The Japanese version of a documentary video focused on children who stay away from school in Japan was put on sale by the Children Rights Information Center in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.
The video, “A Quiet Revolution — the Emergence of Alternative Education in Japan” by American filmmaker Lynn Piasecki, is an attempt to provide viewers with a greater understanding of serious problems in Japanese schools, according to Piasecki.
Piasecki spent a total of two years studying in Japan, from 1992 to 1993 and 1995 to 1996, after studying architecture and movie production in the United States. She said she was initially interested in Japan’s educational system, and the relationship between Japan’s schooling and the creativity of the Japanese.
However, after her arrival here she began to feel that the Japanese educational system was uniform, controlled and hampering the development of unique character. She decided to make a film on the issue.
The video includes interviews with children who cannot go to school, their parents, officials at the Education Ministry and scholars. It also touches upon the 1994 suicide of Kiyoteru Ookochi, a 13-year-old junior high school student.
Piasecki sees alternative education such as the Tokyo Shure, an unaccredited, so-called free school that takes in these children, as a way to revive an education system that allows students to build upon their individuality.
The original English version of the 43-minute video won the Gold Prize at last year’s 41st Competition for Films and Videos on Japan.
The Japanese version of the video is being sold through the center for 3,000 yen plus 500 yen for mailing costs. However, for schools and other educational organizations, the price is 5,980 yen plus shipping charges. The center can be contacted at (03) 3431-5392. It will also accept requests for the English version.
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