Seeking a stable life in precarious Japan

Help Japan

Help Japan (Photo credit: Ray Schönberger)

Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.

Anonymous student post.

I hope that I spend my life with a secure job, getting married and giving birth to a child. However, after reading Anne Allison’s book, I thought that we can’t have too much hope. Now, I’ll state the current situation of  Japan and how can I draw my future plans.

At first, it is hard to get job because a lot of companies decrease their regular employees with the depression. Therefore, the number of irregular workers have been increasing and a lot of youth are experiencing an unstable life. In this situation, the government perform an increase of the consumption tax. This policy is one of the factors that torment the life of low-income group and spread the gap between low-income group and upscale. Moreover, the government plan more increases tax again in 2015 and the gap is estimated to become more critical.

Also, recently, the non-payment of scholarship is in question. Many people may get scholarships when they are students. Of course, this is the money from the government or organization and we have duty to pay it back. 340,000 people, and 79.7 billion yen. According to the Japan Student Services Organization, this figure is the number and amount of non-payment scholarship. It is said that the half of non-payers spend their life with less than 300 hundred yen in year. Many youth are suffering from paying back the money.

The difficulty of finding employment affects not only unstable income but kakusa shakai. If you want to get a secure job in this situation of difficulty finding work, you need to have income and academic background as your own. Whether you can get the good education depends on the earning of your parents. Therefore, the starting point is different depending on the family resources.

In conclusion, it is difficult to have hope for the future in that society. We need to provide for a lot of money, such as increasing taxes, paying scholarships, child-raising, education expenditures of children, and so on. To have a stable life, it is important to get a job at a better company or to have a stable occupation. Companies tend to make a point of academic background. Therefore, what I can do now for the future is learning and experiencing various things at university. Although Japan’s precariousness can’t be changed by the actions of just one person and I don’t know how to change it, I want this society to change into a better one so that everybody can live peacefully.

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Planning a future with family and relationships

Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.

by Takashi Nakai

In the first class, when the professor asked me what I want to be, I must have answered that I have no idea. However, as I joined in this class and discuss the contents with some classmates there, I think that I need to have a clear vision of my life, because as I read Anne Allison’s Precarious Japan, I learned a lot from the current precariousness of Japan.

I will start to think the expectations of my work. The author says that there is a large number of irregular workers in Japan. They have as high a risk of being cut off as regular workers. Also, today even if you can be a regular worker, many people might have an uncomfortable impression on their working conditions. One of this is that some workers are forced to work hard beyond their working time. It is not until know these facts that I would like to be a regular worker in the office and when I have to choose what kind of working in the future, I should have no mistake of choosing the office.

Allison analyzes the current relationships of Japan. I begin to think from this what I want to be about them. Today there are many cases that people meet the end of their lives. Especially, this situation may apply to the old who live alone because of the lack of the relationships around the community and their family. When I read or listen to the fact, I strongly hope to avoid dying alone. To do it, I might have to have a family of mine and have children and grandchildren. Add to this, I should have the good relationships of the community, for example: office, family, friends, neighborhood, and so on. In the various kinds of categories, I should have what the term of “ibasho” expresses.

I will make the conclusion about my expectations. After graduating from this university, I may well enter the office and continue to work for long years of my life without the special reasons. On the other hand, needless to say, it is difficult for me to get some job which I am eager to, due to the recession of this society. After all, I think it is essential for me to make many kinds of experiences.

Gogatsu-byou: The “sickness” that strikes Japan each and every May

In the university, the freshness of a new academic year that students and faculty may feel in April can give way to the reality of homework, tests, and grading in May. Thankfully, the May weather is pleasant, so we can seek solace in the warm sun, before the heat and humidity of summer arrive.

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Gogatsu byou

As well as being the start of the new business and academic year, April in Japan also marks the time when new graduates make their first forays into the world of full-time employment and many companies rotate their staff both to keep them on their toes and help them acquire new skills. It’s a fun, frenetic time of year, and everyone from kids in their new school uniforms to fresh-faced employees wearing crisp, black suits looks tremendously smart and presentable as they hurry to their place of education or employment, eager to make the most of their day.

In May, however, it all comes crashing down. Reality sets in and people start to realise that everything is just as awful as it was before, albeit with a few quirks and a shiny new name badge or lunchbox. The fire in kids’ bellies goes out, the twinkle disappears from new employees’ eyes, and they…

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Nagoya NPO releases survival guide for hikikomori for when their parents are gone

As the post notes, the aging of the parents of hikikomori will present new challenges for Japanese society, as the parents are no longer able to provide support to their children. Will job-hunting strategies be included in the basic living tips?

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The social phenomenon of hikikomori, where people are compelled to remain confined in their own homes, is not new anymore. What is new, however, is the looming issue of what happens when a hikikomori’s parents become elderly or die.

Recently a scattering of cases has begun involving people who have filed for government support after their parents have died. And with estimates of the hikikomori population hovering around one million in Japan, experts are suggesting this is just the tip of the impending iceberg.

One group called Nadeshiko No Kai out of Nagoya is looking to take the bull by the horns and is nearly ready to issue a manual – the first of its kind – for hikikomori to aid them in becoming independent once their parents are no longer able to help.

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70 Japanese students volunteer to help clean Canada’s shores of Tohoku Tsunami debris

Props to Ritsumeikan University student Yusuke Oike and his colleagues for showing overseas the same spirit of volunteerism they showed in Japan they showed in Japan.

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On 11 March, 2011 Hiroki Takai was studying at a university in Vancouver. Instead of feeling helpless at the steadily flowing images of destruction in the media following the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami, he quickly took action and gathered other Japanese students to raise money for their homeland. Thanks to the students’ efforts and the generosity of the people of Vancouver the “Japan Love Project” managed to raise CAN$320,000 (US$288,000) in aid.

Now, with the 3-year anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake approaching, Takai wanted to pay the kindness of the Canadians back. As a part of the International Volunteer University Student Association (IVUSA) he asked for a team to travel to the West coast of Canada to help clean up the still-increasing driftage that is washing up on its shores. Headed by fourth-year Ritsumeikan University student Yusuke Oike, a crew of 70 students answered the call.

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Hundreds of Copies of Anne Frank’s Diary Vandalized in Japan

Early press reports had people blaming the vandalism on foreigners, saying Japanese could never commit such a crime. While we wait for the guilty parties to be named, the response from within Japan and overseas has been encouraging, as volunteered copies of the books have arrived.


Japan’s slide to the political right appeared to take an alarming new twist with the discovery this month of hundreds of vandalized copies of the famed diary by Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

So far, more than 300 copies of The Diary of a Young Girl and other books related to Frank have been found with pages torn out or slashed at public libraries throughout Tokyo. Although no one has claimed responsibility, suspicion has fallen on conservative or rightist elements that have been pushing a revisionist view of Japan’s wartime and colonial history.

Officials in southern Japan were heavily criticized overseas this month for submitting farewell letters and other documents from World War II kamikaze pilots for inclusion in the UNESCO register of world cultural heritage.

The Frank diary, which chronicles the life of a young Jewish girl as she and her family hid from the Nazis, was added to the…

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