Arab News Japan
DUBAI: Japanese Yale professor Yusuke Narita has come under fire for comments he made regarding Japan’s senior population, suggesting that the older generation should commit mass ‘seppuku.’
Seppuku is the act of ritual disembowelment that was a code among dishonored samurai in the 19th century.
In an online news program in late 2021, Narita, an assistant professor of economics, offered his solution for Japan’s aging society. He said: “I feel like the only solution is pretty clear. In the end, isn’t it mass suicide and mass ‘seppuku’ of the elderly?”
According to the New York Times, a school-boy also asked the Yale professor to elaborate on his theories and he, in response, described a scene from “Midsommar,” a 2019 horror film in which a Swedish cult sends one of its oldest members to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff.
Narita is also under fire for touching on the topic of euthanasia. He has said that there is a “possibility of making [euthanasia] mandatory in the future.”
He later defended his statements, saying they had been taken out of context. Narita said that he was simply addressing efforts to remove senior people out of leadership positions in business and politics and make room for younger Japanese generations, the New York Times reported.
Following his comments, the 37-year-old academic gained thousands of followers on social media in Japan, as many youths believe the economy’s standing is due to the older society. His Twitter following currently stands at 572K followers.
However, many on social media disagree with Narita’s comments. One person suggested that the professor was trying to “attract attention.”
The comment said: “An adult version of a person who is doing conveyor belt sushi terrorism. He is trying to raise his own value by attracting attention and appearing in the media, but he also has a serious disregard for human rights.”
回転寿司テロをやってる輩の大人版。— 平凡なサラリーマン (@tabibito10000) February 15, 2023
Another Twitter user said the New York Times article made him “feel bad” adding that he was “shocked” by the contents of the article.
I was really shocked and made me feel bad reading the article, "A Yale Professor, who is well known Japanese, Suggested Mass Suicide for Old People in Japan." Are we only a burden to society? Do we have to kill ourselves? Do we have to choose voluntary euthanasia?😠— yamadataro (@yamadat15043259) February 13, 2023
Similar comments were made in Japan in 2013 when former Finance Minister ASO Taro said that the elderly should “hurry up and die” to spare the nation the cost of their medical care.
Aso explained at the time that he would “feel bad” knowing that his medical treatment when he is older was “paid for by the government.” He added: “The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”