In Japan, more and more children are refusing to go to school, a phenomenon called “futoko”. As the numbers keep rising, people are asking if it’s a reflection of the school system, rather than a problem with the pupils themselves.
Ten-year-old Yuta Ito waited until the annual Golden Week holiday last spring to tell his parents how he was feeling – on a family day out he confessed that he no longer wanted to go to school.
For months he had been attending his primary school with great reluctance, often refusing to go at all. He was being bullied and kept fighting with his classmates.
His parents then had three choices: get Yuta to attend school counselling in the hope things would improve, home-school him, or send him to a free school. They chose the last option.
Now Yuta spends his school days doing whatever he wants – and he’s much happier.