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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Friday, June 19, 2015


Bathing with Daughter: Daddy Arrested

Bathing with Daughter: Daddy Arrested
In my lecture on comparative morality as part of my inter-cultural communication course, I suggest that one should be careful about admitting that one is bathing with ones children in the UK since you might be arrested. I based this wild assertion on the controversial case of a two doctors in Cleveland, UK in the 1980s brought sexual abuse charges against parents that had been showering with their children. The children were diagnosed using a controversial physical test, but I believe that the initial suspicion was aroused due the children's showering practices. If they had been bathing as opposed to showering, with daddy, I think still greater suspicion would have been aroused especially in view of the fact that this practice is seen in Japan as a form of "skinship" (a Japanese portmanteau from skin and friendship but more touchy feely) or a social bonding leisure activity (see below).

It seems that my warning was appropriate. This recent Asahi Newspaper article relates that the Japanese Foreign Ministry has now issued a warning on its homepage saying that in a Japanese national living in an "advanced / first world" nation wrote an school essay entitled "I am looking forward to bathing with daddy," as a result of which the school informed the police and the father was arrested under suspicion of sexual abuse.

The foreign office homepage is here, complete with cartoons showing the co-bathing father being reprimanded by a policeman suggesting that photos (no one takes photos) or memories of bathing with his daughter are pornographic. Another cartoon warns against leaving children in cars.

The above article also states that the average age to which Japanese daughters bathe with their father is 9 years of age, reducing to about 10% of eleven year old daughters. 10% of eleven year old Japanese daughters are getting into a 1.5m square bath with their father partly because (so one person mentioned in the article opines) Japanese fathers are estranged due to the amount of time they spend working. Since they can only spend a smaller amount of time with their children it is appropriate, it is argued, that they spend it closer proximity with their offspring.

My favourite philosopher, Derrida (2008) writes that shame regarding nakedness is fundamental condition of being human and having morality.

"It is generally thought, although none of the philosophers that I am about to examine actually mention it, that the property unique to animals what is in the last instance distinguishes them from man (sic), is their being naked without knowing it. Not being naked therefore, not having knowledge of their nudity, in short, without consciousness of good and evil." (Derrida, 2008, p4-5; Derrida, 2002

That is not to say that the Japanese are animals, but not "men." It is my belief that the Japanese are humans in a different way.

Derrida, J., & Wills, D. (2002). The animal that therefore I am (more to follow). Critical Inquiry, 369–418. Retrieved from www.englweb.umd.edu/englfac/KChuh/Clark.Seminar.Doc.1.Der...

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.