Showing posts with label 働き過ぎ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 働き過ぎ. Show all posts

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A recipe for disaster: Japanese culture + unrestrained capitalism

Headline from USA Today: Japanese are working themselves to death--literally

The article above focuses on the recent death of 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi, who committed suicide after months of being forced to work ungodly hours at the major Japanese advertising firm Dentsu. This particular tragedy made the headlines perhaps only because the Japanese Department of Labor officially acknowledged that Takahashi's suicide indeed resulted from overwork, but an even greater tragedy is that in Japan, similar deaths routinely occur and then quietly get swept under the rug.

As I wrote in You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.:
It’s difficult to exaggerate the extreme degree to which the Japanese are overworked. In English-speaking cultures, the phrase “worked to death” often occurs in the figurative sense of being extremely busy, but in Japan the equivalent phrase 過労死 (karōshi) only occurs in the literal sense, because it has become a nationwide crisis: every year a considerable number of Japanese employees actually die from overwork. Most instances of karōshi result not from any sort of back-breaking physical labor in hazardous working conditions like those of a coal miner, but from a gradual accumulation of anxiety and psychological stress that eats away at the employee day by day until culminating in death, often from heart attack or stroke, often before the age of forty. The unbearable stress of work also contributes to Japan’s epidemic of suicide, which, as of this writing, is the country’s leading cause of death in young adults.
Several factors contribute to Japan's epidemic of overwork. One major factor is summed up in the Japanese idiom 出る杭は打たれる (deru kui wa utareru), which translates to “the stake [or nail] that sticks out gets hammered down” — a stern reminder to lay low and avoid standing out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public

My second book is now available on Amazon, in paperback and for Kindle: You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public.

If you were frightened away by the graphic nature of my first book, Seven Nights with Ayahuasca, I can assure you that this one is rated PG, and it doesn't involve any psychedelics or detailed descriptions of vomiting and diarrhea. (See book description below.)

洋書が好きな方が居らっしゃったら、私の2冊目の本のキンドル版を発売しました。文庫版もそろそろ発売されるはずです。 You Can't Spell Tokyo Without K.O.: A photo-essay dissecting the Japanese epidemic of passing out in public

去年に出した本 Seven Nights with Ayahuasca とは全く違うテーマで、「何で日本の公共の場所でぐうぐう寝ちゃったり気を失っちゃったりする日本人が多いのか」についての写真集です。英語の内容紹介は以下です。

Every day, all across the city of Tokyo, a curious phenomenon unfolds: scores of blue- and white-collar citizens end up passed out — sometimes in spectacular fashion and mind-boggling positions — on the streets, on trains, in restaurants, in bushes, or anywhere else imaginable. Come nightfall, one might stumble upon a well-to-do Japanese salaryman lying crumpled and snoozing facedown on the sidewalk, apparently walloped by a haymaker of fatigue that sent him crashing down for the count. These brutal knockout punches sometimes involve intoxication, but alcohol alone fails to explain this widespread yet unintuitive phenomenon: making a public spectacle of oneself in a society like Japan’s, where conformity and shame heavily regulate behavior.

Rife with fascinating insights into Japanese culture,
You Can’t Spell Tokyo Without K.O. embarks on an eye-opening journey where social commentary and candid street photography explore the various societal factors — some enviable, some alarming — that contribute to this epidemic of passing out in public.