Stressed-out Japan…

I learnt a new Japanese buzzword today: “taijyou houshin” (たいじょうほうしん / 帯状疱疹).  When you look this up in the dictionary it says “shingles; herpes zoster”, which I couldn’t really connect to what I was hearing about this illness. In my mind, “shingles” is “adult chicken pox”, but on closer inspection it seems that “shingles” is actually “characterised by inflammation, pain, and skin eruption”, so I guess it’s possible that this is the correct translation.

Basically, “taijyou houshin” is a kind of stress-rash, which suddenly appears in one particular area of the body, itching and causing redness. It seems to come in varying degrees – treatable by a couple of shots or, in worse cases, a spell in hospital.

“Taijyou houshin” seems to be the new “fashionable” disease. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not belittling it or accusing anyone who has had it of lying or anything, but it seems to be very popular here in Japan right now. Actually, one of my friends who recently went to the doctor with a rash when she was stressed said that the doctor said, actually, he couldn’t name what was wrong with her, but that if he had to name it he would say “taijyou houshin”.

So why is Japan feeling so stressed-out these days? Personally, I blame the country’s working style. Overtime is the norm here and, in most companies, if you don’t work overtime that reflects badly on you. However, I think it’s time for managers to take a step back and look at what’s happening to their staff. More and more people are being diagnosed with “taijyou houshin” these days, and having to take time of for it, or other stress-related illnesses.

Something needs to change. Come on Japan, have a break, have a Kit Kat! 😉

濃抹茶 (Koi-matcha) Kit Kat (Dark/Thick Green Tea Kit Kat)

5 thoughts on “Stressed-out Japan…

  1. I agree with Blue Shoe. I don’t think it’s doing them any good (they recently dropped below China in the world’s strongest economies). I currently live in Tokyo and work for a Japanese company and I’m the only one who leaves on time or an hour over-time because I want to have a life apart from work.


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