老いの「場」に関する研究 : 自殺防止のための「場」を求めて
A Study on "Topos" of old people : "SENTO" as a model of the places to prevent suicides
For last years has the author occupied himself in studies on old people from a viewpoint of culture, in contrast with biology, medicine, sociology, psychology, etc. The purpose of this study, which is also part of them, is to consider the meaning of suicides by people over 65 years old and seek for a model of the places to prevent them. The present paper consists of a prologue and four chapters.
The number of suicides by middle-aged men has recently increased in Japan. They don't commit suicide voluntarily but are driven to do so. It is a matter with the way how we should prevent them from committing suicide. As to older age suicide, we must consider in another perspective. First, we refer to the case of ritual killing of Lusi widows in the Kaliai district of Papua New Guinia, in order to think of the discrimination between a "suicide" and a "homicide". This case does not fall under a homicide in common with an euthanaisia.
Secondly, we refer to" Le Suicide" written by Émile Durkheim, which is said to be one of wellknown classic works. He insisted that the causes of suicide are almost reduced to social factors. There are three types of suicide: "suicide égoiste", "suicide altruiste", and "suicide anomique". The abovementioned case of Lusi widows is classifi ed into the second type. The third type leads to the analysis of masses by David Riesman or Erich Fromm. We should pay attention to that the current situation is different from the situation existing at the time when Durkheim had lived.
Thirdly, we investigate the causes of older age suicide. It is said in general that the suicide rate of people over 65 years old is higher than that of other aged people. According to the National Police Agency, most causes of suicides are occupied with health issues. There are two theories of older adult suicide: the one basing a suicide on mental disorders, particularly affective disorders, the other blaming it on the burdens and losses of aging. One theory is closely associated with the other. The existence of the places, where old people can reveal their own anxieties and sorrows, is more important than the control of melancholy.
Fourthly, we deal with "SENTO" at the Edo period. Sanba Sikitei considers it as the place of recreation and relaxation, i.e. society, which is also useful for old people. He pays attention to the conversations between two old men. They can relieve their daily resentment by telling stories of their life or gossips. Their conversations seem to be an actuality, for the place of "SENTO" makes it possible to think so. It is such a model of the places that we should seek for today.