Sunday, May 29, 2011

Suicide by Train in Japan

A sad reality about life in Japan is that it is quite bleak for some. I suppose that is the case for people throughout the world. Japan however does have one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

After 3 plus years living in Japan and traveling on trains, I have grown accustomed to trains being late for various reasons. Sadly, the most common reason is suicide. Many people chose to end their lives by jumping in front of trains as they are pulling into the station.

The JR (Japan Railway), the rail line I use most often in the Kansai area deals with this problem a lot. Some stations have digital information signs that explain to you why a train delay has occurred and what lines are affected. I took this picture in Akashi Station with my phone.

Human Damage Accident = Suicide


Scott Brown said...


Sibylle Ito has a very good post on this topic.

Scroll down to May 26th.

I don't really get it but interesting that hot weather countries like Jamaica have such a low rate.

I heard Australia has one of the highest youth suicide rates and I reckon it's because life as a kid in Australia is easy and idealic until you reach about 16 when they rachet up the pressure on all sides and a lot of kids not used to any kid of pressure just opt out!

Awful waste of energy and talent!

Anonymous said...

A lot of people I've talked to have no sympathy for those who commit suicide in front of a train. They consider them very selfish for inconveniencing thousands of people.

One of my worst experiences in Japan was witnessing a suicide. I saw a guy run and jump in front of a train. It all happened in slow motion, it was so surreal.

QiRanger said...

We used to have to deal with this problem in Korea quite regularly, but the government forced the rail operators (Metro, Seoul Metro, and KORAIL) to install safety doors at stations. While they are not all completely installed at this point, it has worked. No longer do passengers have access to the tracks. I'm surprised Japan hasn't mandated such installations yet!

Andrew said...

I was talking about this subject with my Japanese teacher once. I pointed out that the world's most popular suicide destination isn't in Japan, it's the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. His opinion was that suicidal Japanese tend to jump in front of trains is because it's a snap decision: one moment you're thinking about how bad your life is while standing on a station platform and suddenly decide to end it all. Whereas suicidal Americans tend to contemplate it for a long time before finally working up the courage to go though with it.

gaijinwife said...

interesting post and comments. Seeing a sign like that one must be a bloody depressing way to start the day - not to say inconvenient. I have seen the automatic gates in all the big stations but nothing you couldn't scale if you really wanted to. Down here the stats are probably almost nil due to no train station. Would have more luck jumping in front of a tractor.