What’s “Arbeit macht frei in Japanese?
Work until you drop: how the long-hours culture is killing us
The Guardian, Saturday August 20, 2005
…In 1987, the Japanese ministry of labour acknowledged that it had a problem with death from overwork and began to publish statistics on karoshi. In 2001, the numbers reached a record level with 143 workers dying. Now, death-by-overwork lawsuits are common, with the victims’ families demanding compensation payments. In 2002-03, 160 out of 819 claimants received compensation.
The health and safety magazine Hazards has continually warned that karoshi does exist in the UK. It said: “In July 2003 the government proposed abolishing the mandatory retirement of 65 years. The old notion that “we work to live, not live to work” could soon be superseded by “we work until we drop”….
The standard Japan morning greeting is “O-genki des ka?”—“Are you perky?” followed by a conversation is always the same old “I’m so tired” and then a whining competition to see who is the most tired. At night the standard parting phrase is “otsukaresama desu”—‘you must be very tired tired (to be leaving so earch at 8pm)’.
My friend Masamania has a mega-cool photo-essay on Japanese karoshi: I want to tell you how much Japanese business man is tired….Our priority is not to live, but to work…
What’s the answer?
MORE COFFEE! Isn’t Japan already the biggest consumer of coffee?