Train delays due to jinshin jiko, which euphemistically translates to "human accident" — often a suicide on the tracks — are far from an infrequent occurrence in Tokyo.
Reaction to such suicides — of people you never knew — depends on the individual, whose response might be one of grief or, perhaps, inconvenience. Or, as is the case with actor Robin Williams' suicide last week, the response could be one of genuine shock and sadness.
The difference between the two cases — one: anonymous and distanced, the other: personal and identifiable — is similarly explored in a provocative composition by Tokyo-based Canadian Rory Viner, in which he seeks to humanize suicide statistics through music. Titled "One Year of Suicide Statistics in Japan for Piano," the piece is a sonification of suicide figures for each prefecture in Japan in 2013. It stands at 22 minutes long and comprises low, discordant rumbles of notes, piercing, isolated high keys and numerous stretches of silence.