Megadeth once said there are “99 ways to die” and while I’d hate to question their methodology in arriving at that conclusion, I’d wager that there are actually many more. Japan is no exception, of course. Despite the nation’s relatively low rate of violent crime there are plenty of natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanoes that can do us in. Giant hornets, cuisine that features plentiful raw meats, and poisonous fish are all parts of daily life in Japan as well.

But statistically speaking, just how dangerous are these things? Let’s find out with a morbidly fun game that we like to call “Which Causes More Deaths?”

The data for these comparisons comes from an article by News Post Seven, which provided the data in terms of number of deaths per 100,000 people per year. To simplify matters we factored that into a rough estimate of Japan’s population (127,000,000) for an easier to digest number of deaths per year.

It goes without saying that Japanese people love their baths for both cleanliness and leisure. With that you’d probably assume that it would be the most deadly, but stairs often go unnoticed with how often they’re used. It also should be noted that due to space issues, many Japanese houses have staircases so steep and narrow that large-footed people like myself often have to climb them with our feet turned sideways.

In the end, it looks like bathing is the more dangerous activity with drowning in the bath claiming 3,937 lives every year. Stair deaths weren’t too far behind, however, with 2,667 people dying from stair tumbles annually.

Lightning is probably the scarier of the pair, but given the country’s mountainous terrain and relatively small size, large thunderstorms are not as frequent as they are in other parts of the world. Certain areas in Japan, particularly the northwest, can get some considerable dumpings of snow. However, those are restricted mostly to areas with lower populations.

So, if we look at the stats on a national level, 14 people die by lightning strikes and 94 people die from heavy snow falls in an average year. You hear that Okinawans? Time to invest in snowblowers!

It’s no shock that Japan is one of the most earthquake prone places on the planet, but how does the danger of that compare to the nation’s driving safety?

Well, it looks as if some additional road safety measures are in order as traffic deaths outnumber earthquake fatalities 4,064 to 1,270 per year… Either that or Japan’s earthquake safety measures should be commended.

Both are scary in their own ways, although brown bears can be quite cute when they don’t choose to kill you with a flick of their wrist. This category also includes all wasps in Japan such as the mighty oosuzumebachi. or Japanese giant hornet, which is a whopping five centimeters (two inches) of venom and bad attitude. Considering wasps’ can be found all over Japan and many people have allergic reactions to them, they must be the most lethal, right?

Right! On average 19 people die from wasp attacks in a year, whereas brown bears claim the life of only one person annually.

The safety of air travel is often boasted as better than cars, and volcanoes, while certainly dangerous, aren’t terribly frequent occurrences. So which is a safer vacation plan, flying to a remote island or dancing along the edge of a volcano?

If it’s safety your after, statistics say a volcano would be the better choice as about four deaths occur by them as opposed to 12 deaths by plane crash in Japan each year.

Both mighty symbols of the Earth, but which is deadlier: the vast and deep abyss of the ocean or the perilously jagged ridges of mountainous rock? It’s a hard one to call as both are attractive locations for outdoor activities, both are inherently dangerous and contain dangerous animals.

Sure enough it is a close one, but the ocean barely edges out mountains in deaths at 356 to 305 per year.

On one hand, Dengue Fever is a very dangerous mosquito-transmitted disease resulting in severe pain and loss of blood which can result in death. It can be found in many parts of the world, but how prevalent is it really in Japan? And then we have heatstroke which is a far more common ailment here, but how often does it lead to death?

According to the data at hand, heatstroke kills an average of 1,778. Dengue fever, however, has killed a big fat zero people in Japan. I suppose that means we shouldn’t worry, but I guess there’s always room for someone to be the first.

Pufferfish (fugu) is a notorious Japanese delicacy for the fact the fish must be carefully cut to avoid the parts which contain a poison that stops your lungs from working. The second isn’t quite as well-known, but it’s easy to see the inherent danger of eating raw pig liver. Both certainly have their pitfalls, but which one more so in Japan?

Raw pig liver kills 902 each year which far exceeds fugu‘s danger that only claims 42 lives. So I suppose cooked and poisonous meat is far safer than raw meat.

We are talking about Japan, a country famous for both a low crime rate and a high incidence of suicide. But are those just stereotypes, or is it true that people in Japan are more likely to die by their own hand than by someone else’s?

Boy, is it ever true. The number of people intentionally killed by others in Japan is about 343 per year while those who kill themselves amount to a staggering 27,813. Although both types of killing could be said to stem from some type of mental illness, it’s interesting to see how much it swings in one direction in Japan.

For a final comparison lets rank all of these threats at once.

Again, these figures are all averages and can’t really be used as an effective measure of risk while living in Japan since lifestyle and location play a huge role in many of these threats. However, it can clearly be seen that many of the things which people fear the most turn out to be the least dangerous statistically, whereas the things that we take for granted are the ones that kill the most.

And it would seem that by far the thing that people in Japan take for granted the most is their own well-being and mental health.

Source: News Post Seven via Zaeega
Images: Amazon, Wikipedia/Pearson_Scott_Foresman, Lawinc82, Matt @ PEK, Robert Thompson, Dr Marcus Gossler, Aleksander Markin, Lothar Spurzem, Wingchi Poon, Alpsdake, Lorangeo, Fredrik, kein, Alpsdake, CDC, Porcelina81, Chris 73, Mattia Luigi Napa