Fractal America, Kodokushi-6771, Prt.2

In Japan sometime around the month of march, 2017, a employee named Takada from a Japanese company called Mind – which specializes in the removal of indelicate material (such as sex toys or sexually explicit manga) from the abodes of the freshly deceased – recounted to American scream-sheets a most peculiar tale. During one of Takada’s cleaning missions he had encountered the body of a single, 50 year old man named Joji whom had died of a heart attack whilst alone in his two-bedroom apartment. Joji was found lying in six metric tons of pornographic magazines which he had assiduously collected and stored in piles, overflowing in labyrinthine sprawl, all about his tiny house. He had laid there for more than a month; the room, filled with the noxious odor of decaying flesh, his selfsame flesh purple-green and liquefied. His eyeballs running from his sockets.

No one had noticed.

Joji’s peculiar and depressing death is part of a increasingly problematic trend of middle-aged to elderly individuals dying without notice in their homes, or else-wise secluded places, and there remaining for weeks, months or even longer. The problem has reached such a critical threshold of commonality that the Japanese have even given it a name.

Kodokushi.

The word roughly translates into English as, “Persons who [have] lived alone, die alone.” The primary causes for ghastly and seemingly ever increasing malady have been a source of much speculation and theorizing with the general consensus being due to social alienation. Japan has recently undergone demographic shift that has placed more elderly folk home alone than ever before without anyone to look after them and with the transformation of the traditional Japanese family, young people are no longer particularly keen to stay with their parents or grandparents and look after them – there are jobs and careers to be gotten into (a mindset, largely imported from America). This family breakdown and increase in the focus on endless careerism has also created another huge social problem for Japan: suicide.

Suicide-deaths-per-100000-trend

Japan currently ranks 26th (as of 2015) in total world suicide rates as aggregated by the WHO (World Health Organization), trailing Hungary and ahead of Togo (Togolese Republic). In 2014 alone it was estimated that around 70 nationals killed themselves every single day with the vast majority being men (males are highly over-represented in suicide, both in Japan and across the world).

Whilst Americans might find all of this, perhaps, grotesquely interesting they will likely fail to see the parallels to their own society. As was shown in my first installment in this series, America is far from being untouched by the vexing scourge of social deprivation. Just as a point of demonstration, whilst Japan ranks 26th in the world suicide index, The United States of America ranks 48th (as of 2015). Whilst this is significantly less suicides than Japan one should keep in mind that the WHO surveyed, aggregated and indexed 107 different countries; 48 out of 107 is nothing to brag home about. Nor is the United States exempt from the other strange and often harmful aberrations created by social deprivation which we shall examine in finer detail in part 3.

 


Sources:

RocketNews24: Kanagawa Man’s Body Found…

The Tunneler’s Vision, Prt.1

The tunneler stood upon the rough-worn and carpeted floor of his ramshackle home, gazing about in contemplative dismay. How ugly was the construct that he called, “Home.” It a ugly thing with floors of warped wood and fluffy shag carpeting, dotted with chip crumbs and dirt specks and wine stains and dog hair – how he hated dogs. All across the ostentatiously papered walls were abstract paintings he had bought to impress his artistically minded friends – the tunneler knew not their meanings nor even if they possessed any at all. The ceiling was soft cream plaster, cracked and water bogged, little, smelly droplets plip-plopping down the far left corner of the living room.

And the furniture! It was everywhere, three couches upon each of which sat four or more pillows, then a arm chair, then a bean bag, then a stool he had planned to sell and forgotten, remembered and given up upon. Adjacent the couches, in the far right corner of the room, opposite the water leak, stood a large bright yellow wooden entertainment stand connected to his work desk upon which lay his computer surrounded by a whirring, messy conglomerate of wires and soda bottles and paper clips and pencils and their subsequent alcahest. Beside the computer, upon the floor, was a hideous fern, which his former girlfriend had insisted he maintain to bring some, “Color and character,” to his tumble down abode.

Clutter. Filth. Disorder.

The Tunneler hated it all.

He checked his ornate, gear-borne wrist watch and quickly put on his coat and exited his apartment. Late for work. He caught the bus and paid his way, the familiar clinking of coin on copper and the churning hiss-whirl of machinery putting his frenzied, fevered mind momentarily at ease. He sat in the back, he always sat in the back, the morning paper half-unfurled in his calloused and rough worn hands and his keen neon-blue eyes scanning the contents languorously.

New Shopping mall to be constructed. Historic Brutalist town hall to be torn down and replaced with environmentally friendly windmill generators. Immigrant rape scandal continues. Mayor calls for more international trade deregulation. Chrysanthemum killer still on the loose.

He dropped the paper in his lap with a heavy sigh and looked around, the faces on the bus were faraway, absorbed in their digital devices, machine as master of man when it should be the other way around. Their drone-like stupor disturbed him profoundly. It was something to be smashed, to be obliterated, like the evil magic of some shamanic blood cult.

He extended his hand towards a pretty middle aged blonde with too much make-up.

“You read the paper?”

She rolled her eyes in disgusted and turned around, burying her face in her digital device, some lap-top-turned-phone. He averted his gaze to the high, frail, winding spires mixed with fast blurring spatterings of smaller, neoclassical structures – they were the worst. Neither of the past nor present, a abortion of syncretism. Characterless facades. Ostentatious manses and hotels and tenements and strip malls without identity. They were of the world but of no particular part of it, like the foreign faces that hunkered about the bus, eyes glinting in the dull, blue light of LCD screens.

He’d see it all razed to the ground.