Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Suspected Sumo Hazing Death...

On June 26, Tokitaizan, a 17 year old sumo wrestler, collapsed and died after practising for the Nagoya Grand Sumo basho. His autopsy showed numerous bruises and wounds which the Coroner listed as the likely cause of death. At the time, his fellow wrestlers told authorities that he had injured himself during training. Police have since questioned his trainer Tokitsukaze and the other wrestlers in his stable since the injuries do not appear consistent with those sustained in training. Tokitsukaze has admitted to hitting Tokitaizan in the head with a beer bottle the day before he died, as well as forcing him to train so hard that he could barely stand on the day of his death, and several other wrestlers have also admitted to beating him and kicking him days before his death according to public broadcaster NHK. Tokitaizan had entered sumo this spring and was ranked 39th in the lower rankings before his untimely demise. Japanese police are now considering whether to charge Tokitsukaze.

Unfortunately hazing is widespread in Japan. It is considered a form of "training" in the sumo world and is also actively practised in junior high and high school sport clubs. It is justified as teaching gaman (fighting spirit, hierarchal relationships, obedience to authority, group cooperation and, especially, respect for tradition). This
Japan Times article has more information.

Photo taken by me in September 2001.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

How to Claim your Shakai Hoken Refund - for Gaijins Leaving Japan...

If you have had the misfortune of having to enrol into the Japanese government's Shakai Hoken scam scheme for a minimum of 6 months then, when you leave Japan, you are entitled to apply for a Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment (dattai ichijikin). This being Japan there are a confusing number of hoops to jump through steps to complete before you will see any money. In order to receive the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment you must fulfil the following conditions and file an application from abroad within two years of leaving Japan:

  • You do not possess Japanese citizenship
  • You have paid Pension Insurance premiums for 6 months or more
  • You do not have a place of residence in Japan (proven by you cancelling your gaijin card when you leave)
  • You have never qualified for pension benefits - including Disability Allowance

Your refund is calculated by multiplying your average monthly salary by the rate for your insured period of time. The rate for 6-11 months is 0.5 - hence if your average monthly salary was 300 000 yen and you paid premiums for 10 months your refund would be 150 000 yen. (300 000 yen [average monthly salary] x 0.5 [rate] = 150 000 yen)

As you will no longer be a Japanese resident for tax purposes when you receive your refund, you will be subjected to 20% tax. It's possible to reclaim this money via a tax agent in Japan. Again, this requires jumping through hoops following a confusing procedure.



  • Obtain a Claim form for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment (dattai ichijikin saitei seikyusho) from your local Social Insurance office (shakai hoken jimusho). (Note: This is not located at your ward office (kuyakusho) or city hall (shiyakusho), they will be able to give you a map to the correct location - in Japanese.)
  • Make sure you have your blue pension handbook (nenkin techo). If you have lost it, get one reissued from your local Social Insurance Office (shakai hoken jimusho) before leaving Japan.


  • Obtain a Notification of Tax Agent form (nozeikanrinin no todokedesho) from your local tax office (zeimusho). (Note: This is not located at your ward office (kuyakusho) or city hall (shiyakusho), they will be able to give you a map to the correct location - in Japanese.)
  • Appoint a tax agent - they must be a resident of Japan. (You will both need to complete sections on the form.)
  • File the completed form (nozeikanrinin no todokedesho) at your local tax office (zeimusho).



  • Mail in your claim form (dattai ichijikin saitei seikyusho) along with your blue pension book (nenkin techo), a photocopy of your passport detailing your name, date of birth, nationality, signature and date of departure from Japan, a document verifying the name of your bank, the branch office, the address of the branch and your account number. The Social Insurance Agency requires that your bank account be in your name and located in your home country. (Note: Remember to keep a copy of your Employees' Pension Insurance Registration Number noted in your pension book.)


  • Mail the original Notice on Payment of the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment (shikyu kettei tsuchicho) to your tax agent in Japan.
  • Your tax agent must file the original form and the Settlement Application form (kakutei shinkokusho) at the same tax office (zeimusho) where you originally filed your Notification of Tax Agent form (nozeikanrinin no todokedesho).
  • The tax refund will not be sent abroad. It will be deposited into your tax agent's bank account that will be designated when they file the paperwork. The tax agent is then responsible for transferring the money to you.
  • Await the transfer of tax refund money from your tax agent.

The application form must be mailed from outside Japan and the processing time can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months for the refund to be desposited to your account, if the application is in order. The partial refund is administered by the Social Insurance Agency (3-5-24 Takaido-nishi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo, 168-8505 Japan).

The most useful website I found about this mind numbing time consuming process is Yokohama's Naka Ward Town News.

Image came from

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Pucker Up...Or Not?!

While watching Japanese TV tonight - always an interesting and edifying experience - a programme claimed that Japanese couples only kiss each other a measly 0.56 times per day! Aussies claimed third place with an average smooch rate of 5.91 times per day. One of the guests - a middle aged man - claimed he hadn't kissed his wife in 12 years! So, it's time to 'fess up - how many kisses do you get in one day?

(Image from here )

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Enroute to Istanbul...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Enroute to Canakkale...

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Sunken City of Kekova...

Kas Cruise...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sleeping Giant...

Hair & Beard Dresser...


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