Bad weather linked to train suicides in Japan: study


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2013 AFP

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I really do not mind rainy days but these fools taking their lives, making us all late etc...that I do mind. RIP??

-17 ( +4 / -21 )

By making you late, Mexicano, I suppose they are making a difference in at least one person's life, bleak as that may be.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

But what about during bubble economy? same weather conditions but lower suicide rate due to good economy. Anyway, wish this "study" helps railways to keep tracks free from suicides and trains run on time.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Confusing article. Why did the researchers restrict their weather/suicide link only to platform-jumpers? Instinct tells me that of the approximate 30,000 annual suicides, less than half (30%? 40%?) choose this method, so why not just focus on suicide in general and its connection to lousy weather?

Senor Mexicano, nice comments. I'm sure the families/friends of "these fools" deeply appreciate your compassion.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

1) Bad weather isn't 'a reason' to commit suicide. It's all the repression they keep bottled up from living in such a strict (senpai - kohai), non-logical society.

2) Take a leaf out of the Korean subway system. Big wall barriers which doors only open in line with the trains doors, when the train is stationary. It might be hard to adopt a (fantastic) Korean idea... but well worth it if they value the life of their own.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

cl400, it isn't a Korean idea. Some stations here have had those barrier gates for 12 years or more, and lots more have been installed in the last 10 years, with work continuing. The Tokyo rail system is far more extensive than the Seoul system though, so it takes time and money.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Is it not more that the weather impacts people who already suffer from depression, bipolar disorder or severe seasonal affective disorder? I doubt that perfectly healthy people after 7 days of rain decide on a wimp to jump. Whatever it is, if the blue lights help a little, bring them on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't really know if it has ever been scientifically proven, but I believe most people have known that bad weather decreases a person's optimism and outlook on life. You only have to look at our language to see all the weather metaphors related to our moods.

So, if a few extra lights can help stave off a bad mood, why not bring them in?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

thats no reason to die.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Except on very hot days, where it has been proven to turn us into crazed killers. In this case, more police officers when temperatures climb over 40C

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm sorry but I find this to be an odd coincidence, I cannot find or cannot believe that just because it's rainy for a few days that people jump in front of trains...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Weather has been known to cause this stupidity for ages. Nothing new. Look at cabin fever, or remote northern communities. How much did they waste on this study, finding a known,documented fact?? Lucky this lot don't have the British weather to endure... They'd be dropping like flies. (But the uk has a relatively low rate which they say is from the outlook on life)

In note to above. Obviously the jumper cared even less about their family so...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Weather obviously is not the overriding cause of these cases of suicide. I doubt there is anybody who would argue otherwise.

Still, in come cases I could certainly see it acting as a tipping point in boosting levels of angst just an extra bit more to the point where an already depressed person chooses to opt out of his/her misery. On a similar note, areas with chronically grey and rainy weather are known to have higher instances of alcoholism, domestic violence and suicide.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Previous studies have shown that use of blue lights on train platforms has lowered the number of suicides at Japanese stations, although the exact psychological mechanism for the trend remains unclear.

... seriously? All you had to do was ask any psychiatrist or neurologist and they would tell you. Certain frequencies of light trigger the synthesis of chemicals such as melanin and melatonin in the brain. Seratonin (the so-called "happy" neurotransmitter) is synthesized from melatonin.

No or low levels of light = no or low levels of melatonin = no or low levels of seratonin = depression and suicide.

There's no mystery here. Oh, and the reason that the weather on the day makes no difference is because these chemicals require time to build up in and attach themselves to the right receptors. Once someone gets depressed enough to commit suicide the relatively small amount of seratonin they produce in a single day would have little to no effect, certainly not enough to counteract a week's worth of seratonin deprivation.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Rainy days are clean and refreshing. They wash away the detritus and turn plants green.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The number of suicides on Japanese railways increases after several days of bad weather, according to a study, which urged train operators to increase patrols during rainy periods.

Completely missing the point. It's been known for YEARS that suicides are correlated with bad weather. Regardless of why Japan needed to reinvent the wheel, or focus ONLY on train suicides, patrolling the area after bad weather ain't gonna do squat.

It's like covering your ears when your baby cries and thinking you're addressing the issue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese people off themselves because they're unhappy and see no other way out. Much like in any other place. I don't know about this "study" - with its logic, the Brits would kill themselves en masse but I have never heard of them having this problem.

While I am sure it can affect an already depressed mind, I doubt it is more of a coincidence. Sounds more like the blood-type-personality BS so many people seem to have bought into. Also, archetypically of Japan, solutions are always applied to symptoms instead of dealing with the cause, ie blue/white light to make people happy instead of questioning a harsh, unkind society or people using masks when they have a little cold instead of staying in bed for a day or two.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I can't believe,30000 suicides, even more than tsunami deaths. I wonder how much government can make considering that they will not pay retirement for the dead people.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Elbuda Mexico

I really do not mind rainy days but these fools taking their lives, making us all late etc...that I do mind. RIP??

This is either written by a person who has absolutely no knowledge of, or experience with, suicide, or absolutely no compassion for those who struggle with life.


7 ( +7 / -0 )

I really do not mind rainy days but these fools taking their lives, making us all late etc...that I do mind. RIP??

There is an unwritten rule in many countries. "You should speak about dead either positive words or nothing". Live & learn, Elbuda. Perhaps, you have never been at school, God knows.....

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Sweet lord. Let's blame mother nature for the folly of human-kind. Anything to take the search off the actual causes.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Smitty, suicide is a complex issue with multiple causes or contributing factors. I don't think anyone is "blaming" the weather, but it has been known for some time that bad weather and low pressure systems do effect one's mental/physical health. Perhaps one of many contributing factors, sometimes present, sometimes not. Because suicide is an anti-evolutionary act, nature has created several fail-safes (again, mental and physical) to prevent it from happening, but, like an airplane crash, several systems have to simultaneously fail to push someone over the edge. One happens to be the climate/sunshine. Isn't there a little extra bounce in your step on a beautiful sunny fall day?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Bad weather no doubt makes some people depressed, but it's a stretch to use that as the reason for Japan's high suicide rate. I'd say it's more to do with Japanese people's herd mentality, lack of independence, unwillingness to think independently, inefficient government and all the factors that keep people who are depressed from admitting it and from seeking help.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There were 682 cases of train suicides in 2009 out of 32,845 suicides. (less than 3 %) More than half of suicides in Japan is by hanging.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So, they researched the reason why so many people jump in front of trains in Japan and they are blaming it on the weather? Miss the point much? How about admitting that the depressive emotional state of Japanese society is so fickle that it only takes a rainy day to set them off? These people's proems start long before they get to the train station on a rainy day.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sorry folks, I have nothing against suicides. I think it should be legalized! Yes! So do it in private, like in the good old samurai days. South Korea is worse! Those nuts take gasoline into crowded trains and light everything up on fire!!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Just wondering...when the police do the report on a suicide, do they also record what the weather was at the time of death? Do they also record the time and day? Do they record if there were any solar flares on that day too? Sounds like someone trying to figure out a cause rather than examining a real cause.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I wonder how bad gloomy days affect blind people? i am serius about this. Must do research.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ben4short: "but, like an airplane crash, several systems have to simultaneously fail to push someone over the edge."

Especially when the proper designs are ignored and maintenance is not kept up. My point was that the system here is severely lacking in support, and everyone knows it. So to go and blame it on the weather is a complete copout and will not only avoid addressing the actual issues, but give further excuses if when the suicide rate gets worse. They tried the AKB 'gate keeper' thing, have a couple of times a year when a hotline is open for less than normal hours, but there's still an enormous social stigma towards people who feel suicidal tendencies and try to seek help.

"One happens to be the climate/sunshine. Isn't there a little extra bounce in your step on a beautiful sunny fall day?"

There is indeed. It would help to hear less, though, about how suicide is being blamed on the weather instead of social problems.

What's next? are we going to blame relations between neighbouring nations on a barometer? Perhaps blame the decrease in manners in public? Blame the increase in taxes? Blame people not wanting to have more than one child because it costs too much?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I don't know, Smitty. I hesitate to repeat a point so obvious it shouldn't bear repeating, but it is important: NOBODY IS BLAMING JAPAN'S HIGH SUICIDE RATE ON THE WEATHER, ok? You seem to have an affinity for the word "blame," which I personally find distasteful. Furthermore, your final "what's next" paragraph is both completely irrelevant and silly.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I really find that hard to believe. If thats the case, then the whole of Northern Europe, especially United Kingdom, would have high suicide rates because of constant rain and dull skies.

0 ( +2 / -2 )


Ummm... obviously the 'link' is a way to shift the BLAME from the real causes, is it not?

"...which I personally find distasteful."

Awww... sorry.

"Furthermore, your final "what's next" paragraph is both completely irrelevant and silly."

I was just linking other things to bad weather, same as suicide has been in this article. So if my comparison, which was intentionally 'silly', is so bad, so is the link between suicide and bad weather. As Die Intellectual said, if this link were true Europeans would have the highest suicide rate in the world, not Japan and South Korea.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Attach a body cutter to the front. Thay way trains wo t fail in case of a suicide

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Or maybe sunny days help desperate people to postpone their ultimate acts by a few days!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The main reason is not the bad weather. Just a correlation where people tends to commit suicide after not having seen the sun for a while. The sun influences our mood. Look for light therapy. Not a new age age crap but serious therapy against depression (complemented with others.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Surely it's common knowledge (or just common sense) that bad weather (i.e. lack of bright light) can cause already depressed people to feel worse and push them to a point where they decide suicide is their best option. I have acquaintances who suffer from clinical depression who have told me that it is much worse for them if there hasn't been any sun for several days.

Amazing that so many people commenting above don't believe there is any kind of correlation between weather and mood- there is in healthy, non-depressed people, of course there is in depressed people.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Elbuda Mexicano: Right on, dude. Excuse me for dudin' a 'buda, but you are right. They are selfish fools. I feel for them; as you might too. It must be a lonely place. But using a public stage, and leaving what must be a horrendous mess is just too uncool. And during rush hour? Ruining others' day? Perhaps days. If you've gotta go, go. Quietly and cleanly. I say, adios.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Light therapy is often prescribed for depression in dark seasons. But in Japan, that would only in Hokkaido on Winter that people actually don't get enough.

Europeans would have the highest suicide rate in the world

It is. Check Lituania, Russia, Bielorussia, Finland... Northern countries and islands in all time got the highest rates.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Instinct tells me that of the approximate 30,000 annual suicides, less than half (30%? 40%?) choose this method,

Well less than half. GF is an insurance adjuster, and CO from coal stoves seems the most popular way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At least somebody is taking notice. I have mentioned the bleak life many Japanese endure and been attacked for it as a Japan hater. I think after years of enduring it, many Japanese start to embrace it as normal and something beautiful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bad weather? Blame it on everything else except Abe's economic policies? Even when a Japanese is drowning he will tell you that he is OK. Too embarrassing and dishonourable to admit otherwise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Instinct tells me that of the approximate 30,000 annual suicides, less than half (30%? 40%?) choose this method, so why not just focus on suicide in general and its connection to lousy weather?

The figure I have heard is about 1,000 people a year, so just 3%. 1,000 is still a significant number of people though, so if there's a way to prevent what might be a split-second, on the spot decision for some people, why not try?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hmmm.. Well folks that live for months in near darkness because of their position at the pole do also have problems with depression.. I suggest that you upgrade your Vitamine D intake. That will calm it down. Supplimenting that lack of sun exposure with some sun vitamine. D and a bit of C.. Or set a spot over a chair and get a lizard light.. the UV from it after 20 minutes to a half hour sitting under that with next to nothing on will help too. Use it when the sun doesn't shine.. That is also an alternative north polars use. Sun room.. UV bulbs and a closet with loung chair and book.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites