Suicide in Japan outline

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A. Suicide Rates

1. Suicide is a growing public health problem globally, with international suicide rates increasing 60 percent in the last 45 years. (N.A, Suicide prevention, 2009) 2. Southeastern and the Western Pacific regions of Asia are disproportionately affected, representing 60% of the world's suicides (N.A, 2008) 3. The suicide epidemic is particularly devastating in Japan, a country that has seen at least 30,000 deaths from suicide annually since 1998 (Hidaka Yasuharu, 2008) B. Cultural Context

1. One of the primary manifestations of suicide in Japanese culture, it is seppuku, which is “a ritualized form of suicide by disembowelment. (Toyomasa, 1980) 2. Seppuku spread to the samurai military aristocracy during their rise to power in the 12nd century as a form preserving one's honor from the indignity of capture by the enemy. (Toyomasa, 1980) 3. Throughout the next two hundred years, seppuku remained central to Japanese society in its various forms until Japan began to modernize during the Meiji period in the late 1800s and early 1900s (Toyomasa, 1980)

4. The Japanese government attempted to adopt a more Western view on suicide and banned seppuku as a form of death penalty (Toyomasa, 1980)
5. Despite the ban on seppuku in official and political contexts, it continued to be used as a form of voluntary suicide into the mid 1900s (Gordon, 2009)

C. Spiritual Context

1. Manifestation of suicide in Japanese history that may be more memorable to the Western world is the Kamikaze pilots that were used by the Japanese during World War II. (Axell, 2002) 2. Being a Kamikaze pilot is a natural role in society, many Japanese youth recruited to be Kamikaze pilots were viewed as eirei, or guardian spirits, of the country, a position held in high honor. (Axell, 2002) 3. The honor of the eirei position made it easy to recruit young Japanese. (Axell, 2002)

D. Religious Context

1. Buddhism views suicide as “an empty, act, which will lead to...
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