Deadly Obsessions: Cultural Influences Behind Karoshi


  • Jesus Alberto Rios Florida State University


Japan, karoshi, karojisatsu, death due to overwork, work ethics


Karoshi and karojisatsu are medico-social phenomena observed in Japan comprise of people either killing themselves, or dying from having intense health deterioration due to overwork. It’s mostly known in the context of this county, but the bulk of this research in the topic surrounds its link to long working hours rather its potential socio-cultural roots. This study focuses on providing a clear panoramic view of the phenomenon (what it is, who does it affect and how has it progressed through time), followed by a cross-cultural comparison of the phenomena to look for cultural influence in its manifestation. Following a secondary source, qualitative format this study makes a case for how some cultures are more susceptible to this kind of incidents than others.

Author Biography

Jesus Alberto Rios, Florida State University

Jesus Alberto Rios was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1996. At the age of 7, Jesus and his direct family moved to Panama City in the Republic of Panama due to growing concerns over the Bolivarian Revolution’s rise to power. Having moved to a different country at such a young age, Jesus wanted to better understand other people. After graduating high school, Jesus enrolled at Florida State University through its campus in Panama, majoring in psychology with a minor in international affairs. He spent the first 2 years studying in Panama and the last two at the Tallahassee campus. Among the courses taken
for his minor, some worth mentioning were “Japanese Ghosts and Monsters” and “Samurai and Japanese War” with Ph.D. Kristina Buhrman. This paper was originally written as an assignment for Ph.D. Tanu Kholi in the Global Citizenship Certificate program. Jesus graduated in Fall 2019 with Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University. After returning to Panama, his aim is to become a clinical psychologist, with  the added understanding that cultural background is a decisive factor that mental health professionals must try to understand before one can begin treating a patient´'s mental condition.


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How to Cite

Rios, J. (2021). Deadly Obsessions: Cultural Influences Behind Karoshi. Wittenberg University East Asian Studies Journal, 44, 35–53. Retrieved from