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Japan: Kids these days

What do you do when you've had enough of young girls sitting on the floor of the train, talking on their phone and acting like it's their home, when meanwhile you've had a gruelling day at work and just want to get through? One 35-year-old man in Yokohama decided that this time he'd had enough and kicked the 17-year-old girl sitting and chatting with friends beside him, apparently knocking her so hard that her face hit the train car door, chipping one of her teeth.

Bloggers had mixed opinions about the incident, but many were sympathetic with the man's choice of action. At News Impression, one blogger approves of the method:

自分もたぶん蹴るだろうな。
言ってもわからない(無視して聞かない)腐ったガキには少し痛い思いさせても体に教えるしかないのは普通の教育だよ!

I would probably kick her too.
These spoiled brats who don't care when you tell them [things] (or ignore you and don't listen), while it may leave them with a painful memory, the only way to teach them is through their body — this is a normal education!

Blogger Fukuro writes about having a similar experience and nearly doing the same thing:

私も似たケースを経験しました。
電車内通路で少年達が座り込んで談笑していましたが、降りる時にその真ん中突っ切ってやりましたね。

I experienced a similar case.
These young people were sitting together in the train in people's way, having a pleasant chat, and when I got off I intentionally cut cross right through them.

睨んでましたが、睨み返してホームで待機していたらドアが閉まって行っちゃいました。
あそこで喧嘩になっていたら・・・

I glared at them, but as I stared back from the platform, the doors closed and the train took off.
If that had turned into an argument…

Another blogger explains the problems involved in trying to get off trains nowadays:

たとえば、しょぼいJRだと、乗り降りの際にいちいち、開閉ボタンを押さなくてはならない。
最近、こういう電車に乗ると、その開閉ボタンのある位置に立っていて、そのボタンを押そうにもそこに立っているひとが、何かのゲームに夢中だったりして、降りたくても押したくても押せないときがある。

For example, on useless JR [trains], each time you get on and off, you have to press the button to open the doors.
Recently, there have been times when I get on that kind of train and I try to push the button to get off, I find somebody stand near to the open/close button and in the middle of playing a game. Even though I want to push the button, I can't [because they're in the way].

もちろん、そこに立っている人で、その駅で降りなくても、中には親切に押してくれる人も居ます。
しかし、こういう人はまれで、とにかく、どこから手を伸ばせばその開閉ボタンに触れることができるだろうか・・・。と悩ましげに苦悩してしまう。

Of course, among these people who stand [by the open/close button], there are also those who, even though they are not getting off [at the same stop], kindly push the button for me.
However, such people are rare, and anyways, I have to think hard about how I can reach the buttons.

One issue that was mentioned in quite a few blogs were the conflicting stories of the “kicker” and the “kickee”. Over at NEET no Me, one blogger congratulates the employee for kicking the girl and weighs in on this question:

GoodJob会社員!
公共の機関で、我が物顔で人が通るところに座り込んで占拠する、頭がおかしい若者が多い昨今の日本に、このような正義の味方みたいな人が登場するとは、地獄に仏のような話だ。

Good Job, company employee!
In today's Japan, where these crazy young people sit and occupy space in public facilities, in places where people are passing through, and act as if they owned the place, the fact that this kind of person — a friend of justice — makes an appearance, this is really a sight for the gods.

35歳の会社員が、突然何もしていない少女を蹴るなんてことはするわけないので、必ず蹴られた少女は、ことの引き金をひいているはずである。

There is no reason that a 35-year old company employee would suddenly kick the young girl who wasn't doing something, so for sure this girl who was kicked must have been the trigger for this whole thing.

それに、そう言う馬鹿達は、自分の良いようにしか、しゃべらないので、
注意されたけど無視したと言うことは言わないだろう。

These kind of stupid people only talk about things that are convenient for them,
so even though they were warned, they are not going to admit that they ignored [that warning].

Not all (although surprisingly many) bloggers were sympathetic with the man, and many were actually critical of both sides. One blogger asked if this was only a problem with young people, relating an experience dealing with the rudeness of older folks:

中高年のオジサンオバサンたちの、マナーの悪いことには目を疑う。
うちの会社の向かいにあるカラオケ喫茶にくる、50代〜70代くらいの中高年は、車道に車がはみ出していようが平気で駐車してしまうし、あまつさえ、駐車場がないときにはへっちゃらでほかの事務所の駐車場に無断駐車する。うちの会社も被害をこうむったことは少なくない。
店の外に出てでかい声で電話してることなんて日常茶飯事。

The manners of middle-aged and older men and women are so bad that I hardly believe what I see.
There are these 50 to 70 year-old people who come to the karaoke cafe across from the company where I work, and without much thought these people park their cars so that they're sticking out over the roadway. Then in addition, when they leave the parking lot outside of the cafe, they talk loudly on their phone. This is a daily occurrence.

Finally, for an imaginative graphic rendition of the event, check out the pic posted at this blog.

5 comments

  • Chris, I’m so glad to have found your posts – my Japanese has been languishing for the last few years, along with my knowledge of contemporary Japan. Reading your excellent translations and commentary along with the original excerpted Japanese posts is just the thing to ease me back into nihongo.

    This particular post itself reminded me just how different the social dynamics and mores of both tradional and contemporary Japan are from (a) one another and (b) my own English culture.

    BTW, I found you via fellow GV-er Jose Murilo Junior on my company’s facebook app, Blog Friends:

    http://apps.facebook.com

  • […] 17 year old gets teeth broken for sitting on floor people sympathize with kicker awww man. what this says about Japan is rather scary. (tags: japan culture violence ethics moral) […]

  • Luke: Very glad you like the post! Yes the social dynamics in Japanese blogs says something important I think about Japan in general. I’m always surprised what I find.

  • I could possibly understand the girl getting a clip round the ear for causing a racket on her phone, but a kick is simply assault. Glad the police arrested him.

    Most of the complaints about these youngsters seem to involve them getting in the way. What’s wrong with a polite smile and an “Excuse me, please”?

  • kari

    I am a sixteen year old girl and I live in England. I do not agree with the statement that all young people are rude and noisy. I also disagree that it is just young people. Face it. People are like that. You DO get rude people and polite people no matter what the age! You also get people that are never happy, no matter how the world changes!

    The man that hit that girl…did he tell her to be quiet first? I maybe would have understood more if she was being disrespectful. To me though, just lashing out at her because he wanted some quite is 1) selfish and 2) violent!

    What has happened to manners?!

    Plus half of the “noisy people” aren’t as bad as you think. If people talked to each other and politely asked if they could keep it down, I am sure a lot of the time, they would.

    I have always been taught to respect elders. However,the younger generations are constantly being criticised and I think it’s discusting. Everyone was young once and everyone will be old too.

    I feel that the man kicking that girl deserved to be arrested. People like him sound like a danger to society. I mean…hahah! People moan about the younger generation. Well, the older generations are the ones who made us who we are! It’s their fault. I think they all deserve a spanking if you ask me! xx heh! xx

    But whatever, I think everyone should learn some respect. The elderly and the young. Neither are better off than the other.

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