Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates. The trains in Japan are constantly being delayed because of people, mostly tired and disappointed businessmen, jumping onto the tracks, even though they know that their families would be charged $10,000 to pay for the incident.
Suicide is in the blood of us Japanese. Every 10 years or so they remake a movie called Chushingura, The 47 Loyal Samurai, a true historical story about 47 samurai who were loyal to the point of suicide and became heroes.
There were many plays about the incident, as well as six theatrical movie versions made. Also produced were 10 different TV productions of the story between the years 1997 and 2007. There’s even a new big budget Hollywood version of it being released in 3D, starring Keanu Reeves.
This true story concerns 47 samurai whose leader, because of being pushed to anger and drawing his sword against a higher ranking lord, was forced to kill himself by means of Japanese ritual suicide called Seppuku or Harakiri.
The 47 samurai became unemployed or, in the Japanese term, Ronin. For two years the 47 ronin worked as tradesmen or became monks. Their leader lived in a brothel and was thought to be a drunk. All this was done to put their enemy lord at ease.
At the end of the second year, the 47 banded together, attacked their enemies guarded mansion and forced him to kill himself. They did this knowing full well that the government would force all of them to kill themselves.
And that’s what happened, they all died together. The 47 became heroes for their loyalty, patience and secretly planning of their revenge. All 47 were buried together in a grave site that is still visited today.
One village man, who had spat on the leader of the group, when the leader was pretending to be a drunk, came to the grave site. He prayed for forgiveness, killed himself on the spot, and was buried next to the site.
That’s a lot of people killing themselves and a lot of movies honoring those that have killed themselves. With that kind of mind programming, it’s no wonder Japan has a high suicide rate.
Japan has a Disneyland, many Starbucks and McDonald's, but it is still Japan, and we Japanese, are still Japanese.