2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Japan: A suicide nation? A philosophical investigation into the history of Japan’s high suicide rate.

This project seeks to investigate the global, social and cross-cultural phenomenon of suicide (territory). More specifically, suicide in Japan (object). The purpose of this project is to highlight and examine the possible factors as to why the average global suicide rate within the Japanese nation is so high – it is nearly twice the global average. Through exploring the History of Japan I ask the questions: ‘What is it about the Japanese culture/ society that has caused Japan to become synonymous with the act of suicide?’ And ‘Is Japan really a suicide nation?’

Areas to be explored:
Premodern Japan: The way of the Samurai and The Kamikaze Pilots.
Geographical ‘hot spots’
Suicide prevention in Japan
Japanese Psychiatry

Philosophically and ethically suicide poses difficult questions. Albert Camus states: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide”.

Through exploring the interesting philosophical arguments put forward by Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer the following questions in regards to suicide arise:

Does suicide violate our natural duty of self-preservation?

Does suicide achieve what it ultimately aims for (i.e. to end all suffering), or does it simply terminate superficial elements of ourselves thus achieving the opposite: affirmation of the will?