Take our user survey and make your voice heard.

Survey of Japanese students shows changes in attitudes, outlook since March disaster


A survey carried out by members of the Soka Gakkai student division in the Tohoku region of northern Japan shows significant shifts in young people's attitudes since the March 11, 2011, "triple disaster" of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

In a survey of over 500 students at a total of 47 universities and vocational schools in Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate (the three most directly affected prefectures), as well as Aomori, Akita and Yamagata, respondents stated that their views on the purpose of work, on nuclear power, and the importance of helping others had changed.

When seeking employment, the students' key purpose had previously been earning money (23.2%). Now it is reported to be "helping others" (18.8%) and "attaining a stable life" (17.7%). Many also indicated that their motivation is now for the sake of the community (16.8%).

When asked on what issues their views had changed, 19.9% of respondents stated that their views on nuclear power had changed (this figure was higher, at 23%, among students from the affected areas), 18.1% indicated a shift in their perspective on the importance of helping others and 17.7% a change in their appreciation for the basics of daily life such as shelter, food and clothing.

When asked if they identified any positive outcome of the March 11 disaster, 45% mentioned the strengthening of links between people. In terms of lessons they had learned, 34.2% stressed the need for disaster preparedness and 21.1% highlighted the importance of caring for others.

To a question about the characteristics of their ideal society, 38.2% identified a society where people can trust and rely on each other.

Hironobu Nakamura, Soka Gakkai Tohoku student division leader, comments, "Many of our student members have been helping out with relief efforts. They wanted through this survey to listen to and broadcast the voices of their peers. Before the disaster many people were commenting on the lack of human connections in Japanese society. The results clearly indicate how much people value these connections now."

When asked whether the government had met people's needs after the disaster, 94% responded that it had not. Of these, 42% highlighted that the government had been slow to act. Questioned about their personal response to the disaster, 41.2% reported that they had engaged in volunteer work, and 27% had given donations.

Professor Toshiaki Muramoto of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Information Sciences, who helped design and supervise the survey, comments, "This is an important survey, and rare in that the students initiated it themselves. Through this disaster, people have learned the importance of trusting and relying on each other. I feel this is extremely important for the future of Japanese society."

The survey was carried out between July 1 and August 21. In total, 700 students were approached, and 511 completed the survey (73%).

© PR Newswire

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Is there any election in the region (New Komeito Party) or within Soka Gakkai Organisation?! exclusive survey result by so called 'religious party' may not reflect overall Japan's view. Anyway, these figures are reversible and may change as soon j-economy improves, when? i don't know.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A survey of 700 students out of how many in Tohoku? And only 511 completed the survey. 189 smart people told the religious nutters to go away. The soka gakkai was only recently recognised as a religion. It was seen as a cult until certain famous people from T.V. etc... became members. It's a cult with strong political connections. I believe nothing that comes from these people, they have ulterior religious and political motives for every thing they do.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That is good at least we understood....late, some. What ever something should be come from our Own and will be accepted. I know We can not be Christians or Buddhist or Jews or Muslims.... That is not Ours. Even they like us, We know we are not racially connected to them. We need something made in Japan which.... must be Pink and Sweet....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Is it so hard to believe that young people's mind set changed dramatically after the earthquake and tsunami ?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Hide Suzuki, a very good question. I don't understand either.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I personally think that anyone who looks and thinks outside themselves and there own personally needs and does a greater good will grow as a person and it's a good thing. religious connotations aside because a don't advocate any religion but it is good to see young people who are conscious of their community and it's growth.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Personally, a 73% response rate is impressive! Now if that same 73% of young people would use their right to vote, then maybe we would see some real change in Japan!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Through this disaster, people have learned the importance of trusting and relying on each other."

This is a big positive amid all the despair.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

zichi: "On 3/11, the Soka Gakkai opened all their centers in the disaster zones has emergency shelters. All their buildings survived. They used their extensive network to quickly get supplies into the area and they also made a very large donation to the disaster fund."

Good point. It should also be noted that after the Great Hanshin Earthquake Soka Gakkai was distributing supplies in Kobe and getting water to people while the government panicked and did nothing. The media asked people where they were getting their supplies or where they were staying but when it was clear where the supplies et. al. were coming from they were told not to air it out of embarrassment (or so it's been said by a number of people in Kobe).

Regardless, this is just a survey, not some religious mission, and while it's not representative of the nation as a whole with so few surveyed, I don't see how it hurts.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"Even the Yakuza was quicker."

The yakuza and SG where there before the quake, particularly as the area with the ritzy housing of their important guys was touched. They did not more do than the others, they helped their own families mostly, and the nearest neighbours. The local shotengai people, the North Koreans, the Chinese many did the same and offered shelter and supply to more people than the 2 above, why don't you mention them ? Because the 2 mafias made a lot of PR about their "aid" and in the years following the disaster they have harassed around saying "Remember that we saved you, we advanced money for you, you can't do anything without us...". And people had no choice. It's getting better now, but that took 10 yrs. That's true that Tokyo's government and the big corporations have been disgusting about Kobe (they tried to limitate their losses before helping). That doesn't transform the gangsters into angels. They were quicker to exploit the situation. That was clear in the years after. Who made the most money out of the Hanshin Quake? No idea ? Look at the map before and now. You will see the "new town" behind the mountain and the infamous most expensive train line in the Guinness record, a new airport, That took the whole budget of aid from the country. And who built the airport ? The victims benefited ? Dot you believe they preferred getting a new airport to getting their houses rebuilt ?

" they were told not to air it out of embarrassment "

The SG has mass printed booklets of testimonies from people airing it, they don't seem embarrassed. Your organization is pumping 100 times the sums of money it gives back (to get a good facade image only). Or tell me where the millions go...

"Soka Gakkai Tohoku student division leader, comments, “Many of our student members"

Division leader ? Like a military academy. Sounds so 1940. Students members : like those students whose family were granted a small loan from SG to pay for their studies, and after paying back with interests like at the bank, they have the SG telling them to help back the network, and pulling them to vote, until their death ? After Hanshin Quake, the SG grip was stronger than ever...and the political party they are no longer officially related with (LOL) supported the Jiminto, didn't they ?

Please JT : when you publish an article written by the SG, add a "biographic note" for the readers that don't know +who+ the authors are.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Cos: "Because the 2 mafias..."

SG is not a mafia, much as many uninformed people would like to make it out to be (or 'cult').

"Division leader ? Like a military academy."

Weird... my neighbourhood also has people divided into groups -- some are responsible for putting out the nets to cover the garbage and clean them up, some patrol the neighbourhood, etc. And guess what, the company where I work has a president, a division chief, and various other positions as well. Everything is divided as such, not just Soka Gakkai.

"Please JT : when you publish an article written by the SG, add a "biographic note" for the readers that don't know +who+ the authors are."

Maybe they should also offer information so that people are less ignorant about the religion before making posts?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fact - They were, until recently, considered to be a cult. Fact - They, like any other group of their like, have ulterior motives for most of what they do in the public eye. Fact - I didn't say that what they did in the disaster areas they were in wasn't welcome. Fact - Their information is to be looked at carefully due to their interests.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Cos: "The SG has mass printed booklets of testimonies from people airing it, they don't seem embarrassed."

Ummm... why would they be embarrassed about doing good deeds, and why not counter government measures to keep a lid on said good deeds to make themselves look less worse?

Anyway, the whole thing is quite humorous -- people will take any example to turn good into uninformed statements to try and make it look bad. SG helped people -- oh my god! there must be some underlying motive! An SG survey said kids thinking has changed! -- oh my god! it must be a cult-like/mafia advertisement!

Just because the government can't do something and someone else stands up to do so does not make the results negative.

"The local shotengai people, the North Koreans, the Chinese many did the same and offered shelter and supply to more people than the 2 above, why don't you mention them ?"

Stats, please. I know the Korean community in Kobe was largely ignored by local government during the crisis, but do tell me where you get the info that NKoreans and Chinese gave more aid.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Who cares about this cult's survey? The rest of Japan is still as materialistic as ever and I don't see that slowly down soon until more students realise they can't get jobs because there are none.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's the first time me reading about Soka Gakkai. As it was much criticized and called a cult in this thread, I was curious to know what cults the Japanese have. I visited their web site and here is their mission:

"Everything ultimately depends on whether there is someone who is willing to wage a desperate all-out struggle, someone who will take one hundred percent responsibility without relying on or leaving things to others, someone who will work with selfless dedication for the sake of the people without any concern for what others think. Such a person is a true leader and a genuine Buddhist."

Nope, doesn't sound like a mafia to me, neither a "cult" in a disrespectful context (like saying "who care about this cult's survey"). I think we need to learn to be a little respectful to people who have different beliefs from our own.

0 ( +2 / -2 )


Who cares about this cult's survey?

I care, as I learned how people tend to change after a disaster occurs to them. And it opens mind to the possibility that I should have more care to people and the environment around me, instead of waiting for a disaster to occur in order to change. Their survey is much appreciated.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The SG is no more a cult than the YMCA is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


the YMCA does not have its own political party.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"the YMCA does not have its own political party"


0 ( +1 / -1 )

A cult is, for example, Aum Shinrikyo. No comparison between them and the SG.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

"The government of the day was very slow"

I agree. And the "even the Yaks were quicker, even the SG were quicker" makes sense in the meaning the officials had no shame. Now the noble intentions... I don't believe.

" I think the city did a great job in the reconstruction of the city and surrounding areas"

So you arrived a while after or you are the less demanding citizen of the city. Hopefully now that looks good. I don't put it on the account of "the city" but of the citizens, the individuals, and companies. I have seen people camping as late as 10 yrs after the quake. And the last works, to rebuild housing, ended roughly last year. I don't think NYC situation can be compared, as dramatic as that was, that did not made many "homeless" and the loss of offices is not big at the scale of the city, so the needs to rebuild are at a different level.

"There are many new towns behind the mountains as you put it which were started even before the earthquake."

Superb anticipation if they had planned to relocate victims before the quake. But no, they didn't. Of course there always where houses over there, and new ones being built. There were private projects not getting big success, and for the infrastructures, there were public projects not getting much political support and no budget voted. If that had been private, "free market" and "democratic", they would not have sold many house deals in Kita-ku. See why below. Especially with the economic downturn, the projects would have been shelved. Citizens, weakened by the quake, became unable to refuse.

"You can't expect the government to rebuild private housing, that would be up to the owners. "

The government, the local government did not consider letting owners decide of their own fate. Then, as the government expected us to pay taxes for the rebuilding, I expected them to use the money to support people rebuilding their houses (instead of letting them contract yami loans with some Soka-Yakuza bank). And no, I didn't expect the quake money would make an airport 30 km away from 2 other airports.The jobs creation could have been for rebuilding houses quicker instead of making the artificial island, but that was not exactly the same companies... As you know most airport workers were not from Kobe, not even from Japan, they were those migrant workers that hop to all big projects nationwide. I don't mean they don't deserve work too, but that's making locals work. There was many years of delay before that was officially decided citizens would get a benefit to rebuild.relocate. I think they got the checks around year 2000.

"I love living here. "

Have you been relocated ? I haven't as I arrived when that was "ground zero", I was there everyday in the first years and I talked to thousands of people, I saw what happened to them. I don't see the positive points in the city politics of rebuilding. Many people had a home in convenient coastal Kobe. And after the quake they were told they had not the right to rebuild on the same land or even had to abandon a house still up. That made sense, some areas were too dangerous. But then , they were told to choose between losing all or rebuilding (with their money ) in Kita-ku. Many families thought they couldn't aggravate their loss and took the Kita-ku deal with tons of false promises about delays, conveniency and costs in the package... Nobody wanted to move there. That was decided against popular will that the quake reconstruction money would be to develop the new "ku". Their main problem is before the people lived 30 minutes away from Osaka/Himeji, 1 hour from Kyoto, and after they were hours away (=unable to commute for jobs, schools, hospitals and acquaintances for elderly...), and there was no other jobs, schools, etc nearby. Those that could sold the houses in Kita-Ku very cheap, and moved to somewhere convenient, meaning they paid their relocation twice. Some are still stuck there. Hundreds of bad situations, like teenagers having to go to boarding schools, fathers getting a dormitory near office, interrupted careers, studies... I know that was not easy to organize, but the lack of "democracy" had terrible effects. So many people had the feeling they lived 2 tragedies, the quake and later being thrown out of their city. Use your browser for archive documentaries about suicides, depressions due to that situation... So, yes, the new buildings look nice, don't they ?

"I know the Korean community in Kobe was largely ignored by local government during the crisis, but do tell me where you get the info that NKoreans and Chinese gave more aid."

Some facilities owned by organizations of these communities were already part of the system in case of disaster, they were stocking supply and equipment, doing the drills. They were not particularly ignored (well local government was MIA and ignored everybody). Now ethnic schools, gyms, parks, etc, serve as standard local evacuation centers for everybody around. It's not extraordinary. The Yakuza and SG have no official rescue centers nor anything. As we wouldn't know if it's a shelter or a recruitment center of weak targets for yami loans (to repay in cash or in services to the yakuza religion or to the SG corporation).

"Everything is divided as such, not just Soka Gakkai."

Bwahahaha... they started as a group of leftists that were against the regiment structure and hierarchy.


What they write for their PR is necessarily what they do in real life ? Maybe for mother Teresa. For the SG, I see a different picture. I have not only heard rumors of their bullying manners, I see them do. They are not the only ones in Japan : a fervent Catholic friend has paid the bonzes on O'bon visits for 50 years (after all her family converted) as she never managed to get rid of them and they insist she owes for her grand-parents souls, and they could make a scandal bad for her family's business. But well SG, it's not only O'bon money, it's each election, plus the phone call whenever they need something, they have reached a huge scale, are involved in many fileds you wonder what a religion does there... Good if we worry for nothing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And i also don't think the YMCA goes around selling their religion and trying to get people to join up and pay fees.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


Thanks. I see your point, and now I understand your concerns better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites