Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has been blamed for many teen suicides. More recently, the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, has faced the same accusations. Is there a casual relationship between the depiction of teen suicides in movies and television and actual suicides in teens? And if so, would the causal connection merit censorship for utilitarian purposes?
I think that one's decision to commit suicide,taking into account the proper context, is an expression of our Free Will and it is a brave one. – AntonioFarfanFiorani2 years ago
The way I see it, although teen suicides might be influenced by the media, that will never be the ultimate cause. A show like 13 Reasons Why, even if it may glamorize suicide to some young people, probably wouldn't have that effect if the kids watching it weren't already troubled. The answer is not more censorship but a focus on improving the mental health of young people before they become depressed or anxious. – Debs2 years ago
For western audiences, the notion of suicide is often met with abhorrence; however, for eastern audience, such as the Japanese, the theme of suicide has a distinct and intrinsic connection with tradition. In anime, the theme of suicide is discussed openly. That being said, it is still a topic none too well covered in literature. By engaging the topic of suicide in anime in terms of Japanese tradition, among other lenses, compare and contrast the theme of suicide in anime such as Welcome to NHK and the more recent anime Orange.
I feel it might be somewhat limiting to approach this topic from just the perspective of Japanese tradition. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and I think it's important to address that there are likely social factors of this day and age, not just cultural ones. – fiorenze5 years ago
Hi Fiorenze, Japan has the third highest suicide rate in the world. While, yes, there are societal factors associated with suicide, for example, the Asian Financial criss (1998) and the World Financial Crisis ten years later, lack of suicide prevention training among medical professional that demonstrate a spike in suicide related deaths (and those should be discussed under the current thesis), there is still a much longer cultural history in Japan of suicide. The question is: how does anime deal with the topic of suicide and why. Whether the dealing is cultural or societal will determine entirely on the narrative of the anime. – chrishepburn5 years ago
OMG, Orange... That anime had me filled with feels on the first episode. Anyways, Japanese society, besides cultural ideologies, have great impacts on the suicide rates. Its not like in the ancient days where samurai did Bushido to die in honor. We live in new times and new societies. Expectations and presumptions on youth, adults, families in japan have definitely covered the topic of suicide, but it is just as sad for one to kill themselves in any time and place. – BlueBirdKiah5 years ago
Mental illness in general is a delicate topic in today’s society. Mention the word suicide, and people instantly get uncomfortable and disturbed. Is it socially acceptable for a writer to write a story about a person with a mental illness who is suicidal? Should we encourage writers to write about potentially controversial topics and themes, or should they stick with those that are more conventional and would make readers more comfortable?
See "One Flew over the Coo Coo's Nest". – JDJankowski5 years ago
Depending on the direction the article takes, looking at classical examples such as Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet might be something to do.
– MichelleAjodah5 years ago
Another example is Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. – Camille Brouard5 years ago
Obviously everyone is going to come down on the side of encouraging controversial topics. That's the point of writing and literature. To tackle those issues head-on. If you're trying to create a balanced article, maybe try starting from a hard position of "No, this topic is too sensitive" and talking yourself back. Start from the most unpopular opinion and see if that gets the juices flowing. – CrunchyEnglish5 years ago
Suicide has been present in literature for quite some time. I don't think that we are uncomfortable with suicide. Rather, I think it has been misunderstood. Particularly in Realist & Naturalist fiction women characters who behaved "immorally" for the time often committed suicide at the end as a form of literary justice (see works of Wharton, Chopin, Dreiser). I think the mental illness, and the way to portray it accurately in a story is the challenge. One of the finest examples is not a book, but the movie Silver Linings Playbook. Tackling mental illness, and presenting it as clearly and accurately as possible is a worthy literary goal. – eringesine5 years ago
Suicide is definitely something prevalent both in Japanese literature and Japanese society (which incidentally has among one of the highest suicide rates in the world.) Haruki Murakami explores suicide in many of his works, including "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" and "Norwegian Wood." – jstorming5 years ago
Traditional Japanese theatre forms also use suicide as an acceptable ending to many plays. Perhaps a good angle might be - what is the difference between how suicide is socially accepted as a trope in Eastern lit/entertainment forms and how it is used/perceived in Western forms? In Japan, suicide has long been seen a noble way to die (especially on the battlefront) and the honorable thing to do when dealing with bringing shame to one's family. In the Western world, suicide is seen as tragic and/or selfish. – Katheryn5 years ago
The latter question about writing things that are "comfortable" is just plain silly. Of course we should use literature as a way to tackle the tough stuff, question convention, and explore even the ugly side of humanity. Is mental illness any more of a taboo than it was even ten years ago? Absolutely not. As medical science advances, and society gets better informed, rhetoric about mental illness changes. Take autism spectrum disorder for example. The term "on the spectrum" has entered society's casual lexicon. Books like The Reason I Jump, movies like Adam, and shows like Parenthood have created a safe social space in which to discuss the disorder. The same could be said for mental health issues like depression or suicide.
I think a more interesting question here is at what age should kids be exposed to tough topics like this? I recently read a YA novel entitled My Heart and another Black Holes. Without any spoilers, the main character, a 17-year old girl, is suffering from severe depression and is suicidal. I found the novel handles this delicate issue incredibly well without sugar-coating or romanticizing it. I would recommend the novel to a young person above the age of say, 13, without reservation, but any younger than that and I'd hesitate. So what does that say about me? Perhaps I'm naive--wanting to preserve the innocence of a young person by keeping them ignorant of some of the terrible things in this world as if they didn't already know. – ladyabercrombie5 years ago