‘Monster parents’ aren’t anything new in Japan–the complaints by and about overbearing, demanding mothers and fathers have been on the increase for nearly a decade. But thanks to a report by the FujiTV program Nonstop, the issue has catapulted squarely back into the public conscious.
The show posted some of the crazier complaints allegedly made by these loudmouthed parents to schools and their kids’ teachers, sparking angry and bewildered comments online. We’ve collected some of the best (worst?) below.
To begin with, what, exactly, are these parents getting so upset about? If we’re being totally honest, no education system is perfect–with the possible exception of North Korea, perhaps–so maybe they have some legitimate grievances. We shouldn’t immediately dismiss someone without at least getting an idea of what they’re saying, right?
Well, here’s a list of some of the complaints reported by Nonstop.
“Don’t make my kid take part in school cleaning. Hire a janitor! [In Japan, students ordinarily clean the school every day after class]”
“Why weren’t the cherry trees blooming at the school entrance ceremony?”
“Separating my kid from his friends at pre-school creates trouble. I want them to be together all the time.”
“My daughter got a sunburn on field day.”
“My daughter wants to be an idol, so don’t put her in a seat by the window!”
“School lunches lack flavor.”
“Don’t make my kid say ‘Itadakimasu!’ before eating! [“Itadakimasu” literally means “I humbly receive,” and it used before eating by most Japanese people. It could be compared to saying grace, but there aren’t the same religious undertones to it.]”
“My kid got hurt, so I demand the school pays for his medical bills. And for our dinner!”
“I can’t believe my child got bitten by a bug! Don’t let insects come near him again!”
“Give my kid an instrument that stands out!”
“My child can’t use chopsticks properly!”
Some of these are, for want of a better word, unbelievable. How could anyone complain about the cherry trees not blossoming during the entrance ceremony? And what, exactly, did they expect the teachers to do about it? Glue petals to them? Trick the trees into thinking spring had arrived?
▼”And make sure my child never grows up either while you’re at it!”
Of course, not every parent in Japan is a monster parent. And plenty of people are annoyed by their behavior. Not that explaining the problem helps–another TV show documented some of the monster parent types in 2010, including a “gyaku gire” (reverse anger) mother. In the show, a group of mothers came to watch their children’s classes, but instead of paying attention to the teacher, they stood in the back and chatted among themselves. When the teacher finally asked them to be quiet, one of the mothers, feeling singled out, became irate and berated the teacher for creating a class so boring she felt compelled to chat instead of listen!
So, how did Internet commenters react to Nonstop‘s report? Well, probably the same way we did: With incredulity!
“If you going to be like that, don’t send your kids to school!”
“Just looking at monster parents pisses me off!”
“The children of these parents are bound to be worthless”.
“Does anyone know how to make cherry trees blossom?”
“Teachers should snap at these kinds of unreasonable parents.”
“These monsters are scary. I wonder if there is any end to their reproduction…”
“Aren’t they bothering their own kids as well?”
“When my daughter was in elementary school, the parents would go and clean the bathrooms…”
“This can only lead to fewer teachers…”
“These parents need some mandatory education!”
“This is where useless people who can’t survive in society come from. Seriously.”
“Where’s a monster hunter when you need one?”
Sadly, a lot of these complaints probably don’t sound uncommon to people outside of Japan. We understand that parenting is hard–and probably a little scary–so it’s not surprising that some people go a bit overboard and demand a lot from the schools they’re sending their kids to, but no one can control when the sakura trees blossom! Jeez, it’s no wonder teachers feel so exhausted in Japan.
Well, at least we know where all those monster new employees are coming from…