”The world you’ve known so far is still such a small piece of our world.”
Japan sees more youth suicides on September 1 than any other day of the year. With summer vacation ending and students going back to class, some students succumb to the pressure of returning to an unhappy routine of bullying, tests, or loneliness and make the tragic decision to end their lives.
Various organizations have sent out messages of support for teens grappling with emotional distress, and now our Japanese-language correspondent P.K. Sanjun would like to offer his message to teens and adolescents grappling with emotional distress.
The long summer vacation is ending, and it’s time for the second semester to start. Some students are excited, thinking “It’s finally time to go back to school!” But others feel despair at knowing that classes are starting again.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, in Japan September 1 sees the largest number of suicides among people under 18. With school starting again, some children who dread going back instead take their own lives.
Children who don’t want to go back to school all have their own reasons. Some are tormented by bullies. Some haven’t finished their summer homework assignments. If you’re dealing with those pressures, they can see, as big as life itself, but you must not let killing yourself become an option.
30 years ago, when I was still a child, the preferred, common logic in society was “Don’t run away! Face your problems head-on!!” In some ways, that’s the right idea, but the reality is that not everyone can cope with life’s difficulties in that way.
I do believe that when life throws hardships at us, our first response should be to stand up to them, and not shrink away. But if we’ve been trying and trying and trying, and we still can’t work through those problems, don’t you think we should be able to run from them? If you don’t want to go to school because you can’t stand the emotional pain, don’t go. But whatever you do, don’t think of killing yourself as an escape route.
Here is what I want to say to each and every one of you:
There is so much more to the world than what you’ve experienced so far.
The world you’ve known so far is still such a small piece of our world. If you compared it to Super Mario Bros., all you’ve seen so far is World 1-2.
It’s probably been incredibly difficult trying to clear World 1-1 and 1-2. But there are so many fun, happy things that are waiting for you from World 1-3 on. Yes, there will still be unhappy things when you’re an adult, but there are fun things, delicious things, things that make you feel happy all over. So much happiness s waiting for you.
If you can’t bear going to school, you don’t have to go. If the thought of suicide crosses your mind, first talk to your mom and dad. Talk honestly to them.
Anyway, no matter what, do not take your own life. No matter what. I promise you, the world is packed full of happiness you don’t know about yet. And parents, if you notice your children slipping into depression, talk to them.
[ Read in Japanese ]