Suicide has never been criminalized in Japan. Japanese society's attitude toward suicide has been termed "tolerant", and on many occasions a suicide is seen as a morally responsible action. However, the rise of Internet suicide websites and increasing rate of suicide pacts (shinjū) has raised concern from the public and media, which consider the pacts "thoughtless"
Public discussion of the high rate of suicide focuses on blaming the economic hardship faced by middle-aged men. In addition, increase in Internet use (particularly the suicide websites) is partially blamed for the increase in suicide in recent years
And this, also from Wiki about Seppuku, the formal name for hari kari.
Seppuku as judicial punishment was officially abolished in 1873, shortly after the Meiji Restoration, but voluntary seppuku did not completely die out. Dozens of people are known to have committed seppuku since then, including some military men who committed suicide in 1895 as a protest against the return of a conquered territory to China; by General Nogi and his wife on the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912; and by numerous soldiers and civilians who chose to die rather than surrender at the end of World War II.
In 1970, famed author Yukio Mishima and one of his followers committed public seppuku at the Japan Self-Defense Forces headquarters after an unsuccessful attempt to incite the armed forces to stage a coup d'état. Mishima committed seppuku in the office of General Kanetoshi Mashita. His second, a 25-year-old named Masakatsu Morita, tried three times to ritually behead Mishima but failed; his head was finally severed by Hiroyasu Koga. Morita then attempted to commit seppuku himself. Although his own cuts were too shallow to be fatal, he gave the signal and he too was beheaded by Koga.
All of this is in response to AztecRed's one word comment earlier today. Whenever we discuss gun suicides in the U.S., you can be sure the pro-gun crowd will bring up Japan.
It would be hard to find a worse comparison. Totally lacking in American culture is the honorable notion of suicide which has always been so prevalent in Japan. Completely missing are the samurai warriors and the kamakaze pilots, the centuries of art and literature that elevate the act of suicide to something absolutely foreign to Americans.
So, please, stop with the comparisons to Japan every time we mention suicide. I ask this out of respect for common sense and logical thinking, and in spite of what Sebastian explained, I have nothing to offer in return.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.