There's an interesting free film screening and panel discussion on suicide in Japan at MIT later this month. If you can't make the screening, the full film is on available on YouTube (above). The film is narrated in English and contains interviews in English and Japanese with subtitles throughout.
Date & Time: Thursday, January 23, 2014
5:00pm - Doors open
5:30pm - Film starts
6:30pm - Panel discussion
- Daisuke Fujisawa, MD, PhD, Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor/Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine and Visiting Researcher, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Psychiatric Oncology and Behavioral Sciences
- Xiaolu Hsi, PhD, Psychologist, Neuropsychology, MIT Medical Mental Health and Counseling Services
- Simon Lejeune, MD, Psychiatrist and Associate Chief, MIT Medical Mental Health and Counseling Services
- Tom Blackwood, PhD, Sociologist and Program Manager, MIT-Japan Program
Directed by Rene Duignan2012 | 52 mins | Documentary
In a war on suicide, who is the enemy? ‘Saving 10,000′ is the story of an Irishman’s personal passion to uncover the true causes of the high suicide rate in Japan. The disturbing findings include the Japanese media`s perverse love affair with suicide, a variety of cruel and predatory economic pressures and an outdated and failing mental health care system. With the help of front-line experts and ordinary Japanese, many touched by the horror of suicide, the movie delivers practical proposals on how Japan can win a war on suicide. However with suicide such a taboo, the odds are nobody will listen. Or will they?
When I read the synopsis I thought it sounded like an outsider's criticism of Japan, and I wondered how an Irish filmmaker ended up making a film on this topic. It turns out Dr. Duignan has been living in Japan for 16 years. He currently works as an economist for the Delegation of the European Union to Japan and had no previous filmmaking experience. His quest to discover the causes of suicide and suggest solutions is deeply personal - the result of what he sees as his failure to adequately help a neighbor who subsequently took her own life. It seems his film is making waves. Earlier this year it was screened for members of parliament. He told the Irish Times:
“I was concerned that it would be seen as a criticism of Japan by an Irishman,” he says. “But the overwhelming reaction from Japanese people, especially from those who have been affected, has been ‘thank you’. I think my position as an outsider who has made my life here has given me a licence to do this – the fact that I am an Irishman is mentioned in all the coverage.”
- Documentary maker Rene Duignan: How to reduce Japan's suicide rate, The Asahi Shimbun, December 20, 2012
- Driven by regret over neighbor’s death, first-time filmmaker declares war on suicide, The Japan Times, July 8, 2013
- How tragedy led an Irish man to tackle Japan’s suicide culture, The Irish Times, July 19, 2013
- Anti-suicide film director looks back at a year of sharing the message, Tokyo Weekender, December 13, 2013
See also: List of Japanese mental health providers in the Greater Boston area.