A Serious Talk: Perverts

As we know, all over the world there are issues with perverts. When thinking about Japan the first word that would often come to mind is safe. However, Japan is no exception to the pervert problem which I unfortunately experienced first hand.

It was a typical day after school. My friend and I were waiting at the bus station as we always had. As we sat there waiting we decided to watch a short three-minute video. Within this short time span a strange man dressed in all gray squatted near our bus stop and began recording us. In the beginning we did not realize this was even happening, but midway through the video my friend noticed. She turned more towards me and informed me of what was going on. I turned to look at the man, looking straight at him thinking he would stop when realizing he was caught. However, he didn’t. He didn’t care that we knew he was recording us. We quickly got up and moved away from him. After doing this the man stopped recording and ran off.

There were many things that were disturbing about this experience, but there are two in particular that really disturb me. First off, the fact that he did not care that we knew he was recording us. After this event happened we both made our way home together and informed out host families of what happened. During this time my host mother explained to me a bit more how things like this happen to women often in Japan and even shared her own experience of a pervert taking a picture of her. The fact that this happens so often that it is seen as normal is a problem to me. It did however clear up why the man had no issue continuing to record us despite our apparent awareness of his presence. It’s so normal in Japan that I believe he felt a sense of security. He knew that it didn’t matter if we saw him because more than likely nothing would be done. Furthermore, I believe it shows, in a way, Japan’s views on women at least in regards to perverts. In their eyes I truly believe that they view women as nothing but sexual objects, as all perverts do in the world but there is something about thisĀ  confidence in knowing he would not get caught and that the women he was recording were powerless and weak that disturbed me.

Secondly, although this event happened in a big and openly public space no one said anything.

There were many people at the bus station and the man wasn’t trying to hide the fact that he was recording us so I am almost certain that there were others who watched as the pervert recorded us and said absolutely nothing. This is undoubtedly a problem. In the USA, I believe there is a general consensus that if one views something bad happening to someone else then they try their best to do what they can to help them. That was not the case in Japan. I wasn’t expected anything extreme like someone to tackle the man or anything along those lines. However, a simple yell or tap on the shoulder to inform us of what was happening would have sufficed, yet nothing happened. No one did or said anything and that’s an issue. I also discussed this issue with my host mother and she explained to me that in Japan when those kinds of things happen people usually do not say anything because they often feel it isn’t their place to get involved. In addition to this, they also consider their own well being and just think it best not to get involved. Although I can understand to an extent the consideration of one’s well being I still believe that there is always something that can be done, specifically in situations like this. It truly disappointed me that out of a whole station of people no one said a word. Japan is a wonderful and beautiful country but every country has its issues, including Japan. Let this be a warning to those studying abroad in Japan. Japan is overall a wonderful place, but please stay alert and if you see anything like this happening I encourage you to please take action.