Karoshi - Death from overwork in Japan


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Karoshi (過労死) or death from overwork is not uncommon in Japan. This is due to their work culture and several other factors. We have already written several articles talking about work in Japan, but today we are going to talk specifically about karoshi.

The main medical causes of deaths from karoshi are heart attack and stroke due to stress. There is also malnutrition and suicide where work is a major cause. Japan is the only one with a separate category to report deaths from overwork. Karoshi has been a part of public awareness since 1980.

What causes Karoshi?

The main factor that causes death at work is overtime. Although the government or some companies set an overtime limit, many end up exceeding it even though they are not being paid. Some people in the corporate world end up working even when they get home for the simple pleasure of finishing work soon.

Karoshi - morte por excesso de trabalho no japão

The culture of overworking emerged after the Second World War where people were encouraged to work 12 hours a day up to 7 days a week to leverage the country's economy. Nowadays this is not necessary, but the 25% overtime ends up attracting the attention of many people.

It is not just stress or health problems that will cause death from work, but suicide. Unemployment is responsible for 57% of all suicides, with work-related stress (such as extended overtime), work fatigue and work-related depression the other main factors that lead to suicide. It is worth remembering that there is no shortage of jobs in Japan, but simply losing a job or a job makes a Japanese person want to give up on life.

There are several cultural factors that make a person work harder than they should. Things like pride, honor, shame and the desire to do the best end up making the Japanese work harder than they should without even realizing it. Japanese who exceed 80 overtime per month are subject to karoshi. Even those Japanese who don't work too hard, end up neglecting their health. They just leave work and go to drink or watch at night on the computer, leaving no time to rest.

Karoshi - morte por excesso de trabalho no japão

When will Karoshi end?

Sad to say, but karoshi not will disappear anytime soon. The government has imposed fines and limits, but unfortunately the problem is the Japanese's desire to work. Some companies have tried to combat the phenomenon with several programs, but the change has to start at the cultural level, which can take decades. As long as the Japanese continue working overtime excessively willingly, cases of Karoshi will continue to happen. Is that you? What do you think of this subject? We await your comment.