Editor’s note: Students have been reading Anne Allison‘s Precarious Japan and are commenting how recent economic and social challenges in Japan are impacting their plans for their futures.
by Yohei Kondo
I have some plans for future. The first one is to graduate Ritsumeikan University in four years. After that, I’m planning to go back to Hiroshima which is my home town and get a job at Mazda car company, because my family is living in Hiroshima and my grand mother wants me to come home. My house in Hiroshima is one of ibasho for me, because everytime I come home, my family says “Welcome home” and I feel relaxed with them. My father is working at Mazda. It is one of the biggest companies in Hiroshima and it is paid work. My mother is teaching English for high school students. Thanks to my parent’s effort, I could come to Kyoto and study what I want to do. My mother’s side grandmother is living with my parents. On the other hand, my dad’s side grandmother is over seventy years old, however she is living by herself. I’m worrying about her, because in the book Precarious Japan there were two stories about old people who died because they were disconnected from others. I think these reports realized me how important to have a connection with others. Also, I want to get married before I am 30 years old and have 2 children just like my parents. I would like to spend much time with my family on every Saturdays and Sundays.
However, these plans are unstable because of today’s Japanese society. It is getting more and more difficult for us (young people) to get a job because a large number of companies employ cheaper laborers from other countries. I am apprehensive about this job shortage could increase the number of “furita”,“hikikomori” and “parasite singles” and it create a “muen-shakai”. In my future, if I am a furita or something like that, I probably cannot get married because of short income. Typically, Irregular workers income is less than regular worker’s one. Regular workers get 4 million yen per year, on the other hand, average irregular worker’s annual income is under 2 million yen. It means that it is difficult for irregular workers to have children and take care of their family too.
I think these structures of Japanese society are destroying people’s dreams and creating heartless people. So, what we have to do are to find our own ibasho where we can feel comfortable, build a relationship with those around us, be nice to other people in order to exterminate the word of “muen-shakai” from Japan.