A London-based TikTok user from Canada triggered haunting flashbacks of childhood stress among many Asians after posting about her “discovery” of a Kumon center in England.
In her post’s caption, user Amanda Pun wrote: “
raise your hand up if you were victimized by Kumon.”
According to Pun, she stumbled upon one of the educational network’s centers while exploring Frome, a civil parish located in eastern Somerset, England.
Kumon, a Japanese education provider of specialized classes in mathematics and reading aimed at young children, rose in popularity in Asia around the 1980s and in the United States shortly after in the same decade.
In the comments section, Pun expressed her surprise at finding a Kumon in Frome as she did not expect it to exist in the United Kingdom.
Pun’s video generated over 1.7 million views, over 150,000 likes and thousands of comments in just a few days, indicating the impact that Kumon has had on the lives of many former students.
Many users who used to attend Kumon sessions in their youth shared their personal experiences, revealing the purported “trauma” they went through at the time.
“Bro my dad made me take kumon homework with me on HOLIDAY,” a commenter wrote. Pun replied with: “Hahah same. I remember waking up early and being forced to do kumon before going sightseeing.”
“I’m traumatized by the 2 hours it took me every evening, not to mention the 3 hours in the little church I had to go to every Thursday for my stickers,” another shared.
“I cried real tears because of kumon,” wrote another.
Others, however, had more positive recollections of their Kumon experiences.
“Had ups & downs but in the end Kumon helped me A LOT,” admitted a commenter.
“I learned fractions and algebra from my nephews kumon, hahahha,” one user shared.
“I actually wish my parents put me in those classes. I know a lot of people say they hated it but I feel like it would had helped me in math,” another chimed in.
Despite the mixed reactions from past attendees, Kumon has found international success, operating in 61 countries and regions.
The company, founded by Japanese educator Toru Kumon in July 1958 and incorporated in 1962, now has 24,000 Kumon centers in total, 15,600 of which are in Japan and 8,300 overseas.
As of December 2022, subject enrollments have reached over 3.61 million — 1.36 million in Japan and 2.25 million overseas.