Karōshi and ‘Black’ Labor
|Site administrator||Yi Tenjiku|
|Operation start||June 1, 2017|
|Goal/Purpose||To not further increase the number of people suffering due to their job|
#BUZZGO Editor-in-chief / Yi Tenjiku
A term literately translates to ‘overwork death’ in English. Karōshi is related to the current social problem in Japan where physical and phycological effects from overworking takes a toll on the worker leading to death.
A term for business practices that exploits employees by including forced overwork, under payment, and harassments. Companies that practice black labor is also referred to as ‘black companies’.
The reason why I created #BUZZGO
I lost my cousin due to karōshi on June 22, 2017.
Although there were some conflicts, I’ve received advices from so many people through my post about my cousin’s death. I appreciate this support from the bottom of my heart.
#BUZZGO Administrator Through my website, I received messages from people who are suffering due to their job.
“I work overtime even after punching out my time card at 5 P.M.”
My website is visited through web searches of keywords like “job difficult want to die”.
In my case, I’ve had the opportunity to be introduced to a lawyer by a member of Karōshi Family Organization thanks to the internet. My heart is less fragile with the support I have including those who reaches out to me with kind words.
Obviously, the internet is created by people. I realized, from these situations, that caring people do exist, and an internet is a place of warmth.
So, I want this to be a place where I can leave behind with the things I can do now.
The reason behind
The ‘GO’ is not the word for expressing movement. It’s the Japanese word ‘GO’, which translates to ‘After’.
Together, it means ‘after the buzz’. When something goes viral on the internet, the term ‘buzz’ is used.
Like a temporary burst from fireworks, I think that people quickly forget. This website is a place to keep the story thereafter.
In my case..
The purpose for BUZZGO is to not further increase the number of people suffering due to their job.
For those who want to get out of their unbearable work environment.
And for myself. I will administer the website within my beliefs. I believe that both you and I wish for a better tomorrow.
Anger hate frustration sadness
Putting energy into things like anger, hate, frustration, and sadness suffocates me.
I enjoy the fun things in life.
When in a dark place in your heart, I feel stuck and not able to move forward even though there are incredible amount of joy in the world.
Although there is a saying, ‘Time will heal’, to me, it’s still intolerable. Is it possible to fast-forward this so-called ‘time’?
I often feel helpless. And I don’t like to force myself to only gather the good things. I just wish to head to the direction where I will be able to use my energy for the things I enjoy.
I want to turn my negative emotions into something positive. My feeling towards my own thoughts is the driving force behind #BUZZGO.
(Translated by Ami )
先月いとこが #過労死 したので漫画にしました。大手居酒屋チェーン店の勤務先で死にました。何をしても死んだ人は生き返らないけど
— #BUZZGO #過労死とブラック労働 (@ikinariTenjiku) 2017年7月22日
Bitte teilen. Der Cousin meines Freundes tot durch Überarbeitung. Sie, @ikinariTenjiku hat alles in ihrem Comic dargestellt. Danke Tenjiku für deinen Mut, deine Geschichte zu erzählen.
— wasabi (@wasabi_nomadik) 2018年2月9日
I translated a comic “My cousin passed away of “Karoshi”(overwork). “ by @ikinariTenjiku, in German.
It has been shared all over Japan and I want more people outside of Japan to know what “Karoshi” is.
Please RT to share.
— Yuko Fujisawa (@wasabi_yuko) 2018年2月11日
— #BUZZGO #過労死とブラック労働 (@ikinariTenjiku) 2018年2月6日
— #BUZZGO #過労死とブラック労働 (@ikinariTenjiku) 2018年2月6日
Article originally published in Japanese by Asashi Shimbun on（25/02/2017）
Get away from karōshi and live
Cousin writes manga about karōshi gains attention
Leading to family members’ submission for worker injury
“It’s hell.” Those are the words left by the manager of a chain-operated izakaya bar who passed away due to karōshi. The message was found within his smartphone describing the distress of harsh labor situation he was enduring. Data indicating his long presence at his work place was also recorded. Based off from these unpleasant indications, the cousin of the late manager wrote a manga which gained some attention online. This lead to the family members’ submission for worker injury claim.
In the manga, the story starts off with the death of a man, age 53 at the time, who was a manager at a chain-operated izakaya bar in Nishi-ku, Fukuoka city.
“The bar’s closing time is late at night, scheduled for 3 A.M. After closing the bar, I’m not able to go home until the train starts at 6 A.M., and by the time I get home, it’s already 8 A.M. I have to wake up by 12 P.M.”
The manager had sent this message to his friend through the messaging app, LINE, before his death. Tenjiku, who is an online media creator in Chūō-ku, Fukuoka city, who is also the cousin of the late manager, is the writer of the manga.
According to Tenjiku, her cousin died from lethal arrhythmia while setting up the bar for opening that day. A month after his death, Tenjiku heard a news about a person who had committed suicide due to overwork. Learning about this news made her anger surge. She thought karōshi had to be confronted within the whole society. Tenjiku immersed her thoughts into writing a manga. Even with no experience of writing one, she thought this will be a suitable way to get her message across.
In July of last year, Tenjiku received over 120,000 retweets when posting the manga on her blog, “#BUZZGO” and on her Twitter page. Her readers have sent messages stating their own experiences. Since then, the manga was translated into German and was published by overseas media.
A member of Zenkoku Karōshi Wo Kangaeru Kazoku No Kai (National Association of Family Reflecting on Karōshi) learned about Tenjiku’s manga, and introduced her to an attorney, Tadashi Matsumaru, who is also a representing secretary of Karōshi Bengo-dan Zenkoku Renraku Kaigi (Karōshi Lawyers Council National Liaison). In December of last year, the family members of the late manager submitted a claim for worker injury to the office of Labor Standards Inspection. The family members argue that the late manager was not provided with any taxi expenses and had to wait for the very first train available to go home. Also, they claim that proper break during the work hours were not met and no rooms within the work place in which one can sleep were accessible. Even after punching out the time card, the manager had continued working on administrative tasks such as preparing the sales reports.
Claiming for overwork, families of the late manager submitted to the Labor Inspections office the GPS location identification data left on his smartphone. Without counting the break time and including the hours he had stayed in his work place, the total overtime hours the manager had accumulated exceeds the karōshi line of 100 hours per month. Every month for the last 3 months before his death, he had exceeded this karōshi limit. In one of the 3 months, the total overtime reached 148 hours.
Attorney Matsumaru explains that the fact the manager was doing work until the time of first available train home, and even if he had finished work, how the commute restraint will be evaluated is the point at issue. He indicates that if location identification data is used as the base of the support in the argument of long labor hours, and if this means of support is considered and used as a self-defense procedure, it will be a rare case.
The employer side claims, “Our company recognizes that the amount of late manager’s overtime does not meet the criteria as worker injury of brain and heart complications. The location identification data includes the hours that are outside of hours worked.”
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, the time restraints after work hours cannot be included as hours worked, however, worker injury causing brain and heart complications issue can be evaluated on how much liability does the time restraint had contributed to the health complications.
“Even after I wrote the manga, there are repeat cases of karōshi, and I’m afraid that I will become used to these stories,” expresses Tenjiku, “I don’t want any more people to suffer.” At the end of the manga, there is a strong message in which she hopes that it can be reached to people who feels drained from work. The message speaks, “to those in risky work environments, live. Get away.”
『 #検索で命を救う 』がテーマですが、これでインターネットをしない人にも見てもらえた。
— テンジク (@tenjikulight) 2018年2月24日
Asahi News paper
Saving lives through a search box