Several groups in Greater Kaohsiung are calling for the removal of certain episodes of the popular Japanese cartoon Doraemon (哆啦A夢) to protect children’s mental and physical health, saying that it promotes schoolyard bullying.
The cartoon is about a cat-shaped robot sent back in time by its owner to help the owner’s great grandfather.
Greater Kaohsiung Teachers’ Union head Tung Shu-you (董書攸) said that while the bullying scenes in the Doraemon comic appear in only one or two frames, the televised version shows the scenes uninterrupted and can imprint itself on children’s minds.
“We must filter out such programs to ensure our children grow up to be fit psychologically,” Tung said.
Tung, an elementary-school teacher, said many cartoon shows on television contain verbal or physical violence and bullying that is unsuitable for children.
“As Doraemon is very well-liked among children, it has a greater influence over children with its scenes of bullying,” Tung said. “We strongly call for the National Communications Commission (NCC) to withdraw the more violent scenes, and any other shows with similar scenes, from the air.”
One blog recently carried an article titled “Bullying in ‘Doraemon’” in which the blogger wrote: “This is not a cartoon series fit to be watched by children over many years,” adding that the character Takeshi Gouda always tried to get what he wanted and resorted to violence whenever he met with events he did not like.
The blogger said “this is a type of person often seen in schools” and if such people banded together with others, like Takeshi teams up with Honekawa Suneo in the cartoon, “it would be frightening to think: ‘What if your child met with such occurrences at school?’”
The blogger also questioned China Television’s choice to broadcast such shows during the primetime 6pm slot.
A woman surnamed Chiu (邱) agreed with the blog’s content and said that although she taught her children not to pattern their behavior after Takeshi, she was still worried that the show would influence her children.
Adding warning messages to the show would not help at all, Chiu said, adding that she had simply banned her children from watching the show.
Chou Chen (周珍), director of the Down Syndrome Association’s southern office agreed with Tung, saying Takeshi’s violence could easily unconsciously cause children to behave badly.
When reached for comment, commission spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝誠) on Monday said that the NCC respects the concerns voiced by experts and parents and would forward the issue to its program and advertisement consultation committee for deliberation.
Additional reporting by Kan Chih-chi