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Dying alone a growing trend in aging Japan

25 Comments
By Hiroshi Hiyama

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25 Comments
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There's a business chance right there!

The growing demand for Hazmat suits.....

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

I might be wrong, but trend is not something you can't help, it is something you willingly support and re:create. This seems more of a tragic reality, than a "trend".

16 ( +18 / -2 )

How is raising taxes as Fujimori advocates going to help the problem of people dying alone? Unless he hopes to build hundreds of nursing homes so all the elderly can live. I think this is not only a Japan problem, but many western countries as people are living longer, outliving their partners and family are scattered, and they don't have contact with their surrounding neighbors. It is very sad, but hard to combat.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

First off.... yes, this is a sad way to go but possibly a Westerner or at least Non Japanese, might see it as being more sad than the Japanese themselves do. You know Japan... where Gaman and Ware Ware Nihonjin, permeates through their culture to the point where if a person dies and the death itself causes no trouble to anyone then it might be considered slightly noble. I also do not believe this trend will change and believe the government will do absolutely nothing to stop it.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

I guess morbid stories sell. This is like the second or third one here within the past month or so, and they get more graphic in details as they go along!

50's is not all that old, not when life expectancy here is around 80, plus or minus a little based upon sex, and rising as well.

Dying alone is not all that unusual a thing, in fact I would suggest that most people do in fact die alone, even when they are in hospitals or facilities surrounded by all sorts of people and staff. Suggesting that increasing taxes is a solution is throwing money down the drain for no reason.

Current services are NOT being utilized, and with all the excess folks working in municipal offices, local communities could use their people to stay in contact and work with these people who live alone.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

MarkXToday  07:12 am JST How is raising taxes as Fujimori advocates going to help the problem of people dying alone? Unless he hopes to build hundreds of nursing homes so all the elderly can live. 

If this man was in his 50s, as the article claims, he isn't part of the demographic needing group elder care. However, Japan is just as short on assisted living housing (as opposed to nursing homes) as it is proper child care facilities.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Smell of rotting flesh, dying alone, not being in a loving relationship, childless, working excessive hours, incapable of interaction with neighbors ah beautiful Japan.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

more women entering the workforce and no longer needing a husband to provide for them

Almost all women have always entered the workforce. The increased participation by women in the workforce is from married women, mostly in low-paid work.

Regarding the article, the key issue is whether these solitary people are lonely. If they are, then there is plenty of data that suggests that is a big factor in mortality, "as bad as smoking" in newspaper speak. If they are content to be alone, and some are, then that's fine. fwiw, I think its common for Japanese men to not make friends as adults. Their lifetime mates will be members of the clubs they were in at school or university. The people they meet at work or as fellow dads etc. will not be proper friends. I suspect this is due to excessive group activity when they were young. It does not equip people to make their own friends.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I agree that the word "trend" seems out of place here. I don't think they'll be making a mascot for this any time soon.

I don't think the issue is actually dying alone; it's the not being found for ages which is a more recent issue.

People are repelled by how they imagine the body looks. And in case their imagination is lacking, there is no end of TV shows and new articles with gratuitous details to show them the worst-case scenarios.

Keep an eye on your neighbours, leave a window open when at home, and don't wait to long if you feel poorly, before calling for help.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

... with the burden still on the family to look after the elderly.

How can they use the word "burden" to describe looking after FAMILY! What is happening to society?? How can family members find it a "burden" to take care of THEIR parent(s) who took care of them? It's FAMILY we are talking about here. And yes, I did take care of an aging parent. She survived the Great Kanto Earthquake, WWII, and an abusive drunk husband. We ensured she had happy times in our home. I guess my parents raised me well.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Since 1981, I understand what you are saying, but watching my in-laws deal with dementia and the terrible effects it has not only on the sufferer, but also the other family members involved, it can be a burden. Always watching them, making sure they aren't putting themselves or others at risk. But still, it is harsh to use the word burden if the person is relatively healthy and of sound mind.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

"In a bid to be polite, elderly Japanese people fear to disturb their neighbours.."

Not sure I would refer to this as polite. It seems to be a more anti-social tendency and abnormal fear of human interaction.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

GNP is used to measure the wealth of the nations but happiness of people is a totally different story. Japanese are ranked a lot lower, I think. I have an acquaintance who came from Thailand. She said they are not rich but they live a lot happier than people of Japan. They help each other and their relations are tighter. In Japan, money is all. If people stop working, they cannot live tomorrow. Also other acquaintance from South Korea said to me. She was surprised that they do not respect their parents in Japan. "Kodokushi" is as a result of individualism introduced hand in hand with democracy after the war.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Sad end to your life to go unnoticed for weeks on end. When you get older you need to make relationships with friends, neighbors and of course family to check in with you every few days.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

how about partnering up with a roommate and sharing expenses?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Don't think that 'dying alone' (or living alone, for that matter) is necessarily wrong or sad. Many ppl feel happier alone, nothing wrong with that.

Humans may be social beings, it doesn't mean we all need ppl around us 24/7 for 80 plus years. Find overly social & emotionally/socially needy ppl depressing actually.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

We all die alone maybe lonely death is a better way to put it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I have been saying for ages this problem will increase & received plenty of -ves along the way, again I predict this dying alone will get a lot more common than present.

CLEARLY the govt knows this as well & makes a CONCIOUS choice to leave things as they are.

As others have said if you WANT to live alone this is NO problem other than the eventual cleanup.

> "Kodokushi" is as a result of individualism introduced hand in hand with democracy after the war.

Sorry Schopenhauer but you CANT blame this on losing WWII, this phenomenon IS very much the result of Japanese Culture & its modern society the way this is playing out

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are no official figures for the number of people dying alone who stay unnoticed for days and weeks but most experts estimate it at 30,000 per year.

wow!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think this is necessarily "sad", although there is a possible meiwaku factor.

Anyway, as my Roman ancestors say, "Soli nascimur et soli morimur" (we are born alone, we die alone)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why would you want your family members to watch you die? Dying alone is dignity for the person who is dying. Watching someone die, even family member could have lasting effects. Kids should phone their parents regularly of course...but to say "sad", although there is the possibility that he didn't want anybody to know is sad in and of itself.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

kohakuebisuDec. 1  08:08 am JST Almost all women have always entered the workforce. The increased participation by women in the workforce is from married women, mostly in low-paid work.

Since the 1970s, the percentage of women in the workforce in Japan has decreased steadily. Japan has one of the lowest female workforce participation rates of OECD nations and a level of meaningful employment typical of developing nations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Civitas Sine SuffragioDec. 1  05:26 pm JST Anyway, as my Roman ancestors say, "Soli nascimur et soli morimur" (we are born alone, we die alone)

We are born alone? How so? Spontaneous generation? There were at least four of us in the room when both of my children were born.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

50 is old if you want to have a family. No chance for women and next to zero chance for men because they will be unable to get a young enough women. Anyway why does the article concentrate on unmarried men and men living alone. Women compromise 50 percent of the population, so what are they doing. Unmarried as well and living with their parents. Easy street. Why would they want to change that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@thetoleratedone, men can easily find a younger women even up into their 70's as long as he stays fit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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