Tagged: suicide

Do Suicide Reports Increase Suicides?

Nearly two years ago, in “Copycat Japanese“, I wrote about how I thought the media’s sensationalistic reporting of teenage suicides was to blame for spurring on more suicides. Recently, this suspicion was confirmed when I found out about researcher David Phillips’ studies from the 1970’s that showed a significant increase in not only suicides, but also car accidents and plane crashes in the days after a suicide is reported in the mass media. The explanation for all the traffic accidents is attributed to those wishing to commit suicide without placing a burden of guilt on family or friends.

I bring this up because of a recent teenage suicide in the U.K. A 17-year old boy, threatening to leap from the roof of a public building, was goaded into jumping by youths in the street below. The article I read, but won’t link to, gave an in-depth analysis with full color pictures of the victim and location, and the title included a disgusting quote from one of the youths in the street below. It may have been a quote, but it is stuck in my head and keeps reminding me of the article.

The story has triggered the usual public criticism of modern society in Britain, with the government, the education system and the parents being handed the blame. Yet all this publicity, as David Phillips showed, is only likely to encourage more suicides.

Are we to believe the media don’t know they influence copycat incidents? That can’t be the case because many countries have journalism codes to control the reporting of suicides. No. We have to accept that the media is well aware of the consequences of its actions and is putting profit before people, and that is simply unforgivable.

Ramsay Ramblings 5/6/2008

There are lots of little things to talk about this week, so here’s another dose of Ramsay Ramblings!

May 5th was Children’s Day

Mami and I have a little boy, and this year was his first Children’s Day. Thomas wrote all about Koinobori, Japanese Carp Streamers, so I’ll skip the detail and get to the photos:

Japanese Carp Streamers - Koinobori

Our Koinobori – Japanese Carp Streamers

Children\'s Day Kintarou Cake

A Kintarou cake

Mochi rice cakes wrapped in kashiwa

Kawashi-mochi – rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves

Rikuto enjoying his first Children\'s Day

Rikuto celebrates his first Children’s Day at the park

Those bloomin’ berks at Bloomberg published the suicide gas recipe

Of all the dumb things I’ve seen, Bloomberg published the “recipe” to the poisonous concoction of household cleaning chemicals that people have been using to kill themselves in Japan lately. Shane kicked up a storm and we all pitched in. In the end, Bloomberg edited the dangerous parts of the article, so hooray for us! πŸ˜€

Making a start on WritingWorkbooks.com

I had a good response to the post about my dot com lifestyle, and was encouraged to talk more about what I do for a living. It seems I’ve inspired a few people to earn some money online, including my mum, so I’ve started some behind-the-scenes work on a joint project with her, taking advantage of her experience as a primary school teacher.

The idea is to make a large number of handwriting practice workbooks for children, each book based on an elementary school subject, such as dinosaurs and weather. Each page of each book will have a traceable general knowledge fact about a chosen school subject, and the books will of course be for free.

I already have a website in the “handwriting” niche, so WritingWorkbooks.com should complement it well. My mum is the perfect partner since she knows so much about the curriculum and knows exactly what teachers and parents need for their children.

In picking this topic for a site, I considered:

  1. Do I know enough about the topic? – Including my mum, yes.
  2. Will people find it useful? – My mum thinks so.
  3. Will it cost me anything? – $10 for the domain name. I already have the $100 fonts.
  4. Will it need ongoing work? – Not after it’s finished.
  5. How will I monetize it? – Probably with Adsense. Decide later.

The beauty of a site like this is that it requires no maintenance. A blog always needs new material, but sites like this can be built and left alone. That leaves you free to build more and more. That’s why I don’t worry too much about its earnings potential. Once you’ve got your starting costs back, it’s pure, passive income.

Jason got hitched! Congratulations!

Jason Irwin, has tied the knot. He had a long-distance relationship for nearly two years with his bride-to-be, Reiko, but after a succession of trips between Canada and Japan, they finally live together as husband and wife in the same city as me, Kakamigahara. In a related post, Jason poses the interesting question, is the distinction between the online world and reality fading?

Ramsay, Mark 1 launches into cyberspace

Speaking of online relationships, my brother, Mark, has discovered the internet for the first time. He is a complete newbie, so I’m helping him learn all the basics (left-click, right-click, drag and drop) before he joins me on our joint project, VirtualTripping.com. He’s already taken to the net like a duck to water, managing to watch 652 YouTube videos in his first four days online! It should be fun blogging with him on VT, so swing by and join the Ramsay brothers as we send blog “post” cards from Google Earth.

Copycat Japanese

The Japanese have historically been known for copying things and making them better, call it reverse-engineering if you like. In fact, one of the main reasons they started learning English was to understand scientific journals for this very purpose.

This trend extends to fashion in which brands such as Louis Vuitton are so popular, it seems everybody here owns an LV bag or purse. No-one seems to mind having the same thing as everyone else, which in my opinion defeats the purpose of spending so much money on something which should be unique.

Of course, every sports team needs an American-style nickname such as the ‘Giants’ or the ‘Dragons’; new houses are designed like their western equivalents; and if you don’t dye your hair brown, well you’re just not… erm… Japanese!

The list goes on and on, and I guess there’s no harm in adopting other cultures as part of your own, but this trend of mimicking others has a twisted side…

The Japanese media, as with most countries, thrives on bringing bad news to the public’s attention, but sometimes I find the level of detail alarming. I first noticed this a few years ago when I watched a report about a growing number of burglaries. The report told viewers when the robberies were taking place, typical buildings which were targeted, why they were targeted and how the burglars gained entry. I watched and thought…”Blimey! These guys are geniuses!” If I had any desire to, I could have used that advice to start my own crime syndicate!

Recently in the news there has been a spate of child suicides. School children, mostly elementary and junior high students, who have taken their own lives as a result of bullying. I’ve talked about the lack of discipline in Japanese schools before, and this latest news highlights the possible affects of a lack of punishment. What is striking of course is that after the first suicide got national media attention it was quickly followed by similar cases occurring across the country. Sure, it could be coincidence, but I doubt it.

The dilemma here is that the problem of bullying needs to be made public, but there is always the risk that people will copy what they see on the news, and with a population of 128 million people, there will always be someone who does.

Last week, an anonymous student wrote a letter to the minister of Education threatening to commit suicide on school premises on November 11th if bullying wasn’t stopped at his or her school. With no way of determining which school that student attends, the whole country is waiting anxiously for an update as the deadline passes.

Needless to say, a few days after that letter was sent, the Education minister received another similar letter from a different student! Hmm… I wonder where that idea came from.

All I can say is I hope the Japanese media don’t hear about the 22-year old man in England who tried to set off a firework from his bum, only for it to backfire and cause serious internal injuries! I wouldn’t want to see copycat cases of that!

Suicide jumper lands on student

I’m sure most of us at one time or another have stayed up all night studying for a test or preparing for an important event the next day. It’s 5:40 in the morning, you’ve got all your work done and can finally go home for a few hours kip before the big day starts. Then, just when you least expect it, somebody jumps on you from the tenth floor ofΒ a building.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s Mainichi News:

At about 5:40 a.m. on Wednesday, a 55-year-old unemployed woman fell from the University of Electro-Communications’ building that houses laboratories in Chofu, and hit a 20-year-old female student who was walking on its premises, local police said.

The older woman died while the student suffered serious head injuries and was rushed to hospital.

A pair of sandals belonging to the woman who fell was left on the landing of an emergency stairway between the ninth and 10th floors, leading investigators to suspect that she committed suicide.

The student who was injured was on her way home after finishing preparations for an upcoming university festival, according to police.

There’s not much more I can say on this other than I hope the student makes a full recovery. Imagine trying to explain how you got your injuries!