Kosuke Okahara

Akane, 26 years old, has been suffering depression and self-injury for over 4 years.
Kaori, 23 years old, relaxes in her room. She rolls bandage to stop bleeding after she cut her arm.
Kaori , 22 years old, is suffering from depression and self-injury. She can not stop cutting when she is depressed.
Kaori takes medicines. She has to take 18 pills at once for her mental illness.
Emergency medical technicians take care of Kaori. She overdosed 270 pills to get rid of her anxiety.
Hiromi stores medicines for whe she overdose to get rid of her anxiety. She has been carried by ambulance many times because of overdose.
Hiromi shows her arm with full fo scars. She started cutting herself when she was 19 years old.
Aina, 16 years old, has been suffering from depression and self-injury for 4 years.
Aina, 16 years old, goes to hospital by her mother's car. Since she cannot go to school for her mental illness, she is with her mother most of the day.
Aina, 16 years old, comes to hospital with her mother to see the psychiatrist. She cannot go to school since she feels bad when she goes to school.
Aina, 16 years old, has been suffering from depression and self-injury for 4  year. She likes to sing a song at night.
Akane, 26 years old. She has been suffering depression and self-injury for over 4 years. She has to come to see the psychiatrist once a week.
Akane, 26 years old, e-mails with her friends by the cell phone before she sleeps.
The website that Akane created some years ago with full of painful words written in Japanese. "I want to die, survive, have no deram, don't know what to do, have to study, my hands are shaking, cannot rely on others, but want to depend on someone..." etc..
Miri, 26 years old, goes to school in the morning. She quit her graduate study because of mental illness and now is studying to be a nurse.
Sayuri, 22 years old, who has been suffering from self-injury, driving a car at night.
Sayuri, 22 years old, who has been suffering from self-injury, looking up the sky during the night.
Sayuri, 22 years old, is suffering self-injury, lying on the bed in her room. Sayuri had experiences of sexual abuses in her childhood and that triggered self-injury.
Sayuri, 22 years old, has been suffering from self-injury for 6 years. She eats only yogurt in the morning since she has an eating disorder
After cutting herself. Sayuri, 22 years old, has been suffering from self-injury for 6 years.Sayuri had experiences of sexual abuses in her childhood and that triggered self-injury.
The tissues that Akane wiped her blood after cutting herself.
Kaori came to see the psyhiatrist. Sometimes it is difficult to come to the hospital since she has panic attack disorder.

 

Ibasyo

– Self-injury among young Japanese girls –

A little after midnight, my cell phone rang as usual. “I did it again… But I’m okay…”

Sayuri’s voice coming from the phone didn’t sound okay at all. “You know, I was raped… I don’t feel like I’m worthy of anything since then.

Lots of people told me, over and over, that I should love myself, but I don’t know how to love someone so dirty like me.”

Her quiet voice changed into a sob. After a while, she spoke again. “Sorry, I’m okay… I’ll go to work tomorrow.”

Poverty, rape, bullying, domestic violence; these are behind self-inflicted injuries. I have heard of them but never felt them around myself for real. For better or worse, the “culture of shame” inherent in Japan has prevented them from being revealed. Poverty exists in a suburb of Tokyo, just an hour away from my hometown, and there is a life that yakuza-related debt collectors barge into everyday. Rapes have occurred even in the college I graduated from.

Deep emotional wounds have taken away self-esteem from the girls I met. Since they are unable to do a stroke of work due to depression and panic attack disorders, they cannot appreciate their own value and come to believe that they are worthless. It has resulted in their self-injurious behavior.

By harming the “worthless-self” (or one who cannot believe in her worthiness), they try to reaffirm their own existence. But when they see the scars, they despise themselves for “doing what they shouldn’t do.” It’s a vicious circle. The lives of such girls are full of pain and suffering.

They don’t think of justifying their acts. However, their existence implies one of the dark aspects of today’s Japanese society.

“What does it mean by loving oneself? I wish somebody would tell me…” …said Sayuri, before she hung up the phone.