Amidst the political turmoil and economic recession Japan has found itself in the recent years, how poor parenting takes a toll on the lives of the most vulnerable is often the last thing on people’s minds.
The most recent (2012) Ministry of Health and Labor’s reports showed that 16.3%, roughly 1 in 6 children in Japan live in relative poverty, belonging to a household that has less than half of the national average income, ranking 4th out of the 30 OECD countries. The numbers correlate with the rapidly multiplying number of child abuse cases. When the Ministry of Health and Labor started their investigation for a better grasp on the issue in 1990, the number of child abuse consultations to Child Consultation Centers were 1101 and it has been on the rise ever since, peaking at 103,260 cases in the most recent reports of 2015. The number of consultations alone have gone up 100 times in 25 years.
From April 2014 to March 2015, the number of victims who died as a result of abuse was 44, and the number of deaths by forced suicide was 27, a total of 71 victims. Approximately every 5 days a child dies of abuse somewhere in Japan. Increasing reports in the media on the cruel fates of children has raised national concern on the matter.
Isshow Con a non-fiction writer is compiling a book 『日本一醜い親への手紙』(Letters to The Most Repulsive Parent in Japan). The word “醜い” (minikui) in the title is often used to describe physical ugliness but is also used to depict shameful dishonorable acts. The book will consist of 100 letters written by child abuse survivors to their abusers ie., parents or guardians, to better illustrate the realities of life during abuse and the aftermath. His aim is to bring attention to the issue and also highlight the lack of support the government provides in the victims’ physical and mental recovery and social integration in life after abuse. This was an issue raised as a warning to the Japanese government in the 2010 report by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and yet no significant progress has been made.
Con is calling for submissions for letters and also raising funds for the publication of the book (four million yen) through crowdfunding. Through the funds raised here, every letter submission will be met with an honorarium of 10,000 yen, in hopes that the money could be used by the victims to provide themselves a transportation to a shelter or to pay for a counselor which may lead to reports being made on their behalf. The donors will receive a book upon its completion this fall.
In a society where press freedom is stagnating and constitutional revision is pushed forward everyday and Japan appears to be becoming an increasingly controlled society, children’s rights will mostly likely be on of the first things to go and the issue of child abuse will take a back seat despite international pressure. Books like these are one of the few ways in which children in Japan with little resources will be able to raise their voices and be heard. Support and spread the word.
To buy this book :http://letters-to-parents.blogspot.jp/2017/02/blog-post_1.html
*This book is an updated version of the same title published in 1997, the rights to publish this overseas is available for purchase on a first come first serve basis. For more information : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj2-434FzxA