We often hear the phrase ‘work yourself to death’ and we would associate it with a colleague or even ourselves who clock in many hours of over time work. This may sound like a good thing since hard work pays off eventually, right?
However, a Japanese reporter proved that working too hard can really be fatal. The 31-year old journalist logged 159 hours of overtime and only took two days off in just a month leading to her death.
Miwa Sado was a political reporter for NHK network in Japan. Weeks before her death, she was assigned to cover the Tokyo Metropolitan assembly elections and National Upper House elections in June and July 2013. She passed away three days after the upper house elections due to heart failure.
Miwa Sado was a 31-year old political journalist working for NHK network.
According to a senior official in NHK’s news department, the network delayed revealing the cause of Sado’s death to the public out of respect for her family. Her parents decided to make it public to raise awareness of the Japanese ‘salaryman culture’ that kills many young professionals yearly.
Excessive hours of work has become a norm for Japanese workers, but became a national crisis with the coining of a new term: karoshi, which means death by overwork.
Sado’s death is expected to put more pressure on Japanese authorities to address the unreasonably long hours by employees which eventually leads to stress, health problems and death.
In Japan, it is a culture to clock in long hours of work to demonstrate dedication. Sadly, it leads to many deaths attributed to work-related stress.
Sadly, Sado was not the only one victimized by the system. Matsuri Takashi was only 24 years old when she took her own life after suffering from stress and depression brought about by long hours of work.
The mother of Matsuri Takashi cries foul over the system that took her daughter’s life.
In Japan, more than 2,000 workers killed themselves due to work-related stress from only from March 2016 to present time. Meanwhile, dozens of other victims died from heart attacks, strokes and other health related issues brought about by spending too much time at work.
Work and life balance is an important aspect to maintain our mental and physical health. Always remember that we work to live the life we want and not the other way around.