In response to increasing comic book distributor pressure, health officials today announced a $100 million package of measures designed to cut the suicide rate among manga artists’ parents by 20% over the next ten years. Japan continues to struggle with cultural resistance to discussion of the inherent shame and depression parents of manga artists often experience. Increased international licensing revenue and fanatical adoration of Japanese manga over the last 10-15 years has only heightened the deep-seated disgrace felt by parents who often struggle for years to provide an education for their children, only to see them become manga artists.
Japan’s suicide rate for parents of manga artists has steadily increased since the 1990s before spiking more than 25% in 2013. Ironically, this rate is still less than the suicide rate among spouses of male Japanese “furries” and related anthropomorphic animal cosplay fanatics. However, societal outrage among these dress-up communities is almost non-existent, as the samurai belief in the value of ritual suicide as the ultimate expression of personal atonement is widely accepted in Japan, especially as it relates to the spouses of men who dress up as dogs, cats and squirrels.
Japan, like neighbor South Korea, has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, twice that of the United States. In Japan, however, there is no deep-seated emotional or religious opposition to suicide as a means of escaping the insurmountable realities of life, especially among manga artist parents and furry spouse communities.
Government intervention plans include stepped-up counseling services, community-based depression screening, and phased in use of first-generation jet-propelled robotic stealth drones called “fuwatari no Tokyo kamereonhanta” or “Tokyo Chameleon Hunters of the Dishonored,” which can fly undetected above cities, monitoring and identifying high-risk individuals. A companion 20 episode manga celebrating the daring adventures of these new high-tech mental health robo-warriors is planned for early 2015.
Image credit: HankyuAccident-4 by sleepytako | BY-NC-SA