Kimi Ni Todoke, does being kind to bullies really help?

In Kimi Ni Todoke, Sawako Kuronoma struggles to fit in and make friends in high school. Her soft-spokenness and long hair unnerves her classmates, earning her the nickname “Sadako”; alluding to a ghost that haunts a well in the movie titled ‘The Ring’. They also spread rumours that she has a sixth sense and can see ghosts. This causes other classmates to ostracise her and call her names. While Sawako’s experience of verbal bullying is less aggressive than that typically seen in recent Kdrama, ‘The Glory’ and other American television shows, it is no less hurtful to the bullied individual.

Why do people bully?

Individual traits and social learning have been implicated in people who bully others

  1. Prone to aggressiveness and must have what they want.
  2. Lack skills in communication and in developing social relationship
  3. Lack ability to solve problems from a non-aggressive approach.
  4. Poor emotional regulation
  5. Anti-social behavior and unemotional traits
  6. Have been bullied before or have seen how bullying succeeds in getting a person what they want.

Many people who experienced bullying may develop self-blame and low self-esteem. In some cases, it may also lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and even suicidal ideation.


Sawako is fortunate in that her bullies withdraw their attacks as she continues to treat them with kindness. Eventually they befriend her and even stand up for her from other bullies.


In real life, some of us may find that the situation may not get better no matter how hard we try to be kind. It is in these times where knowing how to protect ourselves is even more crucial.

If you find yourself being bullied, try these strategies to better manage it:

  1. Never blame yourself or believe that you deserve the bad treatment.
  2. Be assertive but don’t retaliate. Bullies tend to pick on passive frightened individuals, ignore the comments and walk away. Don’t give bullies the satisfaction of seeing you react.
  3. Surround yourself with people who have your back. Never be alone in a situation where you can be cornered with no help around.
  4. Keep a record of what happened.
  5. Report it: Tell a teacher or person of authority who can call out the bully and provide some protection to you.
  6. Be kind to yourself and do things that will make you feel good about yourself.
  7. Get professional help if the bullying is causing you emotional distress.


Here’s what else you can do:

When you are cyberbullied

When facing angry and aggressive people.

If you have suicidal thoughts, please postpone any plans and get help immediately. Your life is precious and there can be a solution to the problem. Please commit to a Choose Life Safety Plan

SOS helpline



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