I have received some emails asking why the Japanese birth rate is so low. Today I have been correcting some essays written by students for an upcoming essay competition. They could write on any topic and several wrote about how difficult it is to live in Japan. Looking over their essays they say much the same things, that Japanese people have little spare time, are forced to overwork, take few holidays and that Japan is "not a gentle country for women because the co-existence of work, housework and childcare is difficult in our country". Another student writes, "I think many people feel a lot of stress and tiredness". Yet Japanese people seem unable to express their worries. The student states,
"When we need help, we cannot ask for help. Why? In my opinion, many Japanese have superficial relationships, so we don`t have close relations. As a result, we can`t consult about our worries ... I guess there are many people who have negative thinking. People are sometimes afraid of failure in work, and they don`t speak actively. If they fail in something, they will lose their confidence. On the other hand, I think power harrassment by their boss and bullying also causes suicide".
Of course there are many good points about Japan. The trains run on time, it is clean and safe. But this is only the case because the rules here are very strict, and happiness of the individual is forfeited for the benefit of the group.
Watch the beautiful but tragic video below to see what happens to those who cannot ask for help.