Saving 10,000 – Winning a War on Suicide in Japan

52 minutes 7.2/10 based on 13 votes

There’s an enemy at work in Japan. Around 300,000 people made the decision to end their lives through suicide in the last ten years. Ironically, nobody is willing to speak up about the problem, yet there are books and websites giving step-by-step instructions on how and where to kill yourself. This thought-provoking documentary is sure to make you take a good look inside and question your beliefs.

According to experts, suicide seems to always be at the back of the minds of Japanese. Most people literally believe that suicide is a beautiful thing. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to search online for somebody who is feeling as much despair as they are– not to seek help or to comfort each other– but to kill themselves together. Some think it’s comforting to die with somebody else.

Maybe the media is partly to blame. When a suicide is reported, the gory details are sure to be included. It’s not uncommon for up to 1,000 persons to then copy that one suicide during the following weeks. People feed on sensationalism, not so much on finding solutions. Dramatized scenes of people hanging themselves or jumping out of buildings are common on Japanese television leading viewers to believe that it’s easy and painless.

Perhaps life insurance companies are to blame too. People sign the policy and wait for the specified amount of time to go by. It could be twelve months or twenty-four, that doesn’t really matter because as soon as the time is up, they end their lives. The grieving family is taken care of financially, though.

When people face serious problems, they need to make choices and changes in order to find solutions. In Japan, suicide is seen as a viable option. 

The filmmaker, Rene Duignan, through interviews with ordinary Japanese citizens as well as experts in the field, has come up proposed solutions to help stop this epidemic. This documentary is the result of his work and has be released for free to encourage discussions on the solution.

Can one man fight against this mentality? Watch and see.

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Discuss This Documentary

  • Coen

    The author of this documentary is talking way overwhelmed, in an emotional state, which i don’t perceive as professional . Actually I find it quite annoying.
    Good documentary overall. My conclusion is: use a gun next time.

    • George

      I know…stopping yelling buddy…im trying to learn something

  • DarylTJ

    Such a sad doco. I wish people were kinder and warmer to each other.

  • Danielle Hensley

    It’s an overwhelming and emotional topic. I think the “author” or narrator, as some would call it (also director, I think), is most effective during the extreme sarcasm relating gambling and alcohol use to suicide. I wonder if the decrease in coupling and sexuality in Japan has a direct relation to the suicide rate…very sad story.

  • Michele

    This was beautifully made and quite moving, with narration from a deeply impassioned filmmaker. As a mental health professional and former suicide hotline worker, I wish more attention was paid to the growing number of suicides in the U.S., particularly of our own elderly, who will grow to more than half of our population in the year 2030. Perhaps someone out there, after seeing this film, will want to make a film about our own plight.

  • Maxine Godfrey

    the Japanese suicide plight evinces a kind of gallows humor — in me, at least. their society is truly screwed up, their priorities wrong. and we thought we had it bad here in the US. Japan seems to have no hope whatsoever in a bright (or at least brighter) future; nothing but stress and misery awaits the majority of Japanese. they need a serious cultural overhaul. perhaps encouragement to emigrate elsewhere, to lighten the population overload, might ease the pressure somewhat? they’re as much in danger of imminent death as those in the war-torn Middle East, it would seem. there’s even an Ian Fleming James Bond novel — You Only Live Twice — that features villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld on a Japanese island off Kyushu that affords suicides a place to go to commit the deed, sort of like the real Suicide Forest. that book was written almost 50 years ago, so this suicide problem has been plaguing Japan for a long time, even back then. it’s gonna take more than a village.

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