In Japan, a popular activity is to hook up with groups of people on the internet, have them over to your house, then commit suicide together. Japan has no religious stigma attached to suicide, which accounts for the whopping number of people offing themselves there. Cutting out one’s innards, remember, was once an honorable alternative to bankruptcy. Nowadays, more inventive forms of hara kiri include inhaling hibachi smoke. Smoking will kill you. Bemoans our Moye Ishimoto, “Why are my people such conformists? They can’t even commit suicide without a group.”
The pace of group suicides was especially sharp during the first three months of last year. On one day in February, six people were found dead in a car on a deserted rural road. As with most of the other cases, police found several charcoal stoves in the car, which had its windows sealed from inside. The three men and three women had died by inhaling carbon monoxide from the charcoal.