Arama They Didn't

10:32 am - 06/04/2013

Hey kids, keep it down — graying Japan annoyed by children’s noise

As the population declines, intolerance of children and the noise they make is increasing in a society growing less accustomed to hearing them, some child care experts say.

While convenience stores blare electronic greetings and political candidates shout through high-volume megaphones at train stations, day care centers are putting up sound barriers to muffle the din that toddlers make, and sports clubs are restricting the times that youngsters can play outside to avoid upsetting the neighbors.

Child care experts and politicians have voiced concern that this creates a self-perpetuating problem: Despite the falling birthrate, it is seen as less acceptable for parents to expect nonparents to put up with inconveniences caused by their offspring.

When it comes to complaints, “it’s now happening daily,” said Masako Maeda, a specialist in population at Konan University in Kobe. “As society has fewer and fewer children, people get less used to hearing them.

“It’s a vicious circle: Fewer children makes people less accustomed to hearing the noise they naturally make, which spawns complaints about them and contributes to the growing feeling among younger parents that they don’t want to have more children.”

Maeda said that when she was involved in a project to build day care centers in Yokohama, she faced a lot of opposition from people living nearby.

“We were once told not to take the children for a walk” because they make too much noise, she said.

Nobuto Hosaka, the mayor of Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, who has built up a sizable following on Twitter for his comments on the issue, said he fears for the future of a country that can’t tolerate the natural noise of children.

“I’m told that kids at one junior high school got complaints from people living nearby about the chanting when they were doing running practice,” he said. “Now they have to practice in silence.”

Outdoor playtime at one day care center is limited to 45 minutes a day. Whatever the weather, a traditional festival in another town now has to be held indoors.

“Of course we need to be considerate toward people living in the neighborhood, but it is impossible to make places where children play in total silence,” Hosaka said.

People who complain don’t grasp the connection between these noisy youngsters and their own future, he said.

“It is astounding those people who worry about their own pensions and how society is going to pay for social security won’t tolerate” the people who are someday going to pay the taxes that foot the bill, he said.

An official in Meguro Ward, Tokyo, said the number of complaints about noisy children peaks in the summer when youngsters go to outdoor pools.

One possible explanation, she said, is that more people in densely populated areas stay at home during the daytime as the population ages.

Around a quarter of Japan’s 128 million people are 65 or over, while the birthrate is falling short of the level needed to keep the population stable.

Children under 15 years of age account for just 13.2 percent of the population, the lowest in the world and less than half the global average of 26.8 percent, according to United Nations figures from 2010.

In Taiwan, which also has a low birthrate and an aging population, the Environmental Protection Administration in August 2011 clamped down on noise.

It introduced a rule allowing for fines of up to 15,000 New Taiwan dollars (about ¥50,000) for people who disturb the quiet of others living in the same building.

The move drew criticism from parents of young children, who complained they were being unfairly targeted.

“It’s impossible to ask children to sit still all day long so they don’t make noise,” said Annie Shen, a teacher in Taipei and mother of two boys, aged 1 and 6.

In Tokyo last year, a family sued a day care center for ¥17.46 million in damages for their mental suffering and demanding the facility stop making noise.

“We asked the family to make a public filing of their complaint,” said Hiromi Yamaguchi, president of JP Holdings, operator of the day care center.

A lawsuit “would determine which side is right,” Yamaguchi said, noting the center had erected sound barriers and limited the time children can play, but that wasn’t enough to stop the family from complaining.

The suit is still in the courts.

Japan has known for a long time that it has a problem with a low birthrate and in 2005 the government created a Cabinet post to help tackle the problem.

December’s change of government brought the 15th occupant to the post.

Kuniko Inoguchi, the first person to be named state minister for handling the declining birthrate, said Japan must understand that children are not a social nuisance.

“People’s values are wavering,” she said in an interview. “We have to push child-bearing issues to the top of the social agenda so that fewer people think these kinds of complaints are acceptable.

SOURCE: Japan Times
molly_hime 4th-Jun-2013 02:00 am (UTC)
They're kids they make noise, get over it.
You can have a stable population or you can have silence. Pick one.
dramajewels 4th-Jun-2013 05:52 am (UTC)
Stop the madness. If their behavior is making people who would have had children reconsider then its counter-productive. In all other cases I think loud children are annoying too.
tsu_ 4th-Jun-2013 06:29 am (UTC)
someone needs to do a sound comparison of adult karaoke and kids' playground. everyone is noisy in some way *shrug* (i have a rare form of synesthesia, and have to take blockers to not get overloaded - you just learn to live with a 'natural' level of noise)
baka_neko3 4th-Jun-2013 06:47 am (UTC)
wow, kids can't make noise at school and daycare center? that's ridiculous! i don't even know whether to be aghast or laugh my *ss off...

but i do agree there were a few times where i'd wish the parents would tell their children to quiet down a bit, like in a small restaurant where 5-6 kids 'talking' to each other at the top of their lungs and after 30 minutes in the restaurant i was about ready to schedule for a vasectomy procedure at the nearest hospital.... well, more like they were screaming at each other THE WHOLE TIME THEY WERE IN THE RESTAURANT!! ahem...

but i still wouldn't go as far as banning kids from making any noise at all.. back in my days, you can hear kids talking and laughing at each other while walking by your house everyday.. nowadays, it's so quite i feel like i live in the graveyard or something...
jae_bias_bitch 4th-Jun-2013 08:20 am (UTC)
it's impossible to ask kids to stfu and don't with these old people in japan
itsanonyx 4th-Jun-2013 09:58 am (UTC)
Who will take care of them when they're old? Exactly: Those children who are making noise. *urghs*
helios_blue 4th-Jun-2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
Nah, old people in Japan always try to stay independent, even if they have children who can take care of them. Not so difficult in a country that is very well equipped with infrastructures and all sort of systems to help the disabled/elderly.
It's a double edged blade.
rainbow_yarn 4th-Jun-2013 09:58 am (UTC)
Gross. Children make noise. They're supposed to make noise. There's a time and a place for silence, but playtime, preschool time, and outside time are not part of that. That's why we call shouting your "outside voice."
hpswf1 4th-Jun-2013 10:48 am (UTC)
It's so stipid >_>
dramajewels 4th-Jun-2013 11:15 pm (UTC)

I agree that playtime, recess and daycare facilities should not be sound monitored in most cases. Making noise can be fun. I don't agree just being a child gives you a right to infringe the business or the piece-of-mind of your neighbors.

Edited at 2013-06-04 11:19 pm (UTC)
hpswf1 5th-Jun-2013 03:33 am (UTC)
Make proper home, not from paper and it will be not a problem. Russia has a low about noises, it starts from 22. 22! Not for 24/7. I don't like noisy, too, and children can be really loud and parents need to tell them be quieter, but adults don't have rights to tell children be still and don't make any sound. Of course if it's not some lesson or something important, the piece-of-mind don't important.
Or choose another place to live, no one asked you to live next to kindergarden or school or park.
Not to mention, adults can be very loud, too. It is better to make quite sellers in stores in Japan! How I hate their scream! >

Edited at 2013-06-05 03:57 am (UTC)
dramajewels 5th-Jun-2013 01:40 pm (UTC)
I agree adults can be the loudness culprit too.

I'm not asking for anyone for children to be forced to sit and be quiet at all times. I just want parents to be more responsible for telling them when that behavior is appropriate. I agree that if you move into an dwelling right next to a school or park your problem is your own because you should not have moved to that location.

What if the school or daycare moves in next to me though? Lol.
hpswf1 5th-Jun-2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
This article says that there is people who ask children be quite.

I can understand daycare move, but school?? O_o Most likely all this elders discovered that they live next to kindergarden/school/park after retire. Cause most of the time before they spent at work. Impossible that there wasn't any child before, or situation of birthrate could be even worse.
In reality or they ask everyone be quite, stores and political candidates, or no one. Now it looks like elders show that they have power and children is the easiest target.
goodbye22 4th-Jun-2013 01:27 pm (UTC)
i totally understand how the old people are annoyed
cos my house is right next to a park and it really does get noisy.. and annoying ahahah tiny drama queens and kings.

but hey its wat kids do, i was loud when i was a kid and im sure these old people were like that too when they were younger.
as much as i want them to shut up, i wont tell them to because its impossible to achieve such a thing.... i just blare my music loud.
wox666 4th-Jun-2013 02:13 pm (UTC)
funny, I agree, children are cause for stress.
hourglass244 4th-Jun-2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
In today's age of technology, they should be happy that children still want to be active and play outside! I live next door to a little boy who has his own jungle gym, so naturally all the kids in the neighborhood congregate there. I enjoy being able to look out my window and watch them play. It reminds me of my own childhood and makes me smile when I'm having a bad day.
(no subject) - Anonymous
hannahime25 4th-Jun-2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
chemicalscene 5th-Jun-2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
mjlights 5th-Jun-2013 12:42 am (UTC)
True fact: It's happening in the US too.

It's an issue of needs of the young vs needs of the elderly. What I don't understand is the preconceived notion that kids should be quiet and be able to sit still for long periods of time. And that they should act like adults when they are four, 5 or even 8 yrs old. There is a time and place for everything.

It's sad to see child's curiosity and enthusiasm curtailed by some adults own brand of selfishness. It is selfishness btw. It's like turning off the light of a bright bulb. These children might end up having more psychological problems too.
kokoromaix 5th-Jun-2013 02:35 am (UTC)
dramajewels 5th-Jun-2013 02:51 am (UTC)
When should we begin teaching children proper social behavior?

I'm not talking about when they are in playgrounds, parks, etc... What about on buses, trains, museums, libraries, restaurants, and other places where loudness does disturb the majority.

I work in a museum and I see children everyday, jumping off stairs, playing at escalators, and generally behaving and speaking loudly in a manner that is accepted in playgrounds. The parents of these children are doing nothing to curb this behavior yet it is the other adults, annoyed by such behavior, that are labelled "selfish". That very well may be but I suspect there is some blame to pass around.

There is a time and place for everything, and you have to start teaching children when those times are while they are still young. If not they may grow up with quite a few problems.
emtqueen85 5th-Jun-2013 07:00 am (UTC)
Agreed. Children are running around undisciplined and everybody else is supposed to grin and say, "How cute." If it's unreasonable to expect a child to sit still and be quiet for a few hours, then it's unreasonable to take them to places where that behavior is expected. Like restaurants; even if it's a family restaurant like Red Robin or T.G.I. Friday's, children should not be running around, screaming and yelling, and throwing food. The carnage left behind a family with children is ridiculous and common.

I don't even understand how playground behavior is being accepted at museums. I grew up in the suburbs of D.C. so almost all field trips were to the museums and it was drilled into our heads that we were to behave otherwise we'd be in a world of hurt. To behave like a crack monkey in a place like the Holocaust Museum is not only rude in general, but incredibly disrespectful considering the subject manner.

You can either be a proper parent or keep the howler monkeys on speed at home.
booboobooboo99 9th-Jun-2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
Ahaha, add their extreme xenophobia to this and they'll be going extinct in no time.

Except no. Sensationalist news ftl.
This page was loaded Sep 26th 2023, 8:28 pm GMT.