One of the most discussed topics involving Japan is its suicide rate. This raises questions like: Why do the Japanese commit suicide? Is Japan’s suicide rate really that high? How many people commit suicide in Japan each year? What is the world ranking? Is it Japan’s fault? We will answer these and other questions in this article.
I personally am tired of always hearing someone use Japan’s suicide rate to demean him in some way. In people’s minds, Japan is the country where people commit suicide the most, and it is in 18th position in the world ranking. And luckily, each year the rate of suicides in Japan has decreased.
I will separate this article by questions and topics, to facilitate navigation we will leave an index below:
Japan is not the country with the highest number of suicides
I made it clear that each year Japan loses positions in the suicide ranking, and at the time I wrote this article it is in 18th. Some countries like South Korea and North are in the top 5. Our neighboring Guyana has a gigantic rate becoming the first in the ranking of suicides in proportion.
European countries famous for being peaceful like Poland, Hungary and Belgium have a higher suicide rate than Japan. Other countries with a suicide rate higher than Japan are Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, Angola, Mongolia and the first place goes to Sri Lanka.
According to different surveys and rankings, in the year 2017, Japan’s suicide rate was around 17-19 per 100,000 inhabitants (about 60 per day). It is a very low number when compared to 35 for every 100,000 inhabitants of Sri Lanka. Yet Japan is always cited as an example, why?
Why was Japan famous for its suicides?
There are 17 countries with a higher suicide rate than Japan, but the Japanese are still used as an example because Japan is a first world country and one of the greatest world powers on earth. Japan is also very popular in Brazil, unlike other countries that appear in the ranking of suicides.
Another main reason is that the total number of suicides in Japan is really large, reaching 21,000 people a year (2017). In rankings where the amount of total suicides is used, without proportion, Japan is usually in the top 10, since its population is over 127 million people.
10 years ago (2009), the suicide rate in Japan was also much higher, exceeding 30,000 per year or 32 people per 100,000 inhabitants. At that time Japan dominated in the top 5 in the total suicide ranking and has even appeared in the suicide rankings for every 100,000 inhabitants.
There are also several cultural aspects that helped to create this stereotype of Japanese suicide in the West. It is amazing how Japan has managed to decrease its suicide rate in the past 10 years, despite the growing global epidemic of depression and emotional problems, not to mention the world trend, which is getting worse.
Japan is very safe, so suicide becomes one of the biggest culprits in the death of the Japanese after illness. It is easier for someone to commit suicide than to die in an accident or let alone be killed by someone (something 10,000 times more difficult to happen).
The Japanese culture of suicide
For many in the West, taking life is a sin, atheists believe that death is the end of everything, even the Bible says that the dead are not aware of anything. And the Japanese? What do you think about death? The Japanese believe in reincarnation, death is considered a passage to another existence, due to the Buddhist influence.
I do not believe that reincarnation is a good reason for not being afraid to commit suicide, mainly because those who resort to this act, want to escape completely from life, put an end to it. Not to mention that many Japanese, despite following Buddhist and Shinto traditions, appear to follow no religion or are atheists.
For the family, relatives and people involved, the death of a loved one is a great sadness. Probably the Japanese who thinks about committing this selfish act, believes that he is no longer a burden for others and solving all his problems in this way. It is really very difficult to understand Japanese thinking.
The culture of suicide in Japan is something very old and was considered by the samurai to be an act of honor, and even received the name seppuku or harakiri (where the belly is cut). Even recently in World War II, kamikaze killed themselv[神風]es in the war, with pride, honor and without any remorse.
We note that over the years cultural influence and events have contributed to a suicidal country. Japan does not have a great influence on Christianity, so suicide there is not considered a sin. In fact, some see suicide as a way of taking responsibility for something “.
Main causes of suicide in Japan
Probably the second world war and the conditions that the country faced close to the 2000s left the suicide rate very high. Even today in the United States, many commit suicide because of World War II, especially ex-war soldiers. Perhaps this explains the decrease in suicides in the past 10 years.
Another very worrying thing in Japan is the suicide rate among young people. Even children commit suicide in Japan, often because of bullying, social pressure and lack of attention from parents and teachers. Among the main causes that lead a Japanese to commit suicide, we can list:
- Bullying and Cyber bullying;
- Social Isolation – Hikikomori;
- Financial pressure and unemployment;
- Classification tests in high school;
- Having relationship problems;
- The loss of a loved one;
The Japanese are a bit of a perfectionist and do not accept failures, even if they are not under pressure from other people, they end up putting pressure on themselves.
It is clear that many of these things are stereotypes, emotional problems and depression affect each person differently, but unfortunately the Japanese way of thinking leads even the government to be confused and concerned about this situation.
Young people are the biggest victims of suicide
Suicide is blamed for the highest number of deaths among young people aged 20 to 40, and possibly some elderly people who end up dying alone at home. Understanding the main reason for suicide in Japan is complicated, we don’t have the same mentality as the Japanese.
Unfortunately, young people end up being the most pressured to commit suicide in Japan. All of this happens because of the bullying and cyberbullying that many different students face in Japanese schools.
Those who do not commit suicide move to a worse scenario that also results in the suicide called Hikikomori. About a million young people in Japan remain in their rooms isolated from society without wanting to go to school or work.
Classifying evidence is one of the most difficult events that the Japanese face in their lives. They need to take a test for admission to high school and another for university. Some need to study hard and even take extra classes at a prep school.
In Japan, back to school in the second semester is marked by tragedies. More than 18,000 children under the age of 18 committed suicide in Japan between the years 1972 to 2013. All because they didn’t want to go back to school.
HOW TO FACE Suicide in Japan?
Of course, although alarming, we should not generalize suicide numbers in Japan. As you know, Brazil also has a high suicide rate very close to Japan with a difference of 3 people per 100,000.
I think that before pointing out the suicides in Japan with a tone of criticism of the country, it is better to remove the beam from the eye itself. Suicides in Japan are still a problem, but we see it decrease with each passing year. A surprising scenario in a world that tends to get worse.
It is really possible to decrease this rate of suicides more and more in Japan with some changes in society. The Japanese need to stop charging so much of themselves or trying too hard on futile things. What do you think about this subject? Let’s finish here, leaving other related articles below: