Who is Yusuke Narita? Yale professor sparks outrage after proposing ‘mass suicide’ of elderly people

Yale University professor Yusuke Narita sparks outrage online after suggesting mass suicide for elderly people. (Image via Bea Oyster)
Yale University professor Yusuke Narita sparks outrage online after suggesting mass suicide for elderly people. (Image via Bea Oyster)

An assistant professor of Japanese descent at Yale University, Yusuke Narita has set in motion an online outrage after he suggested that mass suicide was the only way to deal with the rapidly aging population in Japan.

Narita, who teaches economics at Yale, spoke in defense of his views this weekend after making the aforementioned remarks on a live news broadcast program in 2021. At the time, the professor said:

“I feel like the only solution is pretty clear. In the end, isn't it mass suicide and mass 'seppuku' of the elderly?”

Seppuku was a 19th-century Japanese ritual of disembowelment that was forced upon samurais who brought dishonor to themselves.

The internet reacts to Yusuke Narita's remarks (Image via Twitter/@Irina_Manoli_)
The internet reacts to Yusuke Narita's remarks (Image via Twitter/@Irina_Manoli_)

Narita spoke to The New York Times this weekend and clarified that his remarks about the matter were taken out of context in 2021. However, the professor also mentioned that euthanasia could be made mandatory in the near future.

The Yale professor claimed that this process will allow younger generations to smoothly make their way into politics, business, and other aspects of careers that are occupied by the older generation, who refuse to leave their positions.

Such comments from the professor earned him plenty of backlash.

"He is not a human": Netizens react to Yusuke Narita's remarks about mass suicide

Japan already has a low birth rate and in 2022, the country saw its population plunge by more than six lakhs due to declining rates in fertility and a rapidly aging population.

While Narita’s comments outraged people, they also earned him followers and an audience on Twitter. People were stunned at the professor's outright insensitive views and criticized him for it.

One user asked if Yusuke Narita would still believe that disembowelment and mass su*cide are the keys to reconstructing Japan's age-based hierarchies when he himself reaches the age of 65.

Another user wondered if Narita has always been healthy throughout his life and never required any medical assistance or if he has never been hospitalized.

One person wrote that Narita lacks a conscience. They were too shocked as to how an assistant professor at Yale could suggest that elderly people should commit suicide or resort to euthanasia to relieve the country from the burden of their existence.

Yusuke Narita, an economics professor at Yale, is also a researcher who focuses on the design of decision-making algorithms in business and policy. Education policy in particular piques his interest. Narita received his doctorate degree from MIT and was a former visiting professor at Stanford University.

The professor uses a variety of methods in his work, including machine learning, causal inference, structural econometric modeling, and economic theory.

Yusuke Narita (Image via cyberagentcapital.com)
Yusuke Narita (Image via cyberagentcapital.com)

Earlier in 2022, when Yusuke Narita was asked to speak in defense of his views in a class, the professor showed a clip from the movie Midsommar, where a community of people formed a cult and one of their rituals included forcing an older member to jump off a cliff.

The professor tried to reason:

“Whether that's a good thing or not, that's a more difficult question to answer. So if you think that's good, then maybe you can work hard toward creating a society like that.”

Narita later went on to clarify that his remark was meant as a metaphor to convey how the older generation must be phased out. He said that he should have been more careful about the potential negative connotations of his words.

Yusuke Narita added that he went through some self-reflection, after which he stopped using those negative words last year.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande