Friday, November 17, 2006

自殺とメディア (Teen Suicides)

中学生がいじめられて自殺する事件が相次いでいる。 ここ最近、テレビのニュースで大きく報道されるようになってから、自殺を遂行する、あるいは自殺を予告する中学生が次々と現れている。 母親に「最近自殺が『流行ってる』よね」と言ったら、不謹慎なことを言うなと怒られたけれど(うちの母親はこういう性質の悪い冗談を好まない)、でも、これまでの一連の自殺、あるいは自殺予告の連鎖は、数から言って、相当程度メディアの報道に煽られているのは間違いのないところだと思う。

「メディアに煽られる自殺」というのは、大人にとっては奇異なものだろう。 苦悩しているとき、抑鬱状態にあるとき、自殺するという想像が、魅惑的で甘美なものであることはわかる。ただ、このアンビヴァレントな感情は、非常に個人的で内面的なもので、本来、テレビによって煽られる種類のものではないだろうと思うからだ。

それなのに、自殺が相次いでいる。自殺願望を持つ「自殺予備軍」は、数え切れないほどいるはずだ。

テレビで報じられる、実際に自殺をした思春期の子どもたちが、膨大な数の「いじめられっ子自殺予備軍」の気持ちの代弁者として機能している。いじめられっ子たちは、孤独で、自己表現の機会を持たない。自殺することは、現実からの逃避の手段としても、抗議を含んだ自己表現の手段としても悪くないと映っているのかもしれない。

テレビでは、沈痛な顔をした教師達と重々しい空気の葬式が映し出される。コメンテーターが深刻な面持ちでテレビカメラの前で話し合ってみせ、「どうか自殺はしないで」と言う。それを見て、いじめられっ子たちは、多分、半ば愉快な、半ば皮肉の混じった感情で、自分が死んだときのことを考えているのだと思う。

報道する大人たちには分かりにくいことかもしれないけれど、中学生くらいの子どもたちにとって、テレビの与えるリアリティは信じられないくらいに巨大な物なのかもしれない。ある種の立場に置かれた人たちにとっては、自殺の想像をすることは甘く魅惑的なものなのだ。各種メディアは、自分達が、彼ら彼女達の自殺への想像力を必要以上に掻き立てていないか、報道の方法について慎重な議論を重ねていくべきだと思う。



Lately there has been a succession of teen suicides in Japan since it got nationwide news coverage.

When I said to my mum, “Committing suicide is a “fad” these days,” she got mad (she hates this kind of nasty joke). However, considering the number of the cases, there is no doubt that the string of teen suicides has been inflamed by the media.

A string of suicides has been inflamed by the media? This idea may sound odd to adults.

We can understand that imagining committing suicide can be demonically alluring, especially when we are deeply agonized and depressed. This ambivalent feeling should be very private and kept in one’s inner world. Hardly can adults imagine superficial TV news programs can provoke this kind of feeling.

However they actually can. One junior high student after another has killed oneself. They are merely the tip of the iceberg. There must be numerous teenagers in despair who don’t mind committing suicide.

When teen suicides are reported on TV news, the teenagers who have killed themselves are advocates for bullied teenagers all over Japan. They are lonely at school and don’t have any chances to express themselves. Committing suicide means to them not only escaping from reality but also making a profound protest with their death.

On the TV screen, there are teachers and students with grave looks on their faces in a solemn funeral service. Sad-looking TV commentators have a serious-sounding talk in front of TV cameras and say, “Don’t kill yourself.” Teenagers who are bullied at school smile wryly and think, “Well, killing myself will not be bad”

Adults might find it hard to understand, but TV news has been playing an important part in the series of teen suicides. For adolescents who are in despair, imagining killing themselves can sometimes be mysteriously captivating. Didn’t the media entice them to commit suicide by saying, “Don’t kill yourself.”?

3 comments:

pegasus said...

Thanks for leaving a post on my blog. I'll leave my comments in English.

My priest at Nichiren Shoushu temple also talked about the sad cases of student suicides. I can imagine it must be tough and ppl are also pointing fingers at each other. The media I think has a big part to play, whether good or bad. Japanese media tends to be quite erm...I have a fren on mixi who wrote about this (his name is "atsushi") and I think parents should not keep blaming schools. It has to work all ways. The media can promote good values, parents will need to be more not just physically present with their children, but to be emotionally and mentally on par with children. Schools have to shoulder more responsibility in character building.

I also heard that Japan is going back to National Education (pro-Japanese education?)...good and bad I think...I can understand the world is fearful of the war mentality coming up again as I heard that the current govt is kinda like a closet nationalist slant (not my opinion but something my frenz brought up). But I think having national education is also good in some ways. Singapore is undergoing such turmoil. We have national education and values but we are also an ex- british colony. There is talk that our even more remote history with malaysia or malayan roots are being diminished (some hidden treasure recently was supposed to be excavated but was to be halted). The government is very strong in propaganda too.

Taku said...

to pegasus

コメントありがとう。日本では、というか、他の先進国でもそうかもしれないけれど、昔ほど個々の家庭が子どもの教育に果たす役割は少なくなっています。子どもをきちんとしつけたり、あるいは、子どもにたっぷりと愛情を注ぐ家庭は少なくなって、無責任な家庭が学校に子どもの教育を押し付けるような風潮がみられるかもしれない。とても残念なことだけれど。

たしかに、今、日本では、教育の現場で愛国心を教えるべきかどうか議論になっています。海外のメディアの中には、安倍首相を、「タカ派の首相誕生」と報じ、日本の右傾化を懸念する動きがあることもよく知っています。

僕は、日本という国を愛しています。だけれども、僕自身は、自由主義者で、教育の現場で愛国心を教え込むことには多少の違和感を感じています。誇りというのは、自発的な感情であって、教育されるものではないと思うから。

日本は世界で一番豊かで一番テクノロジーが進んだ国であるにも関わらず、多くの人が閉塞感を感じています。僕は、日本のことが好きであるからこそ、子どもが自殺するような不幸な国ではあってほしくないと思います。

Thank you for posting a comment.

In Japan, maybe as in other developed countries, each family plays less and less roles in disciplining their children. I am afraid that fewer families give their children enough discipline and affection. Instead of educating their children at home, they expect too much of school, abandoning their own responsibilities.

In Japan, as you said, whether patriotism should be taught at school or not is a hot issue. I know well that some foreign media have reported that the Japanese new Prime Minister is hawkish, worring that the country will swing to the right.

As for me, I love my own country Japan. However, as a liberalist I feel a little awkward in some ways in "obligatory" patriotism taught to children at school. In my opinion, pride and affection in your country should be spontaneous, not obligatory.

A lot of Japanese people feel stressed and entrapped, though Japan is one of the richest and most advanced countries in technology in the world. I love Japan, so all the more I hope that there are no children who want to commit suicide in the country.

pegasus said...

I agree with you. Thanks for translating your reply in two lang :) cool.

The same national education in singapore isn't working very well with students. They are also not stupid and are quite cynical about how much the govt wants to feed. There are also some history of singapore that has not been taught so students think that the British should be thanked for some things. :)

My knowledge of parents in schools used to be dramas :D then I slowly read newspapers and some issues about parents who did not hesitate to blame the school. This is also a growing problem in Singapore. The minister has to answer many questions and I have also handled parents personally myself. Sometimes parents should step in but this responsiblity seems to have fallen into the school's hands instead. It is as if the family structure seems to be crumbling internally.