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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The chilling stories behind Japan’s ‘evaporating people’ By Maureen Callahan


As a newlywed in the 1980s, a Japanese martial arts master named Ichiro expected only good things. He and his wife, Tomoko, lived among the cherry blossoms in Saitima, a prosperous city just outside of Tokyo. The couple had their first child, a boy named Tim. They owned their house, and took out a loan to open a dumpling restaurant.
Then the market crashed. Suddenly, Ichiro and Tomoko were deeply in debt. So they did what hundreds of thousands of Japanese have done in similar circumstances: They sold their house, packed up their family, and disappeared. For good.
“People are cowards,” Ichiro says today. “They all want to throw in the towel one day, to disappear and reappear somewhere nobody knows them. I never envisioned running away to be an end in itself . . . You know, a disappearance is something you can never shake. Fleeing is a fast track toward death.”
Of the many oddities that are culturally specific to Japan — from cat cafés to graveyard eviction notices to the infamous Suicide Forest, where an estimated 100 people per year take their own lives — perhaps none is as little known, and curious, as “the evaporated people.”
Since the mid-1990s, it’s estimated that at least 100,000 Japanese men and women vanish annually. They are the architects of their own disappearances, banishing themselves over indignities large and small: divorce, debt, job loss, failing an exam.
Read More: http://nypost.com/2016/12/10/the-chilling-stories-behind-japans-evaporating-people/

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