Murders are very rare in Japan and Japan has very few "sensationalistic" murder stories, but sometimes they do happen. I keep abreast of these stories, and what strikes me is how often (the majority of the time) it seems these murders are motivated by peculiarities in the Japanese culture. I mean these crimes would not have happened for the reasons that they did in any other society. We all know that Japanese society is very different from almost any other society in the world. And the following story is no exception. A nurse killed patients. But why did she kill patients? The answer is very Japanese. When authorities confronted her, she immediately confessed to the crime (also something that is very Japanese, and wouldn't happen in many other countries). 31-year-old Ayumi Kuboki disclosed that she was "mentally and physically exhausted" from being a nurse. She explained that she opted to kill patients that she believed were near death (most of them elderly). She did not want them to die during her shift. If they did, Kuboki was tasked with breaking the news to family members and she wanted to avoid this at all costs. Kuboki noted, "It would be troublesome if that responsibility fell on me." This seems like a bizarre explanation and impossible to understand to anyone who is not Japanese. Why couldn't she just tell those family members their family member had died? What would be so much "trouble" about that? Trouble enough that she would we be willing to kill. The answer lies in something called "face". It was too uncomfortable and socially awkward to "face" the family members and have to announce the death of their loved one. And in Japan, there is a tremendous sense of self-imposed obligation, and people are always having to put on a "face", especially in the workplace. This nurse would have to put on a sympathetic loving face and act like she cared. She was already under a tremendous amount of pressure from the rest of her duties. In Japan women are under a tremendous amount of pressure in the workplace, half of it self-imposed, and it is not uncommon to hear stories of women committing suicide from overwork. They kept pushing themselves and finally came to a psychological breaking point. The Asian mind has the capacity to put itself under a tremendous amount of discipline, and while normally that can confer many positive benefits, sometimes that can backfire. This woman was trapped in a bubble of duty and obligation and felt like she had no escape. Telling her hospital employer that she did not have the emotional capacity to deal with family members would have been unthinkable in a Japanese workplace. There was no way for her to overtly rebel, to go against what was socially expected of her. Instead her only escape was passive, something no one would notice. She probably convinced herself what she was doing wasn't really that bad because the patients were elderly, suffering, had health problems, and were very likely probably going to die soon anyway. Although she was only being investigated for two suspicious deaths, she admitted that she had poisoned around 20 (she couldn't remember the exact number) patients by injecting a disinfectant into their IV bags. No one noticed because they were all elderly and near death anyway. It's also very likely that part of the reason she killed her patients was resentment about having to take care of them. This resentment kept building up. She probably wanted to snap and express anger at them, but in Japanese society, this is simply not an option. Instead anger tends to come out in passive aggressive ways that are sub-social, which do not require a direct social interaction. The judge decided to sentence Kuboki to life in prison. He noted that he did not want to give Kuboki the death penalty because she showed remorse. The Judge stated "She understands the huge gravity of the crimes, and even said in her final statement she wants to make amends with her own death." Also very Japanese! Sense of personal moral culpability, duty and self-sacrifice, propensity to be willing to give up one's own life.