26-4. Corporal punishment in Japanese schools

Shoji Sugita
    2001年9月上旬、Miss G.L.から、「日本の体罰について要約した英文の研究」を知りたい旨のE-mail が
    ものを整理して送ったが、それもEnglish-speaking people にとっては、役に立つだろうと考えたので、
    少し整理して以下、記述する。内容は、T関係法令、 U判例、 V世論調査、W杉田の意見と提言,で
    Preface: There would not be a English version on corporal punishment in Japanese schools on
          WWWs, so, I will describe it as the followings;

TRules on discipline and corporal punishment in Japanese schools
1.The school Educational Law    Article 11:
  Principals and teachers are permitted to administer discipline to students,if necessary for the
  purpose of education under the regulations of the government. However, no form of 'corporal
  punishment' shall be allowed. (Read on for some definitions of corporal punishment.)
2.The regulation of The School Educational Law   Article 13:
  Whenever principals and teachers administer discipline to students they should take into
  consideration factors such as age and maturity.
3.Guidelines ruled by The Ministry of Justice
  1.To injure the students, including spanking and kicking, is prohibited.
  2.To cause serious physical pain to the students is prohibited corporal punishment. However
   discipline, appropriately utilized,is not considered corporal punishment. With regard to
   disciplinary measures, the most important considerations are the age and maturity of the
   students, and the place, time and seriousness of the offence.  We should decide using our
   own discretion whether it is prohibited corporal punishment or not.
  3.Detention after school is not considered corporal punishment, but is a legal disciplinary
   measure. The length of the detention is at the discretion of the teacher.
  4.Not letting students go to the washroom or not letting them eat meals shall be considered
   corporal punishment.
  5.To use force to quell a disturbance in the classroom shall not be considered corporal
  6.Students may be compelled to perform certain services, such as cleaning or extra work for
   some offences.
4.Guidebook edited by the Meeting for the Study of Instruction, Ministry of Education
  As the teachers are in the position of parents or guardians of the students, they shall be
  permitted to strike a student lightly as punishment. The reason being that this kind of
  punishment is usually administered by the parent or the guardian. Teachers shall be
  permitted to administer such punishment, even if the force infringes the body of the students.
  Such force is considered to be necessary for the proper control students and effective in
  education, namely what they call "affectionate rod" or "loving patting".
  Of course, teachers should esteem the student's rights with the sound discretion of the school
  administrators. They should try to avoid using such force as much as possible, for they may
   infringe upon the body of the students, even though they are administering what might be
  considered an "affectionate rod" or "loving pat"
U. Tipical court case
Corporal Punishment by a female teacher    Tokyo Higher Court, April 1,1981
Junior high school student (15 years old) in Mito City. Tokyo Higher Court judged as follows;
The female teacher was not so angry with the student nor was irritated, but initially only scolded
him orally. She then struck him moderately on his forehead with an opened hand. It was not so
In generally speaking as for disciplinary measures, scolding students orally is the best way.
However, sometimes 'patting' students on their shoulders or their backs slightly is a kind of
skinship of teachers and students, and is also useful and effective in education. It makes the
students more aware of their behavior and encourages them to develop good manners.When
we use disciplinary measures, we must consider the age, sex, the seriousness of the offense,
maturity of body and mind. We must judge each case using the facts at hand.
Reversed, and affirmed. Not guilty. 
V Public Poll of corporal punishment
Parents opinion of corporal punishment in Japan
                       August in 1996 All Japan PTA & Asahi Shinbun
1. According to circumstances, corporal punishment by the teacher
  is permitted to some degree.........................................................................52.2%

2. Corporal punishment is necessary for good discipline...................... 17.0 %

3. In any case, corporal punishment by the teacher is not permitted........ 25.6 %

4. Some other opinions....................................................................................... 3.5 %

5. No answers.....................................................................................................   5.4 %
W Comments by Shoji Sugita
The School Education Law rules as " Principals and teachers will administer punishment
to students, but shall not executed corporal punishment to them." In this case, these two
punishments are not divided by a line of legality, but there is a zone like the "Play" of the
steering wheel of a car, so whenever the teacher or the principal will use such force on the
student as the way of punishment, they would be legal discipline of the student and are
lawful for them.

And the " Play " is different from the length and the width between the track, the standard
car, the small car and others, therefore, the principal or the teacher should consider carefully
about the age, gender, strength of the body, mental issue, maturity of the student in their
adminiatration of the physical punisnment.

To use reasonable force
To use force to quell a disturbance shall not be considered illegal corporal punishment,
and also it is the same as for the protection of person or property. In Japan, somepeople
misunderstand it, so they had better learn the Pennsylvanira Code in the U.S. as a sample.

Corporal punishment and suspension
As for In-school suspension, principals do not have the right of " Out-school Suspension "
of the students at the junior high schools and the elementary schools in Japan. Therefore
we should devise the way of " In-school suspension " more wisely.

We have to study some guidelines of corporal punishment from other countries or states.
And also we have to study of the Guidelines ruled by the Ministry of Justice in Japan, and
Guidebook editted by the Meeting for the Study of Instruction, Ministry of Education, and I think
it is better to cut the last paragraph of this Guidebook, for it makes us confused about the
real meaning of this book.

In the future
Corporal punishment may be administered more carefully and the number of cases will
decrease in the world. But, I heard the class environment became worse in some school
districts where corporal punishment was banned. And the purpose of education is to
educate the students to be good citizens, so, student discipline for any country is very
important. I think the use of corporal punishment comes and goes and is going slowly in
the direction of abolition of it, in fact.
September 10, 2001, re-arranged