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    Japan’s Hemlock Cyber-society

    Nichi Nichi reminded me about last week’s group suicides in Saitama and Yokosuka. The one in Saitama was the largest single group suicide in Japan ever. I hadn’t seen the Japan Times article, which centers on whether the Internet is to be blamed for helping to raise the suicide rate significantly. Agenda Bender actually asked me about it passing earlier in the week:


    Stay away from those online suicide cults.



    What’s the deal with the charcoal grills IN THE CARS, btw? They don’t sell rubber hose in Japan? Or is charcoal that much cheaper than gas?





    I’d kind of wondered that myself. Surely, if you can find the duct tape aisle, you can find the spools-of-tubing aisle. I don’t know what the unit price of charcoal is here, but it’s impossible to believe it’s not less than that of gas. On the other hand, the you-can’t-take-it-with you principle would seem to indicate that splurging on one final topping of the tank is within reason.



    I suspect one of two things. Either there’s some manga series in which the grill-fumes method was used and people are copying it (likely) or the police have started looking for suspicious ductwork connected to the exhaust pipe of parked vans in outlying areas (I can’t assess the likelihood of this, but given the notice that these suicides are getting, it strikes me as possible) and the suicide sites have begun to warn readers to avoid detection by not rigging things up that way.

    2 Responses to “Japan’s Hemlock Cyber-society”

    1. Toren says:

      I strongly doubt it’s in an anime series. Manga, maybe…but anime, no way.
      My guess is there is a website detailing various methods of doing yourself in and they were attracted to this one for mysterious reasons. I might add they made a mistake–real charcoal like you get in Japan for cooking your yakiniku produces dramatically less CO than the poor-quality charcoal briquettes we use in the West. I wouldn’t be surprised if anoxia got them first.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Sheesh, that’s about the millionth time I’ve done that. Manga is what I meant; even on Japanese TV, where murder mystery dramas show jets of blood shooting from severed jugular veins, you wouldn’t have a suicide pact plotline with how-to elements. I don’t think.