There are people all over the country whose parents are on drugs and who have five to ten criminal records…” The dark side of “children’s homes | FRIDAY DIGITAL

There are people all over the country whose parents are on drugs and who have five to ten criminal records…” The dark side of “children’s homes

Interview with Tsuyoshi Oshikawa, author of the manga "Children Who Still Love Their Parents" (Part 2)

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Closed and Unknown “Children’s Homes” as a Theme…

Although the absolute number of children is decreasing, the number of consultations on child abuse continues to rise, and abuse and neglect account for about half of the reasons for admission to “children’s homes. The manga “Still, Children Who Love Their Parents” (Shinchosha), which focuses on this closed and unknown world, is said to be modeled on the third generation of a family that has operated a children’s home in Kitakyushu.

Click here for Part 1: “Manga is the only way to write the truth at the last minute”…What a manga depicting the reality of “orphanages” appeals

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

How was the actual interview conducted? We asked Tsuyoshi Oshikawa, the author of the manga and the founder of “Tokiwa Mental Health Office Co.

He said, “Just because I am close to Mr. A, the third generation who is also the model for the director, I have no intention whatsoever of drawing the manga to lift him up. With his approval, I will continue to draw things that would be embarrassing if they were put out in the open.

Mr. A’s father is a well-known person who served as vice president of the Zenyoyo Kyokai (National Council of Children’s Homes), established the system that forms the basis of the Child Welfare Law, and has even received a medal, and Mr. A himself is a person who is unknown to anyone in Kitakyushu.

When I wrote “Parents Who Ask to Kill Their Children” (Shinchosha), a book about mentally ill patients and their families who have difficulty coping with their illnesses, I was harassed and slandered quite a bit upon publication, but this time, instead of being harassed, I have received recommendations from people in that field. I thought this might be a culture unique to people who accept children with difficult backgrounds 365 days a year.

In the field of child welfare, the government is promoting smaller scale and regional decentralization. That is why the general public needs to know what is happening in the field. That was one of the motivations for starting the manga. Without such a necessity to appeal to society, it would be impossible for a publisher to publish a manga that so nakedly depicts the truth.

Mr. Oshikawa, who says, “I’m so motivated that I’m going to move my office near the facility,” has two facilities that he uses as the basis for his reporting. While conducting interviews at the facilities, he also has many opportunities to exchange opinions with people in charge of the Kitakyushu City Children’s Consultation Center (Child Guidance Center) and people who have been involved in social foster care in the community for many years.

Mr. A is the third generation of a family that has been running a traditional children’s home, and he has a lot to say that can only be said because there are no specialists or government agencies involved. He himself has a family home on the premises of the facility, and he grew up there. There are many former residents who used to live at the facility and come to us saying, ‘I remembered my brother, so I came to visit him.

When Mr. A was a child, he went to the same public school as his classmates who lived in the facility. When I asked him once, ‘Didn’t you dislike that kind of life?’ He replied, ‘Rather, why do you live in a different house? Why can’t I sleep in the same place as the children in the facility? ‘ So there were staff members in the facility, and they were all integrated into one family.”

People from the orphanage and the staff say, ‘This is a very basic and common one, isn’t it?

What has been the reaction of people from the orphanage and the staff to the film?

People who don’t know about this world say things like, ‘I feel sorry for the children, it brings tears to my eyes,’ or ‘It’s very sad,’ but people who have been there and people who work there respond, ‘This is very basic and common.

It may be hard for you to imagine, but there are people all over the country whose parents were convicted of five, six, seven, or even ten crimes for which their parents were convicted of drug addiction.

However, there is one fact that I could not depict in the comic. That is that children born to drug-addicted parents often have disabilities. From my experience working with many drug addicts, I would ask the staff members specific questions, such as, “Do you see any of these things in the children? Sometimes there are children with nystagmus, where their eyeballs sway from side to side.

He explains why he did not include such descriptions in the manga.

I did not include them in the manga because people don’t know what orphanages are like, so it was important to show them properly.

When I interviewed other institutions, I found that there were often two cases: the child’s head was slightly distorted or the child had eye problems such as nystagmus or strabismus, but if you put them in a picture, the impact is huge. If the focus is only on that element, the reality of the children’s homes will not be conveyed.

The originally invisible “foster care” issue has become even more invisible due to national policy…

Furthermore, Mr. Oshikawa warns that the originally closed and invisible problems of children’s homes are now becoming even more invisible due to the national policy of “transitioning to the community” and “downsizing”.

He says, “The trend has changed to ‘solve family problems in the community. For example, patients with mental illnesses, with whom I have been involved for a long time, are increasingly being discharged from hospitals to live at home, or if it is difficult, in local “group homes,” where they can live in harmony with the community while using home nursing care, continuous employment support, and nursing care support.

Children’s homes are not large old-fashioned facilities, but rather rent vacant houses in the community where four to five children of the same gender live together with at least one or two staff members, making it like a home 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

I think the solution in this country is to throw them into the community and tell them to ‘become their own family and solve their own problems. Therefore, children’s homes will also be required to play an eclectic role with the community in the future, and the quality of staff must be improved with a small number of elite employees. Staffing is also a difficult area. Basically, male staff will be assigned to the boys’ home and female staff to the girls’ home. What, then, is family-like care? Isn’t it like a single-mother home or a paternal home? I think so.

In terms of group homes for the mentally disabled, group homes for people on outpatient treatment under the Medical Observation Law have been opened in Tokyo without being publicized in the neighborhood.

“I also participated in a meeting of experts, and they said, ‘In a densely populated area like the Tokyo metropolitan area, what do you do if a problem such as self-injury or other harm occurs? What do you do if a problem such as self-injury or other harm occurs in a densely populated area such as the Tokyo metropolitan area? What would you do? They said, “We have nurses on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so for now, we are fine.

In that area, there should be two 300-bed psychiatric hospitals, but instead of having a hospital, they are building a lot of group homes.

In reality, however, some of the residents caused neighborhood trouble and were reported to the police, and after dozens of hospitalizations, they finally settled down and became established in the community. Even if it is a beautiful story, it is a very difficult story for the neighbors.

As is true for children’s homes, it is necessary to clarify measures to be taken when problems occur and where responsibility lies in order to ensure harmonious coexistence with the local community. Otherwise, the understanding of local residents will not progress.

For example, I interviewed children’s homes outside of Kitakyushu City, and at the stage of searching for properties for smaller group homes, some elderly people said, “What if the children in the homes and their grandchildren get together and have children? Some elderly people said, ‘That’s unacceptable. That would be an honest feeling.

However, as long as the national policy is to have a community symbiosis society, I think it is necessary to let many people know about such realities as well. Children are innocent, and this is common throughout the world.

On the other hand, the method of consigning children to foster parents, rather than to institutions, is gaining momentum, but there are problems with this as well.

Foster parents are entrusted by the local government to take care of children. If, for example, a child develops problematic behavior and the local government can no longer take care of him or her, the child can be returned to the local government.

On the other hand, no matter how lovingly the child was raised, the abusive parent may ask for the child’s return, and if that happens to the child, the child will want to go home. Because no matter how terrible the parents are, children love their parents.

What about special adoptions, then, are not as common in Japan as they are in other countries. A journalist familiar with the situation overseas once told me, “Asian people value blood ties more than anything else, so adoption is probably emotionally difficult for them to accept. They don’t want to take full responsibility for the child by adopting him or her into their own family. If we were to take full responsibility for the child, that would also cause problems.

When the series first started, there was a lot of slander and harassment, but as time went by…”

Parents Who Ask to Kill Their Children” is now in its 15th volume, and the people involved with the book have given their approval to the work, but of course it was not favorably received from the beginning of its serialization. Mr. Oshikawa expresses his feelings and determination as follows.

In fact, at the beginning of the serialization, there was a great deal of slander and harassment, but as time went by, the voices changed to those that said, ‘Oshikawa is right. Incidents between relatives have been occurring frequently, and incidents such as the Kyoto Animation arson and murder case, ‘It’s the same as what was depicted in the manga. It is probably because the case ‘It is Oshikawa’s case’ has become familiar.

In the same way, I believe that I have to be sincere in my new serial, “Children Who Still Love Their Parents,” to gain the understanding of readers. Both those with mental illness and children with various circumstances will be accepted and supported in the community. Each of us must be prepared to become a social worker.

The challenge will be how to get the truth out about real people and real problems while protecting their privacy and having them depicted in the manga. There are many people who will cooperate with us in this manga, including the president of the institution, the director and other staff, government officials and experts, children and their guardians.

From the very first episode, everyone has been expecting a lot from us. We want people to know that there are children who live strong lives despite difficult circumstances, and we want them to support us. We want them to know that there are children who live in difficult circumstances, and we want them to support them.

So the most important thing we need to do is to make sure that this manga continues for as long as possible, even if it is just one volume, and that the truth is conveyed properly. Manga is commercial, so if it doesn’t sell, it won’t continue. If it does not continue, we will fail their expectations.

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 the independence and employment of those who have been transferred. 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, illustrated by Masakazu Suzuki. Written by Tsuyoshi Oshikawa, illustrated by Tomoya Ueno, published by Shinchosha)

  • Interview and text by Wakako Takou

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