Last Sunday (27 September), it was reported that Japanese actress Yuko Takeuchi took her life at her home in Tokyo. This marks the most recent suicide case of celebrities in Japan in just this year alone, after pro wrestler Hana Kimura, actor Haruma Miura, and actress Sei Ashina.
Takeuchi was seen smiling brightly in her last Instagram post on 1 September with a caption that read, “Is everyone spending your time well during the summer vacation?”
Takeuchi rose to fame after acting in Ring (1998), and was also known for starring in HBO Asia and Hulu Japan co-production series Miss Sherlock (2018). As she had given birth to her second child earlier in January this year, reports suspected her suicide may be due to postpartum depression.
The shocking death of the well-loved actress was also reported by Chinese and Korean media. Unable to come to terms with yet another suicide, Chinese fans on Weibo exclaimed, “What is happening to Japan’s entertainment industry this year?”
Fans worldwide also took to Twitter to express their grief, with one commenting, “I still can't bring myself to believe Takeuchi Yuko is gone, it's just unthinkable. I'm beginning to think something is happening within the Japanese celeb community. We've lost too many talents this year with the demise of Miura Haruma, Ashina Sei and now her too?”
In fact, celebrities aside, the number of suicides in Japan has spiked in August with 1,849 cases — that is about 60 cases a day, 2.5 cases an hour! According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 15.3 per cent more people took their lives than the same time last year. Majority of the cases were women, with 186 more women and 60 more men killing themselves compared to last year.
During times of uncertainty with the pandemic still threatening the lives and livelihoods of many, immense stress is causing many to experience significant levels of depression and anxiety.
If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact SOS on 1800 221 4444 (24hrs). If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact Emergency Helpline (IMH) on 6389 2222 (24hrs). For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, go to https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/559/findhelp_servicesformentalhealthsupport.
If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact Lifeline on (+603) 4265 7995 (24hrs). If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact the Malaysian Mental Health Association on (+603) 7782 5499. For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, contact the Befrienders on (+603) 79568144 or (+603) 7956 8145; or go to https://www.befrienders.org.my/
If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings about suicide, contact Lifeline on (02) 8969191 or 0917 854 9191. If you have concerns about mental health issues, contact the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline on 0917 899 8727 (USAP) and 989 8727 (USAP). For more information and help dealing with mental health issues, go to the National Center for Mental Health at http://ncmh.gov.ph/.