Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

Japan has a high suicide rate. It's one of the highest in the world. And one Tokyo train station, a known suicide spot, is doing what it can to stop people from taking their lives.

If you are feeling depressed or ever contemplate taking your own life, please talk to someone, whether that's friends, family or professional counselors.

Shin-Koiwa Station in Tokyo is one of the country's most infamous suicide spots. (It's even mentioned on the Japanese Wikipedia page of well-known places where people take their own lives). Over the years, the station keeps experiencing suicides. For example, between 2011 and 2013, there were 13 incidents at this one station. The rail company JR East is considering the installation of barriers on the station's platforms.

In Tokyo, many stations have platform barriers to prevent suicides (as well as to prevent people from accidentally falling onto the tracks — which does happen). Website Tofugu has an informative article that deals with suicide in Japan and points out that some of the country's railroad stations have sued the families of people who jumped in front of trains, aiming to reclaim lost income caused by suicides. As heartless as that sounds, these court cases are also a way to prevent future suicides. That is, at train stations.

As mentioned on 2ch, Japan's biggest web forum, popular site Buzz News recently visited Shin-Koiwa Station. It doesn't look like platform barriers have been installed just yet. So, in the meantime, the station has taken other steps to prevent suicides.

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

[Photo: Buzz News]

Parts of the roof are covered with blue plastic so that soothing blue light can stream onto the platform.

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

[Photo: Buzz News]

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

[Photo: Buzz News]

On the platform, there are also notices for suicide prevent hotlines for people to call, free of charge.

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

[Photo: okayu_prfm]

Tissues with suicide hotline prevention numbers are given out.

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

[Photo via 2ch]

Besides emergency buttons people can press if someone jumps or falls on the tracks (or even gets stuck in the train's doors), there's a demo area where you can practice pressing a mock-up button. This is to raise awareness and hopefully save lives.

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

[Photo via 2ch]

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

[Photo: michipdale]

There are three big screen televisions, which show calming underwater footage of dolphins and other sea creatures as well as mountains and oceans. Again, the blue imagery is supposed to calm, relax, and sooth.

Inside Tokyo's Infamous Suicide Train Station

[Photo: worldwideyrp]

Sometimes, they apparently show kittens, too.

Barriers might do the most to prevent people from ending up on the tracks, whether people are attempting to take their own lives or accidentally fall. There are deeper issues that need to be addressed, such as a awareness and acceptance among Japanese people of counseling in dealing with stress and mental health issues. There's still a stigma surrounding that in Japan. There shouldn't be.

Top photo: Buzz News


Comments

    There is still a stigma about it everywhere to be honest. Its one of the reasons I always try to be open and honest about my battles with depression and that I take antidepressants. It wasnt until I went through a very hard 6 months where I broke up with my partner, lost my job, lost my house and a friend of mine committed suicide that I actually reached out for help, called Beyond Blue, talked to a doctor, got some meds and started on the way to normalising my life. If I hadn't, I'm pretty sure that I would have ended up committing suicide myself, I was in a pretty dark place.

    6 Years on, I'm married, have an adorable son, have a medical science degree and am about to start studying medicine. Life gets better. I have always had depression, I always will, its just how my brain works. I take medicine to normalise it, same as a diabetic might take insulin. People just need to be open, honest and nonjudgmental.

    Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36
    Lifeline: 13 11 14

      Keep doing what you're doing man. Always like reading a story like yours where you have come through that dark place and just kept on going.

      Glad you got through this buddy! Just remember that if you ever get to a down point again, Just ride it as it'll pass. It ALWAYS does.

      Mate,

      I had really bad depression and was also on anti depressants for over a decade. It runs pretty strong in one side of the family. A couple of years I slowly weaned myself off them and life is great. If you have not considered it, have a chat with your doctor about it - they don't have to be for a lifetime.

        Have tried a couple of times to go off them, but unfortunately I am pretty prone to fits of depression for no reason when I am off them, so its best for me to stay on them. Its good that you could get to a point where you didn't need them.

    I can't see any of these strategies actually dissuading someone that has gone to this place to kill themselves. It takes more work than a pack of free tissues and a cat video to talk someone out of suicide. Sure, it might cheer up someone that has had a bad day but it's not going to stop suicides.

    The problem in Japan and most asian countries is that any mental illness is viewed with great stigma, by colleagues, friends and families. It is a social problem in Asia. Asian society has always promoted the social norm, the status quo above all else and the status quo is the pursuit of excellence and money. Admitting you're not doing well, in any shape or form, is frowned upon.

    I've lost track of the amount of times I've had arguments with my family and friends whenever a suicide story pops up in Hong Kong, China or Japan and everyone says the same few thing "How can they be depressed, they're doing quite well in life." and "Have these people considered the problems they're causing for their families, the time and money wasted on them by their parents?"...

      Most people don't realise that depression is a medical condition. Next time you hear about someone getting cancer or some other illness, voice the same opinions they do about depression - see if they get it. Some will, some won't.

    Love the kittens. Realy though...I think employing ladies to sit in the stations and make contact with potential suicidal people would be better.

    Throughout my early years up to when I was 18 I had high social anxiety without which without knowing made me really depressed because I thought of myself as a coward and meaningless, I didn't want to take any medication because I wasn't comfortable with factory made pills, a friend of mine offered me marijuana which he said could help me relax and not over think too much, after that It help me realise that all the anxiety was just me and that I could relax and enjoy mylife without worrying what others think, I started to socialise more and long story short help me over come my depression, I am now a casually vapour to chill and I'm not depended on it in anyway, marijuana truly helped me, I hope one day it becomes legalised and helps others to

    Maybe don't make people work such long hours six days a week.

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