not done in Japanese society.
Also, the linkage between schooling and work place is weaker is weaker in Japan. The schools don’t offer the opportunities to involve in the work supporting their interests, so the juveniles have difficulty with getting jobs after they graduate. Thus, it increases more slackers, and those juvenile tend to commit crimes.
To form a strong education system, teachers and school curriculum should be more qualified. When you build a house, you need strong pots and a firm foundation to sustain the house. If the foundation of house were unstable, the house would easily fall down. The teachers in the States are trained to be flexible to come up to the students’ will, but In Japan, teachers are not so available to sensitively come up to the students’ will because of unqualified teacher training curriculum. Thus, the foundation of education is not enough in Japan.
Environment of after school is also considerable main cause of juvenile crime in Japan. Communication between neighbors is not enough in he current society. So, what juveniles are doing after school is invisible for both parents and schools. Even the schoolchildren are free to play after school, they don’t have opportunities to play with other kids after school, because most of them have to go to cram school and the places to play are limited.
To remedy of the situation, reform of in education should be done in the society. Juvenile should offered the freedom of choice, enriched curriculum, wider opportunities for the entrance, and also civil education should be made more stronger. Fortunately, Japanese people have fear of social exclusion, which help the people to prevent the committing crime easily in the society. Also, remedial and therapeutic approach should be offered to schools.
Although Japan and Kawagoe have significantly lower crime rates than the United States, they might profitably examine Salem’s strengths, such as its neighborhood crime watch program, parenting education, drug abuse education, youth service team, antidropout program, anticruising ordinances, and victim-offender reconciliation project.
(Preventing Crime in America and Japan, 193)
Finally, I believe that rebuilding the bonds of family-ship and neighbor-ship is necessary in current society in Japan even though it is also important for Japanese juvenile to be more independent. Although, the tradition exists only as spectrum and Japanese people are chasing it to bring back in current society, we should encourage strong interaction between family and neighbors of the juvenile.

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