Youth Futures: Comparative Research and Transformative Visions

By Jennifer Gidley; Sohail Inayatullah | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Japanese Youth: Rewriting
Futures in the “No Taboos”
Postbubble Millennium

David Wright


JAPAN’S “NO TABOOS” MILLENNIUM

According to a young interactive multimedia technologies (IMMT) entrepreneur1 for Japan, this is the century of “no taboos” (tabuu nashi), setting Japan up as a new frontier—no rules, tradition is dead, all is possible, all dials set to zero, the slate wiped clean. Although a simplistic metaphor, it does point to the overall mood of Japan and, in part at least, sets the agenda for the following critique. The young have come to perceive Japan increasingly as an open text onto which they must inscribe their own futures.

The sociopolitical and economic bubble period in Japan helped accelerate the fragmentation of youth cultures from the singular post-World War II youth cultural prototype that was characterized by its singular mission to rebuild the nation, restore Japan to its former glory, and achieve economic status commensurate with those of the victors of war. Bubble affluence in turn gave rise to the exponential fragmenting and birthing of new cultural youth types. Although alarming to Japanese cultural purists, from a biological perspective, this would appear as an inevitable byproduct of the social evolutionary trajectories of the organism we know as youth, adults in progress, as they grapple with inherited social realities and resist, unwittingly adopt and shape their own futures.

The objective of this chapter is to articulate something that is strangely missing from the conventional discourses on Japanese youth futures, namely, a transformative future-oriented vision for a start-up environment of Japanese youth in order to create future possibilities that transcend current postbubble Japanese social realities. Ultimately, the objective of worthwhile and justifiable futures thinking activity lies in the task of articulating the types of start-up environments required from which new futures can be

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