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Suicide in Japan and in the West

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

A recent study by Mamuro Iga relies upon psychological and attitudinal survey data to argue that contemporary Japan displays high levels of altruistic, fatalistic, and anomic suicide. We try to corroborate Iga using 1980 ecological data from the 47 prefectures of Japan. Our findings are that the relationships between Japanese suicide rates and indicators of social integration-migration, percent religious, percent married, and the divorce rate-are generally reversed from similar relationships found in the West. These results are consistent with altruistic-fatalistic suicide. Per capita income is related to suicide in a way similar to that found in the West, consistent with Iga's view that the Japanese are subject to anomic suicide due to unregulated aspirations. There are substantial differences between the correlates of male and female suicide rates. Implications for theory and research are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, U.S.A.


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