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Published on   01/03/2006 23:46

Why do Japanese people commit so many suicides?

Haraquiri theory: in Japan, there was a time when suicide was glorified

Kanto, Tokyo, Tokyo – Silvia Kikuchi / IPCJAPAN

 Suicide risk rises with alcohol consumption
 Monday, the preferred day for suicides

According to the World Health Organization, one million people commit suicide every year. Among developed countries, Japan has the highest rate. In the Showa era (1926 ~ 1989) it came to occupy the first place in this ranking and later became known as “Kingdom of Suicides” (Jisatsu Ookoku).

In most western countries, where Christianity predominates, suicide is considered a negative act and against religious teachings.

Japan, on the other hand, lived a period in its history when suicide was even glorified, as in cases of haraquiri (cutting the belly with a knife or saber) or kamikaze (from the Japanese “divine wind”, refers to pilots trained to deliver suicide attacks against enemy targets). Dedication and loyalty to the Emperor may not have the same meaning today, but because of that past, suicide does not arouse a feeling of guilt as strong as among Westerners.

In numbers … (2003)
Japanese population 127,619,000
Suicide 32,109
Foreigner population in Japan 1,915,030
Suicide 2,318
Total suicides 34,427

Suicidal SOS

– Comment that they want to die
– Practice harmful attitudes to themselves
– Prepare for a farewell
– Commit dangerous acts
– Exaggerate the consumption of alcohol or other drugs
– Suddenly change behavior

Many people believe that suicide is a sudden act. It is actually not quite like that. Investigations show that family members had noticed small changes in behavior before people committed suicide.

The process: stress – depressed state – willingness to die

Depression is an “emotional disorder” that can affect anyone, but it can be cured. A person in this state tends to be increasingly closed to social contact. When friends or family members notice these signs, they should seek professional help.

Profile of Japanese suicides

– They are between 25 and 29 years old
– They prefer Mondays
– Men, from 5 am to 6 am and women, from 12 pm to 1 pm
– The preferred months in 2003 were April and May
– Men are generally divorced, and women, married
– Hangings lead the ranking, but young people prefer to inhale gas or throw themselves from high places
– The province with the highest number of suicides is Akita

World ranking
Countries with the highest suicide rates *
Russia 70.6
Hungary 51.5
Japan 36.5
Countries with the lowest suicide rates *
Italy 11.1
England 11.8
U.S 17.6

** For every 100 thousand inhabitants

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