Home > Focus on Japan 2007 > It Wasn’t To Keep the Pavement Clean, That’s for Sure

It Wasn’t To Keep the Pavement Clean, That’s for Sure

November 6th, 2007

Japanese people remove their shoes when entering a home, that much most everybody knows. But this one took even me by surprise, even after all these years in Japan: Japanese people remove their shoes before committing suicide.

This afternoon, less than a mile from where Sachi and I live, a woman committed suicide by jumping off the roof of a department store. Even more unfortunately, she landed on a man on the sidewalk below–not surprising, as it’s a busy sidewalk. The woman died, and the man was knocked unconscious and is in serious condition at a hospital.

They knew fairly quickly it was a suicide, however, because they found the woman’s shoes on the roof from which she fell.

I asked Sachi about that, and she was unsurprised by the shoe thing–it appears to be common knowledge. But Sachi could not explain why it is considered normal or appropriate to take off one’s shoes in a case like that. Is it traditional? Is it ritualistic? Is it representative of something? Or is it plain old fastidiousness? Do only jumpers do this? What about people who suffocate themselves in cars, do they remove their shoes first?

Anyone who knows about this, let me know.

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  1. Kenzo
    November 7th, 2007 at 01:10 | #1

    Long time no see, Mr.Poza.

    I somtimes enjoy reading your nicely and clearly written blog.

    It was a very terrifying and sad, bloody suicidal accident, wasn’t it?

    I guess the shoes mean the last message of hers in front of her suicide.

    In other words, I have to say the shoes are the `the will notes of her last moment’.

    Because I think the desparete person who commits suicide seems not felt to be

    recognised by anyone else, so he or she wanted to be notiecd by anyone.But

    desperately, no one would do.

    In this kind of case, I guess that drug (pharmacetical) therapy will not very surely stop

    commiting suicide. She needed to talk and think with a professional counselor before

    the hopeless decision — God could give her the chance to live — but she couldn’t

    get that chance.Is it natural mercy that people kill themselves? I have say I object!

    Man should win,survive, and live.

    P.S. Rest in peace for her… and hope the guy unconcious will survive and live.

  2. Luis
    November 7th, 2007 at 01:21 | #2

    Definitely the poor woman should have had help–but unless news comes out saying what led her to do what she did, we can’t really know why she did it or what could have stopped it. (Or did such a story come out but I haven’t heard it yet?) But you’re absolutely right, counseling would have likely been the best idea, whatever the case.

    It’s an interesting view you tell about why the shoes are left–a kind of testament? I still don’t understand, but that’s an interesting note that may lead to understanding. Thanks.

  3. Leszek Cyfer
    November 7th, 2007 at 18:50 | #3

    Perhaps it was for her like entering a new house, as a guest, so she behaved accordingly…

  4. Leszek Cyfer
    November 7th, 2007 at 18:51 | #4

    Perhaps it was for her like entering a new house as a guest, and she behaved accordingly…

  5. Leszek Cyfer
    November 7th, 2007 at 19:00 | #5

    Sorry, The system said that my comment didn’t pass through due to IP ban, and I tried again, only to realize that my answer was posted – and twice at that…

  6. March 2nd, 2008 at 19:49 | #6

    im also enjoying reading ur articles/blogs here, coz i can relate to the topics that u’ve posted, im here in japan, but i was surprised after reading ur article, i wasnt able to encounter that kind of case, i think the mystery about the shoes is that, she wanted to left a message of her last moment, so that other people will noticed her…

    anyways, can i ask u favor?can u send me an article or any blog regarding ur views about having a relationship like i had now..pls..thanks in advance,.,hope u read my comment…

    –waiting for feedback from u…thanks!!==lester

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