Thursday, May 12, 2011

On Suicide

I am used to watching the newspaper reporting the suicide of the well-known in Japan. I am interested in this social problem because there are some people who don't want to live longer even in one of the economically well- developed countries in the world, Japan.

The Economist seeks the cause a little bit, though it seems to be somewhat frequently pointed out by western people:

The samurai tradition views suicide as noble (though perhaps out of self-interest, since captured warriors were treated gruesomely). Japan's main religions, Buddhism and Shintoism, are neutral on suicide, unlike Abrahamic faiths that explicitly prohibit it.

As is known in Japan, Japanese people have not been more religious. Rather, that may be possible to think of as one of the causes: they are less likely to think that life is something blissful given to us from the heaven, or, that committing a suicide is morally a bad thing as the above excerpt implies.

The Economist goes, Financial concerns are cited in one-fifth of suicide notes; almost half of all suicides are unemployed.

However, the unemployment rate is much higher in France(7.4%) and Germany(7.5%) than in Japan(4.0%). (Data is as of 2008, OECD) It seems to me that unemployment is not so closely related to suicide rate. Economic reason is one of the influential, but is not most influential in the suicide behavior. Anyway, this suicide rate tells that something is wrong with the Japanese society.

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