A commercial Japanese high school is amidst a harsh backlash after a picture showing students kneeling and bowing to their teacher during an assembly surfaced online.
Twitter user @barbeejill3 is vocal critic of harsh school rules and teacher misconducts, publicized a photo of students doing the seiza, a Japanese-style kneel and bowing to their teacher.
— 合法先生 (@barbeejill3) March 2, 2019
It was unclear when the photo was taken and where the school was, but the student who forwarded the picture explained to the Twitter user, as translated by SoraNews24:
“When we have assemblies at my school, when the teachers stand in front of the students, we always have to do seiza [kneel Japanese-style] and bow. The teachers proudly say that visitors to the school praise it for this.”
Whether or not visitors are actually impressed by what the students did at the assembly, many netizens couldn’t help but express negative reaction towards the picture.
“The teachers are literally looking down on the students.”
“Seeing students bowing down in front of them day after day, the teachers are going to get the delusion that they’re great, important people.”
“Soooo creepy. It’s just like a cult.”
“I can’t believe what I’m seeing. There are no words to describe this…”
Bowing is a pretty standard classroom custom in many Japanese schools to show respect to their teacher, but they are done in a standing position. This type of bow, however, is common in the hospitality industry, mainly at ryokans (Japanese traditional inn) where a staff will assume the position to welcome guests to either the hotel or their room when they guide them, according to SoraNews24.
This gesture of respect can also be seen in Japanese martial arts, such as karate, judo, and kendo, but this gesture should be both ways where the student and instructors bow to each other in similar fashion.
One comment pointed out that the gesture seems to be more of a feudal-era prostration rather than a normal bow as the students bowed for an extended period of time.
Featured image via Twitter / barbeejill3