The stage was set, the lights went down and in a suburban Japanese primary school everyone prepared to enjoy a performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The only snag was that the entire cast was playing the part of Snow White.
For the audience of menacing mothers and feisty fathers, though, the sight of 25 Snow Whites, no dwarfs and no wicked witch was a triumph: a clear victory for Japan's emerging new class of “Monster Parents”.
For they had taken on the system and won. After a relentless campaign of bullying, hectoring and nuisance phone calls, the monster parents had cowed the teachers into submission, forcing the school to admit to the injustice of selecting just one girl to play the title role.
Japan Sparkling. For better or worse Asian schools have frequently been stereotyped as polar opposites of American ones, as ones where performance is stressed over self-esteem. So it's sad to see Asians not only emulating out trappings but racing us to the bottom with our own weaknesses.