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As Japan begins to unravel in a sense, young people realize that the previous paradigm doesn't work. But they aren't sure what comes next. They've seen what amounts to a betrayal in Japan.

5 Comments

Jeff Kingston, author of the recently published book "Contemporary Japan." (Washington Post)

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I am not convinced of this western understanding. A lot of young people are looking exactly for the cosy relationship with their company, the life-long employment the Japan Inc. is famous for.

Furthermore my centuries long experience in Japanese companies showed me that most Japanese had not been the tough guys they are portrayed now. Out of obligation they had put in long overtimes, just as they do today.

What has changed are the chances these young people get, with nearly 70% of all workers under 35 in low paid unsecured temp-jobs. That doesn't necessarily mean that the people have changed, but that the industry is failing them with insufficient possibilities for a "proper" job.

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Kyoken, Why should I dismiss this "Western understanding", yet accept your western understanding? (I assume you are western?)

What has changed are the chances these young people get, with nearly 70% of all workers under 35 in low paid unsecured temp-jobs. That doesn't necessarily mean that the people have changed, but that the industry is failing them with insufficient possibilities for a "proper" job.

Did you consider that this may be the betrayal the author alludes to?

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kyoken "Out of obligation they had put in long overtimes, just as they do today." Then why do most of my Japanese business students show up at my conversation school a little after 6:00 every night? Not working so late, my friend. And going out drinking after work, that is considered "work" in Japan, is NOT considered work where I come from!

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my centuries long experience in Japanese companies

So you must be a few hundred years old by now. LOL

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Kyoken, I couldn't agree more. It was one thing when Japan Inc. asked for your soul but repayed you with vacation villas, golf outings, and job security for your children. When all of that went away, the incentive to sell your soul to Japan Inc. just wasn't there and that incentive is even less now that those entering aren't even getting treated as full time employees. It will be a weird future for Japan, that is for sure.

Taka

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