Japan’s suicide rate continues to fall!
The National Police Agency reported that Japan’s suicide rate has dropped for the 8th consecutive year, with signs pointing to improved counseling programs. There were 21,140 reported suicides in 2017 which is a 3.5% decline from 2016.
Japan has been taking positive steps towards lowering the suicide rate, but some sobering facts were also detailed: the nation has the sixth highest suicide rate in the world. Suicide was also the top cause of death for people aged between 15 to 39. Health issues and financial problems are the leading causes of suicide.
Japan’s suicide rate has always been a hot topic among industrialized nations, but people are becoming more aware due to the fallout from Paul Logan’s vlog involving the “Suicide Forest.” Despite trivializing a young man’s suicide, it has drawn awareness to Japan’s unusually high numbers.
Suicide in Anime and it’s Global Spread
Any decrease in suicide in Japan should be celebrated by fans of Asian media since it may affect their local community more than they think. It’s no surprise suicide is a theme in Japanese media considering its long history stemming from honor killings to seppuku to kamikaze fighters. Since 2001, scientific studies have found that suicidal thoughts may be able to spread through people and media like a virus, causing anime to possibly be one way it is exported globally.
In anime, serious films like Colorful focus on life after suicide and comedic shows like Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei feature a pessimistic teacher comedically trying to hang himself multiple times. Suicide even appears in mega-popular series like Naruto after a father fails an important mission.