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Man attempts suicide on Ginza subway line

50 Comments

A man in his 60s jumped from the platform onto the tracks of the Ginza subway line at Ueno station Sunday, just as a train bound for Asakusa entered the station.

According to Tokyo Metro authorities, he was immediately pulled back up onto the platform by other commuters. He was bleeding severely from his head and right leg, but the injuries are not life-threatening, police said.

The incident occurred at around 12:45 Sunday afternoon. Service on the Ginza line was suspended for 20 minutes, affecting an estimated 5,500 people.

© News reports

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50 Comments
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Must they do it on the tracks and disrupt the perfect rail system? cant they just jump off a building or something?

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sharpie,

Yes, why don't they put up those "Do It At Home" posters showing a person with a noose around his neck and standing on a stool?

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Again we are left with so little information as to just WHY did this guy try to commit suicide. Its not even worth reporting this stuff since it happens so often unless you give us some insight in to this guys reason(s) - especially since this guy survived his suicide attempt (of course if you can't even do a suicide right then this guy probably has "LOOSER" written all over his face anyways). This guy could of had some real issues in his life but do to incomplete reporting we will never know.

Moderator: Readers, the word is "loser," not "looser." Many of you recently on many discussion threads do not seem to know the difference.

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OgieDoggie

Well, why don't you visit the gentleman in hospital and ask him his reasons? Do you really expect news media to report on his reasons for an attempted suicide less than one day after the incident? From the traveling public's point of view, his reasons are irrelevant.

It is more interesting to me that quick-thinking commuters saved him. That is newsworthy, I think. I often wonder what I would do in that situation, if I would be alert and brave enough to act.

And yes, the word is "loser."

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There really ought to be ways to commit suicide which don't affect others - and that includes jumping off buildings as periodically someone below gets squashed and killed too. But suicide, apart from in extreme situations, is the height of dumbness; you've got the rest of eternity to be dead so what's the rush?

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wow, what might have this person after half life to come up with that drastic decision ... sad we have many case like this.

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I am glad he made it. Hopefully if he reflects that others risked their lives for him he may want to live. I wonder if it being Sunday, people had a different feeling because they were not pressed to make it to work.

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Hopefully they would be able to provide him with some help and counseling

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It's probably debt. Lots of people are upt to their necks in it and it's probably the main reason why most suicides happen. Either to get away from the collection agencies or to save their families from it.

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Must they do it on the tracks and disrupt the perfect rail system? cant they just jump off a building or something?

The Ginza station at Ueno was never perfect! I used to remember how hordes of homeless used to camp along the tunnel that links to the Keisei station.

If anything more this suicide attempt has taught us other than that this guy is a loser, the gradual 'air-conditioning' of Tokyo Metro station platforms isn't a waste of ratepayers' money.

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At least he was thoughtful enough to do it at lunchtime on a Sunday and not during rush hour on a weekday...

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Good lord, some of you people are an insensitive lot. Also very lucky, obviously, never to have felt the darkness and despair that makes you think life isn't worth living, the situation is an impossible one, and that things wil go better without you around.

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Wise words Maria.

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Yeah Maria. Nice to know you have empathy for apathy. Personally, I have no empathy for these apathetic losers!

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i agree @ OgieDoggie

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my mama told me when i was a kid "dont jump into a railway when a trains coming. if you wanna kill youself just do it dat nobody dont get involved." i thought "what a parent she is" but dis 60 some yr olds mom was even worse.

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Ahah, this makes me wonder: where the infamous "blue lights" were in that case?

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@smartacus

Well, why don't you visit the gentleman in hospital and ask him his reasons? Do you really expect news media to report on his reasons for an attempted suicide less than one day after the incident? From the traveling public's point of view, his reasons are irrelevant. It is more interesting to me that quick-thinking commuters saved him. That is newsworthy, I think. I often wonder what I would do in that situation, if I would be alert and brave enough to act. And yes, the word is "loser."

Well said. I too wonder if I would be brave or even fast enough to save the victim. I've read so many stories of people who jumped down onto the tracks in an attempt to save the victim only to succumb to the same fate as the suicide victim. Bravo to the brave people who were able to save this man. That is truly newsworthy.

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Times are hard, some people can roll with the punches others wish not to or maybe feel stuck. I can only say it is not my place to judge where or how or why someone decides to cease existing.

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Guess this station didn't utilize those mood-altering blue lights.

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The sad part about all of this is this man just compounded his problems immensely. Suicide (Seppuku) has been a part of Japanese culture since the days of the Samurai, so it is viewed differently from how we see it in western cultures. Nonetheless most modern day suicide attempts seem to be over financial woes, so in this man's case, when the train line sends him the bill for inconveniencing an estimated 5,500 people, his problems will only get worse.

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May not be sucide just jump becasue of Bonenkai has started.

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First of all, people who commit suicide are not apathetic but usually suffering from depression.

As others have said, I think the point of this story is that other people risked their lives to save him, which is very commendable.

What kind of bothers me is mentioned that 5,500 people were affected. It makes it sound like the railway companies are more concerned about the inconvenience than the fact that someone could have died. Maybe they should talk to this guy and get a statement from him. I'm sure he would say that he knew he made a mistake the minute he jumped and that life is precious. If they published that, maaaybe some people would think twice before throwing themselves on the tracks and they could save their precious dollars.

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come on stop cursing ths guy or calling him a loser. things got pretty bad for this guy, to a point where none of you have seen or will probably never see. when all hope is gone people don't think rationally. in Japan there is very little hope for people in these situations, since there is no support net. Samurai culture doesn't help either. yeah some of you may have been inconvenienced if this happened during rush hour on a weekday, what a load of bullsh**, try to be more original or show some compassion. rip.

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people who commit suicide are not apathetic but usually suffering from depression

Yes, and the cause of which is self-pitying apathy.

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Disillusioned: I think it's the reverse. Depression is a cause of apathy. Depression is not just feeling sorry for yourself or feeling really sad. If you have never suffered from it, maybe you can't imagine what it is like. Sometimes it is described as 'a black hole'. It's not a state of mind which comes and goes but a constant darkness which swallows you up. It can be due to biological and genetic factors as well as environmental ones. It is related to chemical imbalances and physical changes in the brain.

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dolphingirl, they always say how many people were affected by this kind of thing. While it is tragic, it is so common in Tokyo that the companies do have to think of how many passengers were affected and their bottom line- do you know that on average, 1,000 people nationwide per year commit suicide by jumping in front of trains? That's more than 3 a day, and I would guess that a large percentage are in Tokyo. I live on the Chuo line which is particularly badly hit- we had several "jinshinjiko" last week, creating havoc with the trains, and there were a number on other lines as well. Do you expect the train companies to empathise and forget about their profits and schedules every time someone jumps? They have to be concerned about the inconvenience, it's their job to have the trains running. For personal reasons I also empathise with people who commit suicide, and their families, but I don't expect train companies to.

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try to be more original or show some compassion. rip.

RIP?? Did you even read the article? Nobody's dead, genius.

I understand the whole "depression is a downward spiral blah blah blah" rhetoric. I've had 2 members of my immediate family go through it, but feeling sorry for those who are depressed doesn't help them. It only shows that being a sad and lonely sap grabs them attention. I agree that it's a huge problem in Japan that isn't properly addressed. Japan needs more of a public safety net for a great many things, depression being one of them.

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Service on the Ginza line was suspended for 20 minutes, affecting an estimated 5,500 people.

They put this in the story because he will be sued for this amount

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Only a 20 minute delay. Pretty fast. I was stuck on a train in the first car and heard the thud! Almost two hours stuck in a train. You should have seen the next station when we got there and all had to get off. Zillions of people, and absolutely no crowd control.

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Surely he would have been more successful had he propelled himself from the top of Mt Fuji using a home-made trebuchet.

The suicidal always lack imagination.

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Damn, missed again, i consider this to be one of the ''must see'' experiences of any visit to japan.

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I hope more riders on the Chuo line start acting like these Ginza passengers. While I sympathize with those who are depressed enough to take their own life, the delays can eat up quite a chunk of time.

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I wonder if these train jumpers ever select their fateful train-lines for sentimental or aesthetic reasons (much in the way some bridge jumpers do). For example, is it in some way "better" to be killed by the Ginza line at Ueno station as opposed to the Keihin Electric Express Railway at Heiwajima station? Of course it's a silly question but you have to wonder - why this train? Why this station?

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Poor chap, he must be very disturbed - needs help, comfort and understanding - some kind soul, perhaps a woman should find out what and why he did what he did - It may be a domestic problem or perhaps honour bound, one of those Japanese type...perhaps his wife left him or scolded him or went off without his consent to see her aged parents not keeping well, perhaps he has financial problem - if so than I suggest that the people in Japan should do what the people in Indonesia did for a woman who allegedly scandalized a hospital by complaining to her friends on email how the hospital said that she had cancer when she only had mumps...The court in ordered her arrest and along with her baby whom she breastfeeds - soon the people across Indonesia started collecting money and they had truckloads of coins worth thousands of dollars, the Indonesian President also sent her a sympathy message and contribution, it is to be seen if the Judge may have a soft heart and release her and her cute little breastfeeding baby...Farakh Malik Adviser to Japan on Special Affairs

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"Why this train? Why this station?" I'm now channeling Laurie Anderson. An excellent question!

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I am glad the man survived. He may have had very realistic reasons for trying to kill himself, certainly as he perceived them. This act should get him some needed physical and psychological attention. That does not mean his reality will necessarily change however. In any event one fact is that we will all die at some point. My view is that one should hang on to life as long as possible for one knows not when the bell will toll. And it will toll for all no matter what. I wish that man the best and commend those who plucked him from death`s grasp.

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Disillusioned am I with such cruel comments from disillusioned. You are far too judgemental in this case. But that does not stop me from judging you in the harshest way possible. When the wheel of fortune turns against you, as it surely will, I believe you will recall your callous comment. By the way, the wheel of fortune is not a game show, but a description of the ever changing fortunes of man. Sometimes up. Sometimes down. When you are up, best to recall when you were down: breeds compassion. If you have always been up, expect a down-turn in your fortunes. When that comes, take it stoically and continue on for an upturn is also likely.

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Everyone experiences ups and downs. Sometimes people can get through the tough times and other times they just want to give up and end it all. And some people seem to be more prone to depression. There are so many factors at play. It's hard to say why anyone would choose this way out but if enough of these factors accumulate, it could make anyone go over the edge.

We are all human and have our weaknesses. What is particularly sad is that there is still the stigma that people who suffer from depression are in some way weaker than others. This stigma makes it difficult for people who are depressed to get the help they need; especially in Japan. To reduce the number of suicides here, the attitude towards people who have mental or psychological problems has got to change.

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When are they going to install barriers on these platforms?

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Manta60

Damn, missed again, i consider this to be one of the ''must see'' experiences of any visit to japan

If you are this morbid, then go visit Aokigahara forest...just beware that this type of fascination can open gates of things unseen which can make you feel sorry later...

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It's terribly sad that train-jumpers are so common in Japan that it becomes standard practice to include the length of time and number of passengers inconvenienced by their attempts at suicide. Honestly, that breaks my heart.

I don't know what drove this man to try to commit suicide, just as I can't be sure of the motivations of any of the attempted or completed suicides that crop up all too frequently here at JT. Clinical depression is a medically diagnosed condition that is caused -- at least in part -- by chemical imbalances in the brain. These imbalances can be treated with therapy and drugs, if necessary. Unfortunately, many anti-depressants that are common in other countries are not available in Japan, and there's no guarantee that those suffering depression would seek out the medical diagnosis necessary to be prescribed such medications. However I highly doubt that the massive number of suicides in Japan are caused solely by undiagnosed clinical depression. If that's the case then it's time to start looking at what's in the food and water to see what could be causing such drastic chemical imbalances in so much of the population!

Everyone goes through dark periods in life where they feel hopeless: After the death of a loved one; being diagnosed with a serious medical condition; falling into debt; losing a job; a broken marriage. Unlike clinical depression, however, these dark phases can be overcome through positive reinforcement, social interaction, and interpersonal communication. It's not easy and it's not necessarily a fast process, but when people have access to a support network -- even if it's just a friend to talk to, a family member to lean on, or a co-worker to commisserate with -- they can recover and reintegrate themselves into productive society.

The problem is the stigma attached to any kind of mental illness. This is hardly a Japan-only issue; you'll find stigma against the mentally ill is a problem all over the globe. But in Japan, where so much is focused on working hard, not complaining, and not standing out from the crowd, it's difficult verging on impossible to step forward and say, "Please help me."

I have to imagine that the initial anxiety is compounded by the fact that insurance is nationalized, which means that someone in some government office has a file, and in that file is the note that, "So-and-so was diagnosed with depression and was prescribed such-and-such." If that information got into the hands of an employer, what would be the fallout? Why would a company hire the "suicidal loony" over the seemingly "normal" applicant? Those records are supposed to be private, but so are credit card numbers and bank PIN codes. That doesn't stop security breaches and identity theft from happening just about every day. When you've got a bored file clerk with loose lips handling secure medical records it's only a matter of time until privileged information gets shared somewhere it shouldn't.

Not to mention the government's vested interest in keeping costs down by not introducing a stress-laden population to a slew of expensive psychiatric drugs. It would be like a bank run during the Great Depression: people might get trampled in the stampede and coffers would quickly run dry.

What needs to happen is education, education, education. Not just in schools, but everywhere. Billboards, subway posters, pamphlets, leaflets, community centers, government offices -- there needs to be education EVERYWHERE. Not just the typical, "Gambatte!" kind of message, but actual facts and figures about mental illness in general, depression in particular, and available treatments thereof. People need to understand that depression is not something to be ashamed of, but something that needs treatment. Maybe that will just involve talk therapy, or maybe medication will be necessary, but whatever the root cause of the problem there IS an answer other than suicide. It's a paradigm shift that will need years to take effect, but it has to start somewhere or it will never get anywhere.

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PS - Good grief, I'm a long-winded one, aren't I? Please forgive me! Depression is an issue that's near to my heart, so I tend to blab more than I usually do (which is saying something!).

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I agree 100% with Disillusioned.

Cut the "poor little me" crap then look at others in worse shape that keep up the struggle with no thoughts of self inflicted homicide, and perhaps you'd be able to see the good around you.

Where were all these depression problems before the 70's when the "I'm Special" curriculum took over? Only to realize upon adulthood, hey I'm not special - I'm just like every other schmuck out here.

I had a family member commit suicide, and yes, they were the biggest LOSER in our family. Not to mention the agony my aunt feels every day after my uncle offed himself 20 years ago. His boozing, gambling, and cheating on my aunt caught up with him. Sorry, but my sympathy goes with the survivors of the suicide, not the successful of sucide, or even the unsuccessful. Life takes more courage to live, than to end it.

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Sorry - meant surviving family of the suicide.

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Horrible just horrible! I hope this old guy can get some good counseling. Maybe he just really is crying out for attention?

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Another selfish fool.

These people KNOW the trouble caused and therefore deliberately choose to do so.

Even in death Japanese people persist in selfishness.

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try to be more original or show some compassion. rip.

hahahaha try reading the article?

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Barriers are just a band-aid not a solution.

I wonder why these people just don't go to a bridge somewhere and jump into the river, save the rest of us commuters the grief, and the poor guys who have to clean up the mess too.

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Moderator: Readers, the word is "loser," not "looser." Many of you recently on many discussion threads do not seem to know the difference.

I'm sorry, but I have to give a big THANK YOU to the moderator for that :D.

As for the story, I'm glad he is ok, and I hope he gets the help he obviously needs.

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