Japan's Culture of Suicide

Topics: Death, Family, Japan Pages: 5 (1795 words) Published: May 3, 2006
Japan's Culture of Suicide

In American society, if a child is murdered or dies of an unknown cause, the unfortunate situation is hardly considered honorable. In Japan, however, they pride themselves on belonging to a culture where self sacrifice for one's country or family is though to be more honorable than dying at the hands of another man, or living a life full of regret or shame. The glorification of killing oneself is an aspect of Japanese culture that is deeply rooted in their history. In the article entitled, Japan's Culture of Suicide, a chilling account of one family's suicide is told. The killing took the lives of both parents and their three young children. The kids were told that they were going to visit their grandparents. Unbeknownst to them, they were on their way to their own funerals. The rest of the article discussed a dark side of Japanese culture that is rarely talked about. Tons of these family suicides occur each year, yet they are seldom documented. Police department personnel neglect to fill out the proper paperwork, and these deaths are simply brushed aside. What really caught my attention is that the children who loose their lives in these suicide missions do not count. In other words, their deaths aren't considered a murder. I find it extremely hard to fathom the idea of how a young child can get their life taken away from them so unjustly, and that this outrageous act is simply pushed aside and not considered a crime. Maybe I am biased, being that I live in the United States and it is very rare that the death of a child would not be labeled a crime. For Japan, a country praised for being so respectful toward others, it seems rather cowardly, unjust, and disrespectful for them not to admit to these crimes. These instances are hardly talked about and kept in secrecy. How can a nation not take steps to try and mend a problem such as this? Children are being killed for no reason and nobody sees anything wrong with this? Nothing is being done to prevent such acts of cruelty and violence? According to the article, data that is available on these family suicides shows that these acts of killing, claim the lives of more children than any other form of child abuse (Struck). To me, that bit of information alone shows a problem of magnitude proportions that needs to be addressed. I know that these acts of killing are nothing new for the Japanese people. These suicides are an aspect of their culture that stretches far back in the history of their country. It will be very difficult to try and fix this issue, but I feel that it is a problem that needs to be brought to the light. Personally, I just can't accept the fact that innocent young children, who have barely gotten a chance to experience life, have it brutally and unexpectedly taken away from them. Then to have these selfish acts not investigated or even considered a murder? It seems irrational and dishonest. I feel that there are certain values of the Japanese culture that contradict each other. In Japan, these family suicides are considered honorable. Instead of living a life that is overpowered by stress, guilt, or regret, it is seen as more commendable to just end one's life. Data shows that the majority of these suicides occur in Japan because life becomes too much to handle for certain people. On the other hand, another big aspect of Japan's culture is that they value and praise hard work and dedication. I find it to be hypocritical that a society that praises hard work and devotion also finds it honorable that someone can take their own life, and that of their family, as a way to escape these hardships put in place by society. To me that says that maybe there should be changes made in the educational system, which is known for being strenuous and very difficult to get through, and the business world. Maybe instating shorter workdays or making reforms to the school system would help the situation. If you relieve some of the stresses...
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