Modern Day Seppuku: The Battle with Depression
I was conducting a research for my custom essay on Asian history when I chanced upon this article in CNN about a massive suicide rate increase in Japan. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/19/suicide.forrest.japan/index.html According to the report, the suicide rate in the country is up 15% compared to the statistics of January 2008 – this is indeed very alarming news.
Based on the report, Japanese citizens are heading for Aokigahara Forest – a site known for its panoramic view of Mt. Fiji as well as a suicide site.
When we go back and explore Japanese history, we would learn that suicide is part of their culture. During the time of the samurai, it was part of their honor code to die voluntarily rather than fall into the hands of their enemies. It was also a form of capital punishment for disgraced samurai. Known as sepukku or hara-kiri, this is a ritual done through disembowelment.
The Age of the Samurai has long gone, but the Japanese remain true to their tradition. Now, the disgrace is not just brought about by serious offenses like corruption, treason, or murder. Instead, there is a new horror in the closet: poverty and recession. In fact, officials are fearing that more Japanese may kill themselves in the course of this economic slowdown. Here in the United States, the same thing is happening. People are committing suicide and killing family members during the economic crisis.
Several studies have shown that the richer the country is, the incidents of depression is higher. No wonder, the Japanese and the Americans are more prone to misery and despair.
I do hope that people could focus on the positive side things. The culture of materialism that has been pervading the modern society has really served to distort our values and demean human life. There are things more important than one’s bank account. Although I do understand that sometimes, it’s really clinical depression, what makes me sad is that people are to busy pursuing their careers that when it goes down the drain, they feel helpless.
It is my prayer that everything will turn out alright.