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Japan’s Disposable Workers: Overworked to Suicide

“The cause of my depression is definitely overwork.” wrote Naoya Nishigaki, 28, a system engineer, on his blog.

“I can’t do anything. I just feel irritated, exhausted, and disgusted. I try to suppress these feelings with medication, but I feel like my medication has become less and less effective lately. I’m so worried. What should I do? “

Naoya committed “karojishi” or suicide triggered by overworking in 2006.

Karojishi has become widespread among Japan’s white collar “salarymen.” Salarymen devote long work hours and loyalty to companies in exchange for a lifetime of employment and benefits. But with the recession of the 1990s and the lifting of a ban on the use of cheap temporary laborers, they increasingly must work arduous hours for fear of losing their jobs.

Working essentially two shifts a day for weeks a time leads frequently to feelings of depression, something that is still stigmatized in Japan. Many hide their suffering from coworkers and even family members. This secrecy often exacerbates the loneliness and creates further isolation from society.

Kinmi Ohashi, 60, lost her husband, Hitoshi, from suicide in 2009. His death was triggered by the exhaustive hours he spent working and the harassment he received from his superiors. “My husband worked hard for 37 years, sacrificing his time with family and his mental and physical health.When he committed suicide, the company didn’t give us any support…What was my husband’s dedication for? One worker did not mean anything to a big company. He was just disposable.”

“The cause of my depression is definitely overwork.” wrote Naoya Nishigaki, 28, a system engineer, on his blog.

“I can’t do anything. I just feel irritated, exhausted, and disgusted. I try to suppress these feelings with medication, but I feel like my medication has become less and less effective lately. I’m so worried. What should I do? “

Naoya committed “karojishi” or suicide triggered by overworking in 2006.

Karojishi has become widespread among Japan’s white collar “salarymen.” Salarymen devote long work hours and loyalty to companies in exchange for a lifetime of employment and benefits. But with the recession of the 1990s and the lifting of a ban on the use of cheap temporary laborers, they increasingly must work arduous hours for fear of losing their jobs.

Working essentially two shifts a day for weeks a time leads frequently to feelings of depression, something that is still stigmatized in Japan. Many hide their suffering from coworkers and even family members. This secrecy often exacerbates the loneliness and creates further isolation from society.

Kinmi Ohashi, 60, lost her husband, Hitoshi, from suicide in 2009. His death was triggered by the exhaustive hours he spent working and the harassment he received from his superiors. “My husband worked hard for 37 years, sacrificing his time with family and his mental and physical health.When he committed suicide, the company didn’t give us any support…What was my husband’s dedication for? One worker did not mean anything to a big company. He was just disposable.”

 

Duration: 09:35
Language: EN
Resolution max: 1080p
Video Source: Vimeo
Provided by: MediaStorm
Published on: 2015-11-24
Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
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