It goes without saying that corporal punishment is unforgivable. At least that’s the mode of thinking these days (and boy are we glad for it), but it wasn’t always the case. In the Showa Period (1926 to 1989), it was incredibly common in elementary, middle, and high schools. In fact, it was so common that it seemed almost inconceivable for a school not to have corporal punishment.

Still, we wondered what it was really like, so the prestigious RocketNews24 Japan team took a survey to find out what sorts of punishments were common in the Showa Period. Here’s the results of the “Ranking of Teachers who used Corporal Punishment—Best Five of the Showa Period.”

  • Number 1 – Teachers who forced students to sniff their spit

In this case, the teachers would lick their own arms until they were good and juicy and then hold the spit under students’ noses, forcing students to smell. The worse a kid was, the longer they had to sniff.

This list is already off to a stomach-turning start. Do we really want to know what number 2 is?

  • Number 2 – Teachers who walked around pinching crotches with pliers.

No, this isn’t a misprint from the latest Jackass movie. Teacher would walk around with pliers and use the tools to pinch bad students’ thighs or crotches. This punishment could sometimes result in red welts.

We’re not sure, but that kind of seems like it might be bordering on a human rights violation.

  • Number 3 – Teachers who put students in headlocks and forced them to smell their B.O.

Just as the title says, teachers would put students in headlocks and force the kids to smell their armpits. Sometimes students’ faces would be shoved so far into the teachers’ armpits that the smell would rub off on their faces. We’re told it was worst when right before lunch.

Please excuse us for a moment. We’re starting to feel queasy.

  • Number 4 – Teachers who would hit students with taiko drum sticks

Teachers would also smack unruly students with the fat taiko drum sticks called bachi.

These smacks would often echo, and some students were hurt so hard that they lost consciousness.

And you thought detention was harsh.

  • Number 5 – Teachers who crushed skulls

Not literally, of course! But some teachers would grip students’ heads—around their foreheads or the crowns of their skulls—with both hands and squeeze. The pain from the pressure would apparently last for some time.

  • Other experiences

One respondent related this story.

“I was called to the teacher’s room and made to sit seiza [kneeling, like during meditation] in front of the teacher, who then balanced six of the manga I’d brought to school on my head. He told me not to let them fall and then proceeded to beat the top of the manga with a small bachi, rhythmically preaching ‘Why. The. Hell. Did. You. Bring. Manga. To. School!?!’ with each smack. It didn’t really hurt, though, because of the all the manga on my head.”

  • Yikes!

Did you have any teachers who doled out corporal punishment in school? If so, what kind of punishments did they favor? From the students’ perspective, teachers’ punishments are pretty scary. Regardless of whether or not they’re good or bad memories, there are surely many people with memories of punishments they’ve received from teachers. Though we hope not so many these days…

Image source: RocketNews24 (Featured image), Wikipedia (bachi)