Libmonster ID: U.S.-1421
Author(s) of the publication: E. L. KATASONOVA
Educational Institution \ Organization: Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

The mood of a delayed or, on the contrary, returned childhood is unusually strong in Japan, and the spirit of infantilism has penetrated Japanese culture so deeply that sometimes it even seems that previously reasonable and rational Japanese people are not without pleasure plunged headlong into this happy and for many nostalgic world. And Japanese society itself, despite its social isolation, traditional numerous regulations and rationalism of thinking, seems to have long accepted the conditions of this universal exciting game in childhood.

Tokyo and other major cities in Japan are decorated with colorful posters with popular manga and anime characters, which are a serious competition for advertising beer and household appliances. Shop windows and even drugstores were filled with cute doll characters - real and virtual-not to mention the largest specialized toy shopping centers, one of which, under the name "Kitty run-do" (Kitty Land), recently appeared on the most fashionable street in Tokyo Omotesando. Not only children and teenagers, but almost every adult has a mandatory accessory - keychains with funny faces, bells, bows and other intricate little things attached to bags, purses and mobile phones. And in the crowd every now and then a young employee or a solid businessman will flash by in a tie with dogs or lion cubs, or a female iola person will appear in a scarf with the image of kittens, monkeys and other touching creatures.


The need to stay and look young is dictated today by the mass media, manufacturers of everyday goods, as well as ubiquitous advertising, which have reoriented their marketing strategy exclusively to youth standards, fully understanding their enduring power. And global shifts in the value orientations of the population, increased material wealth at times, the rapid development of new technologies and the amazing success of medicine sometimes push the Japanese into an endless pursuit of the "Makropulos remedy", which allows them to preserve eternal youth.

Among young unmarried women, there is a craze for the talking doll "Primo Piero", with which you can communicate literally as with a child. She is a full - fledged member of the family for them: they buy miogochis for her-

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linen outfits, which are presented in a large assortment in stores, are photographed with her, taken with them on a trip. Moreover, the more time you spend with this amazing creature, the more words this doll begins to pronounce, react more actively to your presence and even sing several dozen songs. What is it: just a toy or a new and relatively inexpensive way to spend leisure time for single people? No wonder such dolls are even sent to nursing homes to somehow brighten up the dull and monotonous life of their guests.

And teenagers prefer their own toys and collect collections of inexpensive plastic or rubber figures of characters from popular animated films - the so-called karakuta figiya (from the English character's figure). It got to the point that the most popular figurines were sold even in grocery stores in a set with sweets. So there was a new and rather strange phrase sekou gangu, which means "artistic edible toys". Moreover, chocolates or sweets in this case go to the load, and fashionable figures, costing $3-4, are the main bait for the buyer. In short, Japanese people of all ages have already made a habit of surrounding themselves with all sorts of small and pleasant inexpensive toys and other small things that, according to them, have a positive emotional impact and create a sense of spiritual comfort that transports them to the world of childhood.

Back in the 1930s, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers defined the main idea of the age of mass culture, stating: "People should stay young"1. Developing this idea, some experts today claim that "if the XX century made youth mass culture the main culture of the Western world, then the XXI century is moving further: from youth culture to children's culture"2. While it is difficult to agree with such forecasts or challenge them, the idea of absolute leadership of the youth subculture in the general flow of multi-faceted mass culture of the XX century seems quite objective. And the cultural experience of Japan once again convincingly proves this.


Today in Japan, there is a lot of talk and writing about the crisis of the younger generation, calling it "lost" and even "lost", which is primarily associated with the radical social and socio-cultural changes that have taken place in Japanese society over the past decades. The prolonged economic depression of the stagnant decade of the 1990s, the constant waves of the global financial crisis, tangible failures in the system of lifelong employment, without which, in essence, the entire way of life of Japanese people collapses, and other negative phenomena of modern life radically changed the economic and social situation in the country and led to fundamental changes in people's minds. The definition of "silent revolution"fits this situation perfectly.3

Japanese boys and girls no longer want to follow the path of their fathers: they no longer put common group interests above personal ones. Individuality and self-expression became their credo. At the same time, Japanese individualism is not only an imitation of the West, it is a protest against the group consciousness of the past era. And from here, literally everything changes: the attitude to life, to work, relationships with each other, with parents, etc. Young Japanese people can hardly be called "workaholics" (a definition that, as it seemed earlier, was always assigned to representatives of this nation). The principle of "living to work" has already lost all meaning for them, just as the ideas of fanatical devotion to their company and dreams of career growth are no longer popular among young people. Unlike their fathers and grandfathers, their children and grandchildren today strive, but if possible, to work less and live more interestingly. And the reduced incomes are ready to compensate for a sharp reduction in material requirements, for which the carriers of these views were called "herbivores". The main thing for most of them is independence from society and having free time to realize their own talents and hobbies (for example, writing rock music or creating a mat).


The category of "herbivores", first of all, should include the so-called "freeters" - furita, which in free translation can mean "free hard workers". The term was borrowed from the English language and comes from the word freeter. But if for the West this is a fairly common phenomenon, then for traditional Japanese society such behavior of young people was not at all typical recently. Furita prefer not permanent work at one firm in the system of lifelong employment, as in former times, but temporary earnings or hourly part-time jobs, preferring to live ,as they say,"on free bread".

"They don't want to be lawyers, doctors, or teachers, but simply have enough money to live on," the Japan Youth Institute report4 says. However, the "freeters" themselves formulate answers to questions about their future somewhat differently: 40% of men and 23% of women dream of becoming independent professionals, but they all doubt that they will succeed.5 According to the newspaper "Rondza", the number of Furita in Japan has already exceeded 4 million people, and most of them are young people who have just passed the 20-year mark 6. According to one survey-

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According to a survey conducted in 2006, 48% of respondents aged 15-24 years and 26% of respondents aged 25-34 years classified themselves in this category.7 At the same time, from 1990 to 2001, the number of children aged 19-30 years (excluding students) increased 2.3 times - from 1.83 million to 4.17 million, which allows us to speak of them as a social group with its own psychology 8. The main thing that unites them is a typical philosophy of life: to live in the present day without looking to the future.

The Japanese also needed foreign terminology to refer to another new social phenomenon for this country. These are the so - called niito, from the English NEET( Not in Education, Employment or Training), people, mostly young people, who generally prefer not to work or study anywhere for a long time. Their number also increases every year. In 2009, 640,000 Japanese declared their belonging to the niito category: 260 thousand (40%) at the age of 15-24 years and 380 thousand (60%) at the age of 25-34 years.9

Not all furita and niito should be perceived as "golden youth". After all, the reasons for such a "cool" attitude to work can be completely different. Some people are looking for a job not only in their specialty, but also in their soul, and this can be very difficult. Others are still undecided about their life priorities.

However, some of them have chosen the lifestyle of potential parasites. After all, it is much easier to live for your own pleasure on everything ready-made at the expense of your parents, on whose shoulders it is easy and simple to shift the entire burden of your own material and everyday problems. These young people, who now make up about 10% of the total working population of the country, were rather figuratively dubbed "lone parasites" by sociologist Masahiro Yamada. Moreover, a number of researchers consider this phenomenon to be the result of the "depravity" of Japanese youth, while others, including the scientist Genda Ueda, argue that young people are victims of the older generation, which realizes its economic interests at the expense of young people.10

As the Asahi newspaper notes, " much of the behavior of young Japanese people is due to the fact that they were born in an era free from worries about food, and therefore largely lost such valuable qualities of their parents as diligence and diligence... they do not set serious goals in life, but they are very pragmatic and cold. For example, 52% of Japanese students said they were "happy" with the present and not worried about the future, compared to only 22% of their American peers and 13% of their Taiwanese peers. " 11

And so think not only schoolchildren, but also young people with well-formed views. In order not to leave their parents ' home, these lovers of a well-fed and free life are even ready not to start families, not to give birth to children, not to have sex, etc. Suffice it to say that the number of marriages performed in Japan has declined over the past 30 years. If in 1970 their rate was 10 per 1000 people, then in 2010 it decreased to 5.6. The opposite trend of family life is a continuous increase in divorces: 0.74 per 1000 people in 1960; 2.0 - in 2010.12

A significant part of young people are in no hurry to formalize their relationships, but if they do, it is not at a young age: in 1950, the average age of marriage was close to 26 for men and 23 for women, and by 2009 it had risen to 30.4 and 28.6 years, respectively.13 And this, in turn, leads to a sharp decline in childbearing and rapid aging of Japanese society, which exacerbates the already acute demographic problem in the country.

Of course, such rather symptomatic social phenomena are problems not only in Japan, but also in many developed countries. However, for example, in France, to

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this category of young people is treated more leniently and even loyally, having chosen for their youngsters a rather soft and poetic definition - "kangaroo generation", i.e. cubs comfortably settled on the mother's body. For Japan, this kind of dependency sentiment is something new and not very typical of the national mentality, and here they take their own specific, sometimes extreme forms. One of them is the previously mentioned Hikikomori phenomenon - "voluntary seclusion", which has affected about 1 million people14 and has become a real scourge for Japanese society.

The term was coined by psychologist Tamaki Saito, who states that "approximately 20% of young Japanese people (1% of the country's population) actually sit locked in their own rooms for years," usually in front of computers, completely immersed in virtual worlds.15 This problem has also been encountered in the West, and it is also known firsthand in Russia, where many parents are making desperate efforts to pull their children out of the vast abyss of the "world wide web". However, in Japan, due to the specifics of its modern culture, focused primarily on the world's most advanced technology carriers, this phenomenon is becoming widespread, generating complete alienation of these "voluntary recluses" from the outside world, conflicts in the family, all kinds of antisocial behavior, reaching mental illnesses and even crimes.


Suffice it to say that in recent years, there have been more and more reports in the press about the murder of parents by their own children aged 16 to 20 years. Spoiled children complain of "lack of freedom", inattention to their personality and life needs, but can only prove their "adulthood" in such a perverse way, in which experts often see the influence of mata and anime16.

What can we say about honoring your elders and caring for them, which was once considered a traditional Japanese virtue. Today's young people are less likely to listen to the "old people" and do not seek to follow their advice. And the older generations, in turn, as usual at all times, tend to criticize modern boys and girls, accusing them of social immaturity, selfishness, irresponsibility, laziness, bad manners, etc. However, the only thing in which the young people are still recognized as the palm of superiority is in a high degree of freedom and ability to handle modern technical innovations, which allows them to easily adapt to the conditions of a high-tech information society. And this is only a part of the number of acute confrontational moments that separate "fathers" and "children"today.

Serious problems are observed today not only in the family, but also in school. The old education system is literally falling apart before our eyes, turning every year into an "Achilles' heel " on the path of social development. The daily mechanical cramming of textbooks, the" hell " of endless exams, acts of bullying and violence in the student environment - this is not the whole list of those negative social moments that modern teenagers constantly face in the process of growing up. And after receiving secondary education, about half of the graduates (57.7% of boys and 56% of girls)Students face a series of problems of a different nature, and first of all, the choice of a university, which clearly differ in their prestige. After all, the social value of education for the Japanese is more important than the professional one, but it is also gradually losing its power.

Even graduates of elite educational institutions in recent years are increasingly faced with the problem of a kind of "oversupply" of specialists with higher education, regardless of its quality and specialization. That is why Japanese students are faced with one of the main questions at the end of a four-year university course today: the choice of a further career path is either to continue studying at a university or to enter the service.

It's amazing, but the future career, perhaps, is more exciting for today's representatives.-

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calves of the so-called weaker sex. Young Japanese women, previously tied to the home, have recently been trying to take revenge for all the "missed opportunities". That is why they prefer full professional self-realization to starting a family - a good education and a prestigious job, and political equality with men has long been a completely resolved issue for them. This category of young women puts off their families and children "for later", giving a clear preference to satisfying their ever-growing material needs, and after them, their spiritual needs. And this, first of all, is shopping, entertainment, delicious food, sports, traveling abroad, etc.

It is not surprising that the main consumers of the modern cultural industry are girls from wealthy families and successful young women, which affects their lifestyle, taste preferences, etc. Those who are older, clearly gravitate to all sorts of branded foreign things-Louis Vuitton bags, Dior scarves, etc., which is an indicator of prestige and social success for them. And their younger friends, on the contrary, tend to emphasize childishness in their clothes and behavior (kodomoppoi), while trying to look both cute (kawaii) and sexy (sekushi), which, at the same time, does not exclude their attraction to the "unisex"style.

By the way, the "unisex" style is actively exploited by the so-called strong half of humanity. True, now this definition is no longer suitable for many Japanese boys and young men. Their character and actions are increasingly dominated by infantile and emotional indifference, and in appearance the masculine principle (if any) is hidden behind purely feminine attributes: long dyed hair, jewelry, clothes of exotic colors and styles, etc. To the detriment of traditional ideas about purely male activities and hobbies, these youngsters are more typical of shopping and almost fanatical self-care: they carefully monitor their appearance, actively use cosmetics, etc., for which they were even dubbed "effeminate" - ojo-men. This type of young people is becoming increasingly fashionable and attractive in Japan, as opposed to the previously popular types of brutal samurai, biker or yakuza *.

As Australian journalist Mark Villasi points out, "For centuries, Japanese men have been characterized by brute strength and a killer sword - from the fearsome samurai to the fearsome sumo wrestler. By the twentieth century. The soldier's self-sacrifice was the culmination of Japanese masculinity, which was replaced by the image of a" corporate warrior " - a sarariman who conquered the world. However, the new age has led to a new generation of men who are more likely to indulge their desires than to show self-sacrifice.

Many in Japan believe that the feminization of men is a consequence of young people's observation of the generation of their fathers and grandfathers and their unwillingness to follow sarariman stereotypes - to lead a monotonous life, marry and have children at a certain age, and save money. " 18 It should be noted that this new youth morality, and even more so, lifestyle and, Naturally, fashion is dictated and shaped primarily through advertising and the media, which contributes greatly to maintaining social stability in Japanese society, but at the same time deprives young people of their creative potential and slows down their social and psychological maturation.

What is left for a young person in such a situation? Perhaps there is nothing else but to realize with anxiety that all the ideals taught to him by school and society and well - memorized by himself no longer work, and the main values in life are not those that are imposed from the outside, but those that form his individual inner world. Tachibanaki Toshiaki, a professor at Kyoto University, points out that " in every era, the young have been a force for change in society. I regret to point out that today Japanese youth have a completely different character of behavior. Young people have separated from society as a whole and formed their own world."19


Summarizing and analyzing all these phenomena that are far from typical for Japanese people and almost unknown to older generations, which occur in the modern youth environment, Japanese sociologists write a lot about the formation of a new type of people. The famous Japanese researcher Chikio Hayashi, who for many years has been engaged in the study of the national character of the Japanese, refers to them only as the" new humanity " - shinjinrui. On the basis of the trends he has observed over the past few decades, he confidently concludes that in the twenty-first century. The Japanese nation will be represented by a new generation of Shinjinrui. "Its appearance is not just a consequence of the process of Westernization, internationalization and the growing complexity of Japanese society... Having many common features with their predecessors, its representatives will have a completely different value system and emotional world, " explains the sociologist 20.

The main difference between Shinjinrui and other age categories, according to T. Hayashi, is that these young people finally completely overcame the "Achilles heel" of many generations of Japanese people in their minds, getting rid of the dichtomy

Yakuza-representatives of organized crime in Japan.

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divisions of the world into "traditional" and "modern". This means that the contradictions and confrontations between these two concepts in modern reality are rapidly losing all meaning. Western values no longer have the overwhelming appeal for young Japanese people as for older generations of residents of this country, because today they have already harmoniously blended into Japanese reality. The tradition, on the other hand, is no longer perceived as something old, obsolete and out-of-date, which has existed in the minds of a significant part of the population since the first years after the Meiji restoration.

In turn, Hosei University professor Osamu Nakano highlights other differences between Shinjinrui and previous generations, the main ones are "the increasing role of individual priorities" and " the gradual transition from general values to individual, aesthetic ones; from interest in the function of things to their semiotic aspects (color and shape); from stability to stability." He explains these fundamental changes in the national character primarily by the relativization of values that the high level of economic abundance and the resulting erosion of the old hierarchy of values led to in Japanese society, seeing in all this a natural transition from modernism to postmodernism22.

O. Nakano also writes about the transformation that has taken shape in recent years in the minds of young people from material values to spiritual ones. But, apparently, we are talking only about long-term trends that are only gaining strength, while the material component still clearly prevails today in the value orientations of a significant part of the country's young population. Even the researcher himself has to admit that today's young men and women are "preoccupied with pleasure and comfort"23. And then he examines this situation in more detail :" They are closer to pleasure than suffering; entertainment than work; consumption than production; evaluation than creativity; movement than stability; variability than stability; fluidity than organization; escapism than participation; signs than things; appearance, than essence; free form than structure " 24.

These qualities, according to O. Nakano, are quite naturally combined with such new concepts for the Japanese as respect for freedom, equal rights and individuality of other people and complete indifference to group values. "They do not have close friends, and they tend to replace their previous close social contacts with communication in groups (subcultural), which sometimes exist for a short time and arise accidentally," he notes. - In these groups, young people remain largely isolated from each other. Moreover, this isolation is in its own way inevitable and voluntary. And the psychosocial lagoon that emerges in these conditions is filled with mass media and, mainly, the Internet, which forms the structure of thinking and emotions of young people " 25.

He calls the "new Japanese" a generation of "moratorian people", whose main feature of consciousness is outright infantilism: they prefer the real reality of the game in childhood and do not want to become adults. Moreover, according to the Japanese researcher, "moratorium psychology" is not only a consequence of material abundance, but also the result of a growing aversion to so-called modernist values, which is manifested in the increased interest of young Japanese people in illusory simplicity and naturalness. " 26

The term "moratorium people" was first coined by the famous Japanese psychiatrist Keigo Okonogi in the 1980s, after which this theory became widely used in Japan. "In modern society," he writes, " the type of people who do not seek to take on certain obligations to society, who do not intend to identify themselves with any party or organization, prefer absolute independence and try to escape from the control of society and the narrow framework is becoming more and more apparent official youth culture"27. Indeed, young people today are happy to identify with this new type of Japanese, demonstrating their rejection of many aspects of modern Japanese society.


2 Ibid.

3 The term belongs to the famous Japanese sociologist Sumiko Iwao. For more information, see: Japan: Economy and Society in the Ocean of Problems, Moscow, 2012, p. 128.


5 Nezavisimaya gazeta. 29.11.2004. 6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Japan: Economy and Society in the Ocean of Problems, p. 118.

9 Ibid.

Genda Yuji. 10 The New Reality Fasing Japanese Youth. Tokyo, 2005.

11 Japan: Economy and Society in the Ocean of Problems, p. 119.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid., p. 120.

14 Ibid., p. 126.

15 Anime Guide, Moscow, 2008, April, issue 27, p. 42.

16 Japan: Economy and Society in the Ocean of Problems, p. 125.

17 Ibid., p. 116.

18 Ibid., p. 136.

19 Nezavisimaya gazeta...

20 Cit. po: Postmodernism and the spiritual values of the Japanese people. Moscow, 1995, p. 20.

Nakano Osamu. 21 Shinjinrui genrong (Theory of New People). Tokyo, Seiron, 1986, N 11, p. 31.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid., p. 37.

27 Cit. by: Postmodernism and cultural values of the Japanese people.., p. 31.


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