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1 dead, 14 in hospital in Tokyo after choking on 'mochi'

23 Comments

Fifteen people were rushed to hospitals in Tokyo after choking on traditional New Year’s rice cakes (mochi) on Wednesday and Thursday, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. One of them, a man in his 80s, later died from consuming this annual treat.

According to the agency, the 15 individuals admitted to hospitals were between the ages of 68 and 96, Fuji TV reported. The man who died went into a state of cardiopulmonary arrest after choking on mochi cooked in a broth of vegetables (ozoni) at his home in Adachi Ward.

Every year, prior to the New Year holidays, the Tokyo Fire Department advises elderly people to cut mochi into bite-size pieces and slowly chew the notoriously sticky food before swallowing. It also advises people to pay attention to infants and seniors when they are eating mochi.

In one famous incident that occurred in 2001, a woman used a vacuum cleaner to suck the mochi out of her 70-year-old father's throat, saving his life.

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23 Comments
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Every Jan 1, like clockwork.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Ah, the yearly death report, and 100% preventable.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Only one dead? Very low this year.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

In one famous incident that occurred in 2001, a woman used a vacuum cleaner to suck the mochi out of her 70-year-old father's throat, saving his life.

"Famous"? More like infamous! Should never have happened in the first place, AND the health officials here are really NOT doing their jobs by not teaching the public about something called the Heimlich Maneuver !

Another thing, if it was so damn famous why have so many others died since 2001?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I’m having my mochi tonight....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One of them ... later died from consuming this annual treat.

At first I read it as "... this annual threat."

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Like clockwork. They never ever learn

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Heimlich maneuver saves many lives if only they would teach this in Japan and can even done solely to oneself if no one is around to help you or outlaw "mochi" altogether.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Choking to death would be a horrible way to die.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With this always being reported, I wonder how often do people choke and are hospitalized daily in tokyo anyways?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not as if it's particularly delicious. It's OK, but I wouldn't risk death over it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

AND the health officials here are really NOT doing their jobs by not teaching the public about something called the Heimlich Maneuver !

Heimlich maneuver saves many lives if only they would teach this in Japan

In the time it took you to write that I found numerous sites that do a good job of educating the public about the Heimlich maneuver, also known as abdominal thrusts, or 腹部突き上げ法。

 They never ever learn.

Sweeping, that statement. "They" refers to? Presumably not the millions who safely consume mochi.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Some would say a sweet way to die - it's obvious these elderly people would risk life and limb for their 'annual treat'

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Every year the same thing. Every year.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bit like the fugu, I guess. That's a bit of a bland dish as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I know that the rice should be cooked, and pounded well, so it is soft and easy to eat . . . . also, I remember Oshogatsu from my youth, the mochi being grilled, so the outside is crisp but the inside much more soft and not so chewy, then eating with shoyu, soy sauce, and dipped in the powdery, brown sugar . . . .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Part of the problem is with the packaging, those "cut up" blocks are still too large.

Yes i know that they can still stick together but selling it at that size and presume people will cut it smaller isn't going to cut it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Happy Cynical New Year! If I was a middle-aged Japanese loser hoping an elderly parent would die (inheritance...) I would feed them lots of their beloved 'mochi', in large chunks. Has anyone ever been charged with endangering life/murder after a typical 'Death by Mochi'? Just poke some 'mochi' down their throat, you'll never be suspected or charged. But sometimes accidental deaths are not accidents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People should practice before new year by chewing on large erasers....

pretty much the same taste! :)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kurisupisu You must be under 50 years old.

What a disaster. I cant believe what I am reading. I thought is was because of bad ingredients.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good grief? Every year... OK, public health alert. You have a 1 in a 130,000,000 chance of death if you eat mochi. Come'on...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only one death this year. I guess the warnings are getting through, but not to everybody, obviously.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Only one - very low indeed. Far lower than the statistical average for death by choking on food. Kudos to the ambulance services and hospitals.

I wonder what the national death toll is though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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