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I doubt this is OK by Japanese standards. Did anyone commit suicide?

I'm going to charitably assume you are neither trolling nor going for a boorish Reddit joke: Japan is a highly developed Western nation. In cultural studies, "Japanese people commit suicide to apologize" is one example of something that might be called a narrative. When you say it, it isn't just saying something, it is doing something. One purpose to which that narrative has been historically employed, both by some foreigners and some Japanese people, is to exaggerate the difference between Japanese people and everyone else. Another reason is there were, historically, a small handful of suicides which were extraordinarily public and so garnered disproportionate media attention. They are now several decades old, and are about as instructive regarding Japanese culture as school shootings are instructive about American culture. No morally responsible person would suggest that shooting up school is normative behavior in response to minor slights.

There are forms of apology which are distinctively Japanese. One is a videotaped press conference during which a speech very similar to that video would be delivered by the CEO. He would likely be accompanied by three or four people close to the matter. At a scripted moment during the speech (likely, several of them), all will simultaneously bow deeply. On the video you would hear audible clicking noises as every print photographer in the room simultaneously went for the photo opp, because Japanese papers run with photos of bows for apologies the same way American newspapers run with photos of handshakes for peace treaties.


If you're serious: patio11 has lived in Japan for many years and I think it's safe to say that he has a good understanding of Japanese cultural norms.

If you're not serious: This joke is in extremely poor taste.


He hasn't lived in Japan very long at all if he doesn't recognize that this is one of those stereotypes with some significant basis in reality. Japan has almost twice the US's suicide rate, and it is indeed an act with heavy cultural significance.

Suggest removing sticks from nether regions... both of you.


If you read Patrick's response you will see it is polite, realistic and nuanced. Your comment: not so much.

Japan has twice the suicide rate which is still not a lot. It's about the same as Finland. This is not a subject that can be (nor should be) easily reduced to a "Japanese people commit suicide a lot" kind of stereotype, so lets not do it.



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