Cultural influences on suicide in Japan

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2017 Jan;71(1):2-5. doi: 10.1111/pcn.12428. Epub 2016 Sep 13.


Following the economic crash of the late 1990s, the suicide rate in Japan increased to a rate of over 30 000 people per year and has been one of the highest in the world. Cultural factors have influenced this high suicide rate, such as a tradition of honorable suicide as well as permissive attitudes towards suicide that remain in modern times. Additionally, the economic downturn, particularly the trend of unemployment in middle-aged men, also played a significant role in the high suicide rate. The suicide rate has started to decrease in recent years perhaps in part due to suicide prevention measures undertaken by the government.

Keywords: Japan; culture; economy; prevention; suicide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Suicide / ethnology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide / trends