Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Culture Note #5: What is Karoshi?

Karōshi 過労死 is Death by Overwork

Only in Japan does such a thing exist or is even an issue. Japan has been known for it's hustle and bustle lifestyle but not without a cost. All those who live in Japan know that when it turns night, every izakaya is filled with drunken salarymen. However, for every one of those there is one somewhere else working excessive overtime.

Karoshi is usually a stroke or heart attack. However, suicide that was caused by stress is also considered Karoshi. This is a recognized death by insurance companies. If a family member dies of Karoshi the company that they worked for will pay out the family...not well mind you.

This is a serious problem in Japan and they have attempted to rectify it, but after understanding the dynamics of the culture, I can say that it won't change anytime soon. The expectation from workers is intense.

I know people who sleep a a couple hours a night to than wake up and go to work. The offices pay for dinner and taxi cab fare. I also know people who's companies have paid for hotels nearby the office so that they do not need to leave for too long.

I will leave the topic of crazy suicide rates in Japan for another day. Now please enjoy this un-PC game based on Karoshi




  1. Anonymous said...

    Yeah, beat that game in 40 minutes.