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The utopia of utopias is “Utopia” by Sir Thomas More (1478-1535). Its best feature is leisure. There are no idle nobles; everyone works. A burden shared is a burden lightened. Utopians “do not wear themselves out with perpetual toil from morning to night, as if they were beasts of burden.” They work their daily six hours, then go on to more important things — not “luxury and idleness” (which are forbidden) but the pursuit of culture.

Five hundred years later, there are no utopias. Japan certainly is not one. Japan works itself to death, to depression. Karōshi (death from overwork) is a Japanese contribution to the global language, increasingly understood worldwide. Utsubyō (depression) isn’t, but is a recurring theme within the country. Much of it is work-related.

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