Whilst the rest of the world gorges itself on K-Pop, cool Korean movies and smart phones produced by Korean tech giants Samsung, Koreans themselves have never been more bummed out. With an average of 43 people per day taking their own lives, today, South Korea is the suicide capital of the developed world, despite it’s rampant economy and booming prosperity.
The deaths have caused much soul searching in the national psyche and with 16,000 people per year topping them-selves, the suicide trend show’s no sign of abating. In response, a new craze has arisen – the ‘Well Dying’ or ‘Near Death’ movement aims to help people appreciate their lives and thus reduce the number of suicides.
The most bizarre manifestation of this movement is the rise of ‘Fake Funeral’ services where people are lectured by a philosophical guru, told to write out their own eulogy’s and ultimately climb into a coffin to mediate for 30 minutes so as to experience the afterlife. Vice Japan correspondent Yuka Uchida headed to Seoul to try and find out why so many Koreans are taking their own lives and to experience her own ‘death’ at a fake funeral ceremony.