by 004 Daichan on December 13, 2016 - 12:12am

Have you heard the word, Karoshi? Karoshi means “death from overwork”. The causes are stroke, heart attack and suicide due to stress. According to RT News (2016), a new Japanese government poll has shown that a fifth of the country’s employee face the risk of death from overwork. The research targeted some 10,000 companies and 20,000 workers responded over two months between December 2015 and January 2016. It is said that the Japanese people have their strict work culture and putting in long hours. Hundreds of deaths from overwork are recorded and escalated every year. Some people suffer from strokes, heart attacks, some committed suicides. (Autonomous Nonprofit Organization, 2016, October 8th)In order to stop escalating death caused by overwork, Japanese government made a new law in 2014, however, one woman killed herself in 2015, due to overwork. I will explain one Karoshi case, how to find signs of karoshi, and the Japanese law on Karoshi.

There is one woman who committed suicide due to overwork. Matsuri Takahashi (24) was a diligent student. She graduated from Tokyo University, a top university in Japan. Then, she joined Dentsu, which is the biggest advertising agency in Japan. Matsuri Takahashi worked 100 hours of overtime every month. She committed suicide in her dormitory in 2015 due to mental impairment from overwork. Before committing suicide, she posted that she wanted to die, she did not know why she was here on Twitter, and she sent a message that she wanted to die to her friends and her family. There is one more suicide due to Karoshi in Denstu in 1991. I think this company should more reflect two deaths from overwork, and they should make efforts not to repeat the incidents.

What is the sign of death due to overwork? According to Ryuta Watanabe, a journalist, had some colleagues who died from Karoshi. He introduced signs of Karoshi (2016). If you keep thinking about work on your days off, or if you love setting challenging goals and you find obstacles more thrilling than deflating, and if you are likely to spend extraordinary amounts of time working, you may be close to Karoshi. In order to avoid Karoshi, I think that you ought to think about your way of living again.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Japanese government made “Death from overwork prevention countermeasure promote law” in 2014. This new law states that Japanese government holds the responsibility to prevent work over death due to enormously long working hours and heavy workload. Even after making the law, Karoshi occurred again in 2015. Then, Japanese government made another law in 2015. Contents of this law are similar to the old one, but the new one requires Japanese companies to decrease overwork hours and also the companies must make good workplaces, where Japanese workers can continue their work while keeping their healthy bodies. I think that Japanese government should tell Japanese workers that they have to take rest more in their holidays.

In conclusion, karoshi is the big problem in Japan. What do you think about Karoshi when you read this essay? In my opinion, we do not need to work until they think that they want to die! Workers have to take a rest more to get rid of their stress. We have to once again think about way of working. In order to take rest and relax, Japanese people should not hesitate to use paid holidays to take more days off. Moreover, some workers tend to work during their holidays. I think that workers should think about work-life balance. I hope that Karoshi will be on the decrease in the future, then they will get healthy mind and body. Also, they are able to get their good workplaces.

The Japan Times

Autonomous Nonprofit Organization

The Sydney Morning Herald


Thank you for your essay. I think that your topic is interesting because karoshi is one of big social problems. Also, I often hear the word, so I guess it is increasing in Japan. I also think overwork is not necessary. If one worker die by overwork, the other workers have to work more instead of the worker, and he/she would also die by overwork. In addition, it is important for workers not to have stress. Therefore, I want the government to make a new law about labor. Also, I hope that the rate of death by overwork becomes low.
Erika Tanaka

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