A Yale professor is under fire for suggesting that elderly people in Japan should be forced to ritually disembowel themselves to clear out more space for younger folks.
Yusuke Narita, an assistant professor of economics at Yale, was quoted in a New York Times profile piece as having said back in 2021 that forcing Japanese senior citizens to kill themselves is the only solution to the small island nation’s aging population, as Japan’s fertility and birth rates are among the lowest in the world and the median age of its citizens is steadily increasing.
“I feel like the only solution is pretty clear,” Narita said during an online news show now nearly two years ago. “In the end, isn't it mass suicide and mass 'seppuku' of the elderly?”
For those not read up on their Japanese history, “Seppuku” was a 17th century form of suicide by disembowelment often carried out by samurais or warriors to restore lost honor. The gruesome method involved stabbing oneself in the gut, slicing sideways through the stomach, and then pulling the knife upwards, sometimes followed by a merciful beheading. A fitting end for a disgraced soldier - or Grandma, apparently.
Forcing old people to barbarically off themselves would keep them from becoming a drag on the state and their families and would free up positions in business and politics for younger people currently held by senior citizens who refuse to leave, Narita said.
The Yale professor defended his comments to the New York Times, saying that forced suicide of the elderly could - and likely should - become mandatory in the future (an easy sentiment for a 38-year-old - let's give in another 40 years and see if he's pitched himself onto the train tracks).
Despite having only recently been discovered by the public, Narita’s comments aren’t new - in fact, he’s been telling his students at the Ivy League university that old people should be murdered by forced suicide for years. Back in 2019, he reportedly defended his position in the face of student criticism by showing them a scene from a film in which an elderly person was forced to jump off a cliff, then telling his students, “Whether that's a good thing or not, that's a more difficult question to answer. So if you think that's good, then maybe you can work hard toward creating a society like that.”