Thursday, 6 December 2012

Japan and Origin of Monster Parents

Since the term Monster Parents origins from Japan, let's start talking from monster parents in Japan.

The word "monster" was used to describe the "non-human" (irrational) side of the parents.  The keyword on Monster Parents, is COMPLAINT (クレーム).  In Japan, monster parents is describing the phenomenon that parents directly confront teachers/school principals etc. and launch (often unreasonable) complaints against them, sometimes give instructions (often on things that are out of teachers' work).

The reasons behind the parents acts can be:

1) They find teachers the blame for (if not all, most) troubles their kids are getting into;
2) They believe as customers, they have paid for such "service" and become demanding on teachers' role;
3) The economic downturn in Japan has put much pressure on the parents, lowering their faith in school education.

In fact, as a copycat effect brought by the parents, their children started to pick up such attitude and the terms "Monster Students" and "Monster Children" become noticible in mass media in recent years. 

In fact, a TV drama, also named as "Monster Parents" was made and was broadcasted from 1st July 2008 to 9th September 2008.  Regardless of the over-exaggerated storyline, this drama has certainly made the term "monster parents" known in Japan and in Asia (Japanese TV Drama are popular in Asia countries, especially in Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan).

Below is a link to a sample clip from the TV Drama series:

In extreme cases, this trend has become one of the causes for an increase in teachers/students committing suicide due to pressure.  In fact a movie, "Suicide Club" was made in Japan, which exaggerates the impact of social-pressure on tendency to the act of suicide.  Below is an extract from the movie (cautious - beware of violent image - it is a horror movie):

This is surely an overly exaggerated image of the real life situation, but it cannot hide the truth behind the increase in violent and suicide rate in Japan.  The below figures clearly reflects so:

The top chart represents the no. of children violence at school (top down: Primary School, Secondary School, High School and Total) while the bottom shows the number of suicide in Japan (top down: Primary School, Secondary School, High School and Total).  In 10 years, the number of school violence in secondary and high school have doubled.  But the most worrying increase belongs to the three-fold in primary school - which hints that there is tendency in school violence (or bullying) happening in earlier age.  In fact, bullying can be said as a cause and also outcome of Monster Parents.

I will further discuss on this in upcoming blogs.


Hirao, K. (2007). Contradictions in maternal roles in contemporary Japan. In T. W. Devasahayam & B. S. A. Yoh (Eds.), Working and mothering in Asia: Images, ideologies and identities (pp. 51?83). Singapore: NUS Press.

Yamamoto, Y., Holloway, S. D., & Suzuki, S. (2006). Maternal involvement in preschool children's education in Japan: Relation to parenting beliefs and socioeconomic status. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21, 332?346. 


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