Japanese News: Looking for suicide partner on Twitter

You probably have heard of Takahiro Shiraishi and the murder case that stroke Japan this week. Takahiro Shiraishi killed 9 people, among whom persons who were looking for a suicide partner on Twitter. Far from committing suicide with his victims, he killed them and hid their bodies in his apartment.

Today’s news article is a rather long one, published on Asahi this morning. I will only study some parts of it and try to focus on information less generally conveyed in English sources.

Link to the article

First of all, some vocabulary relative to suicide that I found in the article.

  • 自殺志願者・じさつしがんしゃ: 志願者 means “candidate”. 自殺志願者 means someone who wants to commit suicide.
  • 自殺募集・じさつぼしゅう: 募集 means “recruiting”. 自殺募集 is a hashtag on Twitter for people looking for suicide partners.
  • 自殺仲間・じさつなかま: suicide partner
  • 自殺未遂・じさつみすい: suicide attempt

The article mainly focuses on the case and on how people who want to commit suicide 自殺を望む人 use Twitter to find partners, through the hashtag 自殺募集.

This problem didn’t appear with Twitter. In 2005, a man killed three people he met via a “suicide website” 自殺サイト. The murderer was sentenced to death: 死刑が執行されました (死刑・しけい: death penalty), and the police reinforced the suppression 削除・さくじょ of harmful information 有害情報 enticing 誘引・ゆういん people to suicide. Even if the number of reports concerning such misleading information sites decreased, it seems that people tend to use Twitter instead, where they can escape other’s notice 他人の目が届きにくい.

Another point of interest mentioned in the article is that posting 投稿・とうこう any tweet hinting at ほのめかす suicide goes against 違反 Twitter’s rule. When a tweet suggesting a suicide desire is discovered, Twitter Japan will usually contact the specialised organisations 専門機関 to get the author of the tweet assistance. But it is hard to examine the huge mass of tweets, and there are restrictions concerning direct messages.

Takahiro Shiraishi created 開設・かいせつ his Twitter account in September. He used to send messages to people looking for suicide such as:



さえ is a grammar which means that if this condition is fulfilled, the rest should not be a problem. It is often used with the verb form ば, which is used to express conditions. We can translate Shiraishi’s tweet literally as “as long as the rope’s knot isn’t incorrect, it would not be a failed attempt”.

He also tweeted about people holding the painful thought of failing one’s suicide and how he wanted to be the force of those people.

This case gives a lot to think about… the fact that people are ready to follow a complete stranger met on Twitter to not die alone is quite disturbing…