Teachers pin down knife-wielding man with two-pronged 'man catcher'

AICHI —

Police on Monday were called to an elementary school in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, after a man illegally entered the premises carrying a kitchen knife. It is believed the 62-year-old man walked into the school by the open front gate at around 7:40 a.m. before the children had arrived and was then challenged by the school principal and teachers.

When they realized the man was armed, three of them decided to use a “sasumata,” a two-pronged device similar to a “man catcher,” which was a type of forked pole weapon used in Europe up until the 18th century. Police said the teachers used the weapon to pin the man down until they arrived. Police said that no-one was injured in the incident.

According to eyewitnesses, the man was first spotted on the premises by a female teacher, who informed the principal. The principal attempted to address the man, but the man just unwrapped a newspaper bundle he was carrying to reveal the kitchen knife. The principal said he instructed staff to fetch the fork-like tool, following which three teachers surrounded the man and held him in place using the weapon. Police quoted the suspect as saying, “I came here to threaten the children.”

The “sasumata” was originally used during the Edo era for apprehending suspects. Modern variants of the “sasumata” are made for use by mounted riot police and are designed to significantly reduce the chance of injury to restrained civilians. The school principal told police that he and his staff had performed training drills using the man catcher in preparation for just such an incident. “Our preparations really paid off in this instance,” he said.

Compiled from news reports

  • -1

    shogun36

    That must have been a sight to see, the teachers pinning the guy with a "man catcher."

  • 3

    tokyokawasaki

    Well done. This could have turned out to be really bad. Hats off to the school for providing training and to the teachers for taking immediate action without any meetings or committees first.

  • 1

    Godan

    Congrats to the principal and the teachers and their training drills! This is great news, indeed. Who knows what this man had in mind? Oh, and as the father of a child in elementary school, I can only hope that this will resonate with other educators throughout Japan and they will conduct similar drills and be ready in case something like this happens at their school.

  • 0

    gogogo

    I came here to threaten the children.

    What a loony.

  • 1

    Utrack

    Police quoted the suspect as saying, “I came here to threaten the children.”

    That guy was crazy. Like those kids don't have anything else better to do than be accosted by him.

  • -1

    NetNinja

    I've seen those toys but I've never had a chance to play with them.

  • -1

    ReformedBasher

    I'm being cruel but it would have been nice to see "original" sandogu in action, all 3 of them.

    Then again, if the guy was armed, maybe I'm not being cruel at all.

    I guess the modern "safe" satsumata is used to protect the user against going to court themselves. Sad sign of the times.

  • 0

    Cricky

    Great job, really great job, it takes some guts to restrain someone, I hope they all get a medal.

  • -2

    goddog

    A taser would have been easier.

  • -3

    BurakuminDes

    Another article for the "Wacky Japan" files in foreign press! Maybe all schools in Japan will now be issued with these amazing "man-catchers"?

  • 1

    Zenny11

    BurakuminDes.

    They all been issued since a few years ago. Way safer than a tazer and you don't need to get zapped yourself before you are allowed to use one.

    Even my sons creche(quiet a few years ago had them). Not sure about private schools though.

  • 0

    MeanRingo

    I have to eat my words. Never thought they would work. Great jobs senseis!!!!

  • -2

    BurakuminDes

    I have some single female friends that would be interested in purchasing some "man catchers".

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    Awesome work! But something about the principal calling out for others to fetch the 'man-catcher' just seems comical. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they didn't fustigate the guy with some bludgeon or shoot him with a blunderbuss, but I think some more modern measures are needed (ie. front gate closed for starters). What if this guy weren't in his sixties and was brandishing more than a knife?

  • 0

    Osakadaz

    awesome job by the staff!! My school has one of those.Glad to know they can be effective. Of course in most cases that amount of prep time would be unlikely.I am glad that nobody was hurt.

  • 0

    sakurala

    I think that this is a great story and I hope that other people who feel the need to threaten children will be disuaded by this. It would be good to see the patrols have man-catchers too even if it would just be for looks.

    Smithinjapan: schools do have front gates but they are usually not so high (a meter) and are open in the morning to let children enter the school ground. Also, if the man was younger he would be able to scale a wall if he was really motivated. As for brandishing more than a knife, I am sure other measures would have been taken.

  • -3

    cactusJack

    I would have then applied my two prong ball smasher.

  • 1

    sharpie

    "used in Europe up until the 18th century"

    I dont know why but I just cant help but cracking up when i read this line

  • 0

    Tamesu San

    "Awesome work! But something about the principal calling out for others to fetch the 'man-catcher' just seems comical. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they didn't fustigate the guy with some bludgeon or shoot him with a blunderbuss, but I think some more modern measures are needed (ie. front gate closed for starters). What if this guy weren't in his sixties and was brandishing more than a knife?" I agree!

  • 0

    WilliB

    I have seen these things. I always doubted that they would really work, but apparently they do. Brilliant!

  • -2

    nandakandamanda

    A 'man catcher' doesn't sound very pc.

  • -1

    some14some

    The “sasumata” was originally used during the Edo era for apprehending suspects.

    so 21st century in Japan is same as Edo era ! seems slow action from school authorities, was this man drunk?

  • 0

    gogogo

    Zenny: Only the police in the US "test" tazers on themselves... I dont think civilians need to do that in Japan :)

  • -2

    Zenny11

    gogogo.

    Go and buy one and I don't mean a stun-gun. ;)

  • -1

    gogogo

    Zenny: Can you buy them in Japan? I wouldn't know where to get them... perhaps akihabura?

  • -1

    gogogo

    Tasers seem to be illegal in Japan classes the same as a regular firearm, only way to buy them is over the internet (obviously no "testing" required)

    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%B9%E3%82%BF%E3%83%B3%E3%82%AC%E3%83%B3

  • 0

    Heian

    They are mounted under the chalkboard in all the classrooms at my son's elementary school in Kyoto. Teachers are all trained to use them. I thought they were mandatory after the Sakai incident, no? Scroll down and you can see here: http://cms.edu.city.kyoto.jp/weblog/index.php?id=107907&no=1 (pictures are blurred to protect identity)

  • -2

    CruzControl

    Bet it would work good on the students too.

  • -1

    Gaulis Pierre

    I got the video! Sasumata power! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZGwYkXn3lg

  • 0

    littlebird

    Bravo Teachers!

    Do Tasers come on long sticks? If not, by the time someone jabbed him the attacker could have already done a good bit of teacher slashing.

  • -1

    Tom DeMicke

    I'm an ALT at elementary schools in Okinawa and I've seen them use these during training. I'm glad they really work. Good job!

  • -3

    Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land

    Good thing the guy didn't have a gun. I don't think the man catcher would be long enough to stay out of range.

  • -2

    Zenny11

    Contrary to common belief firearms, swords, etc are not illegal in japan. Just tough to get them registered and licensed, easy if you have a background with LE, Military or a registered MA Instructor.

    But I know many MA(Iaido, etc) that own fully sharpened swords(I got plenty of licences/registrations for my own MA Weapons). But the rules and regulations are very strict and we get checked out every-time a crime in the area involves a similar weapon.

    But agree a Firearm would have made a difference.

  • -2

    Gwragged

    This man drew attention to himself and the fact he was carrying a knife. It sounds like a sad attempt at suicide-by-cop. I wonder if the sasumata would have been effective on a younger man, with stronger intent to follow through?

  • 0

    hatsoff

    "Our preparations really paid off in this instance," said the school principal.

    I just wish they worked for TEPCO. Seriously, though, this was excellent work by everyone involved. Now he needs to be put in the stocks and dunked in water. After that, the iron maiden.

  • 0

    hatsoff

    Sorry....the perpetrator, not the principal.

  • -2

    Gakuseidesu

    Lucky that they caught the guy before anything happened! And that no one got hurt during the capture of the man. It's good to know that the school takes the children and employees safety seriously.

  • -1

    Serrano

    "used in Europe up until the 18th century"

    What have they used in Europe since then?

    "a taser would have been easier"

    You mean a phaser set on stun?

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    sakurala: "Smithinjapan: schools do have front gates but they are usually not so high (a meter) and are open in the morning to let children enter the school ground. Also, if the man was younger he would be able to scale a wall if he was really motivated. As for brandishing more than a knife, I am sure other measures would have been taken."

    I'm quite aware of school gates and how they work. More aware than you, it seems. True, the gates are usually open around the times students are expected to come to school, and usually at that time the Koucho sensei or other teachers are on duty to welcome the students at said gates. The gates used to be open all the time until the maniac went on a stabbing rampage in Osaka 9 years ago or so. So where were the people who should have been standing at the gates? Even if not the Kouchou sensei or other teachers, there is usually a 'guard' there (old man carrying a stick that lights up).

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    sakurala: " As for brandishing more than a knife, I am sure other measures would have been taken."

    Like what? Let's say the guy had a gun. Hard to get in Japan, I know, but let's say he did. What other measures would they have taken, sakurala?

  • 0

    sakurala

    As you have pointed out Smithinjapan; usually there are people around and the gate is closed unless there are teachers around. And in this story they were theacher at who stopped him. So, I don't see your point about gates.

    It is hard to tell what would have been done if he had a gun but I can picture the teachers calling the police and hopefully trying to deter any students from getting withing his range. But as you already mentioned, that guns are hard to get here and most cases of random violence against children is done with knives; which can be stopped by a nice man-catcher.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Sakurala: Really? the story only says that a female teacher first noticed him on the premises, it doesn't say they were at the gate when they spotted him.

    Regardless, my point is that this time they got lucky, and I'm very happy for it. They need to do more to ensure the security of the school and its charges. It's a nice thought to think Japan doesn't NEED such security, but it does in this day and age, sadly.

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Strong point of the Satsumata is that it allows anyone to control an adversary, granted works best in pairs of two or three.

    Seen cops at the Yokohama water-front use them on a guy, and a few other locations. Most Koban have them.

    Very common MA weapon and some versions do get nastier/more pointy, etc. Fairly easy to "master" and I do believe all public teachers are now trained in the usage and that includes creche, etc.

    Still creds to the teachers for remaining cool and using them properly.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    Honestly, the teachers cannot do bodily harm on the guy. Even if he is carrying a knife. You cannot throw rocks,books or etc. They have to pin the person using the prong. Subdue the person until police arrive. If you hit the person using the stick both the perp and the teacher will go to jail. Crazy right ???

  • 0

    Zenny11

    whiskeysour.

    Fully agree, many posters forget that local rules and laws are different to the way back home(incl long-timers). Actions, etc that are fine overseas will get some serious time here.

  • 0

    scooternak

    Nice job Their training paid off

  • 0

    jeffrey

    "Man catcher"? I always thought a man catcher was a . . . Oh, never mind.

    These things are much more effective in that kind of situation than a taser, unless it was the "point and shoot" variety, which the police don't even use. A hand-held taser would have been useless and likely gotten the teacher using one taser knifed - "Old man, please hold still while I get within 6 inches of you so I can push this taser into your chest. Stop stabbing me and hold still!"

  • 0

    jeffrey

    GwraggedJun. 21, 2011 - 06:09PM JST This man drew attention to himself and the fact he was carrying a knife. It sounds like a sad attempt at suicide-by-cop.

    "Suicide-by-cop" in a country where the police use deadly force about once every ten years, if that often?

  • 0

    Eric Schneider

    It's interesting to hear that one of these things actually worked. Too bad that pitchfork didn't have a third prong.....

  • 0

    gogogo

    I got plenty of licences/registrations for my own MA Weapons

    Remind me never to make you angry :)

    Can I ask why you have them and what sort of weapons?

  • 0

    Zenny11

    Why I have them because I practice MA(mostly chinese).

    What weapons various swords, knifes, etc.

  • 0

    miamum

    Bravo teachers, but actually this story makes me angry.

    Just last week I walked straight into my daughters elementary school through the unlocked gate completely unannounced. I went straight past a bunch of kids doing sports in the yard. Had I been a knife-wielding maniac I could have taken out at least half a dozen of them before anyone would have come close enough to stop me.

    I was on the second floor on my way to my daughters classroom before finally someone stopped me and asked who I was. I delivered her forgotten bag, and went straight to the principals office to complain. His secretary said they have a security camera at the door and a reception desk in the entrance. I said "Oh, I didn`t realise, do crazy knife-wielders smile for the camera and check in at reception before going on a rampage?!" She had no answer for that!

    It`s been just over 10 years to the day since the attack in Osaka. I get that 1.5m high locked gates are not going to hold back the craziest of people, but why make it easy for them?

    In this case, if there was no-one at the gate then it should have been locked. Kudos to them for taking the guy down, but their security seems to have been lapse in the first place. It actually doesnt sound to me like the guy had any intention of harming anyone though - just a cry for attention. Otherwise he wouldnt have gone before school started when no children were there, and shown the principal the knife the moment he was challenged. But of course, they wouldn`t have known that. I just wish these schools would tighten up security a bit.

  • 1

    Zenny11

    miamum.

    Your point being? What type of school you after?

    A school that checks creds of students on entry and passes them through a metal-detector, etc. Those do exist but you will need to move country for those.

  • 0

    benhur

    Zenny11JUN. 22, 2011 - 05:53PM JST miamum. Your point being? What type of school you after? A school that checks creds of students on entry and passes them through a metal-detector, etc.

    my thoughts exactly! i LOL'd at miamum's post.

  • 0

    LFRAgain

    Miamum,

    Without getting into the absurdity of your face not being known to any of the school staff whatsoever at a school your own child attends, thus allowing you to pass unmolested, I'm going to have to agree with Zeeny11 on his point.

    I'm not comfortable with turning the public schools into armed camps either. I don't think conditioning the children to live in a constant state of fear is particularly productive -- or healthy, when one considers the attack in Osaka happened, as you said, a long 10 years ago. Point being, lunatics rushing into schools to kill and maim just aren’t common enough to warrant more than what's present, IMO. Japan isn’t that far gone, quite honestly.

    Yes, I know what you're thinking: "Let's see how you feel when it's your child who's attacked by a lunatic in school." However, the odds of that very thing happening are so remote -- less so even than the probability of a fire breaking out at the school, or a child drowning in the pool, or falling down a flight of stairs -- that creating a climate of heightened fear a la guards at every gate, doesn't seem like a reasonable trade-off for the number of children who are scarred by adult fears of the uncontrollable. So I choose to allow a little bit of reason to rule over that primate that's always screaming at the back of our brains.

    As you said, if a lunatic decided to visit a school, he or she would be able to get in and do whatever he or she came to do, regardless of whether there are high gates or armed guards. Looking at your anecdote, I don't see how more guards, better locks, or higher walls, would have deterred just such a determined person. What we likely would have seen were more injured or dead guards, before the attacker moved on to the children.

    But then again, the best way to combat that is to put the guards in booths, away from the attacker. Ah, but then they can't get at the would-be attacker quickly enough. Okay, let's just have the guards in constant state of readiness for an attack that might come once every decade. Hmm... That donesn't seem practical. Guards are people too, and boredom is universal. Ah! Arm them with guns! That way, they can take down the would-be attacker immediately. And body armour. Gotta' have body armour.

    . . .

    It's a ridiculously slippery slope.

    The policy that was put in place in Japanese schools after the Osaka rampage has proved itself successful time and time again, with this Aichi story being added to the list. Why change it to something more extreme when such extremity isn't warranted?

  • 0

    okimike67

    Let me add one better in support (at least partially) of Miamum.

    Yesterday a man was murdered across the street from my kids elementary school (Okinawa City Yogi). The suspect was on the loose with a knife. Over 100 police were looking for this guy who was "armed AND dangerous". The school sent a message to all parents to pick up their kids in the classrooms.

    Now.... having a bunch of "parents" roaming the halls immediately adjacent to a murder scene where the man was still on the loose seemed ridicuolous to me but figured that they would at least check the identity of each person entering the school and confirm they had a kid there.

    So I, since I just work up the street, went to get my kids. I show up and there is ONE teacher and a real Loooong line of parents. Now, if you know Okinawan's, they dont like lines. So alot of the "parents" looked at the line, took off their shoes and trapsed right into the school. Since there was only one teacher (VERY pregnant I might add) she was focused on taking names and not watching to ensure that ONLY checked people entered. If that was not bad enough... when I finally got up to be "validated", they only asked for my name. Dindn't check my ID though. Also didnt even have a roster of kids to validate against. Just gave a name and walked in. Now, granted, I do stick out being 6'1, blonde and only one of a couple of gaijin parents but they were doing the same to all of the people who bothered to wait in line. No "man catcher" was seen nor was their anyone arouind to use had there been one. Also, not a cop to be seen at the school!!!!

    I am really pissed off. My wife has begrudgingly agreed to bring this up at teh PTA, but come ON!!!!

    I dont want a police state school like in the States. The high school I attended (many years ago) now had armed police, metal detectors and who knows what else. Side Note: Funny, I had a rifle in the rear windo of my truck and a pistol under the seat. How times have changed.

    But i digress! I moved to Japan to raise my kids in a safe enviroment. Now in the last 25 years MANY things have changed. Dont know if things are getting worse or if the J Press and J Gov are just letting the "dirty little secrets" out. But... we do expect some level of safety and security for our kids. ESPECIALLY with a blood dripping, knife weilding muderer on the loose across the street from the school.

    Don't need 24/7 panic inducing practices but ther SHOULD be strong measures in place to RESPOND to a situation wheter it be a fire or a knife waving lunatic. AND there DEFINATELY should be some form of controlled access to the inner hallows of the school 24/7.

    Not the same Japan and in the past. SAD BUT TRUE!!

  • 0

    Zenny11

    At my sons school we are issued every year with 2 Identity tags for parents, which we have to wear when entering the school.

    Tag design & Colour varies each year and lists the kids class, grade and name.

    Makes identifying a parent easy.

  • 0

    miamum

    Your point being? What type of school you after?

    A school that checks creds of students on entry and passes them through a metal-detector, etc. Those do exist but you will need to move country for those.

    Erm...one that locks the doors??! Thats all! Is that too complicated to understand? I dont want to see metal detectors and individual checks either, and I dont think I mentioned any of that in my post. I just wanted the gate locked, and to have to use the intercom to be allowed into the school grounds - thats all. Not too much to ask really given that that is what thy are SUPPOSED to be doing anyway.

    LFRAgain: the school is massive - 6 classes of 35-40 kids in second grade alone (my daughters grade) and a whole bunch of new teachers just started this year, so yes, it is not outside the bounds of possibility that they dont know who I am. She has also only been there a year - she didnt start in first grade with everyone else because we moved into the area.

    Good for you for agreeing with Zenny but - again - I don`t think I mentioned anything about metal detectors or anything else, just for them to do what they are supposed to be doing and lock the doors and check identity through the intercom at the gate. Is that so totally unreasonable? If you think so, please say so!

    okimike67 - thank you for illustrating my point. We are not asking for armed police, but simple, basic common-sense checks that still seem to be lacking despite tragedies like that in Osaka.

  • 0

    miamum

    The policy that was put in place in Japanese schools after the Osaka rampage has proved itself successful time and time again, with this Aichi story being added to the list. Why change it to something more extreme when such extremity isn't warranted?

    But that is exactly my point. The policy was NOT put in place in my daughters school and I want it to be - its that simple. I NEVER suggested anything more extreme than that - guns, guards and everything else seems to be a figment of yours and Zennys imaginations!

  • 0

    okimike67

    The policy that was put in place in Japanese schools after the Osaka rampage has proved itself successful time and time again, with this Aichi story being added to the list. Why change it to something more extreme when such extremity isn't warranted?

    Nore were these in place at my kids school YESTERDAY when a man carrying a knife, dripping with the blood of a 57 year old man from across the street from the school, was on the loose!!

    A little commen sence PLEASE!!

  • 0

    Elbuda Mexicano

    Thank the gods that this school was prepared both mentally and physically to fight off a would be nut case like this old fool with a kitchen knife! These kids and parents should be very, very PROUD of this school, their principal and the brave teachers. BTW in many of these Japanese schools, we also have nice wooden Katanas and many of the teachers do KENDO so if this kind of thing happens, do not be surprised teachers using the wooden katanas, baseball bats etc..to do what they have to do to protect themselves and the innocent children. BRAVO brave teachers down there in Aichi prefecture!!!

  • 0

    miamum

    Update: went back to my daughters school about an hour ago to take her notebook in to the teacher. Despite my complaint before - waltzed in through the open gate again, no-one stopped me, and this time I made it all the way to the classroom on the third floor without being stopped.

    I KNOW locking the gate when it is only about 1.7m tall won`t stop anyone intent on evil - but why make it easy for them? And when the camera sees someone scaling the gate they can at least put the classrooms on lockdown (or whatever it is they do in an emergency) and be prepared.

    Again, not asking for guards, guns razor wire and metal detectors - just a little common sense.

  • 0

    freakashow

    Good on the teachers for acting properly. In some other countries, kids would have been dead as a gun would have been likely used. For example, you'll hear about 2 or 3 school shootings happening in the U.S. every year. Pinning someone down with a "man-catcher" would work against a knife, but I sincerely doubt against a gun.

    waltzed in through the open gate again, no-one stopped me, and this time I made it all the way to the classroom on the third floor without being stopped.

    I also wish schools in the world would step up their security measures more. I remember my elementary school in the U.S. had only one gate at the front entrance where cars entered. However, in the back there was open space with no fence which would have been so easy for anyone to waltz in unnoticed until they got to the classroom. Sheesh! In any case, whether it be in Japan or the U.S., only private elementary schools seem to get the full-on security treatment. In both countries, the public ones with adequate security seems to be the exceptions to the rule.

  • 0

    LFRAgain

    miamum,

    Locked doors and intercom systems? Sounds like a prison to me.

    Japanese schools have not experienced even a fraction of the types of intrusion, violence, or danger that have prompted schools in other countries, i.e., the U.S., to turn their institutions of learning into armed camps.

    Japan isn't there yet and spends a significant amount of time and attention towards preserving an environment of openness and safety. You can be snarky all you like about some posters' desire to maintain this atmosphere, but the fact remains that Japan still enjoys one of, if not THE lowest violent crime rates, particularly against children, in the industrialized world.

    You bringing whatever emotional baggage from back home to Japan, slapping a label of "common sense" on it, and trying to force-feed it to the staff at your school most certainly does nothing to improve safety at the school.

    When it comes to school violence being perpetrated by foreigners, well, those stats are virtually nonexistent. Which may shed some light on why no one challenged the random gaikokujin wandering the halls.

    And as for your child's school having some 1,300 students? Been there, taught that. Here's a news flash: Far more staff at the school know exactly who you are than you seem to think, and I can assure you that after your first upbraiding of the staff, that number went up dramatically.

    Ultimately, the lingering question on my mind is why when every other parent with children at your child's school understands and complies with the posted notice in the genkan instructing visitors to stop at the office to announce their presence and purpose at the school, you continue to brazenly flaunt those rules, blazing through the front doors and marching up the stairs to your daughter's classroom, as if this belligerent 21st Century version of extraterritoriality you brandish will somehow make the administrators of the school instantly see the error of their ways and obediently comply with the demands of the wise and oh-so-expert local gaikokujin.

    The ironic and in no small way irritating kernel in all of this is that you would never do, much less be allowed to do this in, say, an American school. Yet you seem to think you have carte blanche to tromp through your child's school here in Japan, rules be damned. What's up with that, dare I ask?

    On the contrary, had it occurred to you as you belittled the staff at your child's school that your very act of deliberately flaunting the school rules, not once, but twice, may actually undermine the efforts of the school to protect not just your child, but every other child at the school?

  • 0

    miamum

    Locked doors and intercom systems? Sounds like a prison to me.

    This is standard practice at every school i have worked at and my children have been to in Tokyo - except this one. I believe it was also recommended as best practice after the Osaka incident.

    You bringing whatever emotional baggage from back home to Japan

    Never had children outside of Japan so no baggage, just concern here as a parent.

    When it comes to school violence being perpetrated by foreigners, well, those stats are virtually nonexistent. Which may shed some light on why no one challenged the random gaikokujin wandering the halls.

    So basically, if any random unknown foreigner is seen wandering the halls, there is no need to challenge them because foreigners don`t perpetrate crimes against schools in Japan? Are you listening to yourself??!

    why when every other parent with children at your child's school understands and complies with the posted notice in the genkan instructing visitors to stop at the office to announce their presence and purpose at the school,

    You know this how? I have since spoken to some other parents from the school who are equally concerned that the gate is constantly left unlocked and unmonitored, and have also beenable to walk straight through themselves and expressed concern about it.

    you continue to brazenly flaunt those rules, blazing through the front doors and marching up the stairs to your daughter's classroom,

    Blazing? Marching??! Thats pretty funny! The point though, is that I can. I shouldnt be able to.

    belligerent 21st Century version of extraterritoriality you brandish

    WTF???!!! I just want the gate locked!!!

    comply with the demands of the wise and oh-so-expert local gaikokujin.

    OK, now you`re being really pathetic!

    Yet you seem to think you have carte blanche to tromp through your child's school here in Japan, rules be damned. What's up with that, dare I ask?

    Did you actually READ anything I said??!!! I dont WANT carte blanche to tromp through the school. I DONT think I should have carte blanche to tromp through the school!

    belittled the staff

    By requesting that they keep the gate locked, as they SAY they do in the letters and school information that come out??!

    may actually undermine the efforts of the school to protect not just your child, but every other child at the school?

    Or maybe draw attention to the current gaping hole in school policy?!

    LFRAgain - you just having a bad day? All I am asking is that - in accordance with stated school policy - they lock the gate while school is in session. Im sorry if that simple request bugs you to the point that you have to launch a diatribe questioning my personality and making some pretty massive assumptions about what went down the two times went to the school, but heres a newsflash for you: I dont really give a damn what you think of me, all I am concerned about is the school doing what they say they will do and either locking the gate, or changing their policy on security and letting us all know why. If that seems unreasonable and bang out of order to you - well, sho ga nai.

  • 1

    LFRAgain

    miamum,

    "I dont really give a damn what you think of me"

    And yet you still felt the need to top off a lengthy reply with that particular point

    "I said "Oh, I didn`t realise, do crazy knife-wielders smile for the camera and check in at reception before going on a rampage?!""

    Yes, this is belittling the staff by being a smart-aleck.

    "So basically, if any random unknown foreigner is seen wandering the halls, there is no need to challenge them because foreigners don`t perpetrate crimes against schools in Japan? Are you listening to yourself??!"

    No, I'm saying that you as a foreign parent with a child at that school stand out like blinking neon sign. They know precisely who you are, which is why you weren't challenged. And the two times you decided to "waltz" through the school (since "waltzing" rather than "blazing" through school policy to prove a point seems to make the idea more palatable to you), I can assure you you weren't seen as just some random foreigner wandering the halls. You were "Mr. So-and-So who yelled at the secretary last week because we didn't lock the gates." which was most certainly talked about at length at the next morning meeting. Maybe that'll cause the school to change their policy, but I doubt it. Particularly when the local PTA obviously hasn't seen a need to take the issue up with school administrators or the local board of education (hint, hint!).

    "This is standard practice at every school i have worked at and my children have been to in Tokyo ..."

    Contrary to popular belief, Tokyo does not represent the whole of Japan. It's one city. And the gate-locking you claim is standard practice throughout Tokyo is in fact not standard practice nationwide. Case in point, the Aichi intruder story.

    Re: School policy requiring visitors to check in, this, however, is standard policy throughout Japan, mandated by Boards of Education since long before the Osaka attack. You didn't deny that you were aware of this policy, which suggests that you violated it on purpose, yes, ostensibly to make a point about lax security, and again, not once, but twice.

    So how's that strategy working out for you? Is the gate locked yet?

    My beef with you here is that you're expressing this anger against the schools for not locking largely symbolic gates that you yourself admit are only speed bumps to the determined, while believing, shockingly enough, that your idea of what constitutes common sense somehow trumps that of 127 million people whose education system is still infinitely safer than most industrialized countries in the world. It's arrogant and it's obnoxious. And slapping the school in the face with some good old-fashioned gaijin gumption isn't the way to effect change. Not in Japan, it isn't.

    You make it hard for other foreign parents who have kids in school by perpetuating the stereotype of foreigners as pushy, belligerent pains in the hindquarters.

  • 0

    miamum

    OK LFRAgain, I am sorry you don`t agree with me but let me just try to make myself clear again on the issue:

    I give a damn about the issue in question because I think it is an important one.

    The school POLICY written in black and white i that they lock the gates - you seem to be conviently ignoring that point.

    I also late last night got an email from a PTA representative for our class saying that the issue is being brought up at the school. She suspects it has something to do with the principal changing this year, and maybe he has therefore changed the policy - but if so, he needs to communicate that.

    I never claimed the gate-locking was nationwide pratice, I said it was my belief that it was recommended after the Osaka incident. I got this from a PTA woman when I asked her a few years ago why the gates were always locked (at our old school). I also never said Tokyo represented the whole country, just that this was my experience in Tokyo. It was standard practice at every other school i have been involved with as a teacher or a parent. Sorry, but its a fact.

    Arrogant? Obnoxious? Pushy??! Belligerent??! OK you know, whatever. You werent there. You didnt hear or see what went down (and just for the record I didnt yell at anyone and was having a laugh with the administrator as we were talking about it but dont worry about that - you just continue your arrogant obnoxious foreigner myth, you seem to be enjoying it) But it seems to me given your reaction to all of this and your massive assumptions about me and the way I am handling this that you are the one with some baggage that needs dealing with.

  • 0

    LFRAgain

    Hmm...

    Jun. 22, 2011 - 05:49PM JST ,

    "I . . . went straight to the principals office to complain. His secretary said they have a security camera at the door and a reception desk in the entrance. I said "Oh, I didn`t realise, do crazy knife-wielders smile for the camera and check in at reception before going on a rampage?!" She had no answer for that!

    So which is it? Were you just having a laugh with the administrators or were you complaining? Doesn't sound like a very ha-ha conversation from the way you wrote it. In fact, it sounds more like you were looking for affirmation from other posters about how clever you were to put the secretary in her place with a liberal dose of your version of "common sense."

    Beside, if you were having a laugh about it, then why start off your anecdote with, " . . . but actually this story makes me angry"?

    And this "laugh" you were having certainly doesn't mesh up with the anger expressed in your other posts about how ineffectual school security is. I'd say humor is the last thing one could expect to find in your posts on the subject thus far.

    In any case, I don't begrudge you for looking out for the wellbeing of your child. I have a child as well and would do anything for her. But, as I've already said, it's the way you went about it that I take issue with. Pushy, arrogant, obnoxious -- Yup. Based on how you related your story, every single adjective applies. And backtracking later to make it seem as if you were simply taking the piss isn't a very attractive discussion technique when your previous posts are still available for public viewing.

    I hope your school gets those gates locked to address the needs of the parents. But I'll wager you could've gotten the change to happen sooner with a different approach.

  • 0

    miamum

    Well, you read it however you want to LFR, my conscience is clear. Perhaps you might want to consider though how easy it is to misinterpret comments written on a forum, or put your own slant on them without knowing all the details.

    But thank you for your concession that a parent will do anything to protect their child, and thank you also for your wish that the gate issue is resolved for all of us. I appreciate your points and I am very sorry if I came across as arrogant, obnoxious, or pushy - quite honestly the worse kind of foreigner here in my humble opinion too! (note to self- don`t try to be funny in future!)

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