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In some countries, including Japan, suicide is seen as a means to atone for a scandal or wrongdoing. What are your views on this?

34 Comments

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Only if the "wrongdoing" involved murder or some other horrible crime.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I don't believe in it, never understood why people want to take the easy way out. To me, it's a cowards way of running, evading and avoiding scrutiny and punishment.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Bass, this is the second time in living memory that I completely agree with you!

Suicide is a cop out. A way of escaping. It doesn't solve the problem, it just adds to it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I don't agree with the assessment that it's done to atone for something. I think it's a sign of weakness and purely an avenue of escape. A stronger person should be able to accept and be responsible for his or her actions. Suicide allows one of the hook.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Suicide in Japan society was concidered honorable at one time. My feelings is that suicide is still wrong but what can you do?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I believe you're dead a long time. Just how sorry do you want to be?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ah but suicide is a necessary evil. Most of you look at things from one angle and that's it. You've made up your minds.

For some odd reason, your super-egos just can't fathom the idea that this world is a really -bleep- place. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for some people. The storm never blows over for some. Some people think suicide is a coward's way out but the truth is most of us are too cowardly to do it. Some of you can't even cut your own finger.

How much courage it takes to overcome the mechanism that prevents us from throwing ourselves off the bridge.

What if life is the other way around? What if you are simply offended that someone would rather die than be around you or this society?

I'm surprised more people aren't committing suicide these days. Abe is raising taxes to the point where most of us won't be able to function normally anyway.

Some guy jumps in front of the train. Are you hurt cause he committed suicide? No, you are upset cause he caused you to be late. His final act was to give a little back to society.

In a nutshell, I would hope that someone would not feel the desire to commit suicide BUT I'm not going to call them cowards like some posters. Calling them cowards here is simply continuing the kind of treatment that drove them to commit suicide in the first place..

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

The act of taking one's life is truly a tragedy because this single act leaves so many victims. First the one who dies, then the dozens of other family and friends who are left behind, some to face years of deep pain and confusion. The living victims struggle, often desperately, with difficult emotions. In addition to the feelings of grief, anger, guilt, and rejection which the victims of such family feel. Whether a suicide is right or wrong we don't know except any rational person who contemplates suicide must realize what a selfish act this is except those that believe that it's honorable. However a person who takes their own life should not be condemned no matter the circumstances since we don't know the intent of the heart and the full circumstances surrounding the suicide. In the end my hope is that is a final destination without darkness or despair for those who took their own lives and be able to receive comfort and experience serenity.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This has been addressed on here multiple times.

And my answer is the same.

No doubt many will criticize suicide based on their never flattering opinions of Japan. They'll call it 'selfish.'

But the fact is, committing suicide in Japan/Asia, specifically due to scandals and the like, is in fact more honorable than the way business and political leaders of other countries evade punishment. They may get sentenced, but it's in minimum security country club conditions. And these 'leaders' never truly apologize or atone for their sins.

Compare that to a Japanese/Asian leader, who willingly takes his own life to atone for wrong doings.

Tell me, which is more selfish and honorable.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I don't agree with it, it's a coward's way out and completely selfish. But if it is acceptable in Japan I'd say the TEPCO senior management is out of step with society.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@gelendestrasse If you don't agree with it, then why aren't you donating money to help such people on the brink of self-destruction?

As far as I know T.E.L.L is the only thing out there and most people don't know it exists and they certainly don't have the number in their list of contacts.

Look at things from REVERSE. It's completely selfish that society hasn't provided more support and help for these people. It's totally selfish that the rich and well to do are bottom-feeding off lower classes and driving people mad.

What's cowardly is NOT to go up to people and offer help when you can clearly see they are in pain. Cowardly is when you won't stand up to people who are bullies in school who may cause a kid to commit suicide.

A person who committed suicide is a VICTIMs. We the living go on and enjoy our lives at some point.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Maybe this used to be true, but these days Japanese politicians and company directors just lie brazenly, even when faced with overwhelming evidence of their guilt; they certainly never kill themselves. They don't even offer sincere apologies for their crimes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's a selfish and coward's way out.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It might seem like a coward's way out, but is it such an easy decision for those who believe that suicide earns them a one-way ticket to Hell? In some cases though, simply repenting and making amends just won't be enough, no matter how much of it you do. I don't really know though. I mean, if you commit suicide, then you're not even trying to atone. I guess that settles it then: It's an unacceptable option.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If it's the result of untreated depression or mental illness then it's not cowardly, it's genuinely seeing no other way out.

If someone is trying to escape punishment or embarrassment because of their own cock-up then they need to stand up and face the music. Leaving a mess for others to clean up isn't in any way noble IMO.

Where the overlap between these two is though, I have no idea.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Kind of pointless. once you're dead you're dead so how is this atonement. seems more like a way to avoid the shame of living with the consequences of your failure of poor actions.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There was a Japanese woman I had some relationship but it did not last. She was still emotionally suffering from her dad's suicide after his business went bankrupt when she was a tenager. She said yakuza came after her and made her work for years to pay for the debts her father had caused. In this case, I think suicide was not a courageous act.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bass,

Well said!

Suicide causes more problems than it supposedly atones for.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The question is about suicide being seen as a means to atone for a scandal or wrongdoing. Using it as a way to escape from debts is something else again.

Changing the topic slightly (but with good intentions): World Suicide Prevention Day is coming up. 10th September. TELL (formerly known as Tokyo English Life Line) is organizing a "Talkie Walkie" campaign.

Churches, schools, universities, embassies, organizations, businesses and individuals across Japan are encouraged to arrange a walking event during which suicide and related themes will be discussed.

Perhaps it sounds macabre? It's often a taboo topic but talking about it won't hurt anyone - quite the opposite.

Details here http://www.tellwalkandtalk.com

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Well, I don't want the government to waste money to feed those criminals. If only they carry out the executions that must have been done several years ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mike Sims-Williams - I never heard of that event, but it sounds like a good idea to me. Macabre topics are often difficult to talk about, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't discuss them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is an escape. Of course it is! But there is more to it than that. It's been said that people who wish for suicide don't want the die, they just want the pain to stop. Whether than be from social, physical, or emotional elements doesn't matter; that person has had enough.

I don't believe that mere strength is all it takes to reject suicidal tendencies. EVERY man has his/her breaking point, and to go just a bit beyond that can lead people to do things us ourselves did not know we were capable of. Perhaps it can also be said that "only a strong man could do it!", as some people here are right. The opposite of strength, weakness, can PREVENT people from doing it.

I don't know if this to be completely true, and I know there were plenty of exceptions, but it seems that when Japanese used to commit suicide (due to failure, dishonor, etc.), it was in a reasonably confined area, not "messy", and with pain-- lots of it. It seems the #1 place for suicide now is the 7:33am express, so there's no shortage of horrified onlookers, or scores of staff cleaning up the grisly remains. In this case, to hide behind the banner of it being "atonement" equals peeing in the corn flakes (or tea) of all the people, and their families, involved.

Mass suicide in Tokyo, is nothing new, so we can't necessarily say it's because of raising taxes or the world being/getting freaked up. We can if there is an increase of suicide since policy went into effect, but that's a different debate. The reasons people off themselves for, again, range drastically. Speaking from experience, Japan is a country where you keep your personal feelings to yourself, and avoid disturbing others. My church started an anti-suicide hotline, in both English and Japanese, for people just wanting to talk. The Japanese lines were so packed with callers, they started calling the English line despite not speaking a word of English! I'm not saying "just being able to talk about your problems will cure society from the plague of rampant suicide, but I am saying that the societal pressure in Japan makes it difficult for one not to get excited of the release it will bring. Chairman Mao, paraphrasing, almost encouraged suicide, since China had so many people. Merely deterring people from suicide won't prevent it. If people wanna go, they'll go, and they'll find ways to do it. Worse ways. Yes, the living conditions in Japan are strict. But I think the society in Japan has not identified suicide as something personal. Rather it's seen with "shoganai" mentality by almost everyone, maybe even those people who they themselves, want the pain to stop.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In old Japan, that is up to 1945, aristocrats were forbidden to commit suicide. It was strictly reserved for commoners. Probably a lot of people were forced to kill themselves.

By and large suicide is a byproduct of depression and ought to therefore an illness that requires a cure.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It is interesting how this discussion will evolve when the news of Sasai (collaborator of Obokata) commiting suicide will hit the stands...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't see how killing yourself fixes anything; there's no "responsibility" being taken, and no redress being made for past errors.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Suicide is not selfish. It is selfish to think that somebody has to keep living in unbearable pain just because you would be sad if he/she died.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

BS! It's not atoning for anything in the modern era. It's the coward's way out of problems. How, for example, would being caught in a love affair and then committing suicide, be "atoning"? Especially when the suicide makes most if not all life insurance void, and your family loses a dependent and likely has trouble making ends meet after? (especially if it's a train jumper and the surviving family is sued by the train company).

Obukata's partner-in-crime has atoned for nothing! And now he's destroyed most hope that maybe the scientists can salvage the discovery of STAAp cells, for xaple number 2.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I will never accept that suicide is honourable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I did mean to add at the end of my last comment. If a person is terminally ill, in terrible pain, and desperately wants to pass on then I don't think they are cowards, nor do I disagree with suicide in such cases so long as they are not harming others (ie. jumping in front of trains or hanging themselves in the middle of stairways in the workplace, etc.).

FPSRussia: "How much courage it takes to overcome the mechanism that prevents us from throwing ourselves off the bridge."

You're suggesting people who don't kill themselves are cowards but those who do are courageous? It DOES take guts to 'pull the trigger', so to speak, but the reasons for doing so are what makes one a coward or just someone who wants out. Likewise not killing yourself because you have no reason to do so is not 'cowardly' at all, but simply common sense.

"What if life is the other way around? What if you are simply offended that someone would rather die than be around you or this society?"

How's that the other way around?

"Some guy jumps in front of the train. Are you hurt cause he committed suicide? No, you are upset cause he caused you to be late. His final act was to give a little back to society."

'Giving back'?? Seriously?? Tell this to the driver who gets to watch the people explode on the windshield. Tellt his to those unfortunate people who get hit by a flying carcass, crashing into kiosks and convenience stores, not to mention people who get hit with bodies or body parts! Such actions on the part of those who kill themselves ARE extremely selfish, and cowardly. They are clearly not thinking of anyone else or 'giving back' by any means.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Suicide is a means of apology unless you are a TEPCO executive.

Falsified research: suicide Nuclear disaster: still alive

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well I'm not a part of traditional Japanese culture so I can't agree suicide atones anything. Atonement, redemption, mending broken fences etc. are things you have to be a living active participant in to accomplish. But I have a Christian background that encourages asking forgiveness and starting over. If for example, a drunk driver hit and killed my husband, then killed himself leaving a note it was to atone for my husband's death, I wouldn't feel any satisfaction or closure. It would put a new kind of poison in the wound I think.

I think in the olden days, suicide as atonement for mistakes was not really a personal decision but basically just capital punishment. It seems like people were made to understand by their superiors that for their mistake they must off themselves. It was a death sentence that left the dirty work up to the victim/criminal/however you want to call it. It was a way to allow the person to have some agency and therefore in the Japanese mind, some dignity in their death. Can't say I agree with that thinking, but remnants are still in the Japanese society, especially in the business world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having lived in Japan for some time and knowing that "losing face" has been atoned only by ritual suicide in ages past, and how it influences Japanese and Asian Society, I can understand why suicide is taken as the honorable way out. This doesn't mean that I agree with it, as it only causes more problems for the doer-of-the-deed's family and loved ones, and also only arouses more questions than answers, not to mention bringing on horrendous grief (and let's not get started on what really happens to the doer-of-the-deed in the afterlife).

All of this is why forgiveness, mercy, and grace ought to be preached, taught, and given more and more in society at large.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Suicide is sometimes necessary to avoid the mob with the pitchforks. Cruel and unusual punishment is the norm in Japanese and American justice systems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

by commit suicide will not wash away the crime or guilt .it is the most coward act. ithe one kill itself is partially insane in their mental state there is no honour in it. the truly brave one is face the the thing you done wrong or do the right for what you have done wrong . Buddha never condone suicide. one must face it own devil to cleanse him or her. not by commit suicide to have the easy way out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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