South Korean Suicide Rate Double OECD Average

July 25th, 2008 · Society · 7 comments

I’m feeling a bit too lazy to translate this one right now, but basically the ROK suicide rate of 21.5 per 100,000 people is double the OECD average of 11.2 per 100,000 and a lot of people in the government are expressing concern about this. In 2001 the ROK rate was just 11.2 per 100,000, which has me wondering what’s changed so much in the last 7 years. Oh, and in 2006 Korean men were killing themselves at a rate of 32 per 100,00 (!), while women were doing so at a rate of 13.2 per 100,000.


  • Is this basically related to school demands and lost jobs or does it have a big percentage of protests’ martyrs as well?

    Max · July 25th, 2008 at 9:08 AM

  • poor form, max. the suicide rate in Korea, and what it says about the pressures of living here, and prospects for the future, are a poor context to bring in protest-mockery. There’s lots of room for the high comedy of protest mockery (believe me) but the suicide rate in Korea is a slow-motion tragedy.

    I’m not really the expert who could put that statistic into context, but there are a lot of things going on in that suicide rate, and pressure from a lot of different directions bringing to bear on it.

    roboseyo · July 25th, 2008 at 4:43 PM

  • […] knew the Korean suicide rate was high but even this number surprised me.  It was be interesting to see what the reasons for such a high suicide rate […]

    ROK Drop Weekly Linklets: 21-27 July 2008 · July 27th, 2008 at 8:40 AM

  • umm.. isn’t this just another category that korea is competing w/ japan in?

    honda vs hyundai
    sony vs samsung
    imperial japanese army vs dprk
    korean and japanese businessmen / sex tourism
    nationalism (though china is giving korea and japan a run for their money)

    fyi japan’s suicide rate is 25/100 ->

    japan’s still winning (losing?) this category

    Boston_Rob · July 27th, 2008 at 1:26 PM

  • Suicidal despair is not neccesarily the result of poverty, school nor work pressure. Psycological terror in Korea is a stealth crime that needs to be addressed. The terror proliferates through government and corporate harassment security teams down to shamanic curses of a Korean housewife. The reason why Korean police are ineffectual is because social and political control is done through other means.

    Foisting suicidal despair onto another — the perfect murder.

    Who says Korea isn’t a dangerous country?

    Yep · July 27th, 2008 at 4:59 PM

  • […] South Korean Suicide Rate Double OECD Average (KB) […]

    SeoulPodcast » Blog Archive » SeoulPodcast #18: The Wild East Days · August 8th, 2008 at 10:32 PM

  • For goodness sakes, people! (Er, I mean Max and Boston_Rob.)

    This sort of thing is complicated, but one can easily say the stresses of life, the taboos on any kind of mental health care (or even mental health examination), economic problems, the sometimes life-shattering stresses of mandatory military service (note that men are leading the stats — in the West, most societies recognize that some men are just not cut out for military service unless absolutely necessary), the increasing divide between have and have-not (and increasing impermeability of economic classes here in the wake of the Asian financial crisis), and a whole lot more add up to this.

    Plus suicide is actually sort of cryptically culturally endorsed as a “responsible” response to certain circumstances. (Remember the CEO during the “garbage mandu” scandal?) Hell, Sado Seja (Crown Prince) was ordered to top himself when he went too far, too, and that was back in the 18th century!

    gordsellar · August 26th, 2008 at 4:35 AM

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