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心中

Just in case it was keeping you up at night, you may rest assured that if it is a special kind of suicide, the Japanese have a special word for it.

In addition to being the Japanese word for pearl, shinjû with a long "u" also means a special kind of suicide in which two lovers who can no longer be together for some reason commit suicide together at the same moment so their spirits will be together forever.

Hence the word shinjû, which literally means "revealing what is inside your heart".

The most famous shinju of all was a fictional one, which takes place in "Shakespeare of Japan" Chikamatsu Monzaemon's 1703 play Sonezaki Shinjû, as young merchant Tokubei and his forbidden prostitute lover Ohatsu tie themselves together under a tree at Sonezaki Shrine and slash themselves to death with a razor blade.

Recently, the word shinjû has come back into vogue in the term "netto shinjû" or "internet love suicide", in which young people use internet dating sites and social networking sites to find a partner to commit suicide with. Sometimes they form groups as large as seven or eight young people, who then go off to a peaceful place where they can die together, "revealing what is inside their hearts".

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