Suicide Narratives in Contemporary Japanese Newspapers: An Analysis of Media Inventories
Sammanfattning: Suicide in Japan has long been a debated topic. In recent decades, the focus has turned towards the media and the Werther effect (copycat suicides), which seemed to spark some arguable Moral Panics throughout the 2000s. In the following decade, suicides have subsequently decreased. As a result of this decrease has been a lack of research focusing on the media and suicide in the 2010s. Drawing on narrative analysis through a Moral Panic framework, this thesis strives to see how newspapers reflect the current suicide situation, and if there were any indications of Moral Panics. The thesis relies on collected data from Asahi and Yomiuri Shimbun, as well as the suicide statistics provided by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. It was discovered that both newspapers focus their reporting on rarer circumstances such as school-related reasons or jumping. Furthermore, a potential Moral Panic was identified in 2012, which was analysed through aforementioned framework. The analysis showed that the central problem constructed in the newspapers was the concealment of bullying instead of the actual suicide. This thesis argues that the newspapers’ inventory was framed toward a Moral Panic.
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