Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kamikaze-esque Suicide in Japan?

The documentary video on Youtube, Saving 10000 --Winning a War on Suicide in Japan, made by a westerner, is a strong persuasive approach to the suicide problem in Japan. It analyzes the taboo with which Japanese mass media can't deal for some reason (maybe some greedy industiries are putting pressure on exposing the truth) from several points of view such as media influence, tolerance in gambling and the problem with mental health services. 
It includes a comment by a Mishima biographer on Japanese writers who killed themselves."Suicidal tendencies among Japanese authors have been extremely high," he explained."...There is nowhere else where suicide of novelists is so prevalent."
That's true. So many famous writers in Japan, for example, Mishima, Dazai, and Kawabata, killed themselves. Recently, Jun Etoh committed suicide in 1999. Did they consider, however, suicide as a 'beautiful ritual' or have some kind of 'kamikaze spirit' when they committed it? Is it really 'traditional' way of thinking in Japan?
I don't think so. In the video, they didn't go into further detail on it, so I would like to add a note about it from a Japanese writer's point of view. It might be simply because writers of Meiji, Taisho and early Showa era are strongly affected by romanticism. In order to catch up western literature, Japanese literature had to absorb everything from Greek mythology to modern decadent romans in a rush, after Meiji era. It was such a crash work like building western style house on the muddy samurai land in a day. Early modern writers must be exhausted with such a frenzy creation, and tend to be extremely pessimistic like some of the literatures in romanticism that they pursue, I think.