You've no doubt heard of the Darwin Awards, which commemorate those who improve our gene pool -- by removing themselves from it in an extraordinarily idiotic manner -- and thereby improving our species' chances of long-term survival.
The awards have become widely known since the creation of a website in 1993, followed a decade later by a series of books authored by Wendy Northcutt.
So far two Japanese, both males, have achieved posthumous recognition by the Darwin panel, in 2017 and 2020.
Shukan Gendai (March 4) explores some of the "embarrassing ways to die" by which mostly middle-aged or elderly men have adopted to shuffle off this mortal coil.
Take a certain Mr Yoshida (a pseudonym, as are the other victims named in the article). The 69-year-old owner of several used car establishments, he had assumed the post of chairman, entrusting company operations to his 42-year-old son.
Yoshida continued to invoke the privileges of upper management by enjoying a longstanding extramarital fling with Natsuko, his 40-year-old secretary. But one day, while in a room in Tokyo's Yushima love hotel district, Yoshida collapsed, gasping for breath. Natsuko summoned an ambulance, but Yoshida expired before reaching the hospital. The cause was attributed to a myocardial infarction. When the circumstances of his death became known, Yoshida's infuriated wife sued his estate. And Natsuko, needless to say, found herself out of a job.
"These kinds of cases, of middle-aged men dying in the saddle, are fairly common," Dr Masayuki Hayashi of the Hirokuni Clinic tells the magazine. "The combination of sexual excitement and sense of guilty pleasure causes their blood pressure to spike, leading to stroke or heart attacks. Men aged 60 and over need to be careful."
The manner of death for salaryman Minoru Koga, 68, may have been even more embarrassing. As his son relates, "Dad had a fetish he never shared with the family. He was a serious person and hard worker, but liked to put on schoolgirl's clothes before engaging in sex. He'd purchased a sera fuku (middie blouse) school uniform via mail order, and would wear it while engaging in sex with prostitutes at love hotels."
It was during one of these cosplay sessions that Koga suffered a brain hemorrhage, which proved fatal.
"When the hospital returned his possessions, including the sailor suit, the expression on my mother's face was indescribable," Koga's son sighs.
A former pathologist in Tokyo relates the story of a man found in a toilet cubicle at a neighborhood strip theater.
"Since he was found dead in a locked room, the law required an autopsy to be performed to determine the cause of death," the doctor said. "This particular victim was suffering from an enlarged heart. Such patients are often warned that engaging in sex can be life-threatening. Out of anxiety over his condition the man patronized a strip theater. After the performances were over, an employee of the theater noticed the toilet was still occupied, and upon opening the door found him collapsed on the loo with his trousers around his ankles."
In recent years, cases of seniors expiring in front of their home computers, believed due to overexcitement during sessions of auto-eroticism while watching adult videos or engaging in cybersex.
After a 74-year-old man named Shimizu passed away, his son went to clean out his father's apartment. There, he was surprised to find a large paper bag crammed chock full of women's panties.
"Also in the bag was a journal dad had kept, detailing how, at bars and night clubs, he had solicited women, offering to buy their underthings. For instance, he'd written he had paid ¥10,000 to a 21-year-old aspiring manicurist named Kumi, for a pair of white ones.
"What's more, in his journal he'd composed a tanka (a traditional poem of 31 syllables) erotically describing Kumi's panties as being analogous to 'white lilies.'"
"I felt a bit guilty for making dad live alone, but after seeing the large number of panties he left behind, now I don't know how I should feel," the son told Shukan Gendai's reporter.
Then there was the late Kotaro Yokoyama, 63, who last year had been driving on a mountain road when he collided with one of those convex mirrors set up to show oncoming traffic on sharp curves.
A passenger in his car relates, "It was summer and two young women in abbreviated swimsuits were walking along the footpath beside the road. I suppose they were returning from a swim in the river down below. Anyway, Yokoyama-san became distracted and rammed into the mirror. I came away with a whiplash injury, but he suffered a punctured lung due to a fractured rib, and died in hospital.
"I couldn't bring myself to tell his family that he'd died while ogling at two girls' posteriors."
To reassure its readers that such "embarrassing ways to die" are not confined to Japan, Shukan Gendai includes a sidebar with five examples of klutzy cases that proved fatal from the U.S. (2), Australia, Mexico and South Korea.© Japan Today
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While these deaths are all somewhat embarrassing to various degrees, none are really analogous to Darwin Award deaths which are directly due to stupidity or foolishness by the deceased.
@gary I tend to agree with you. I also went online to see if Japanese has a word equivalent to Schadenfreude, which would apply to the cases in the Shukan Gendai article, but couldn't find anything that works as well.
They both died happy. RIP.
Ah, the Darwin awards.
None of the above rate as far as I can see. Here is my favorite. (Shouldn't snicker, but...)
Two fellas were returning in the evening from a days hunting.
Suddenly the headlights went out.
They discovered that the fuse had blown.
Luckily, (well not really) one of their 22 cal bullets fitted perfectly into the fuse holder.
One end of the bullet being brass and the other being lead, we can say that they were dissimilar metals.
When a current passes through disimilar metals there is resistance thereby heat. Bang.
The bullet passed through the drivers groin just as the lights went out and they were passing over a narrow bridge.
Now, THAT is a real Darwin Award winner.
Not to mention, the whole point of the Darwin awards is about people selecting themselves out of the gene pool thus "improving" it. Middle aged or elderly men dying long after leaving progeny do absolutely nothing for the gene pool by dying in an embarrassing way. There are many other examples of collections of people dying unusual or foolish deaths so there is no need to compare these examples with something that is so different.
In this regard I completely agree with virusrex. It would seem the safest way to ensure the succession of life is to avoid all sexual pleasure whatsoever.
I agree, the examples in the article do not rise to the level of Darwin Award winners (or should I say Losers).
Examples of stupidity are not all that uncommon, and believe me, as an American, I have seen a lot of stupidity.
Embarrassing?? I would say this is a great way to depart. And he is certainly not worried about embarrassment at this point.
I find it disgusting laughing about people who have died.
The cases cited hardly qualify for any award, but instead remind us just how powerful the sex drive is and how our species, too, is hostage to its "Darwinian" will, a double-edged sword that both creates and destroys human life.
These aren't remotely related to the Darwin Awards.
I'd say those roof snow clearing clods are the closest.
"en flagrante delicto" is the correct term and it is quite common.
Shukan Gendai seem to have misunderstood the meaning of the Darwin Awards.
Sounds like they were reckless yet went out with a smile.
More appropriate given the number of disinformation purveyors with a conservative bent on this board would be the Herman Cain Awards.
For the first time ever, I agree with you. Shame on finding entertainment in people's deaths.
When I die,
All good and embarrasing things I have done,
Go up in a in a wisp of smoke,
From the chimney of the crematorium.Zen master Ikkyu Sojun
None of these are Darwin awards. The article seems to suggest that old people shouldn't have sex, which itself is a pretty dumb thing to imply.
Embarrassing? Well, not for the dead guys - they're beyond that.
However, I would recommend that men with unusual habits such as knicker collections make efforts to be sure they won't be revealed to family members after death. They are going through enough as it is. Maybe better to abandon such collections altogether after a certain age. Take a personal inventory of letters, pictures or other evidence you would rather not expose your surviving family to. Either trash the stuff or give it to the care of someone who will trash it should you die.
I came across a couple mysterious items that belonged to a close family member who passed away. Nothing too weird, but still left me with unsettling questions about what else I didn't know about him. And never will.
Hate to break to you, but we all die.
These stories do not qualify and have nothing to do with the "Darwin Award". The award is for doing something really stupid to cause your death, not something embarrassing. That stuff could happen to anyone. Could of had sex with his wife and died. Bad article
@GaryMalmgren You missed the funniest part in your Darwin Awards example. The “two fellas” had been out hunting frogs. When the wife of the fella who got shot in the groin was informed of the injury her first reaction was reported as being to ask “How many frogs did the boys catch and what happened to them?”
As everybody else, not even close to Darwin Awards material...All these deaths are age/medical condition related and happened during something not remotely "stupid" (i.e. having sex). Whether the unfortunate participant has some (secret) kink is unrelated to their actual death here.
Darwin Awards are about people dumb enough to saw off the branch they are sitting on when they are sitting on the far end of the branch...