January 18, 2018
Bankruptcy, American Style
Did you see that story in the paper about the guy in Japan who is willing to let people hit him for $9.00 a minute?

This poor guy, Akira Hareruya, is 1.3 million in debt after a business collapse. And because bankruptcy is so stigmatized in Japan, this former professional boxer, is doing whatever he can to pay back his creditors.

Well, he's not doing whatever he can, he's going out onto the streets of Tokyo and allowing people to smack him in the face. So, I guess he is doing just one of the things he can to pay off his debts. Factually, there are many other things that he could do, dress up like a rabid chicken and threaten to chase people if they don't toss him a few yen, comes immediately to mind.

Anyway, the rules are Akira gets to wear headgear and a mouthpiece and can't hit back but he can bob and weave. The men, women and children who play smash mouth on Akira's face have to wear boxing gloves and there's no hitting below the belt, elbowing, head butting or hitting him when he is down. Women get in for half-price, I believe children hit for free.

You might think the Japanese would find it disgusting to punch someone so down on his luck but Akira makes as much as $800 a night. So while there is great shame in personal bankruptcy in Japan, there is apparently little shame in pummeling the unfortunate.

America, of course, is just the opposite, we would never allow anyone to go out on the street and get beaten up for money but we have no shame in spending millions of other people's money and then using the legal system to tell our creditors "Ssssppplllltttt..." (blowing the raspberry sound) before we re-structure our debt, buy a new Land Rover and get right back in business.

Maybe we Americans might benefit from, once again, stigmatizing bankruptcy by making the financially irresponsible dress up like, say, a chicken and prance around in front of thousands of people... excuse me, that's the San Diego Chicken and he makes good money doing it. Hmmmm... maybe since Jerry Springer there is just no embarrassing Americans.

Anyway, I don't know which of these two value-systems is better, the Japanese where personal debt is so embarrassing they would allow people to smack them in the face for the opportunity to pay back what they owe or the American where we believe in second chances, but somehow ours results in lower interest rates which is sure a lot better than a poke in the eye.