February 24, 2012

Kodokushi.

Lonely deaths.

44 comments:

ricpic said...

How quaint it must seem to our enlightened, especially to the most compassionate, that they starved to death rather than face the shame of public assistance. Yes, how thoroughly dated.

Shame. What's that all about, eh?

MadisonMan said...

Dreadful story. Imagine turning down a neighbor like that, and then they starve to death.

Dutch Canuck said...

"In 2010 the authorities discovered that Tokyo's oldest man had actually been dead for some 30 years ..."

Talk about burying the lede. I mean, they just drop this incredible sentence in at the bottom of the story with no further information.

Kenneth Burns said...

The actor Neil Hope, who played Wheels on the great Canadian TV series "Degrassi Junior High," died a lonely death years before his family even found out.

The Crack Emcee said...

Lonely deaths? I haven't read the article, but started wondering, is there any other kind? And then I remembered:

"OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW."

Thrill of a lifetime,...

MadisonMan said...

@Dutch, I was wondering about that too. Did they just assume he was oldest even though no one had seen him forever? When he missed the ceremony (with cake, one assumes) proclaiming him to be oldest, didn't they think something was up?

edutcher said...

Honor is everything in such a society.

But, lest anyone say that the social safety net is a much better system, let us also recall that hundreds of old people died in France a couple of years ago during a very hot summer because their families went on holiday and expected the government to take care of them if the AC went out.

It did and it didn't.

ic said...

30 years old son? two women in their forties? Sounds like suicide by starvation.

Btw, the "prove you're not a robot" is a pain in there. Why the heck should the words be so illegible?

Rusty said...

MadisonMan said...
@Dutch, I was wondering about that too. Did they just assume he was oldest even though no one had seen him forever? When he missed the ceremony (with cake, one assumes) proclaiming him to be oldest, didn't they think something was up?

There was a news story about it a couple of years ago. The family was collecting his pension.

Ken said...

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper said that the family had asked a neighbour for help, but had been refused and instead advised to contact the welfare authorities.

The distortions of the welfare mindset: don't ask me for help; I've set up a system into which I pay taxes so I don't need to be burdened with emotions like compassion and a sense of community; it's too difficult to think of others as humans; it's so much easier to think of them as records in the welfare office.

Ken said...

let us also recall that hundreds of old people died in France

It was thousands, not hundreds.

LordSomber said...

Reminded me immediately of Aokigahara woods, a popular place for suicides.

Mel said...

Is there anyone with more intellegent remarks in the comment section than Crack Emcee?!

rhhardin said...

Lonely for who?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

In a related story, they've found Romeo and Juliet, or at least a neolithic version.

via Instapundit

Robert Cook said...

"Is there anyone with more intellegent remarks in the comment section than Crack Emcee?!"

Yes.

Lem said...

Despite being the world's third richest country, Japan has seen a number of similar cases in recent years..

Specter says Santorum got his facts wrong.. again.

Satan attacked Japan.

traditionalguy said...

Being alone or being under a dark depression are not what a person should endure for art or for any other excuse.

Grab hold of a faith in God and be delivered from your enemies.

That is what billions of people have decided to do through history. Why shouldn't you have it too?

And yes, our friend Crack is indeed a genius that brings a salt to our discussions.

Coketown said...

First thought: Kodokushi sounds like a good specialty roll to serve to single people on Valentine's Day.

Second thought: This seems like an example of the Bystander Effect, except, instead of bystanders, an individual uses the government's social safety apparatus as an excuse to ignore the welfare of their neighbors. After all, there's a big, expensive, omnipresent State to take care of everyone. A big, happy Federal Family, to use Napolitano's phrase. Surely someone else will help that starving family next door.

KenK said...

I bet many American conservatives wish our poor would go out this way and starve to death in the dark and cold. But then they'd probably bitch about the smell and mess. Always something.

Synova said...

Interesting how different people can read the same account and see a different reality.

People have been trying to explain the perverse transfer of responsibility that happens when government takes over charity, and here's a crystal clear example, and it's still "conservatives want people to starve to death."

Are you willing to give a little to strangers in exchange for the moral authority to force others to pay for your virtue? Take care of a neighbor? Not my job. Take care of my parents? Not my job. Babysit my grandkids? Not my job. Our only job, it seems, is to take other people's money and demand it be given to strangers. If your neighbor is overwhelmed by life, can't quite handle the kids, doesn't keep the yard up properly, whatever it is... call the city and complain and someone will come and fine them for the trash and take the kids away... when all they needed was a helping hand.

But since the busybody votes for all the taxes and supports more government programs, they've got Virtue.

Synova said...

Interesting, too, that the shame of not even being worth a bit of asked-for help from one's neighbor, holds on long after the feeling that one ought to take care of fellow human beings vanishes.

Synova said...

Because think about it.

They *asked* for help. They weren't too proud or too shamed to ask for help.

But when they were refused help, they didn't go elsewhere for it. What message of worthlessness is inherent in being refused assistance by people who know you?

Robert Cook said...

It seems people who resent their taxes being used to provide a safety net for those in need lack the imagination--or are so possessed of hubris--that they cannot conceive that they themselves might someday be in need, and might have to rely on that safety net for help.

It's not about "taking your money and giving it to strangers," it's about pooling a small portion of funds collected from all of us to create a system that will provide help to any of us who fall and need help.

Why do we extol the virtues of free speech and enshrine it in law and in the constitution? Because we adore hearing other people expound ideas that are anathema to us? No. It's to insure that our freedom of speech is protected against abridgment by others.

We as a society provide these protections to ourselves. One doesn't have to breathe with the slightest mercy or heed for one's fellows to have a vested interest in making sure guaranteed assistance and provisions for food and shelter and medical care are provided to all who are in need: as insurance against the unforeseen disaster, failure, illness, or loss that potentially lies in wait for every one of us.

Lem said...

PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.

Wealth transfer is a responsability transfer.

I agree with the inimitable Synova.

Lem said...

The more we ask government to do for us and others the less we do for ourselves and others.

Many times we don't even KNOW our own neighbors.. for years.. people live next door to each other and never cross paths.

Government is not good at helping people.. not anywhere close like people in your own family/community/religious institution.

See the contraception hullabaloo?

That's Obama seeking to replaces with government.. to drive a wedge, to create resentment, so government can take over peoples lives even more.

Lem said...

All government roads lead to dependency.

I try to go to the doctor when I need to.. but I dont depend on him to stay healthy.

Safety net is all well and good but we should stop kidding ourselves.. An unchecked safety net leads to dependency.

Synova said...

"It seems people who resent their taxes being used to provide a safety net for those in need lack the imagination--or are so possessed of hubris--that they cannot conceive that they themselves might someday be in need, and might have to rely on that safety net for help."

Really? They can't conceive of being out of work? Can't imagine needing help? That's why so many poor people are conservative, right? Because they can't imagine ever being poor?

Or maybe they can imagine being poor and needing help, and they realize that it's more likely to be useful help if people *retain the expectation of helping*.

"It's not about "taking your money and giving it to strangers," it's about pooling a small portion of funds collected from all of us to create a system that will provide help to any of us who fall and need help."

I well know what it is about in *theory*, Cook. But I figure theory ought to always be tested against reality.

If it worked without the built-in destruction of feelings of charitable obligation, it would still be tyrannical. But at least it would do what it is *about* while a majority of people tyrannically decided just how charitable their fellows were required to be.

But it doesn't generally work very well, and it is unavoidable that the people who have no choice but to have others dictate their level of charity feel that their obligations have been met and they need do no more... not even for family.

This is a sane, reasonable response to the system we have in place.

And NO ONE need feel that they should help their neighbor on the chance that they, themselves, will need help in the future. Do onto others as you'd have them do to you? You'd like help when you need it, and you know people remember, so you help *them* and you have a right to get help back again, someday.

This is precisely ALL about knowing that you'll need help some day and if you're an ass, your neighbors won't help you.

But we don't have to help each other or be nice to our family or watch the grandkids or nieces and nephews or take care of grandma and grandpa because we *know* we're going to need the same some day.

Because everyone has, not a little, but quite a freaking lot actually, taken by the government you don't have to be *nice* to anyone any more.

bagoh20 said...

I never understood why people have this dread of dying alone. I would consider it a sublime finish to die alone. Nobody, wants to be there with you, and they can't help you anyway. I don't want anyone there. Dying is the most personal thing you ever do. The only soul I want around is the bear that's eating my liver with a delightful berry jubilee. Bon appetit, my friend.

Lem said...

I well know what it is about in *theory*, Cook. But I figure theory ought to always be tested against reality.

If you subsidize something, you'll get more of it.

Petunia said...

Ultimately, everyone dies alone.

And Ken, please spare us the melodramatic generalizations.

bagoh20 said...

"If you subsidize something, you'll get more of it."

And the price will skyrocket regardless of the quality. Higher education is the prime example.

bagoh20 said...

I'm sorry, but if you are in your 30's or 40's and of normal mental capacity, and die of starvation in Japan, you didn't deserve to live in the first place.

Ken said...

And Ken, please spare us the melodramatic generalizations.

That's right. I'm being melodramatically general. It's not like the article gave a clear example of the results of the welfare system.

Your neighbor comes to you in their hour of need and you turn them away and tell them to get on welfare. They die and it rolls right off your back. The left yammers on and on about how it takes a village and how we should all build our communities. Guess what? Communities are made up of neighbors.

A person in his hour of need goes to his neighbors for help. Being a good little welfare worker bee and demonstrating so much depth and compassion, this neighbor rejects this man's need, pointing him to dependency on the state. The man understands what that dependency means and dies in isolation imposed by his neighbors.

That's some good community building there. That safety net did a fantastic job of building the bonds of community and building that village didn't it?

Melodramatic my ass. There's nothing melodramatic in what I'm saying. It's what happened and you don't like it, so dismiss it as "melodramatic".

Ken said...

I bet many American conservatives wish our poor would go out this way and starve to death in the dark and cold.

Except that this article showed nicely the lefty belief that the proper role of the poor is to be dependent on the government, not bother your neighbor. What kind of person bothers their neighbor for help, right? What kind of neighbor offers that help, right? The government should be doing that. Depending on one another instead of a bureaucrat is just dumb, right?

The article could not possibly have highlighted the differences between conservatives and lefties better. Conservatives, you know, actually help their neighbors in need because conservatives are actually charitable. Liberals believe government spending is charity because they want to relieve themselves of having to actually be charitable.

traditionalguy said...

Dying alone of starvation is not necessary. The amount food available at church functions, and especially at funerals, runneth over.

I once thought the Methodists were #1 in volume of food at church provided meals, but then I met the Korean Christians.

Eating together cures loneliness and starvation.

In fact Judeo-Christian traditions seem to be mostly about food served to us that gives to us our daily bread. There are meals before and at the communion service where Christians eat the Bread of Life which is the Lord's body and drink His blood in memory of Him until He returns and we are served at the wedding feast of the Lamb, with wine.

In the meantime he prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies, and no one goes hungry or is alone.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

traditionalguy said...

...in memory of Him until He returns and we are served at the wedding feast of the Lamb, with wine.

Instead of the wine could I get some mint jelly?

Carnifex said...

All death is lonely. To take that step into the eternal. We spout platitudes about family, and society, and just bullshit. It comes down to, "ME". My uniqueness is disappearing from the world. We get reduced to the point where we have to acknowledge that we are not unique. We are not special. And the world will continue without us.

It flies in the face of the "you are special" school of thought that permeates American Society.

@KenK (not to be confused with Ken)

Sometimes I think to myself,"Maybe I should consider what a liberal leftist has to say. Maybe they have something worth listening too." Like OWS. They did have a few good points about Wall Street money infesting politics for instance. And then I read what you post, and I come to my senses. So I'll give you the response you deserve...

Go fuck yourself.

traditionalguy said...

Ignorance...I don't think the Wedding Feast of the Lamb means a lamb roast...but if it does, then put me down for some rosemary spice and some mint jelly too.

Jim in St Louis said...

@Robert Cook
Very eloquent and convincing argument, and would be very appropriate to a pulpit. But the objection comes from the assumption that government is the best method of providing the service. I think that any government structured 'safety net' does not save one from hitting the ground if one falls off the tightrope, but instead is a trap of dependency that uses the bait of free cheese to lure one in, and then does everything it can to prevent one from escaping that trap.

Any welfare agency of the government has no motivation to actually help their clients, but instead becomes a mess of waste, fraud, patronage, rent seeking, and abuse. Private charity on the other hand has every incentive to stretch their budgets and get the most value from every dollar that is donated to them.

I also think the free speech argument is misplaced- again a confusion of thinking that society=government. The two terms are not the same.

KenK said...

@carnifex
I thank you for your response to my remarks. It was everything I've come to expect from the thoughtful and gracious conservatives that post on the Althouse blog. I will use it as a reference to others (via hyperlink) as an example of the highest and best form of conservative argumentation. William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, and Barry Goldwater are no doubt high-fiving each other up in heaven at what their years of work and effort have produced from you, their political progeny.

Synova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

Carnifex wasn't any more rude than you were, KenK.

I realize that you think that accusing people of wanting other people to die horribly is gracious civility no one should take personally, but that doesn't make it true.

"Go fuck yourself," is at least honest.

Perhaps you can be honest, too, and admit that your speech is no more thoughtful and gracious than the speech you object to and feel superior over.

Carnifex said...

I hate pretentious leftist who only subscribe evil intentions to those who disagree with them. I find them beneath contempt and intellectually stultified. If they could possible have a divergent thought they might be worth attempting redemption, but as they are, I would rather they just shut up, sit down, and let the real adults talk.