The New Generation in Japan 
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 The New Generation in Japan 日本新一代价值观变化

IN THIS ARTICLE: Japanese students seem to be losing patience with work ... (and) prefer easy jobs without heavy responsibility.


[1]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.

[2] "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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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 2304 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.

[5] The shift toward individualism among Japanese is most pronounced among the very young. According to 1991 data from the Seimei Hoken Bunka Center of Japan, 50% of Japanese youth aged 16 to 19 can be labeled "self-centered", compared with 33% among those aged 25 to 29 To earn the self-centered label, the young people responded positively to such ideas as "I would like to make decisions without considering traditional values" and "I don't want to do anything I can't enjoy doing".

[6] Diminishing social responsibility, according to Yoshizaki, is tied to the growing interest in pleasure and personal satisfaction. A study comparing society-conscious youth from 1977 to 1990 found that the Japanese had slipped far behind American and Australian students. Only 11 % of Japanese aged 18 to 24 said they get personal satisfaction in doing something on behalf of society, according to 1993 data from the Japanese government, while four limes as many Americans said so.

[7] Yoshizaki concludes that the entire value system of Japanese youth is undergoing major transformation, but the younger generation has not yet found a new organized value system to replace the old.

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