Suicide in Japan

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A man loses his job, and as a final head-of-household decision, throws himself to his death from a tall building so that his family may collect his life insurance. A 14-year old girl cannot handle the bullying she endures everyday at school, hangs a sign on her bedroom door warning any who come close to stay out because gas is being made, and mixes up a hydrogen-sulfide gas made from toilet-bowl cleaner and bath salts. She inhales the gas and kills herself, also putting at risk (and injuring) her mother, and around 100 neighbors.

Suicide is an epidemic that affects some of the world's greatest countries. However, it is Japan who is most famous for being a suicide-prone nation. While only being ranked ninth for deaths by suicide, Japan boasts some of the more disturbing stories behind its suicide victims, as well as a long history of this gruesome act. However unheard of it seems to outsiders, the methods and reasons behind suicide have become all too common amongst native Japanese.

Suicide in Japan began with the samurais who chose 'seppuku' (the disembowlment of one's body) as opposed to surrendering to one's enemy and risking torture. Later on, kamikazes crashed their planes into selected enemy targets during World War II, with the belief that they were doing so for the greater good of Japan. Japan is also known to be a unified populus -- meaning that to stray from what everyone else is doing is often looked down upon. With Japan being a nation naturally predisposed to suicide, its citizens are less likely to object to this option when they see that others are partaking in it.

Today, probably the biggest reason there are so many deaths by suicide in Japan is the simple fact that the Japanese people are very reluctant to admit that they have problems of any kind. Unlike Americans here in the United States, the Japanese do not freely talk about what is troubling them -- especially the middle-aged. This cuts out the idea of...
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