88-year-old man falls to death while clearing snow from roof


An 88-year-old man fell to his death while clearing snow from his roof in Shinanomachi, Nagano Prefecture, on Sunday.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 2:30 p.m. TV Asahi reported that a neighbor found the man, identified as Yoshiji Kobayashi, lying in the snow in front of his house. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A family member told police that Kobayashi had said he was going up on the roof at around 2 p.m.

The distance from the roof to the ground is about six meters, police said.

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This is nothing but tragic. It's very hard to accept that you're too old to do the things you did with ease some years back. I can only hope he died without suffering.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sweet lord.... typhoons and snowfalls; why do these old codgers feel the need to go up on the roof without adequate support?

0 ( +8 / -9 )


I totally agree...these people have no sense of mortality. I don't understand the urge to climb up on the roof during a storm.

-1 ( +3 / -6 )

Might have to do with the fact that wet snow is very heavy and buildup can collapse the roof. Hmm.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

RIP to the old man. It is too dangerous for elderly people to clear snow from roof.

2 ( +3 / -2 )

Dont know why people are giving thumbs down to smithinjapan and Mirai Hayashi. We've seen it time and time again. Of course I feel for the family, but there is anger in stories like this where the death was totally avoidable. At 88 years old, he or his family and friends should have known better.


-1 ( +5 / -7 )

Geez, will these people never learn?! Not many people have business up on a roof at all. An 88 year-old definitely has no business there, doesn't matter if there is much snow there or not...

-1 ( +4 / -6 )

RIP, sir. I don't know the factors that made you go up there and take a risk of falling down 6 metres. Clearly, there was inadequate hazard identification on your part. Proud man, hope you had a painless passing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What a sad story.

However, people really NEED to stop taking so many risks and most importantly, ASK FOR HELP!

It's worth it a million times than coming to a situation like this where the only outcome is really a lot of tears, sadness, and sorrow.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

why do these old codgers

People of all ages fall from roofs all the time.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I do not know the story - like other urban moralistic commentators - but heavy wet snow must be removed to avoid house collapse. I am sure 100 of thousands of old people are doing that every day in winter without any incident.

And who knows, in this small village, he could have been the youngest man!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Old people can teach young people many things just as we don't listen as young people they don't listen when they are old!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Every new year, we need to remind people: cut up the mochi into small, bite-size pieces so you don't choke on it. Don't go on the roof without a safety harness, or, better yet, use a water hose with hot water to wash off the snow.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Poor guy, RIP

Please encourage others to clean a roof in the community, or better yet maybe encourage a roof design in future that doesn't hold as much snow. If the need to go up a roof is removed that may be the best thing

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What is it about these people who don't ask for help. Especially in the land of the extended family in one house. Maybe I should start a company marketing what in the US is called a "roof rake" and make some money. Not sure how it would work on tile roofs though...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if you can buy groceries with your phone, cant you get heat strips on your roof to melt snow? this is 2014

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I used to feel sorry for these people, but it happens every single year, if you have no safety line then you I put it down to Darwinism.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sounds like a silly man to me. 88 and on a roof? Just silly.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Take a train through northern Japan and you'll see these scenes repeated everywhere - old guys on roofs.

Did no 20th century house builders think to learn from the steep roofs of World Heritage Shirakawago?

Or was this inconvenient truth not profitable enough for industry/LDP?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

driving through takayama on sunday and I saw a similar scene that thankfully didn't end in tragedy. Young woman standing on a roof shoveling snow..I just couldn't figure out why anybody would risk their necks like that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I just couldn't figure out why anybody would risk their necks like that.

Maybe one day you will have the pleasure of watching TV one second, and find yourself sitting amongst snow and roof tiles the next. Then you might have an epiphany on the subject.

I think I might go down to the hardware store and buy myself three or four long bamboo poles to bind together with a short board on the end in a T formation. I think that would just about do it. I have climbed the roof before to get snow off. I don't know what it could take, and I don't want to find out.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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