Hot hitting Ichiro Suzuki has hit over .300 every year he’s played in America. Likewise, Japan’s suicide rate has hit 30,000 every year for the last nine years.
Time to stop it with the baseball analogies.
32,155 (according to the Mainichi Daily News) people committed suicide in Japan in 2006, a 1.2 percent decrease from 2005. Surprisingly, most of the suicides were by the elderly. Almost all of the suicides were by those 50 and older, with rates increasing as the age goes up. This coincides with an announcement stating Japan’s fertility rate has gone up to 1.32 babies born per woman, up .06 points. I’ll let you interpret this however you want. You won’t see me getting caught up in this kind of discussion.
The one part of this study that is very surprising is the sheer number of elderly people killing themselves compared to the smaller number of teenagers (and children) killing themselves. I think that Americans have this perspective where they imagine all these teenagers, cramming for college entrance examinations from hell, who just can’t take it, run off to the nearest train station and make the leap (which is also not something people do as often anymore, since the victim’s family has to pay large sums of money to clean the body up). Instead, it is the elderly who are committing suicide. The study states that it is mostly because of health problems, though I have another theory. Recently, the whole “3-generation family structure” has been dying (no pun intended) in Japan, and the elderly are more often being put into homes. This would be very difficult for people of this generation to accept, because throughout their whole life they were taught to take care of their parents (I think it’s a good idea too). Now they are being shunned aside, and they no longer feel like they are useful to society anymore (can’t take care of those grandchildren, but none are being born anyways).
Either way, suicide is still a problem in Japan (no surprise there), and it doesn’t look like things are getting much better. Until the current younger generation makes it to old age, I don’t see this trend changing. Right now we have two very different mind-sets, and until they stop clashing, we won’t see suicide rates in the elderly drop anytime soon…As per teenage/children suicide rates, that will be a longer process to fix, and another article to write. There is, however, a lot of room for discussion, so, discuss away, if you’d like. I’ve barely even touched most of the issues relating to Japan’s suicide rate.