Presentation (Project) Title

Japanese Working Culture: A Study of Karo-Jisatsu and Mental Health

Mentor Information

Atsuko Sakai (Judy Genshaft Honors College)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Occupational mortality due to overwork is a huge concern in Japan. Karoshi, or death due to overwork, is a form of occupational mortality that is characterized by the development of fatal stress-related health conditions. The Japanese Ministry of Labor reported that work-related suicides, a subset of karoshi called karo-jisatsu, had risen to 45% between 2011 and 2014 amongst the younger Japanese population. What aspects of Japanese working culture create these negative environments, and where do these practices originate culturally? This study aims to answer this and characterize the way Japanese collectivism, patriarchy, and mental health stigma contribute to the working environment that creates conditions like karoshi and other mental health problems. The three categories considered for analysis in this study are: Japanese culture, working environment, and mental health. Based on the research, it appears the manifestation of these cultural practices in the work environment has a direct correlation with conditions like karoshi and karo-jisatsu. These issues are manifesting at higher rates due to the reluctance to seek treatment. For this reason, it is imperative to develop an initiative that modifies the work environment and reduces the mental health stigma to prevent future generations from developing these issues.

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Japanese Working Culture: A Study of Karo-Jisatsu and Mental Health

Occupational mortality due to overwork is a huge concern in Japan. Karoshi, or death due to overwork, is a form of occupational mortality that is characterized by the development of fatal stress-related health conditions. The Japanese Ministry of Labor reported that work-related suicides, a subset of karoshi called karo-jisatsu, had risen to 45% between 2011 and 2014 amongst the younger Japanese population. What aspects of Japanese working culture create these negative environments, and where do these practices originate culturally? This study aims to answer this and characterize the way Japanese collectivism, patriarchy, and mental health stigma contribute to the working environment that creates conditions like karoshi and other mental health problems. The three categories considered for analysis in this study are: Japanese culture, working environment, and mental health. Based on the research, it appears the manifestation of these cultural practices in the work environment has a direct correlation with conditions like karoshi and karo-jisatsu. These issues are manifesting at higher rates due to the reluctance to seek treatment. For this reason, it is imperative to develop an initiative that modifies the work environment and reduces the mental health stigma to prevent future generations from developing these issues.