Corporal Punishment in Japan

One Path to Positive Anthropological Activism

in Anthropology in Action
Author:
Aaron L. Miller California State University, East Bay amiller333@yahoo.com

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Abstract

This article is about the controversial educational practice of corporal punishment – known as taibatsu in Japan – which challenged me to reflect upon my anthropological heart and find my anthropological identity. Corporal punishment is a practice around which many ideas and discourses about education, social order, human rights and even power swirl, and it is therefore an inherently sociocultural practice wherever it takes place. Like other forms of violence, it also poses a personal challenge to anthropologists who observe it in practice and have to decide whether to remain an observing bystander. At one time, I made that choice. In this article, I explain why I no longer do.

Contributor Notes

Aaron L. Miller, PhD is Annual Lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, East Bay, where he teaches sports sociology, sports history, sports philosophy, and sports and social justice. Between 2010 and 2015, he was Assistant Professor and Hakubi Scholar at Kyoto University, and Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Adolescence. His book, Discourses of Discipline: An Anthropology of Corporal Punishment in Japan’s Schools and Sports, was published by the Institute for East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. Miller can be reached via email (amiller333@yahoo.com) and his website is www.aaronlmiller.com.

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Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice

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