Karoshi: death by overwork

Karoshi is a Japanese word that means death by overwork. Japanese people are known for being hard workers. They work long hours and most of the time they don’t get enough rest. This lifestyle had generated hundreds of deaths associated with heart attacks, strokes, and suicides. Karoshi was recognized by the Japanese government in the 80s, when the health ministry realized that many workers had died due overworking.

According to the Japanese Labour Ministry, in 2015 over 2,310 people died for medical, emotional, and psychological disorders derived from karoshi. However, The National Defense Council for Victims of Karoshi claimed the true figure can reach 10,000 victims per year.

A Japanese survey supported by the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, determined about 10.8 percent of companies have employees who work 80 to 100 hours per month.  Another 11.9 percent of companies have employees working more than 100 hours of overtime.


Isabel Rangel Baron – Karoshi syndrome


A person who works more than 80 o 100 hours of overtime during consecutive months could die from karoshi. Many factors can cause the death by overwork, but the most common are stress and lack of sleep. Insomnia will not kill you immediately, but in the long-term can increase the risk of heart illnesses, disorders of the immune system, diabetes and some types of cancer.

The causes that could produce death by overwork are bad habits that people develop when they spend long hours in the office. These habits increase the possibilities of suffering from different diseases.

Nowadays, Karoshi is not a phenomenon that only affects Japanese. In 2015, statistics showed Mexico took the first place in overwork. People work 2,246 hours of overtime. In China, around 1,600 people died from guolaosi, the local term for karoshi.

Suicide is another problem derived from overwork. According to the Japan Times, 2,159 people committed suicide due to stress produced by overwork. If the Japanese government determines someone died for karoshi, the victim’s family receives compensation from the company and the government.

Isabel Rangel Baron - Karoshi meaning
Isabel Rangel Baron . Death by overwrk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s