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5 taken to hospitals in Tokyo after choking on mochi; one dies

19 Comments

Five men ranging in age from their early 70s to their 90s were taken to hospitals in Tokyo on Friday after choking on mochi (traditional New Year’s rice cakes) the Tokyo Fire Department said. 

One of them, a man in his 90s who lived in Nishi-Tokyo, had gone into a state of cardiopulmonary arrest after choking on the mochi, Sankei Shimbun reported. He died later in hospital.

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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19 Comments
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This happens every year.

It seems that eating Mochi is more dangerous than Covid 19.

-15 ( +8 / -23 )

It seems that eating Mochi is more dangerous than Covid 19.

Dont think so. 1 death from mochi as opposed to 50-60 daily in Japan from Covid recently.

RIP to the man.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Easy answer stop eating the Japanese potential killer food. Make that garbage illegal to save lives. Today I ate 5 mochi and got away from the grim reaper. Eat or die but mochi is eat and hope not to die lol

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

You have to wonder about the aftermath of these deaths... do the surviving members say, "Geez... who could have known?" I mean, talk about preventable deaths! They announce this year after year after year, and yet every year we get the same headlines about deaths.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

The Japanese struggle changing traditions and routines, doesn't matter if they are inefficiënt, plain dumb, or even potentially fatal.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Pirate coins (check from wikipedia), with the diameter of approximately 2,5cm, were one of my favourite candies as a kid. They also posed a notorious choking hazard, so eventually they were retracted from the market. A new, smaller version came out later, but it's not the same... taste and feeling is different.

However, perhaps some kind of variation could be produced of the mochi as well? Sell the mini mochi alongside the traditional one?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

How about this -- make it a law that if a relative chokes on mochi all members present at the time are charged. I guarantee that'll suddenly see people cutting the mochi into small pieces and taking care. For example, if I feed my 90 year old dad a big piece of mochi and he chokes to death, I get charged with negligence resulting in death.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Every. Single. Year.

don’t these people get it?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@ Vinke

A lot of people make their own omochi.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Hello Kitty 321

A lot of people make their own omochi.

Ah, yes, probably. I'd totally support Smithinjapan's idea especially in cases like that.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Not as bad as konyaku jelly is to the unsuspecting. I nearly choked in that thinking it would melt in my mouth.

How about the requirement that those wishing to eat mochi must have all their own teeth?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

One of them, a man in his 90s who lived in Nishi-Tokyo, had gone into a state of cardiopulmonary arrest after choking on the mochi, Sankei Shimbun reported. He died later in hospital.

Feel sorry for him. Rest in peace.

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.

As I recall, yes, I know that. Good idea.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Every. Single. Year.

don’t these people get it?

It goes hand in hand with getting on the roof or going to have a look at a local river during typhoon s...year...after...year...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Sounds akin to the Blue Whale Challenge plaguing the internet.

The Mochi Challenge... swallow it whole to prove you're still young!

Don't people ever learn ? Don't those around them, wish to offer advice to take smaller bites and to take it slow, and enjoy the food - rather than scoff it all in one go...?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is no vacine for stupidity

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I wonder, exactly how large or small are these mochi pieces?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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.

She must have seen Jûzô Itami's "Tampopo" for that tip.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Eating mocha at New year is a tradition.

Not giving mocha to a toothless 90 year old is common sense.

In Japan Tradition always beats common sense!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why do we want to eat mochi even though eating them has a risk of chocking? Mochi looks like one of the innocent killer for elderlies ironically.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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