Manga is the only way to write the truth at the very last minute”… What a manga depicting the reality of “children’s homes” appeals to us | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Manga is the only way to write the truth at the very last minute”… What a manga depicting the reality of “children’s homes” appeals to us

Interview with Tsuyoshi Oshikawa, author of the manga "Children Who Still Love Their Parents" [Part 1

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Consultations on “child abuse” have tripled in the past 10 years…

Child abuse is said to be increasing every year. In 2010, there were 219,170 consultations, which is about three times the number of consultations 10 years earlier (“Trends in the Number of Consultations on Child Abuse in Japan: Number of Consultations on Child Abuse in Fiscal Year Reiwa 2022/Child and Family Agency”).

Under these circumstances, demand is increasing for “foster homes” where children without guardians, children who have difficulty being cared for at home, or children who are not appropriate to be cared for by their guardians due to abuse or other reasons are placed. There is a manga that vividly depicts the reality of such orphanages. It is titled “Soredemo, Oya wo Koita Kodomotachi (Children Who Still Love Their Parents)” (Shinchosha), based on the book by Tsuyoshi Oshikawa, the author of “Kodomotachi wo Korimasenai Oya” (Parents Who Say “Kill Your Children”) (Shinchosha).

Mr. Oshikawa is the founder of Japan’s first persuasive transportation service for the mentally disabled and founder of the Tokiwa Mental Health Office, but why a manga about an orphanage? We interviewed Mr. Oshikawa.

From “Children Who Still Love Their Parents” (Shinchosha)

The model for the director in this manga is an old friend of mine, a man named Mr. A, who is the third generation of a family that has been running an orphanage.

Most people don’t know what orphanages are really like. We see them in TV specials and documentaries, but I felt that these are quite different from what Mr. A told me about them.

It took about five years of preparation and interviews from the start of the project to the start of the serialization.

I got to know Ms. A and became interested in her stories five years ago,” he said. Since then, I have been going to orphanages for interviews. Since last year, I have also served on the board of directors, and while being involved in the actual operation of the orphanage, I have been conducting a number of interviews at the same time.

A world that is so closed… “Professionals in the welfare field have the lowest status in Japan.

In this work, the painful reality that makes us want to turn away is also described in a realistic manner. He says that he has had experts supervise the film, but they are not listed by name. Mr. Oshikawa explains the situation as follows.

I realized that the more serious the story is, the less likely it is to come out.

For example, when I was doing interviews, topics such as self-harm, theft, and sexual problems among the children staying at the facility often came up as “everyday things. However, the fact that they are never brought out into the open and are completely closed is the same as in the field of mental health and welfare administration, which I have been involved in.

In the case of child abuse, even professional scholars say that they are “allowed” to accompany the victims. Because the world is so closed, experts in the field of welfare tend to be treated with low status and low position.

In this country, there is a system in place. For example, in the field of mental health and welfare administration, the people with the highest status are those researching laws, followed by the relevant ministries and agencies, then psychiatric care, and below that, nursing, psychology, and welfare.

That is why the low-ranking welfare specialists, who receive a small amount of research funding, do not dare to appear in the public eye.

‘Experts also say that they can never give us the real stories from the field, the actual abuse, or the numbers associated with it.’

This is the same for child guidance centers and school teachers. Because parents are positioned as guardians with regard to their children, they dare not communicate with parents in a way that makes them uncomfortable.

The expert who is supervising the manga also says, “I can talk about the literature that has already been published, but I can never give you the stories from the field, the actual situation and figures of abuse that I teach in class, because there are regional disparities. He says, “If you take responsibility, I will provide you with information, but don’t mention my name at all.

Although it is the Child Welfare Minister’s staff and police officers who directly observe the actual scene of abuse, they are obliged to maintain confidentiality. And if anyone other than those people had told the truth, for example, who would have given them the photos and records, they would have been pursued more harshly in this country.

And yet, the government is now promoting small group homes and foster care under the name of “community-based society,” even for abused children, This is also the case when the mentally disabled are transferred to the community. This is the same trend as when the mentally disabled were transferred to the community, and it seems that the general public and local residents are being told nothing about it.

This may sound a bit harsh, but this is something Oshikawa himself keenly felt during his interviews.

For example, do you know where children’s homes are located?

In the first place, the number of facilities in the Tokyo metropolitan area is overwhelmingly small in relation to the number of children, due to the lack of national welfare policy. In the Tokyo metropolitan area, facilities are located in the city, but the further you go to the countryside, the more they are located in the mountains, just like psychiatric hospitals.

The selection of facilities for children is also based on the degree of difficulty of the child’s family problems, the severity of the child’s background, and other difficult cases.

When we interviewed the Minister of Children’s Affairs, he told us that there are no specific rules for how children are assigned, but in reality, each facility is ranked according to its own criteria. For example, some of the children admitted to the facilities are the children of parents who have committed incidents that have shaken society.

In the case of such children, who also need to be dealt with by local residents and the mass media, it is not possible to say that they can be accepted at any facility. Generally, facilities located in the city cannot take care of difficult cases because the neighborhood residents are very strict.

Although it is not talked about as much as nursing care, there is also a serious shortage of personnel at children’s homes. It is hard work that involves the lives of children, but the wages are low and there are night shifts. University professors do not recommend working at orphanages, and in fact, some people have no choice but to work at orphanages after failing all the jobs they wanted.

Just as even doctors don’t want to see patients who are difficult to deal with, they don’t want to be involved with children who have troublesome problems. That is why there are no workers. Also, the other day, an employee of a children’s home in Kitakyushu City was arrested for violating the law that punishes the photographing of female children for sexual acts. He was arrested for violating the Act on Punishment of Sexual Photography of Female Children. Some problematic people, such as those who engage in indecent acts with children, also come into the picture.

“After hearing about the child’s current state of being in a state of alienation, he ends up saying, ‘It’s okay to watch over him for now…'”

In the first episode, a scene appears in which carrots are placed on the lid of a convenience store lunch box and served as the child’s meal. It is a very realistic scene, but it is also a very realistic scene that the lid of the lunch box is being used as a plate. ……

The scene was pointed out to me by a specialist who was supervising the work, so I asked Ueno-sensei to redraw it just before the deadline. Although I am able to report on children’s homes, I do not have the opportunity to see families where abuse occurs. Therefore, I hear from all kinds of people.

I have also interviewed former police officers who have specialized in child abuse. But the truth is, police officers do not see many cases of abuse. They are mainly present at the scene of a crime, and are rarely asked to enter abuse cases.

In the end, the most reliable people for both the Child Guidance Centers and the police are doctors. But when it comes down to it, there is an overwhelming shortage of expert child psychiatrists throughout the country. Kitakyushu City, despite being a government-designated city, does not have a single full-time child psychiatrist. If we are going to talk about measures to combat the declining birthrate, it is imperative to secure and train child psychiatrists.

When a member of the public calls the police, both the Child Welfare Minister and the police are obligated to confirm the safety of the child. Although the Children’s Minister can legally provide temporary protection without the consent of the child or parents, in principle, he or she is supposed to confirm the child’s or parents’ wishes.

There is a big problem here: the parents, as well as the children themselves, do not always admit to the abuse. In this case, the Child Welfare Minister cannot forcefully take the child into temporary custody. Therefore, I feel that there are a great many cases where abuse is occurring, but the children are simply being looked after for the time being.

The beautiful phrase, “respect the parents’ and the child’s wishes,” just drives them away.”

In the early part of the film, a shocking episode in which a child witnesses a parent’s sexual intercourse is also depicted.

Through my contact with many patients through the “Transportation Service for the Mentally Disabled,” I came to believe that sexual problems and mental problems are closely related. In “Parents Who Ask to Kill Their Children,” I repeatedly depicted the issue of sex.

In the course of my research on children’s homes, I found that the origin of these issues lies in “childhood. For example, I was told clearly that children who are exposed to their parents’ sexual intercourse at an early age are likely to masturbate from an early age, which is common knowledge in the fields of childcare and child studies.

Also, why do adults, who should have status, honor, education, and things to protect, become sexually deviant? I think we may be on the verge of finding the answer to that question as well.”

Mr. Oshikawa does not use bland, kind words. Nor does he speak nicely. For this reason, there may be people who feel antipathy toward his words, and in some cases, may even be offended by them. However, I feel that the essence of the problem lies in what many people want to avert their eyes or pretend they did not see. Mr. Oshikawa says.

We are thus obliged to show up on time, to meet deadlines, to obey laws and rules, and so on. This is because our parents have instilled a certain kind of obsession in us. We have been disciplined by our parents at the origin, and we have been framed in a certain way. But it is also true that this has allowed them to adapt to society.

Now, however, “discipline” has been taken away from both the home and school education. For example, the assignment of school counselors was originally intended to provide psychological support for children. However, there have been reports that school counselors only listen to the children and do not give specific advice, and that they have not been effective in dealing with non-attendance. Of course, this is due to the fact that our society has diversified to the point where truancy and withdrawal from school are now considered individual characteristics.

However, we have seen many cases where the introduction of the idea of autonomy and self-responsibility into mental health issues has resulted in neglect and worsening of the situation.

He also raises these questions about the responsibility of the mass media.

Psychologists often comment on children’s problems, but they always say beautiful words like, ‘We respect the will of the parents and the child. And so they just send them away.

If the person does not admit that he or she is mentally ill, we do not intervene. If the child does not admit that he/she is abused, we do not intervene. It’s the same in both cases. What makes experts untrustworthy is that the problem is pretended to ‘not exist’ according to rules that suit them.

But the mass media, in particular, like me, prefer people who say beautiful things rather than telling the truth! I can write the truth just in time.

I decided to make a comic strip because I thought it was the only way to write the truth at the last minute. The first step is to know the truth and to tell the reality. That is what I put into the manga.

Click here for Part 2: “People whose parents are on drugs and who have 5 to 10 criminal records are common all over Japan” and “Where the Dark Side of Children’s Homes Leads “.

Tsuyoshi Oshikawa was born in 1968. Born in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture. Journalist, nonfiction writer, and director of the Tokiwa Mental Health Office, Inc. In 1996, he established Japan’s first “transportation service for the mentally disabled” by “persuasion. He is also involved in supporting independence and employment after transportation. His activities have attracted attention both in Japan and abroad, and many documentaries have been aired. He is the author of several books, including “Parents Who Cannot Enter the Children’s Room,” “Parents Who Ask to Kill Their Children,” and “Parents Who Pray for the Death of Their Children.

Children Who Still Love Their Parents" (Volume 1, Episode 1; Original story by Tsuyoshi Oshikawa; Composition by Masakazu Suzuki; Drawing by Tomoya Ueno) Written by Tsuyoshi Oshikawa, illustrated by Tomoya Ueno, published by Shinchosha)

  • Interview and text by Wakako Takou

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