Japanese education has entered what might be called the ‘post-Kobe’ era. Since the murder of the primary school boy by the 14-year-old ‘school killer’ in Kobe in May 1997, the Japanese media has been dominated by the ‘discourse on children’. Numerous special issues of journals have been published under such titles as ‘children in crisis’ (kodomo ga abunai), ‘children beyond comprehension’ (kodomo ga wakaranai), ‘children gone alien’ (kodomo ga henda) (Sekai, January 1998: 62). In no other time in the history of Japanese education or Japanese society in general, has so much attention been paid to children.