Life

Why Society is Cruel and Heartless to Young People in Japan

In the book “Why Society is Cruel and Heartless to Young People”, Japanese sociologist Masahiro Yamada used the chapter title to describe some phenomena that we have a little understanding of, but we still feel shocking: “There are countless factors that hinder marriage “, “Why young people can’t find someone to fall in love with”, “Japanese men who are difficult to get married”, “The end of single parasites”, “Why do poor and busy people appear in large numbers”, “The declining birth rate is in a vicious circle”.

For young people who rely on odd jobs to survive, if they are sick or unemployed for a long time, they can only become homeless or Internet cafe refugees. Since the 1990s, the unemployment rate has gradually increased among men. Among unmarried men aged 30 to 39, 1 out of every 9 is unemployed.

Many Japanese young people hope to get married, but they don’t have enough savings. Sales of wedding rings surged after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the authors write. A woman living alone said: “On the night of the earthquake, he walked to my apartment for three hours, and I started thinking about getting married.” Handle. In addition, some people broke up because they could not feel the care of each other after the earthquake. The earthquake became a touchstone of emotion.

The author’s description of young people’s work and marital status is based on statistical data, and then analyzes the economic reasons—many young people can’t find stable jobs, so they can only live on their old age and stay out of marriage. “In a material-rich consumer society, people don’t buy because of their needs, but buy what they like when they like it.” The production mode has changed from a small number of varieties and mass production to a variety of small quantities. If the products produced by the industry cannot be sold, young people will lose their jobs, and the flow of labor has become inevitable.

Secondly, with the development of the service industry, the problem of peak season and off-season has gradually become prominent. In the off-season, there will be no work and no income.

Why can’t young people find someone to fall in love with? The author traces the unique culture of Japan. When the economy is stagnant, the cost of living is rising, and talents are hopeless, people are immersed in a dream world. “The whole of Japan is dreaming to hide from the world. Today’s most dynamic industries in Japan are all supporting services that can immerse people in fantasy worlds, such as anime, cosplay, online games, pachinko games, etc.”

Among young people aged 18 to 19, not to mention lovers, 69% of men and 60% of women do not even have friends of the opposite sex. Many students have no interest or care about the opposite sex. Students who are not in love say that falling in love is too troublesome, unnecessary, and nothing is very happy.

The younger generation satisfies their desire for a relationship between men and women in the two-dimensional space formed by computers and the Internet, maid cafes, idols and other places . “Seeing girls chasing stars and boys queuing repeatedly to shake hands with the idol group AKB48, I can’t help but think, why not use a small part of my energy for real love?”

A boy frequents a maid cafĂ©, and when he enters, he is greeted warmly by the maid, “Welcome home, master.” There is also a sister cafe, “Welcome home, brother. What would you like to drink?” The author asked the boy, isn’t there a younger sister at home? He replied: “My sister has never poured me a cup of tea!” It is said that in such a shop, a cup of very bad coffee costs 500 yen (25 yuan). Guests will order drinks one after another. “Since there is a cost to making a girlfriend, isn’t it easier to buy directly? Even if this experience is only temporary, the sense of security gained through starting a family and working has gradually become temporary.”

Interestingly, the author believes that “without an increase in the consumption of Japanese men, the consumption demand of the Japanese economy cannot be stimulated, which is an important reason for the stagnation of the economy.” 8%, which is only 50% to 60% of that of the United Kingdom and the United States. Considering the price level in Japan, it is not as durable as the pocket money of Chinese urban men. According to a survey by Shinsei Bank, the pocket money of wage earners in 1990 was 76,000 yen (3,800 yuan), which dropped sharply to 41,910 yen in 2010, and dropped to 38,457 yen (1,923 yuan) in 2013.

In most families in Japan, the husband gives all his income to his wife and receives pocket money from her. After a man retires, even if he wants to spend money on hobbies and travel, his wife always refuses. Because the average life expectancy of wives is 10 years longer than that of their husbands, they must try to save some money so that they can live with peace of mind after their husbands die.

At the beginning of the book, he admitted that the title “Why Society is Cruel and Ruthless to Young People” is a “very provocative title”. What he means is that Japan’s social system, policies, industry practices, etc. People are relatively strict, while the elderly are relatively relaxed. “The economic strength of young people is constantly being weakened, and there are more and more young people who are economically disadvantaged. The attitude of the Japanese government and society towards this group is very indifferent.”

In Japan, until around 1990, young people could easily enter enterprises after graduating from university and become full-time employees. Enterprises usually equipped dormitories or employee housing to reduce the financial burden of employees. Children who work in big cities can also send living expenses to their parents in their hometown. Therefore, social welfare policies mainly consider how to protect the lives of the elderly, and establish annuity system and nursing insurance system. It doesn’t matter that young people are excluded from the social security system.

Japanese society is keen to protect the lives of middle-aged and elderly people, and has not come up with any effective countermeasures for young people who cannot find formal jobs. The annuity system is relatively complete, and 60% of social financial assets are held by the elderly over 60 years old. For the elderly with high income and high assets, the government still invests in annuities for them, but it imposes income restrictions on policies such as childcare subsidies and free high school education.

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