Kodokushi – The Lonely Death in Japan

Dying alone is the last thing anyone wants. It's also the last thing we want to happen to someone close to us.

In this article, we are going to talk about this phenomenon called kodokushi (孤独死), which means "Lonely Death".

This phenomenon occurs mostly with the elderly.

On the one hand, you see a country that, culturally, has an obligation to respect and help its elders and that even has a holiday dedicated to the elderly.

On the other, you see elderly people dying alone in their apartments and their bodies being discovered after days, weeks, months, even years.

Kodokushi is a phenomenon that has been happening in Japan since the 1980s. You hear about cases where elderly people die alone in their homes, but the younger generation is also subject to this.

Kodokushi - lonely death in Japan

Kodokushi - Why does this happen?

In Japan there is something called gamman.

It's the way to face problems without complaining or resorting to some kind of help.

Because of this, people do not get in touch with relatives as the person is expected to carry the weight on their back, without bothering others with their own problems.

Another factor that increased these cases of lonely death was the bursting of the economic bubble in the 1990s that weakened Japan's economy.

Many who worked for corporations retired early.

The growth of unemployment and middle age hardly found a job.

And the fact that many were divorced or never married did not help their situation.

If you link Kodokushi with Hikikomoris but there are few cases of them ending up like this.

Kodokushi - lonely death in Japan

What is Japan doing to combat this?

The most that has been done so far have been campaigns and movements to prevent elderly citizens (which are the majority of cases of Kodokushi) and vitem from dying alone.

However, the efforts are in vain as this still persists and will affect the younger ones since marriage, every day, only tends to decrease and they tend not to have children.

What do you think of this phenomenon called Kodokushi? Have you ever known someone who died like that?

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