Exploring Suicidal Themes in Japanese YA literature

The Japanese have had a persistent problem with suicide. Built on honor, Japan’s strict culture and values have encouraged many Japanese to end ones life (Rich and Makiko). In 2017, suicide among young people rose to their highest in three decades (Rich and Makiko). A total of 250 elementary, middle, and high school children committed suicide in just the last year (Rich and Makiko). Like I said, suicide has been an issue for many years, so what does the literature have to say? I really could not find any young adult Japanese literature on suicide. I think this proves an opportunity for Japanese authors to fill this void. There are many American YA novels on suicide including: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, It’s Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, and The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbowsky. All of which explore teens struggling with a dark, mental battle. I think many Japanese young adults could benefit from reading these.

Work Cited:

Rich, Motoko and Makiko Inouo. “Suicides Among Japanese Children Reach Highest Level in Three Decades”. New York: New York Times, 2019.

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