Woman who attempted suicide in Japan had her life saved by 20 heroic sumo wrestlers
via hatch.m / Flickr

Wednesday morning, around 5 a.m., an elderly man saw a woman jump off a pedestrian bridge over the Kenagakawa River in Tokyo's Adachi Ward. The woman in her 30s plunged about nine feet into the water in an attempt to commit suicide.

"I can't die!" the woman yelled while struggling in the water. "Don't die!" the man called back while grabbing his phone to call the paramedics. As the man frantically tried to get help, a group of sumo wrestlers were alerted by the commotion.

The closest building to the bridge where the woman made her jump just happened to be the Sakaigawa Stable, a dormitory and training facility for sumo wrestlers. About twenty very large men rushed to save the drowning woman.


They jumped in the water, grabbed her and pulled her to safety.

It must have been quite the site to see these gigantic men spring into action. The woman probably couldn't believe her luck that she had twenty of Japan's finest athletes come to her rescue. After they safely brought her to the river bank, the trouble wasn't over yet. When the paramedics arrived, they put the woman on a stretcher, but they couldn't get the stretcher up to the street level because the river bed lies six-and-a-half feet below street level.

The group of sumo wrestlers got together and lifted the stretcher to the road so the woman could be put into an ambulance. The woman was taken to the hospital where doctors said she suffered no serious injuries.

The local police department is considering giving the wrestlers a certificate of commendation for their bravery as well as the man who first noticed the woman jumping. No word yet on whether they will receive a celebratory banquet. But if they do, they sure make sure the caterer brings enough food for 20 sumo wrestlers. The average sumo wrestler consumers 7,000 calories a day and weighs 300 to 400 pounds.

While the thought of twenty sumo wrestlers running and jumping in the water has an element of humor to it, the story also calls attention to Japan's suicide problem.

According to the journal Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, Japan's suicide rate has been unusually high due to "cultural factors … such as a tradition of honorable suicide as well as permissive attitudes towards suicide that remain in modern times."

The country reached its peak in 2003 of 34,427 suicides after an economic downturn hit businesses hard. This caused the country to get serious about suicide preventing, enacting measures that brought government and private support groups together to address the problem.

Last year was the lowest number of suicides recorded in the country since it began keeping tack in 1978. In 2019, the country recorded 20,169 suicides.

If you're thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 across the United States.

1-800-273-8255

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."