Japanese swordsmen kill themselves

14/02/2006

94 swordfighters in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces killed themselves in the 2004th fiscal year. It’s the biggest number in the past 5 years. Among them, there are the cases supposed to be caused by bully.
The sly predisposition to bully seems to have been traditionally set in Japanese personality from long ago before the 2nd world war.

丸谷氏のessay 3用.JPG
The article by Saiichi Maruya on the 7th Feb 2006(click the picture)

A Japanese Akutagawa-award novelist, Saiichi Maruya (80 years old) pointed it out on the Asahi-shimbun newspaper on the 7th of February, showing the number of suicides in every fiscal year and examples of bullying in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces,
I feel, it’s meaningful for me to think of Japanese negative traits of bully. I’d like to talk about that, introducing Maruya’s essay this time.

According to his essay, the statistics of suicides in the other fiscal years are below:

2000: 73 soldiers
2001: 59 soldiers
2002: 78 soldiers
2003: 75 soldiers

(from the Mainichi-shimbun newspaper on the 19th of May 2005)


It’s a pity that we cannot evaluate whether 94 suicides of the Japanese case is more or not than those cases in the foreign forces, or whether it’s more or not than the ratio of the number of the suicides in the population, because Mr. Maruya doesn’t show those numbers. The entire number of the soldiers in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces is told 251,600.The size of the number of soldiers is supposed to be 21st in the world.

I checked such numbers on the 16th of February based on the data by the National Police Agency.
The number of Japanese suicides per 100 thousand people is 27 in 2004. It is the 2nd highest in the world. The top is Hungary.
The number of the suicides per 100 thousand people in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces is 37.6 and is 39% higher than that.


5 warships of the old Japanese Navy went down because of self-explosion. The number is one of the most in the world, Mr.Maruya tells. Below is in detail:

11th September 1905 the warship “Mikasa” at the naval port of Sasebo in Japan

30th April 1908 the defenseship “Matsushima” at Boukotou-bakou in China

14th January 1917 the cruiser “Tsukuba” at the naval port of Yokosuka in Japan

12th July 1918 the warship “Kawachi” at Tokuyama Bay in Japan

8th June 1943 the warship “Mutsu” at the Hashirajima-island in the Setonaikai Sea in Japan

Among the list, the warship “Mikasa” was destroyed because of the explosion which had been caused from the sloppy feast in the powder magazine by the sailors celebrating the victory of the Russo-Japanese War(1904-05).However, the causes of the other 4 cases are not solved and strongly doubted to have been caused by unnatural deed, that is, arsons. Especially the inquiry commission of “Mutsu” judged that probably it had been caused by arson denying the possibility of natural ignition.

“Japanese warships tended to go down. Over the majority of the shipwrecks are doubted to have been double suicide by sailors who had a huge grudge against dreadful sanctions in corps.”

Maruya quotes the indication from the book titled “Participation and Observation” by a psychiatrist Hisao Nakai who has a lot of soldiers in his father’s family.
It’s notorious that there had been a lot of private bullies in the old Japanese armies and such illegal punishment by seniors were overlooked as an inevitable way for education by the Japanese authorities.

Those bullies were also written by novelists like Hiroshi Noma who was the author of “Shinkuu Chitai” about heavy bullies in the old Japanese Army. Those bullies were revealed to have been sadism for senior soldiers to blow steam off with. It’s supposed that they had a lot of displeasure from not being free there.

のぞき 浮世絵.JPG
A Ukiyoe picture titled "Nozoki" which means a peep.It doesn't have any relationship with this essay.But okay,isn't it?(click the picture)

However, those are not the incidents of other days. Even now there are a lot of bullies in corps in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.
For an example, Mr.Maruya shows the incident that happened in the summer in 2004 in a defense warship “Tachikaze” which belongs to the Yokosuka Naval Base.

According to the documentary evidence in court, the second sergeant Osamu Sato shot 2 junior sailors with an air gun because they hadn’t followed his order to have their hair punch-permed and intimidated another sailor into buying his CD-ROM Disks at the price of 170 thousand yen. He also forced 6 junior sailors into playing survival games with air guns and gas guns in the warship. One of the junior sailors who was 21 years old at that time eventually committed suicide leaving the will telling “I won’t forgive his bully.”

I couldn’t find out the reason of his suicide in Maruya’s essay. So I tried to spot the articles about that incident in my newspaper’s data-base section, but there wasn’t. At that time it didn’t seem to be so big news that reporters or editors must have passed it.

According to my experience, such kind of bully in a group by a powerfull senior like him is not interrupted by anyone. Because they are always submissive to him scaring of the next bully to another member. They would rather suck up to him, even joining his present bully against someone. It’s quite rare that someone tries courageously to stop his bullying.Bullies tend to escalate always.

My friend from the U.S. who has been teaching in a highschool in the Tokyo Metropolis once pointed out :
“They have always bullies in a Japanese highschool. They seem to try to get ego only through bullying weak students. In the U.S. there are bullies in schools in small towns. But there isn't in big cities, I think, because they are devided into big groups.They can move from a group to another group,and can make friends there.Friends would guard them against bullies. It’s quite different point from Japan”
posted by Jiraux at 23:32 | Comment(4) | TrackBack(0) | essay: Seize Japan
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