Have you ever felt worlds apart from the generations above you?
The topic of Japanese youth distancing themselves (purposely or not) from “things of the past” is something that pops up every now and again on Japanese variety shows. Most recently, an online research group also decided to tackle the topic, asking 500 people what they felt like young people are becoming more and more separated from in today’s world.
Today, we present the top 20 replies for “Things that Japanese youth are distanced from.”
The online research survey was conducted by iBRIDGE Research Plus between January 19-February 2. Unfortunately, we don’t have any information regarding the ages of the respondents, but we do know that the 500 of them were split evenly between males and females.
The Top 20 Things that Japanese Youth are Distanced From
1. Cars (42.2%)
▼ You want an imported luxury car? No problem, honey! Oh wait–we’re not in the 80s anymore…
During Japan’s “Bubble Economy” of 1986-1991, conspicuous consumption was the name of the game. Families had the disposable income to spend lavishly on all kinds of luxury goods, such as fancy cars or designer products. However, presently the rising costs of owning a car, including paying for gasoline, insurance, and maintenance, make owning one an increasingly unrealistic goal for the youth of today, especially for those who live in the city. It’s not hard to see why personal car ownership tops the list of things that Japanese youth are growing farther and farther away from.
2. Physical New Year’s greeting cards [nengajo] (32.4%)
▼ It’s common for nengajo to be decorated with images of whatever animal of the Chinese zodiac happens to fall on that year (2015 is the Year of the Sheep).
Traditionally, Japanese people send nengajo (New Year’s Cards) to wish their friends and acquaintances a good start to the new year. Akin to how the tradition of sending handwritten Christmas cards is dying out in the west, many Japanese people of the younger generations have stopped sending their New Year’s greetings by mail and are instead messaging them through their phones or online social media. In addition, tighter regulations about handing out personal information at the workplace means that you may not even have access to your boss’ and coworkers’ addresses. If these trends keep up, it looks like the annual Japan Post motorcycle gang whose job it is to deliver nengajo by January 1st will become a rare sight in the years to come.
3. Reading printed materials (19.4%)
▼ Gotta read ’em all! Yes, that includes you, young person (though maybe not on paper).
As someone who formerly worked in a public library, this one hits home hard. I have a feeling that it’s not just Japanese youth who aren’t sitting down with a good old-fashioned book, either, but the majority of young people around the world. With the advent of new technologies and the ever-increasing accessibility of the internet, it’s no wonder that many Japanese feel like the younger generations are becoming more and more distant from trips to the library as well (see number 12 below).
Here are the remaining top 20 responses:
4. Television (18.8%)
5. Beer (18.2%)
6. CDs (17.8%)
7. Reading for pleasure (17.6%)
8. Eating osechi (traditional New Year’s foods) (15%)
9. (Tie) Skiing (13.4%)
9. (Tie) Listening to the radio (13.4%)
11. Smoking (12.4%)
12. Libraries (11.6%)
13. Romantic love (10.2%)
14. Pachinko (9.6%)
15. (Tie) Sex (9.4%)
15. (Tie) Mahjong (9.4%)
17. (Tie) Movies (8.4%)
17. (Tie) Baseball (8.4%)
17. (Tie) Bookstores (8.4%)
20. Luxury brand products (8.2%)
Here are the reactions of some Japanese net users who read the survey results:
“I’ve got my license, but car maintenance fees are high and there aren’t enough places to park where I want to go.”
“Isn’t the number one thing separating young people of today from the past money? They’ll also tell you, but I think that many of them have to work unreasonably long hours for lower wages.”
“Is it too late? When I was in junior high school, everyone was already making the switch to digital messaging.”
“How would cockroaches respond to this?”
“I feel disconnected from Nintendo…”
What do you all think about this list, Rocketeers? Does it accurately portray the state of the youth in your countries as well?