I have to be honest: watching this video (22 mins) from 1996 made me very nostalgic for the olden days, when teachers were in charge, and children (and their parents) pretty much did as they were told. Times have really changed since then. Nowadays, teachers are expected to be managers rather than educators, children are allowed to run rampant in the classrooms, parents behave like spoilt brats, and the national academic scores (and therefore international competitiveness) have dropped as a result. In other words, Japan has started to become like a Western country.
Obviously there were drawbacks to the old system, such as bullying and suicide, which remain serious social problems in Japan. However, if you ask me to choose between living in a so-called “suicide culture” and a “homicide culture,” well, it’s no contest really, is it?