Many believe that the high suicide rate, workload and other stereotypes of Japanese culture results in a depressed nation. I have come across several people myself saying that the Japanese are sad. is this really true? In this article we will understand a little about the subject and see some things responsible for the Japanese unhappiness.
Imagine having to work 10 hours a day, stay hours on a train, eat lunchboxes or instant noodles every day? This is not uncommon in Japan, especially in large cities. Getting a job or a pay rise is unlikely. Nothing different from life in São Paulo.
Fun? Many spend train trips playing on their cell phones or watching videos, others go to karaoke every week by themselves. Social interaction is low even through cell phone messages. When you are at home you spend most of your time sleeping or on the internet. How to be happy with this lifestyle?
This is ironic, as Japan offers so many options for food, leisure, tourism and things that can fill the void. Even so, people opt for a lifestyle focused on work and money. It is a common lifestyle, but we cannot fully take it into account in a space with 127 million inhabitants.
What are the causes of unhappiness in Japan?
Having a tight and repetitive routine really causes unhappiness, resulting in a disease that is dominating the entire world, the famous depression. Many Japanese people have trouble socializing, be it shyness or independence, they don't open up or express their feelings to strangers.
Being reserved is normal and people like that are in abundance in all countries, the big difference is that the Japanese have no custom of visiting psychologists or psychiatrists. Having someone to listen to your problems is always good, and unfortunately some Japanese people don't have that someone.
Social stigmas play a very strong role in all parts of Japanese life. Cultural pressure not to make mistakes ends up bringing unhappiness. Some even commit suicide for this. These cultural and structural factors are likely to influence people who are already overwhelmed and stressed to feel even worse.
At school the Japanese are encouraged to always do their best, to be number one! Otherwise it will be a failure. Boys as young as 12 already suffer from anxiety disorders because they are afraid they will not score well on their exams. Unfortunately Japanese people are obsessed with status and material possessions, and we know that this does not bring true happiness.
Understanding the Happiness Ranking
According to the happiness ranking, Japan is in the 51st position. Brazil, on the other hand, despite all the crisis and insecurity, is in 21st place. Despite these positions, there are many things that have not been clarified in this ranking.
If we look at the ranking below, we will notice that Japan loses badly only in Dystopia. Dystopia is a hypothetical country that represents the smallest national measures for each key variable, with residual errors. This country has lower averages for each variable, serving as a basis for regression (I'm still confused by this xD).
|Pos||Parents||Pts||GDP||Social Ass.||Expect. of life||Freedom||Generosity||Confidence||Dystopia|
The criteria addressed in this statistic show that Japan wins in many ways. A statistic means nothing, unless it is placed in context. For example, Japan is 26th in the ranking of suicides in the world. The numbers have dropped a lot and currently South Korea has a high suicide rate in 10th place.
Factors that cause suicide include unemployment, economic problems and social pressures. I personally don't consider Japan's suicide rate as high as people think. You see, there are 15 people per 100,000 inhabitants, in Brazil there are 13 and in the USA there are 12, a small difference. Even so, Japan is always cited as an example of suicide, probably due to its small size that makes things happen in a concentrated way.
Are the Japanese happy?
In fact, what is happiness? Happiness is something that needs to be achieved individually. As much as the Japanese have social problems, they seek happiness in their own way, whether through a hobby, sport, game or something individual. In Japan, there are thousands of things to do and thus end boredom. Even though there are always people working, there are others who are always traveling and enjoying.
The stereotype that Japanese people are more depressed than people in other countries is wrong and out of date. As much as there are those who try too hard for nothing and still find a void in their life. Several other Japanese people know what they really want, and it was thanks to their efforts to work hard, follow rules and be a perfectionist by nature, that Japan has become such a comfortable place to live and travel.
If we stop to think about our problems, we cannot be happy. The current world trend is getting worse, bringing more unhappiness! Japan has an advantage in offering a quality of life, of course not everyone has the luck and the time to enjoy these things. Remember that having time and doing the things you like doesn't mean happiness either!
The fact is that Japan doesn't even appear on the list of the 10 most depressing countries in the world. The US ranks first in the depression ranking, where 1 in 6 people take antidepressants or psychiatric drugs. Even Brazil appears 7th in this ranking, showing that unhappiness affects even Brazilians who are famous for never giving up and being positive and frantic.
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