Voices
in
Japan

poll

Do you think children of past generations had better manners than kids today when it comes to gestures like saying "please," "thank you" and showing respect for their elders?

32 Comments
© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
Login to comment

When I see someone hawking and spitting in the street, it's not a young person. It's an oyaji.

When I see someone on a train standing to offer their seat to a preganant lady, or someone with disabilities, it's not an oyaji. It's either me (a barbarian) or a young person.

When I see someone feigning sleep, manspreading over two seats on a crowded train when other fare-paying pasengers need to sit down, it's an oyaji.

This constant blaming of younger generations for bad manners on;y displayed by Japanese men over 50 is tiresome projection.

3 ( +25 / -22 )

Also, why young people should be expected to show respect to drunk oyajis, who often display contemptible lack of courtesy, escapes me.

13 ( +24 / -11 )

Totally agree with the previous posters

Young people here are,on the whole, infallibly polite and considerate.

Those over 60,however?Not so much.

Those over 80,or thereabouts?Again,lovely and childlike.

Same as back in the UK.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

I don't think I have really seen much of a difference, but I also don't typically have much interactions with kids either. Kids seem fairly shy when put into situations when they have to interact with adults; I certainly was when I was young.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

My observation is, that it is nowadays very much split into two extremes. Of course, the majority still is very well-mannered and doesn’t differ from former generations, but an increasing part has or just only simply resisting doesn’t show any of those basic manners at all. Of course I want also to add , that it is the same development among the adults. My guess is, the children only reflect afterwards that worse behavior seen from others and adults.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

millennial here, I feel that the older generations are a lot more polite, have better manners and can keep themselves together because their parents were stricter to them than my parents are to me. I grew up with corporal punishment and so did my family members older than me, but the punishments my parents got from my grandparents were far harsher, and I think that's what shaped them. This is in no way a general statement, but, from what I've heard of how my parents were raised and even my grandparents, they had a hard knock life compared to me. I can attest this to my friends who were raised by strict old-fashioned parents, they are well-behaved. I just believe though that they are nice because they're afraid to be punished for being rude.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Yes I'm afraid so. Gen-X here. We ask a lot of questions. Newer Gen's don't seem to know how to ask questions to further a conversation or broach topics not known about. It's like all the bad writing in tv shows to extend a show or series that could have ended in a few questions was manifest in reality.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Yes, and also seems people are scared to talk to someone they don't know

Back in the 70's people were more open and joking around was nice sometimes, everything so serious now

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Yes, but that does not mean it was sincere -- just that they could be beaten by parents and teachers out of the shame they brought on the family if they did not say "Please", "thank you", etc., even if it was not necessarily deserved. Long ago no doubt they could be killed if they did not bow low enough to a samurai Daimyou or something -- doesn't mean the bow was warranted, and the death justified. Likewise kids these days should not have to show respect for people who have no respect for the kids, themselves, or others around them, simply because of some outdated, outmoded system that never worked beyond holding them down.

People who think you should automatically show respect just because someone is older or in a position of authority must really live the Kims of North Korea and how they deal with such things.

All that said, there could be some very worthwhile changes to the "Doutoku" and "shakai" classes kids take in schools so that kids know when respect is deserved.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Didn't the ancient Greeks gripe about this?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise"

Socrates, 470-399 BCE

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Can only speak from personal experience, I was brought up to be polite and with a modicum of manners, that has stayed with me throughout life but it was learned by example, enforced by nothing more than disappointment and my parents never laid a hand on me.

I wouldn’t train a dog by beating it and see no benefit to trying to train a human being that way either.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Lisa, that is normal! I bet your children were awfully polite to their friends parents!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Boomer here. I still open doors and hold restaurant chairs for women, still say thanks to friends for visiting, and always, always use 'please', both vebally and in writing. Is there anything unnatural about that? And as for kids being less or more polite, it really depends on two things - where you are and what's happening around you. Watch the foot traffic in any Japanese rail station, where people of all ages are guilty of ignoring common courtesy. And one thing that's been mentioned by previous posters that is obvious in any culture - children behave as their parents teach them to behave. It's when they're in the company of youngsters their own age that politeness takes a back seat. For example, there's a high school near my home and it sits near a very busy intersection that is controlled by lights and walk/don't walk signs. The kids constantly ignore the don't walk sign and fill the crosswalks until the traffic light turns amber. Try turning left through that mass of mindless teens.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"better manners" is entirely a 'value judgement' and is of the ♫"Why can't they be like we were..."♪ blindness that seems to afflict many as they sink into the mindlessness of 'maturity'. How we treat each other in our daily interactions is entirely an individual characteristic composed both of example and the strength of internal sympathy, altruism, and conscience. These last are innate but can be corrupted by example and 'mob identity'. "Contempt for AUTHORITY" has been mentioned but, really, such 'contempt' is only a symptom of perhaps precocious 'wisdom' gained at an early age by experience with 'trusted Authority', for example, in American culture, with Santa Claus ("Fool me once...").

'Rudeness' becomes its own social punishment and one of the most salient characteristics of the clinical (nonviolent) psychopath has been reported to be their "warm and friendly personality" which obscures their manipulations through gracious 'manners' and magnified politeness to 'useful' subjects. And, of course, one cannot ignore the "I and Thou" (Martin Buber) quality of all Human interaction and what we, ourselves, arouse in others. And, of course, a major consideration here must be the communication disruptions that, at least in this 'modern' era seem to arise between generations in terms of 'signals' and customs. Why do men feel obligated to make the gesture of 'opening doors' for women more often than the reverse? In this particular case, chauvinistic 'culture' that may be simply eschewed by a younger generation like the wearing of 'spats'.

The question itself here would be better phrased, "Does every generation of Humans perceive the following generation as less polite?'" and, looking back as so many are loathe or too lazy to do, we would see the answer to that is "Apparently".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Having coached junior sports for many years, the kids are often unfailingly polite, and thankful that I took the time to coach them. Certainly my son's generation engages in things like bullying a lot less than my generation did.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Surely, recent children may not have educated to respect elderlies in schools or communities. Also one of the cause is that we tend to put an emphasize on building our personal space recently, keeping away from neighboring community. However, focusing on children's behavior and attitude might lose the important point. If parents of the children do not realize an appreciation for elderlies, they will never pass the lesson to younger generation. Therefore, how adults, including me, might behave in our society is the key point in the discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh them kids today!

Says every generation ever.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

When I see someone hawking and spitting in the street, it's not a young person. It's an oyaji.

When I see someone on a train standing to offer their seat to a preganant lady, or someone with disabilities, it's not an oyaji. It's either me (a barbarian) or a young person.

When I see someone feigning sleep, manspreading over two seats on a crowded train when other fare-paying pasengers need to sit down, it's an oyaji.

This constant blaming of younger generations for bad manners on;y displayed by Japanese men over 50 is tiresome projection.

Couldn't have put it better. Spot on Derek Grebe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

25 years ago when I stop my car at a pedestrian crossing to let children cross the road, they use to bow and walk quickly across and once on the other side bow again. NOT anymore they don't, they walk slowly across as if you are not there...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The claim has always been that even though it’s not true.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When I was a teen in the 1960s we were always told by our elders how bad-mannered we were compared to previous generations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They always say things like that. That there used to be better music, that there used to be better movies, that there used to be better women, that the food tasted better, that the grass was greener,... In the '80s, I was told that my generation was worse than the '70s. And my father was told the same thing by his father. Then it was said that the 80s generation behaved better than the current generation. And on and on. It's nonsense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Generally yes. Older generations have more respect and manners than the younger ones. Japan is a bit of an anomaly in this regard. Respect and manners are overall better in Japan than in most other countries. It's a cultural thing I suppose.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I was a kid, we used to say please and thank you, before and after, we hit other cave people over the head with clubs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I was a kid, the rule was to listen to your elders right or wrong, and in my family as big as it is, great backgrounds, educated disciplined, our families had high expectations, our aunties and uncles treated us as their own and we listened and gave them the same respect as our parents and when we got out of line they would give us a whack or two and that usually re-adjusted the attitude and we were good to go again. We always had manners which are what is desperately lacking in the youth from today.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There was an article this week about a junior high school girl who went to the aid of a lost 4-year-old girl while all the good-mannered adults ignored her.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Let me tell you about kids Back Then.

When you saw a row kiddies with a teacher at the head, they would call out, "Gaijin, gaijin da"! Or, "this is a pen." Or, "America-jin." This was very annoying. And rude. The teacher would say nothing if far away. If close he or she would say, "Where are you from?"

Japanese kids nowadays don't shout annoying things at foreigners--or anyway as far as I can remember.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The latest generation has been "going to hell in a hand basket" of thousands of generations.

Kids aren't getting worse, you're just getting old.

Look at music. Jazz was once the devil's music, and when our grandparents listened to it, they were thought of as reckless rebels by our great-grandparents. Now lots of young people consider jazz to be old folks' music.

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