Johatsu: The Phenomenon of Disappearing Without a Trace

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At some point, we may have dreamed of disappearing and escaping life's problems. For most of us it is mere fantasy, but in Japan this problem is real and is called Johatsu (蒸発). we are not talking about suicide, the word johatsu can be literally translated as evaporation. This indicates that the person simply disappears without leaving any traces or traces.

One of the great culprits for johatsu is shame. Some often disappear after losing their job, having a failed marriage, or having a big debt. Many Japanese people leave their old identities and start a life from scratch invisibly in Japan.

Johatsu - people disappearing without a trace

How and why do they disappear?

The johatsu it is an alternative for those who cannot face failure and shame but do not want to take their own lives. There are a variety of reasons behind these evaporations like a son who fails his school exam and doesn't want to face his parents, or perhaps a husband who squanders a lot of money on gambling and gets into debt.

It's not kidnapping or suicide! Nearly 100,000 Japanese simply disappear every year without a trace. Some appear after a while, others are just isolated indoors like hikikomori, some are already living their normal lives but without showing their presence in society. This practice was more common when Japan was facing economic problems in the 1990s, but it still happens today.

These people just disappear and are not usually found because Japan's privacy law helps with that. The person can simply not register their address at the city hall, since tracking bank and card movements is possible only in criminal cases. The families of the evaporate do not have full support to find him.

Johatsu - people disappearing without a trace

Where are the johatsu?

Journalists and researchers investigate these people who have withdrawn from society. You can find them living in rural communities, Sanya located on the outskirts of Tokyo and Kamagasaki in Osaka. These neighborhoods do not require identities as they are managed by the yakuza. Some johatsu work for the Yakuza, so they get their money without worrying about financial documents that might give the person's location.

The practice of disappearing is ancient in Japan. There is even a Japanese movie called ningen johatsu (人間蒸発) released in 1967 and several books on the subject. It is not known all the reasons that lead a person to want to disappear from the map, abandon the family and start a new life. Even relatives can't tell when such an affair happens. Is that you? Know someone who just disappeared or evaporated? What do you think about this matter? We hope to see your comment below!

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