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Corporal punishment in Japan: anthropological notes on the striking of a child

Aaron L. Miller, Assistant Professor and Hakubi Scholar at Kyoto University, and Visiting Scholar, Stanford University Center on Adolescence

Many words are used to describe the controversial issue of corporal punishment, in the US as elsewhere. Words like, “violence”, “pain” and “human rights”, but also words like “order,” “obedience”, and “character”. In Japan, there has been great debate over the educational value of this disciplinary tool, and the patterns of rhetoric regarding whether corporal punishment does or does not further good discipline underscore deep cultural ideas about what corporal punishment signifies for Japanese society. In this presentation, Aaron L. Miller will present the major findings from his anthropological study of corporal punishment in Japanese schools and sports, which resulted in the book, Discourses of Discipline: An Anthropology of Corporal Punishment in Japan’s Schools and Sports (Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, 2013). He will show how the term for corporal punishment, taibatsu, was introduced into Japan, how the practice has been used and praised by militarists, schoolteachers, and sports coaches, yet assailed by bureaucrats, psychologists, and medical doctors. Finally, he will interpret the ways that Japanese people have attempted to ascribe cultural meaning to this highly contested term, taibatsu, throughout modern Japanese history.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | 4:15 pm — 5:30 pm | RSVP Required
521 Memorial Way

Center for East Asian Studies