Dropping dead from too much work happens so often in Japan that it has a name, karoshi.
While the article notes that those forced to work insane amounts of overtime often aren’t paid in Japan, the same thing happens in the US too, so let;s lots get smug about it. Salaried employees usually get no extra pay for overtime. But at least they aren’t dropping dead from overwork. Or maybe some are, who knows. Someone drives off the road and hit a phone pole because they fell asleep driving.
I’ve heard there is also a phrase for Japanese salarymen who get off work and slam down so many drinks so fast that they puke in the subway. (They also have a phrase, “doing a Bush”, in honor of GW the First barfing on the Japanese premier during a state dinner, but that’s another story.)
It happens all the time here, too– but we call it heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, heart attacks account for 20% of all deaths in the U.S.
When my mom had her bypass surgery nine years ago, they told her to exercise and change her diet. But they also told her that the number one cause of heart attacks (other than smoking) is not diet or lack of exercise, it’s stress, especially wotrk-related stress. (My mom, for the first time in her life, took up meditation.)