Postcard: Tojinbo Cliffs

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Harumi Ozawa / AFP / Getty

Shige says he's talked more than 180 people down from the cliffs.

They come on sunny days, when the sky is bright and clear above the Tojinbo cliffs along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Yukio Shige says they don't look at the view. "They don't carry a camera or souvenir gifts," he says. "They don't have anything. They hang their heads and stare at the ground."

For five years, Shige, 65, has approached such people at the cliffs' edge with a simple "Hello" and a smile. He might ask how they came there and at what inn they were staying. Sometimes after a light touch to the shoulder, Shige says, they...

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