One hot July summer night in 2016, we stood on a Tokyo train platform waiting to take the train back from the city. Standing shoulder to shoulder, fighting the humidity, we heard an announcement made over the intercom. Unable to understand, we just assumed it was another typical announcement as no one had reacted in the slightest. A minute or two later, one of the people we were with leaned down and whispered that the train would be delayed because of a suicide.
On the surface the announcement appeared to be almost mundane — an occurrence common enough that it might have been a delay due to weather. It made us wonder how you come to that place — where someone jumping in front of a train is so common, barriers have to be placed along the edge of the platforms? That the loss of hope is so common and so severe, it leads to an average of 70 people taking their lives each day?