Japanese Suicide Story

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Japanese American
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Torrance, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 14, 2012
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Japanese

There are these these two cliffs in Japan that are known for being a popular suicide spot.  One day, a photographer was on one of the cliffs taking pictures, you know, of the wildlife and plants and stuff.  Well as he was snapping shots, he noticed a girl on the other cliff.  He realized that she was going to commit suicide but there was nothing he could do since she was too far away, so he just started to take pictures of her suicide.  Well, later he went home and developed the pictures.  Each picture showed the woman falling lower and lower towards the water.  When he reached the final picture, the one right before the woman hits the water, he notices that the woman’s eyes are looking straight at the camera.

I was told this story by my informant while we were eating a late night dinner.  We had been just casually talking and exchanging horror stories for fun.  I asked her what this story meant to her, and she replied that this story seemed to be teaching that suicide is something that is evil and demonic.  It also seems to be a story to deter others from committing suicide.

Currently, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the country.  Japan has always had a long history of seppuku.  Seppuku is the act of honorably committing suicide and was a totally acceptable act among Japanese citizens.  Nowadays, many people are committing suicide due to social pressures such as job loss and depression.  The problem has become so prevalent that the Japanese government is now actively funding suicide prevention programs in order to lower the suicide rates.  I believe that this story must have arisen from this need to decrease suicides as the act itself is portrayed as being something terrible and horrifying.