People aren’t normally given the chance to save someone else’s life – Yukio Shige, however, has helped save more than 500.

After he retired from a 42-year career as a Fukui Prefectural Police detective, Yukio was stationed at the Tojinbo Cliffs in Japan. Though it’s a popular tourist destination, the towering cliffs also offer an ideal place for committing suicide.

Yukio’s first encounter with such a depressed soul was on September 3rd, 2003. A sad-looking couple was sitting by themselves at the top of the cliffs when he spotted them.

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The couple was deep in debt from owning a restaurant, thus inclining them to contemplate the dark solution. Yukio comforted them and convinced the depressed duo to go to the police station for help.

A week later, Yukio received their suicide note in the mail explaining how the authorities had only given them enough money to get to the next town before sending them on their way.

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Now known as the Gatekeeper – or “chotto matte”, translating to “wait a moment” man – Yukio has worked for over a decade guarding the cliffs from those wanting to jump.

Yukio has his work cut out for him too – Japan has one of the highest suicide rates of a developed country in the world.

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So in 2004, he started the nonprofit Kokoro ni Hibiku Bunshu Henshukyoku – or the “Publishing bureau for collection of writings that reach the heart” – to console and encourage suicidal people after Yukio talks them down.

He was also the star in the documentary short The Gatekeeper, produced by Field of Visions and directed by Yung Chang.

(WATCH the video below)

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