Magazine article The Futurist

The New Generation in Japan

Magazine article The Futurist

The New Generation in Japan

Article excerpt

Japan's post-World War II value system of diligence, cooperation, and hard work is changing. Recent surveys show that Japanese youth have become a "Me Generation" that rejects traditional values.

"Around 1980 many Japanese, especially young people, abandoned the values of economic success and began searching for new sets of values to bring them happiness," writes sociologist Yasuhiro Yoshizaki in Comparative Civilizations Review. Japanese youth are placing more importance on the individual's pursuit of happiness and less on the values of work, family, and society.

Japanese students seem to be losing patience with work, unlike their counterparts in the United States and Korea. In a 1993 survey of college students in the three countries, only 10% of the Japanese regarded work as a primary value, compared with 47% of their Korean counterparts and 27% of American students. A greater proportion of Japanese aged 18 to 24 also preferred easy jobs without heavy responsibility.

Concern for family values is waning among younger Japanese as they pursue an inner world of private satisfaction. Data collected by the Japanese government in 1993 shows that only 23% of Japanese youth are thinking about supporting their aged parents, in contrast to 63% of young Americans. It appears that many younger-generation Japanese are losing both respect for their parents and a sense of responsibility to the family. Author Yoshizaki attributes the change to Japanese parents' over-indulgence of their children, material affluence, and growing concern for private matters. …

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