A wave of suicides upsets the Japanese show business

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A society relentless in the face of weaknesses, even of millionaire and hugely successful stars, in Japan worries a series of suicides by big showbiz stars, the latest Yuko Takeuchi, star of the cult horror film Ring, three times winner of the most important national award for an interpreter.

Japanese society does not allow emotional manifestations, especially subsidence, weaknesses. Some have been shopping for it in recent months, at an alarming rate probably amplified by the pandemic famous stars of the world of Japanese cinema and entertainment. Unable to withstand social pressure, unable to manifest their inner demons outside and in public, they seek a desperate way out of suicide, in a society where there is the cult of ‘Gaman‘, a Buddhist term that means’ endure the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity’.

IS Yuko Takeuchi, the latest victim of this disturbing phenomenon, who died a few days ago from an apparent suicide. She was 40 years old, she was beautiful, very popular and appreciated, so much so that she won three times the most important Japanese award for an interpreter. After a marriage of less than three years with a colleague of the set, between 2005 and 2008, and the birth of her first child, she had recently celebrated the birth of her second son, after remarrying in February 2019 with another actor, Taiki Nakabayashi. In his career he starred in dozens of films and television series, also participating in the American Flash Forward in a couple of episodes. The director of which, Michael Nankin, he called it “the Japanese answer to Audrey Hepburn”. But the role for which she is also known to us is that of the protagonist of The ring of Hideo Nakata, the original final film that later inspired the horror cult, The Ring.

Yuko Takeuchi she was found hanged at 2 am in her home in the trendy Shibuya district of Tokyo. She died a few minutes after arriving at the hospital, left no message. Last year he starred in a blockbuster film and his image was all over Japan, as an advertising testimonial for a well-known brand of ramen.

It is just the latest in a series of Japanese film television stars who took their own lives this year. Two weeks before another actress committed suicide, Why Ahina, 36, and two months later the famous television actor Haruma Miura, found dead at the age of thirty at his home, with a note explaining the gesture. At the beginning of the year it was the turn of a professional wrestler, Hana Kimura, also protagonist of a reality show, pushed to the extreme gesture by a continuous bullying suffered on social media. The only case, among those we have reported to you, in which the suicidal celebrity had shown his strong state of discomfort in public.

What is alarming, more generally, is the increase in suicides in Japan during the coronavirus pandemic, after the phenomenon had been declining for about ten years, while remaining among the highest rates in the world. There is talk of a 16% increase in August compared to the same month last year, with a peak of + 74% among adolescent girls and young women in their twenties and thirties.

“As a society, we feel we can’t show our weaknesses, we have to keep everything inside,” he said Yasuyuki Shimizu, director of the Japanese Promotion Center for Countermeasures Against Suicide. “It is not just a matter of not seeing a specialist or a doctor, but many feel they do not have to show their frailties even to the people closest to them.”


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