Saturday, December 10, 2011

Suicide in Japan

Let's talk about the unspeakable. Suicide in Japan.

Personally I try not to think about it, but I saw an article in Japanese saying the Japanese government is hiring outside advisers to try to combat suicide in Japan.
According to the article there has been more than 30,000 suicides a year in Japan.

30,000 seems to be high, but on a per capita basis is it high or low, relative to other countries?
Well, I don't know and it doesn't matter.

The problem is that the article doesn't mention any reason for the suicides. Why do so many people commit suicide? Why do people commit suicide? Because I think the only way to tackle the problem of suicide is finding the cause of it. And the article I read absolutely wouldn't talk about it.

I am not Japanese, I am Brazilian but I have been living in Japan for 17 years now and I have worked in many Japanese companies.

I am also buddhist and Buddhism prohibits suicide.
But most Japanese people are not buddhist.

People may choose suicide when they see no other way out. They run out of options. And the last option left is suicide.

So the question is: why do people run out of options?

Life has infinite possibilities. We should never run out of options. And why should suicide be even considered an option?

I am hesitant to talk about this because it may sound as if I am criticizing Japanese society.
People love to praise Japan. But if you are a foreigner living in Japan and start criticizing Japan... well, Japanese people will not love you for that.

But if suicide is a problem, it comes from a basic flaw in people's way of thinking about life.
If we want to solve the problem of suicide we have  to solve this flaw in people's way of thinking about life.
We have to admit and accept the fact that the Japanese way of thinking about life is WRONG. Of some Japanese people at least.

Suicide is a global problem, it is not just Japan.
But I live in Japan, I don't know the situation in other countries.

What is wrong with the Japanese way of thinking about life?

Japanese people have a very NARROW view of life.
You have to do things in a certain way, otherwise you have to die.

That is what drives people to suicide.
They run out of options because they give themselves only 2 options. You either succeed or fail. If you fail you have to die.


Now I don't want to be presumptuous and claim to know all the answers. I don't know why people commit suicide. I am just guessing. This is just an exercise of thought. Sometimes I may say some things bold or audacious, but my intention is to start a discussion, to have people react and talk and think about these things.

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