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Essayist Fumie Kusayanagi found dead in apparent suicide in Tokyo

17 Comments

Essayist Fumie Kusayanagi, 54, was found dead Tuesday morning in an apparent suicide on the balcony of her apartment on the 46th floor of a condo in Chuo Ward. Police believe she committed suicide because they found a note referring to her suffering from illness.

According to police, Kusayanagi was found by her mother, who lived with her, hanging by a rope from the balcony railing around 5:50 a.m. She was taken to hospital but confirmed dead. Police believe Kusayanagi tied a rope around her neck and then jumped over the railing.

Kusayanagi became a reporter and TV and radio presenter after she was named Miss Tokyo when she was a college student. Recently, Kusayanagi worked for government committees as a campaigner for women and elderly issues.

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17 Comments
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Another day, another suicide. Sad.

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Just the thought/image of her method of suicide makes me queasy. And what a thing to leave for your mother to find.

If she really felt suicide was necessary, how about getting into bed and overdosing on something? At least her mother would find her looking peaceful in a pretty nightgown. Can you imagine the image her mother was presented with finding her hanging from the balcony??

However, people who kill themselves usually can't see beyond their own selfishness.

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Now-did she choose this way OUT because she was a writer or because she was terminally ill? Many writers in Japan feel that suicide is the only way for them to die. It might be a group or herd mentality.

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If she really felt suicide was necessary, how about getting into bed and overdosing on something? At least her mother would find her looking peaceful in a pretty nightgown.

KissMint. If you had been to the site of a suicide from and overdose, you wouldn't paint it as a scene out of a Disney movie. There is nothing peaceful about confused convulsions of a body that is trying to reject being poisoned. Vomit, contorted limbs, disheveled clothing, objects sometimes knocked over in the delirium, etc. There really isn't a clean way to commit suicide unless you can self-induce a heart attack.

As for the selfish part. Those left behind can be considered just as selfish for not being involved enough to notice a person's potential for suicide and getting them help.

Poor woman. She let her mind be cornered into making a bad decision.

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Tell me which Disney movies you've seen suicides in! Now that's something I'd like to know...

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Snow white???

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...not suicide though and sleeping beauty.... Anyway suicide is never the answer! Reach out to people, find support groups don't let your illness gets the best of you, be strong, tell your relatives how you feel. She's an essayist, writing could be a good therapy to vent your frustrations out, start a blog, I could go on and on..

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Another day, another 300 suicides! - 30,000 a year! So what if she was a personality. It's just another selfless Japanese.

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Japanese Talk but they do not communicate

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46th floor of a condo. I wish I had her problems. I live on the first floor of my apartment. WOW!!!!! She should have thought about all the homeless people in tokyo. I think they have it far more worst then her.

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Recently, Kusayanagi worked for government committees as a campaigner for women and elderly issues.

Hope she didnt encourage the women and elders to do the same as what she did...

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A lot of ignorant comments so far.

There are several things that could be done to help the suicide problem in Japan.

-Revamp Japanese pharmacy. Open it up to foreign medications, especially mental health meds. There are many meds that have been available outside Japan for years and years but are not allowed into the country. This is all about the money, or so Ive been told.

-Stop reinforcing the idea that depression is a result of "not trying hard enough" or "not being strong enough". Most of the country (and it seems many in the medical field) dont even recognize the biological factors. A mainstay of Japanese culture is to "do your best" and "endure". Pretty masochistic.

-Ease up on the whole shame culture deal. The reason a lot of people dont seek help is becuase of the sense of shame they feel, and thus the cycle intensifies. As much as Japan goes crazy over celebrity endorsements, it would be nice to see a well known celebrity do some kind of campaign about how they overcame depression or thoughts of suicide thus encouraging other to seek alternatives previously unknown.

-Promote a better work/life balance. Of course its hard to do given the culture. But, the government could make some progress here and start with labor laws, maternity leave, gender equality etc. The key is to not only have laws to promote this but enforce the laws as well and punish companies that do not comply.

The list could go on and on...the good news is that after years and years of the same, the Japanese government seems to finally be taking some notice. Hopefully meaningful change is not too far off.

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Medievaltimes. 100% Dead On!

Japan is in the dark ages for mental health. And words like gambarro and shoganai show that you are expected to just hang in there until things become shoganai and then give up.

Too many lonely people with too many walls between them and help.

Change is needed or this number will just go up as the population ages and things get even harder for working age people and for the eldertly who will have a harder time with things as the economy remains a mess.

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Revamp Japanese pharmacy. Open it up to foreign medications, especially mental health meds. There are many meds that have been available outside Japan for years and years but are not allowed into the country. This is all about the money, or so Ive been told.

Spot on. The pharmacy industry in this country stinks big time. It's all about that Asian mindset that any venture in their domestic market must include a joint venture with a domestic company,

In years gone by this worked for Japan. However non-Japanese pharmacutical companies got cheesed off with the Japanese companies ripping them off on copyright and the price of pharmacy research is now so high that the non-japanese companies now would rather bypass the Japanese market altogether.

This is a crime by the Japanese government of astronomical proportions towards their own people, both in the medical and mental area of medicine.

Still Japan Inc must persevere above all else, gambatte sick people!!!

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It is very common for writers to kill themselves. It gives them that last needed boost toward eternal FAME!! It is true that many writers choose suicide.

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What illness did she have ? If I was dying, it's possible I'd prefer doing an euthanasy before I lose most of my physical and mental capacities, and I don't think that could be considered a classical suicide. Is this the case here ?

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What illness did she have ? - Cos

I totally agree with your post Cos...not enough info here as to what pain she was in with her illness.

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