The term “karoshi” translates to “death by overwork” in Japanese, and is a legal term recognized as a cause of death.
An employee of Japan’s largest advertising firm, Dentsu, jumped to her death in 2015. The cause was said to have been depression caused by overwork.
The case generated widespread attention and renewed calls to change the long working hours and illegal unpaid overtime highly common in Japan.
Dentsu’s CEO resigned over the controversy and the company was fined for violating labor standards as she had been reportedly forced to work 100 hours of overtime a month.
After the death, Dentsu made changes within the company, including turning off lights in the office at 10 p.m. in an effort to force employees to leave.