The Topic of Suicide in Anime

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. – fiorenze 6 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. – chrishepburn 6 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. – BlueBirdKiah 6 years ago

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