無縁社会 [muen shakai]

April 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm (general, otaku word, slang)


 This post is so depressing that I shall recommend you not to read if you are in a bad mood.

 It is too good to be just a coincidence, I mean, is something going on around me? I will tell what happened later. Well, when I was talking to my friend on skype, she told me Japanese TV show she had watched. The documentary was about the high rate of suicide in Japan, and now more and more people are dying every single day. The strange thing is, that some of them wouldn’t be indentified. When a corpse is found, the police try to identify, however sometimes they can’t do because there is no identification like a driver’s lisence or that sort of thing. And even if there is, there would be no relatives who can take the corpse. It is because the person is so old that the parents already passed away, or because the person has no children, or drifted apart. If no one comes to pick up, the corpse would either go to waste or be used for medical students to prosect. Today, people die a solitary death all alone, and no one else knows…that is 無縁死[muenshi] or neglected death. 無縁[muen] means neglect, and [shi] means death. The era of 無縁死 has come…that is 無縁社会[muen shakai] or neglected society. That was the subject of the show my friend watched.

 Yesterday, I witnessed a nightmare. On the way to home, as I was climbing the slope by bike, I saw some people were looking at the same direction on the top of the slope. I just did the same, and there was a corpse of an old man. He seemed to jump off from the parking lot inside the department store. I was so scared that I left the spot immediately. It was too painful to see. My friend, I am not lying.

 Just after I heard of such a TV show, I witnessed something like that. Is this just a coincidence? It really chilled my spine. Whatever happened to his corpse after that, I don’t know, I don’t want to know. But if no one can identify the old man and no one comes to pick him up, he would go to a neglected grave, 無縁墓地[muen bochi]. In this case, he was found just after he died because he did so in public. But what if he had died alone in his room? No one would have noticed his death if he had lived himself. In fact, there was another guy in the show. It was not until the odor spread out that the landlady noticed. He lived himself, no children, no wife, and his parents passed away. He didn’t seem to have friends after he retired. How could anyone know he died in his room?

 The more I watched the show, the more I felt scary…and sad. Because you know, no one else could notice even when you die, and no one comes to you even if you die. It’s too sad.

 I live myself at the apartment, and there is no one who pays a visit me. If I want to see someone, I have to go out. Well, I often e-mail my brother and sister so that either would think something odd if I stopped e-mail. But even that, I don’t know how long it will take. In fact, I had a terrible flu and a stomach infection at the same time last May. All of a sudden I felt sick and fainted. I tried to call someone, but none of them answered the phone at the moment. So I managed to call the ambulance though I didn’t want to do. Just after it turned out to be a flu, they released me, but there was no one coming to pick me up. こんなのってありかよ~(苦笑)Well, I am not saying I got angry, but I just felt people are all alone. 

 It reminds me of something. Please see this picture in 2ch. I don’t know who came up with this, but it is a picture which embodies a NEET’s life at right. However, 2ch bugs started to discuss how we interpret this picture. In this picture, a person (we can’t tell the age and even the sex) wakes up, saying おはよう 今日もいい天気だ[Good morning, it is fine today]. And he (let’s say) is going to the table for breakfast, saying 朝ごはんを食べよう[I am gonna eat breakfast]. パクパクモグモグ[pakupaku mogumogu] is onomatopoeia in comics when someone is eating. In the final panel, he is crying, that’s all. What is this supposed to mean? There are a lot of interpretation. It could be an unemployed man, or could be a widower. The reason why he is crying, might be that he is jobless or he has been lonely after his wife passed away. I might say it is an old widower who is scared of 無縁死. What do you think?

 I can’t still come off the terror of 無縁死 because it might happen to me. I am not saying it is to avoid that, but I want to keep in touch with my friends. Even if I stay single, I want friends who kindly talk to me when I get older. But that is not so simple because as time goes by, people wouldn’t be what they used to be. Now even if I see my old classmate, we can’t talk just like we did. Because we are having a different life. He doesn’t know what I am doing, and who I associate with. So don’t I. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any of them who used to be friends at school for ages. It is not a matter of number, but thing is that you have someone who comes to you when something happens. Once again, it is really sad that nobody notices even when I die.

 Thinking about something like that, I watched the episode 19 of Code Geass R2 again. In this episode, it focuses on Lelouch’s younger brother, Rolo. (Spoilers starts) He keeps using the power of Geass to save Lelouch even though he knows it sacrifises his own life. After all, Rolo dies. He was really happy to have Lelouch although they weren’t real brothers. Although Rolo knew Lelouch was cheating him, he was happy to have Lelouch. He had been just an assassin, but he learned how happy having a brother was. The time he spent with Lelouch was true even though the relationship was fake. He wasn’t all alone. Because Lelouch was his side when he died. I so cried at this scene, Rolo’s death was not 無縁死(spolier ends).

 Next I watched episode 24th of Neon Genesis Evangelion, yes, Nagisa Kaworu. (Spoiler starts) He was the Last messenger, and his job was to spy on Shinji. But as he spent the time with Shinji, he started to realise his being. And as you know, that famous word…I might have been born to meet you[僕は君に逢うために生まれてきたのかもしれない]. He wished to die for the sake of Shinji. I soooo cried at this scene, Kaworu’s death was not 無縁死(spoiler ends).

 The TV show said 無縁社会 will be a more serious matter from now, but I don’t want to believe. I am not ready to die. I want to cosplay more, and there are many countries I want to go! Yes I have many things I want to do. That is why I keep going. But to be honest, there was a time I almost gave up. I think I have said before, but there were almost no good things last year. I was like crawling in the bottomless mud, and there was no rope, no help. I thought things finally settled, but it turned out to be another nightmare. When does this nightmare end? I was always thinking about that. There was no hope, and I thought there was only despair. Now, my life has been far better than before. I don’t want to look back, but I am not sure what will happen in the future. No one knows.

 But if I am allowed to say my wish at this moment, let me quote Lelouch’s line,




  1. Hinano said,

    yea I hate my current job so I’m kinda depressed myself too..
    If I didn’t have JP sometimes I feel like I might have ended up like that old man as well -_-;

    • bangin said,

      Me too, last year I was the same.
      But I couldn’t end my life…because I was scared to die. And if I died, I wouldn’t be able to cosplay!

  2. Cat Clan said,

    There are times when life seems pretty bad, but there are times when life can get much much better. So as you wished, keep looking for the bright days and learn from the sad days.

    You have a sister and a brother, so you won’t end at a 無縁墓地. Don’t worry too much about it, at least you have friends and family.

    • bangin said,

      I always try to say myself, easy come easy go.
      If hard time lasts so long, it will end someday and glad things will come.

      And including our meeting, now my life got recompensated. ^^

      I am single, my brother has two kids, and my sister has one. It is not for my future, but I love them all…

  3. DarcyAglow said,

    Bangin, I think it is normal to be shocked if you witness such a scene. But the trouble is not that but what you think it to be. You are not a loner, just living as a single man. You still have friends, online and offline and they care for you – I bet.
    I used to be a shut-in and my head that time was full of depressing thoughts. I thought that noone loves me, noone cares for me, etc… such of things. Maybe it is because i’m introversive so I cannot handle relationships easily as others. Changing yourself is not an easy thing to do, but I’m trying step by step. I’m still not surrounded by friends now but I’m feel much more relaxed with true self now. I can say that I have already accept and forgive what I have done wrong in the past. I made mistake and did things wrongly just because I was lack of experiences, not because there r something wrong with me.
    Think positively! ^^
    Hope you get better soon. Always looking forward to your new entries.

    • bangin said,

      I used to think I will be fine all alone, but I was too young. Now I am not enough young to say such a thing. That is why I am trying to keep in touch with my old friends, and cosplaying friends. Because I hope we could be friends even after I stopped cosplay.

      I am fine, and make a new post soon! ^^

  4. reversethieves said,

    It is pretty natural to sometimes have these moments of doubt. I think especially for us geeks. But you can also take heart in the fact that you can reach out to people through the internet. I think in many ways it has helped geeks become more social and connect to others. Truly though many of us would notice if you stopped blogging!

    If you want to connect to more people, sometimes you just have to put in extra effort. It is hard, but worth it.

    • bangin said,

      I have seen some of the bloggers who kindly come to my blog. And I do hope such a wonderful meeting would happen again.

  5. Inktrap said,

    Bangin, it’s so sad to hear this from you. You always make me happy with your posts and your cosplay, and it’s always depressing to hear that someone who brings us joy is feeling down. It’s hard living a life alone, but chosing to stay single doesn’t mean you have to be solitary or feel lonely. You have the family that cares for you and friends, people who you care about and who care for you. You also have things you love. As long as you have passion, you have a reason to live. So think positively, okay?

    • bangin said,

      I have a reason to live…I love cosplay. And so long as there is someone who is looking forward to my cosplay, I want to cosplay. If I have made you happy with my cosplay, yes I will.


  6. 仲魔 said,

    This must have been difficult to post about, but it is a good topic after all. Hearing that other, real people also worry and think about this is worth something I think.
    The subject of 無縁死 appears sometimes in a manga I had read awhile ago, The Embalmer (死化粧師). The main character and his assistant are the prominent relationship; however, what would the stories be like if, from the beginning the embalmer did not have an assistant? It seems easier to write a story with a character who is alone because of pushing others away, but a story where the character is pushed away by others?
    In the end, I like when people ask questions about the problem even if they cannot be answered right away.
    Bangin-san, is that television show the first time you had heard about such a discussion?
    Sorry for the long comment ^^;

    • bangin said,

      In fact, I didn’t hear of 無縁死 until my friend told me about the show. You can find the video on youtube, just enter 無縁社会, and search it if you understand Japanese.

      I didn’t know you know Embalmer! I like it! Do you know Haibane Renmei?

  7. Laura said,

    How dreadful the sight you witnessed! To see such a thing will surely affect you. But maybe it will turn out to be a good thing in your life, even if it is horrible and sad now. If you resolve to be even more social and to cherish your relationships and your life, then that man gave you a gift with his so-public death. And that would rest his spirit, don’t you think, if people became friendlier in his memory?

    Living alone is not good for people. Until rather recently, few did so. Always there were friends and family and boarding houses–someone who would notice you missing or unwell. Thinking about that, I decided to have a housemate. We share a home so that we have each other to look out for. Even though we have friends and family near by, it is not the same as having someone who will notice at the end of the day if you have not come home or in the morning if you have not come from your room. It is also much cheaper and more pleasant to have someone to live with. When you live by yourself, who wants to cook a meal or cares about a messy house? But share the house, and soon you share meals and also you are too embarrassed to leave a big mess.

    • bangin said,

      Oh you have a housemate, don’t you? You can look out for each other. I don’t even know my next door, though.

      Now I take care of myself, but in the future, it is a good thing to have a housemate, I think.

  8. ponytale said,

    *great big hugz* Bangin-san, do you feel the love we’re sending you?

    I’m glad you’ve written this post and sharing how you feel. I’m also very glad you made the choice to stay with us too. Like you said, we will not know what the future will be and it may not be easy but let’s keep fighting on!

    I agree with Laura… living alone for the long term is not good for people. I don’t really know how to describe it well but I do feel a big difference between staying alone and with housemates. Having housemates was definitely better even though we didn’t get along with one another all the time.

    • bangin said,

      I am so surprised to have so many feedbacks in one night. Yes I do feel the love.

      In fact I had two sharemates when I lived in Canada. Each of us had a room, and just shared the living room, the bathroom and the kitchen. We cleaned up by turns, and when we wanted to talk, just came out of the room. Those days were not bad.

      I am a human being, so sometimes I feel like writing such a sad topic. But I didn’t think so many of you gave me a lot of nice comments…

      • ponytale said,

        Mmm and I also feel that there are many people reading your blog and supporting you quietly but are too shy or not sure how to express themselves here ^^

        Having housemates were full of ups and downs but overall it was a very memorable and fun experience. I’ve not been to Canada before :O how long did you stay there?

  9. tokyo moe said,

    Bangin, you have many online friends who depend on your bringing moe to the English speaking world. You probably have more human contact than most people because you generously share so much with all of us reader. It was also great fun to meet you in person and to help you with your cosplay twice last year. I think this will be a great year for you ^^

    • bangin said,

      Oh yes, you helped me with my cosplay twice. And without your help, that BL cosplay wouldn’t have come true. Not everything were bad last year. At least…that is a precious memory to me, thank you.

      I sometimes go to your blog, and I know you’re doing good.^^

  10. kloadheart said,

    I could’ve been one of those people to commit suicide. Well, my friend convinced me not to so here I am, still alive and living :]

    hey, if i ever live in japan and i see you there,
    and if i ever exchange home/phone addresses w/ you,
    and you need someone,
    i would always go to you x]
    this isnt a proper phrase to say but….
    “that’s what friends are for right?”
    is what i have in mind x]

    • bangin said,

      Thank you for sweet words.
      Nothing lasts forever. Even if bad things persists, it will end for sure and glas things will come. Though the other way is around, too. That’s what life is all about.

      Yes friends are precious!

  11. bangin said,

    ponytale: I spent just one year. Not to study, but just for staying. I experienced a lot., sharing a room, teaching Japanese, working…when I look back, I miss my days in Canada!

    • ponytale said,

      icic~ that’s pretty awesome 🙂 I think it takes a lot of courage to venture out and work in a foreign country. As a student, the expectations are different ^^;;; there were challenges too but I think student life is more carefree.

      Would you do it again? Maybe in a different country?

      • bangin said,

        If only I were much younger!
        If I could…I would like to go to New Zealand or Australia!

  12. chounokoe said,

    Those experiences are always hard, being faced with death and mortality.
    When I started living alone, because I had lost my family I also started thinking about such things. But I really think it’s important to keep on living, not only because death is scary, but because I don’t want to stop believing in a bright tommorrow.

    I’ve also lost contact with many of my old friends from school or back when I did cosplay, but I still have some good friends who I cherish more than anything. And everyone I met has become part of my life.

    A friend of mine once said that I’m like one of those desperate villains in an anime or videogame.
    So before I die I want to do as much stuff as possible. Even when I’m old and lived through even more depressing stuff, there will be good things and this which will keep me going.

    • seizonsha said,

      Somehow I was logged out before…one day I will understand the internet…one day.

    • bangin said,

      Tomorrow comes no matter what. There was a time when I didn’t want…but now I look back the past, I actually wanted it to come because happiness will never come if there is no tomorrow.

      I am a cosplayer, and have uploaded the photos. I am here, right here. Japanese cosplayer is here, the name is bangin.

      Does it last until when? I am not sure. But…if there are people who are kindly looking forward my cosplay…may I say there is a reason of myself?

      • chounokoe said,

        Definitely, isn’t it?
        Certain people will always remember things like that. That’s proof of having lived and having a meaning. YEAH! V(>o<)V
        Somehow it's always like becoming a little bit of becoming immortal when people remember a part of you, and I think you definitely acchieve that with your cosplays!! ^^

        Even though those topics are sad in a way…somehow it reminds you how nice it is to live, because people actually think about life and death, right?

  13. Varanus said,

    This article here really moved me, so I want to share a personal philosophy of mine.

    Everybody, there is always a path forward. There is always a road that leads to the bright horizon. Sometimes, life drags us under and we can’t see that path clearly, but that means we need to carve the path again, with our bare hands, until we can see the light again.

    Yes, it’s a frightening, lonely task, but you have to remember, to keep inside your heart, the irrefutable fact that you are NOT alone. You are NEVER alone. Everyone walks this path beside you, everyone in the world, be it teenagers or widowers or soldiers or dreamers. It takes courage to reach out, but we all have that courage within ourselves. It’s what makes us human.

    To die alone, that truly is sad. Though I believe they are in a better place now, it’s very sad to see someone spend their short time on this world in sadness and solitude. I’m going to make a plea to you, whoever reads this post. Don’t surrender. Keep fighting, keep carving that path forward. It’s a hard, painful path, but it’s worth it.

    Thanks for reading,


    • bangin said,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  14. ponytale said,

    Mmm, it’s still possible right? Cos we never know what happens in the future XD Hopefully your wish can happen at the right time for you! And when that time comes, drop us a note. We’ll be cheering you on 😉

    • bangin said,

      Anyone under 32 or so can get the visa(working hoilday visa), but that depends on a country. UK allows only people under 25 to apply, for example.

      Anyway, thank you for sweet words. You’ve thought of coming to Japan?

      • ponytale said,

        Ah~ that reminds me… if I remember correctly, one of my friends worked in the UK years ago under working holiday visa. But I’m can’t recall what her job was… only remember all the nice photos she took during her travels to the neighbouring countries while she was there ^^;;

        When I visit, I’ll definitely love to catch up with you in person. ^^ I visited Japan as a tourist a few years back. At that time I haven’t started blogging or found yours >_< We went to Tokyo and Osaka for a 5-day (non-otaku X3) trip but I guess it was really too short. x_x;;; I enjoyed myself but I fell sick too.

  15. miz said,

    One must always look forward, with a community like this, as well as friends one develops over a life time. Sorry to hear of what you experience, but Japan is definitely having an issue of high suicide rate, it is for the government to definitely become more open in what social services they will make available. Reading your entry reminds me of a current manga fascination in 黒鷺死体宅配便. But definitely stay genki… and definitely do more of your fantastic cosplay entries, which is an inspiration.

    • bangin said,

      Thank you very much, I am fine now. Because I got a lot of comments.
      Me, it reminds me of a relly really old manga, 死神くん. I don’t think most of you know this, though.

      I am genki! ^^

  16. ++omochiwokudasai » Blog Archive » Le 10 parole più popolari del 2010 in Giappone said,

    […] Strano che l’alienazione di alcuni individui della società sia un trend così importante nel 2010 in Giappone. Capisco che il fenomeno sia sempre più crescente in una società in cui il singolo è la cosa più importante rispetto alla comunità, tuttavia non c’è a mio avviso nulla di nuovo, dato che la cosa era ben conosciuta da più di 10 anni a questa parte. “Muen Shakai” (let. “società di morti sconosciuti”) è una società “consapevole”, poiché i giapponesi sin da quando si trasferiscono in altre città per i propri studi universitari, sanno di perdere i contatti con la propria famiglia, i propri cari o i propri ex-amici. La cosa preoccupante è una volta perso il lavoro: la società giapponese si spacca in due, da un lato “l’agglomerato dell’utile”, coloro che sono integrati pienamente nei meccanismi della vita di “comunità” (fatemi passare il termine), mentre dall’altro lato un intero agglomerato di gente isolata.  E certo, perché in Giappone i legami che si creano sul posto di lavoro sono quelli più forti ed influenti per essere parte integrante e riconosciuta di questa società ed anche perché, nonostante i tempi, la cultura giapponese ritiene come condizione fondamentale, per continuare ad avere connessioni “sociali”, quella di essere un regolare impiegato. Altre informazioni sul “Muen shakai” possono essere trovate anche qui. […]

  17. Charana said,

    Funny that I sould come accross this blog. I’ve been having troubles these past few monthes, depressed and a tiredness that I have never felt before, it was such a deep tiredness that when I finally got to see my friend I have not seen in monthes, I was happy to see her but couldn’t show it on my face. But since yesterday I had bounced back ready to fight, well actully ‘wait’ since I cant do anything for six weeks more, for living my life… though I still feel fragile.. I’ve become a bit tired of not being able to do what I want to do in life. I aim to make this year a big change for me 🙂
    Thinking about it.. I’ve never been afraid of dying alone/no one around me, just that people who care about me does not know I have died. Even though I have been so low this time in my life, ending my life has never come to mind cuz i know there is always a light at the end of the tunel. I want to live no matter what and I want to live my life how I want.. and actully I do want to leave a mark that I was here also 🙂 I still want my tomorrow too lol

    Haha, I would joke telling my friend that if I died alone they would find me half eaten by my little dog (Dasie, my dog, seems to like to chew on my arm when she plays.. still trying to get her to stop that)

    .. Bangin, maybe you can still cosplay on the other side… and for myself, I believe we can come back, so maybe you can still cosplay when/if you come back 🙂

    lol also I was remembering you mention that you would cosplay till you are to old to cosplay, I was thinking maybe you can cosplay an older characters.


  18. Garthgoyle said,

    Not difficult to enter to this state of muen shakai when you are living in Japan, specially when you are living away from big cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. And living here as a foreigner is even easier to get into muen shakai. I’m a teacher in junior high school and currently I’m helping one of my students to write her essay about muen shakai for her speech contest. I’m trying to give her some advices on how to deal with muen shakai. Truth is I am so close to it. Everyday after I finish school I go home and sit in front of my computer and download movies, watch anime and waste my time online. I want to go out and do stuff but there’s really nothing much to do around here. Back home (US) my co-workers were my friends and we used to do all kind of stuff (dance clubs, movies, parties, go bananas, MORE parties). In Japan my co-workers are a bunch of mother &%&% boring people. Well, maybe they are not. But in the five years I have lived and worked in Japan, I have met 5 co-workers after work. Japanese people tend not to socialize much (at all) with their co-workers. For them , they are just that, co-workers. No need socialize with them in anyway if it is not business related. And as a foreigner here, trust me, almost no one will accept an invitation not even to the nearest Starbucks.
    I have friends, true. And a girlfriend (sort of), true. But I’m the one always calling, sending messages and contacting people. If I don’t try to contact them, almost no one would contact me at all. Family? On the other side of the world (yes, yes, that was my choice, I’m the one who decided to live so far away).

    Anyway, yes, muen shakai. A sad thing to be in solitude but trust me, it is not easy to fall into that in Japan.

  19. Garthgoyle said,

    I should have said “IT IS easy to fall into that in Japan”.

    • bangin said,

      I see, so you are a teacher here in Japan. Well I do feel being a teacher is so hard for anyone because, as you can see, parents are becoming so hard on teachers. You can’t relax.
      And we Japanese tend to separate privacy and working. As a result, we have few friends after you started to work…
      I am a cosplayer so I still have friends while I am not working. I have no idea how long they are my frirends, but I hope they could be as long as possible.

      Don’t give up, please. Even in such a cold society, someone is sure nice to you!

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