The dead-line looms: Working too much can kill you!
All-nighters are the norm, and long working hours are unavoidable. What does this mean for your body – and how can you cope? The Japanese have a word for death from overwork: karõshi.
There’s an irony in this piece that I’m writing. Because it’s 3am and I’m trying to meet my deadline – writing about the health implications of long working hours and overwork. Overwork so intense that it can kill.
The Japanese have a word for death from overwork: karõshi. If you Google it, the first link will lead you to a set of games – in Suicide Salaryman, "the goal of each level is counter-intuitive: you need to die… 50 clever levels and a boss fight at the end. We hope you have fun (killing yourself)!"
The first karõshi was reported in 1969 when a 29-year-old died of a stroke at work. Now, in Japan, the estimated number of victims of karõshi each year is more than 10,000, the same as the lives lost in car accidents. Karõshi’s Chinese counterpart, guolaosi, has 1,600 victims a day, according to China Radio International.
India doesn’t have a word for death by overwork because not many cases have been recorded. But we could well need such a word if we’re not careful.