Japanese Manga and Animation Helping to Confronting the Social Issue of Bullying and the Kikokushijo Problem

As of 2012, there were over seventy thousand cases of bullying in Japan. About three thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight acts of harassment were also reported, meaning the acts of bullying among the school going students is more common in Japan. A report by National Police Agency confirmed that about five hundred and eleven students had been arrested for bullying offences and were put in police custody (Goodman et al., 2012). Therefore, bullying has become a social issue in Japan as a whole. This essay’s purpose is to explicitly expound on Japanese Manga and Animation confronting the social problems of bullying. Further, the article will meet the goals of this topic of discussion by integrating three interviews. Two of the interviews are on students while one is on a university professor (Smith et al., 2016). 
To begin, the paper explains some of the origins of bullying among the school children in Japan. Roger Goodman, in his essay on the fifty-years of the changing status and perception of Japan’s returnee children otherwise known as “Kikokushijo,” records that the returnees were the children of Japan citizens who had been to foreign countries, such as Great Britain, for work. When the parents of these children go to work in the foreign countries with their children in tow, they are enrolled in a new institution of learning alongside the children of that nation (Goodman et al., 2012). They learn the foreign language and begin to assimilate the new skills and culture, forgetting their own. After sometime and upon the completion of the work contacts of their parents, they are forced to return to their motherland, Japan (Wood, 2013). 
Reenrollment of the Kikokushijo, children of the Japanese expats, into Japan schools and institutions of learning, causes discomfort, as the children from the foreign nation have to relearn of their culture language and skills to survive (Goodman et al., 2012). The Kikokushijo were reported being regarded highly by other students since they were considered to be in a different social class and as a way to fit back to the community and the learning institutions, some Kikokushijo were known to be very ruthless. Roger Goodman records scenarios in 1982 in which a nineteen-year-old boy murdered his uncle. Such children were causing mischief as a way to evade school routines in Japan that they were not used to while in the foreign countries (Heinze & Thomas, 2014). 
One way Japanese mange and animation has led to confrontation of bullying is by bringing attention to bullying and the creation of the Kikokushijo problem. Many Manga writers during their youth where labeled as nerds or geeks by other students. During their time as students, they spent free time in class drawing and making stories. This would make them targets for ridicule and bullying and inter would inspire them to create manga with the characters they were surrounded by. Their stories would describe a main character overcoming stronger opponents, something anyone can relate to, from school to the office. Eventually this inspiration would trickle down to the right person, and action could be taken at the source.
 The ministry of education in collaboration with foreign countries decided to advocate for full-time Japanese schools in foreign countries. The purpose of such schools’ in foreign countries was to make sure that the Japanese children were taught their language culture and skills so as to enable them to cope up with similar situations back in Japan and avoid bullying incidences (Smith et al., 2016). With time, education had proved vital in combatting bullying among the Kikokushijo and the local students. The perception of the Kikokushijo in Japan was slowly changing to an improved image. The reputation of the one-time foreigners changed because they were turning to be elites in the community (Graffeo, 2014). 
From the interview with Stephanie, she agrees that bullying is a major problem among the Japanese school going students, and manga does an excellent job by exposing the social vice to the attention of the public (Wood, 2013). Therefore, exposing the bullying through manga to the public is equally a way to confront bullying. Both parents and teachers were made aware of the dangers the weaker students can be exposed to by their senior student. The students become aware of the incidents of bullying to take extra caution and avoid bullying. 
Though incorporation of bullying acts in manga, readers were able to play an extra vital role in confronting bullying among the school going children. As confirmed by Stephanie, the weaker characters used in Manga will fight to survive the bullying acts at all-time hence giving courage to those in a similar situation in their respective schools. Those bullied should stand firm to rebuke the act from the senior students. Similarly, the act of writing the animation or manga enables the readers to be aware of the conditions that may expose them to similar situations of bullying. Without awareness many students could still be undergoing the same situation of being bullied.
The second interview, with Mariko also proves to be crucial as far as confronting bullying as a social issue. She confirms that she has never witnessed bullying, but the point, in this case, is that through reading the Manga, she has been made aware of bullying as well as the dangers of bullying. In addition, she has been made aware too, of the group of people who are prone to bullying.
The third interview with Professor Patrick Galbraith acted as more of an all in one response to manga’s reasons for including bullying in it subject matter. It is targeted at young audiences and so, it tries to tackle issues concerning them. It also ties in to important social issues of the time as well, such as the Kikokushijo in japan. Manga and animation can act as a reference for young students struggling to face the challenges of bullying.
Japanese Manga has help confront the social issue of bullying as it brings to the attention of the public that which their children are exposed to at school and other learning institutions. In addition, manga and animation can invoke courage in the readers who are also victims of bullying to continue fighting to free themselves from these situations. Finally, Manga has brought to the attention of the authority, the social vice and to take appropriate measures in combatting bullying by correcting issues with the school system that create these sort of problems.

Reference 
Graffeo, C. (2014). The Great Mirror of Fandom: Reflections of (and On) Otaku and Fujoshi in Anime and Manga (Doctoral dissertation, University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida).
Goodman, R., Imoto, Y., & Toivonen, T. H. I. (2012). A sociology of Japanese youth: from returnees to NEETs (Vol. 83). Routledge.
Heinze, U., & Thomas, P. (2014). Self and salvation: visions of hikikomori in Japanese manga. Journal of the German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo, 26(1), 151–169.
Smith, P. K., Kwak, K., & Toda, Y. (Eds.). (2016). School Bullying in Different Cultures. Cambridge University Press.
Wood, A. (2013). Drawing Disability in Japanese Manga: Visual Politics, Embodied Masculinity, and Wheelchair Basketball in Inoue Takehiko’s REAL. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 37(4), 638–655.
 
Interviews:
Mariko
How is manga’s depiction of bullying a Reflection on society in Japan?
-First of all, I have never seen bullying in my life so It’s my guess. I think bulling in manga is stereotypes that most Japanese think.

Has bullying always been present in manga?
-I read some mangas in my life and most of manga has bulling or discrimination.

What is the purpose of having a weak character who can be easily bullied in Manga?
- I think most weak character is main character’s friend or become friend after, so using weak character is easy way to makes people think the main character has justice and he or she is hero.

What purpose does bullying play in manga?
-I think most bulling in manga stopped by main character so author want to tell bulling is bad.

Is it possible that many readers of manga in Japan suffer from bullying?
-I think people writing manga is not popular person in the class. I think most people writing manga is geek or nerd. I think they are easy to be targeted. So I think some of manga authors saw bulling or had bullied.

Stephanie
How is manga’s depiction of bullying a Reflection on society in Japan?
-Most bullying in manga is done by a group of teenagers, which reflects the Japanese society because bullying in schools is one of the big problem in Japan.

Has bullying always been present in manga?
-Not always, some manga can have a story without having a character who doesn’t suffer from bullying.

What is the purpose of having a weak character who can be easily bullied in Manga?
-So the character can have a conflict that can make the story interesting.

What purpose does bullying play in manga?
-It shows the reality of the Japanese society; there’s a group of people bullying one weak people. But I think it’s important to have a character that has a strong mind or thought that they believe they won’t lose or can beat the bully’s, to show for the readers.

Is it possible that many readers of manga in Japan suffer from bullying?
-Yes.
I don’t remember why I got bullied by those people, but I remember that no one (neither my friends) helped me, and also I can’t tell to my parents and teachers about it, because I was afraid that it might just escalate them to bully me. Characters in manga, freeing themselves from bullying with their own strength was motivational for me.

Professor Patrick Galbraith
Manga as a medium takes up bullying as a social issue just as it does other social issues. It is a concern for young readers, and so appears in works targeting them, but also appears in moments of heightened public concern about this social problem. Structurally, in long-form stories featuring younger characters, having bullies creates conflict, rivalry and provides opportunities for younger characters, especially boys, to grow and face challenges.

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