entertainment

30% of surveyed Japanese actors/voice actors admit to suicidal thoughts due to work

12 Comments
By Katy Kelly, SoraNews24

Money and fame can’t guarantee you happiness. So go the morals in everything from children’s stories to public service announcements to prestige television. But surely working in a glitzy career with lots of renown and cultural clout, say, acting, comes with some degree of happiness? Why would so many people clamor for the spotlight otherwise?

Unfortunately, despite the glory and attention, working as an actor is still exactly that: work. As people in any workplace can grow aggravated and burned-out with their job, so apparently can those in the acting world; and a significant amount at that, judging by a survey recently conducted by the Japan Actor’s Union.

The union held a symposium on October 30 to report the results of the survey, which questioned 166 of the roughly 2,500 actors and voice actors affiliated with the union. One question, “Have you ever wanted to die because of your work?” received 48 “yes” responses — roughly thirty percent of the total surveyed.

Further questions inquired about actors’ stressors and anxieties rooted in work. Various answers were reported, such as difficult working hours and harassment, which throws the upsetting percentage above into even sharper relief. A psychiatrist who was present at the symposium offered his opinion on the result:

“Celebrities are under constant scrutiny on social media, and though they are subject to intense stress such as stringent food and sleep restrictions, they lack the resources or networks to discuss these problems. This means their anxieties intensify and in the worst cases, it can lead to suicide.”

This year has seen the tragic passing of actors like Haruma Miura, Sei Ashina, and Yuko Takeuchi, as well as high profile reality TV star Hana Kimura. The current pandemic has exacerbated poor mental health for many people, especially young people, and the Japan Actor’s Union is choosing to assist actors’ difficulties in specific by setting up a mental health discussion resource for their members.

While some online responded to the news with bitterness and a lack of sympathy, presumably due to facing hardship at their own workplaces, one commenter had this to say:

“Work is a means of earning money, nothing more. Japanese society is getting seriously messed up if it’s making you want to die.”

While it can be difficult to reach out, especially when you are in a precarious societal position like a celebrity, talking through problems with a trusted friend is a good start; and remember to check in on and show kindness to other people in turn, especially if they don’t seem to be doing so well.

If you or someone you know is in Japan and having suicidal thoughts, there are people here to help. Click here for more info.

Source: NHK News via My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Lower income earners at higher risk of depression, Japan’s least shocking research finds

-- Nearly half of survey respondents in Japan feel healthier since before COVID-19

-- Esteemed voice actor: “1 in 100 voice actors become pros”

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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But the fact is most of them live on a stipend that often fall below minimum wage, and often they don't even get paid extra from doing CMs, shows, etc. no matter how popular it gets depending on their contract.

Yup. Those artist management companies are basically criminal organizations. The gov't really needs to regulate that industry. And, artists need trade unions, as do all workers really.

Businesses in Japan get away with some unbelievable BS towards employees. It's incredible.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Most people think that if you get famous in Japan you'll get paid.

But the fact is most of them live on a stipend that often fall below minimum wage, and often they don't even get paid extra from doing CMs, shows, etc. no matter how popular it gets depending on their contract.

Many are deceived thinking that they can make a decent living being in the entertainment industry.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

You simply have to be much more crazy above average in that business. Otherwise you can’t play the roles, stand the stress, the producer’s orders, learning the texts, melodies, dance sequences , scenes etc. That finally includes of course also suicidal thoughts.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Whenever I’ve had a job “ I haven’t been very fond of”, I’ve never felt suicidal. I just look for another job. Sometimes the simple solutions are the best!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“Why does the world have have to be so Dicksonian”

“There have been occasions in my later life (I suppose as in most lives) when I have felt for a time as if a thick curtain had fallen on all its interest and romance, to shut me out from anything save dull endurance any more.” 

“We were always more or less miserable, and most of our acquaintance were in the same condition. There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly enjoying ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did. To the best of my belief, our case was in the last aspect a rather common one.” 

Charles Dickson, Great Expectations

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Whenever I’ve had a job “ I haven’t been very fond of”, I’ve never felt suicidal. I just look for another job. Sometimes the simple solutions are the best!

That's the Western way of looking at it. I had a student once who was a beekeeper in Aso and asked him how he liked his job. Answer: "It's hot, the pay is low, and I get stung a lot." Asked why he didn't quit, he answered, "It's my job."

There is a deep sense of fatalism regarding career choices in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

is the word "actors" a generic term, or did they only survey males? I would expect that females in the entertainment industry are sexually harassed or assaulted by the Japanese equivalents of Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein on a regular basis. THAT could lead to a high rate of self-destructive thoughts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The union held a symposium on October 30 to report the results of the survey, which questioned 166 of the roughly 2,500 actors and voice actors affiliated with the union.

Only 166 out of 2,500 participated (likely not randomly neither) - that's not very representative

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, go do something else. Pick another profession. Otherwise, suck it up and deal with it.

Shogun36, WHY is it so impossible for you Conservatives to feel a LITTLE compassion. Why does the world have to be so Dicksonian? Why do you object to like making changes to how such actors are managed. I heard AKB48 singers are allowed 4 hours of sleep and can not have boy friends, sorry, Japan feels that a SLAVE is a SLAVE and will manage everything from the time you eat and poop. No wonder no one here us happy and the suicide rate is one per 15 minutes. For conservatives, a suicide economy is just fine!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

So, go do something else. Pick another profession. Otherwise, suck it up and deal with it.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

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