The struggles of minimum wage

by Keita Sakato

There are a lot of irregular workers in Japan today. They might have fallen into this situation because of Japan’s precarious economics. Then, can they make sufficient money with irregular jobs?

The minimum wage is different in each prefecture. For example, it is 869 yen per hour in Tokyo. This is the highest in Japan. On the other side, in 8 prefectures such as Kochi and Tokushima, it is only 664 yen per hour. This is the lowest in Japan, and the average wage per hour is 764 yen. There are such big differences among urban prefectures like Tokyo and rural prefectures like Kochi. However, the differences in wages are not a problem because the prices of all things are higher in urban prefectures than in other prefectures. The problem which we need to pay attention to is that the minimum wage is too low to make enough money.

It is too difficult to live contentedly if people work at the lowest minimum wage, 664 yen. For example, if a man who was fired by a company and has no family started an irregular job which is the lowest wage one, can he get back to a stable life? He works 8 hours a day and 4 days a week. Even though he wishes to work 7 days a week, he cannot do because there are only a few jobs for irregular workers. He can earn 5,312 yen a day, 21,248 yen a week and 84,992 yen a month. He lives alone in a small apartment and cannot depend on his family because he has nothing. He needs to pay the rent of his apartment, 40,000 yen, and the expenses for lighting and fuel, 9,000 yen a month. Also, he needs to pay his taxes, 8,000 yen a month. The left money is only about 28,000 yen. Of course he must eat to live, so he must pay food expenses from his left money. He has no money to live as a normal man. He will not be able to eat delicious foods and play with anyone. He may abandon his apartment because of the high rent for him. After that, he will spend every night in the net café or fast food shop or by the river.

The above example is not a special case. Some unfortunate Japanese people fall into bad situations like this one. The government has to rescue them from this situation. One of the ways to rescue them is to raise the minimum wage for irregular workers because the present wage is too low. This is the thing that the government should do making haste.

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There’s more than one path to success

by Yuki Kamino

I understood Anne Allison’s way of thinking about “jiko sekinin” in this way. She says that with high economic growth, our level of life has improved a lot and Japanese people gradually put more emphasis on making money to live better. Family roles are also divided, as fathers go to a company, mothers do housework for their family, and even children have a role in that they have to go to school. In this change of society, a lot of Japanese think it ideal to succeed at school, get a secure job and find a good marriage partner. This course to better life is important to be independent and it is also an important status for Japanese people. As Allison says, this is becoming stronger in today’s atmosphere, but while some are able to walk this course, there are another who are thrown out from there. Those people feel difficulty in life (ikizurasa) and tend to become “hikikomori”.

The good points of “jiko sekinin” is that to be independent, people make a lot of effort. Thanks to their big effort, our level of life has largely improved and we are one of the developed countries. Moreover, as today is called a competitive society, we have a mutual influence on each other, so we have much expectation in the future still more.

While a competitive society give us benefits, it also brings a gap between rich people who are good at accepting themselves to the society and people who are not good at it. I think this is a result of “jiko sekinin”.

I feel that Japanese society has a model in how to be a good person or live better life is written, and a lot of Japanese believe it and are eager to follow it. I think because of the model, some successful people look down on others, and those others more and more feel “ikizurasa”.

In my opinion, we should get out of the model. Of course we have to be independent, but I think the new way can be different, depending on people. I was very surprised at the story of Chihara. He is a very famous comedian who appears in a lot of TV programs. If people know only his past that he did not go to school and confined himself in his room … they could have a bad impression of him. However, we know he makes us happy through TV, and he is loved and respected by many people. No one makes fun of him.

As we can see from the story of Chihara, there is not only one way to success. I believe we should have our own course to be independent.

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Path Forward

JaPan kaNto

JaPan kaNto (Photo credit: ~Alia~)

by Jea Jeongmin

Modern Japanese society faces lots of difficulties. The decline in marriage and birth rates causes an aging society, and the rise of “hikikomori” and suicide have been recent social problems. If this goes on, the number of unattended deaths will be increasing. Also, the rate of working-age population who will have to support the Japanese economy will decrease and we will not be able to afford the social welfare expense and sustention of finance.

In addition, all people in Japan should have equal rights, such as right to vote or to get employed. For example, foreign people in Japan do not have the right to vote in elections. Also, historically, there has been some social discrimination against permanent Korean residents in Japan in terms of getting a job or housing. When Japanese people found out the fact that Korean people apply for a job or house, they reject Korean people for no reason. Nowadays, however, the situation has been getting better compared to the past. However, this historical evidence remains in Japanese society and they feel that they have been discriminated by Japanese society.

As mentioned above, there are so many social issues in Japan that must be solved to make the future better. When it comes to who will be able to solve these serious issues and change the darker Japanese society, it would be the Japanese government. As for aging society, the reason why Japanese society turned into aging is because percentage of unmarried people is increasing and birth rate is decreasing. What the government has to do to solve this problem is establish a social security system like a system of childcare leave. Japanese government must realize the fact that Japanese economy will fall into a decline if the aging society progresses. In order to stop the recession in the future, Japanese government needs money to establish the social system so that Japanese government should increase the tax more as they are doing right now. Then, Japanese government uses money in an appropriate way, that is, establishing great social welfare system to rebuilt the Japanese economy.

In addition, in terms of having equal rights, foreign people should have the right to vote so that a number of immigration will be increasing in the future in Japan. Foreign workers will be necessary in Japan because young population will be decreasing. If foreign people realize the fact that Japan is acceptable country without having to naturalize, there will be possibility that more foreign people will come to Japan to work.

In conclusion, in order to get economy better from these present problems in Japan, Japanese government leads from the front and take some actions.

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“Refugees” in Japan

by Narumi Ito

Nowadays, people who lose their homes are increasing in Japan because they might be laid off by their companies and cannot earn money. They have to sleep in fast food shops, family restaurants and Internet cafes. “Refugees” is increasing in Japan. According to Anne Allison, a refugee is someone who is homeless or a net café nanmin. It has become a serious problem in Japan. Most of them work as temporary laborers or day laborers. Their salaries are unstable thus they cannot rent their home. However, when they can sleep at net café, they will feel happy because they sometimes have to sleep outside, for instance, at stations or under bridges and on streets. They do not have enough money to spend indoor.

Refugees have two big problems. The first problem is a certificate of residence. If the situation of their addresses are unsettled, they do not have their houses, thus they may treated as drifters by Japanese law. Moreover they have many problems if they do not have their certificates of residence. They cannot renew their driver’s licenses, have universal suffrage or receive unemployment insurance. In addition, they cannot rent new apartments when they become to be able to rent them because they cannot register the legal registration of their official seals.

Second is an illness. They cannot go to hospital because they cannot pay their consultation fees, however, I think that they have much possibilities of becoming ill. They always spend at places which are insanitary. In fact, there are many people who contract tuberculosis or some infectious diseases at net cafes. Most refugees tend to use Internet café thus they may get mass infection.

The right to life is written clearly in the Constitution of Japan. It is that all Japanese people have right to make healthy and cultural life and have the minimum standard of living. I think that welfare is based on the Japanese constitution thus Japanese government should give refugees which include homeless and net cafe nanmin the minimum lives. However Japanese government cannot protect this right. In fact, Japanese government do not treat with the problem of refugees. Most refugees are deleted their certificates of residence. They can request their welfare if they do not register their resident registration. Thus they request Japanese office to be on welfare. Japanese public office do not give welfare to them because officers think it is troublesome.

For example, offers of welfare from refugees are deferred or rejected or hidden. Officers may be able to neglect offers because the homeless do not register their residences. I assume that officers conceal the offers many times in Japan. The actual situation may let the problem of refugees worsen in Japan.

In my opinion, if Japanese public offices continue to neglect this problem, Japan have to own many more refugees in the future. If the Japanese government gives them minimum welfare or food protection, they may be saved, improve their lives and get jobs. Japanese government should make some concrete policies to deal with this problem. All Japanese people are protected by the Constitution of Japan equally and live healthily and happily.

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The trend of Japanese whiteness

by Yusuke Shiga

For women in modern society, whitening the skin by cosmetic products is so prevalent, and this trend is becoming more significant in terms of racial discrimination today. The influence of colonialism on not only developing, but developed countries is incalculable in various aspects. Still today, one’s appearance, especially skin color, plays a tremendous role in one’s access to essential stuff, from necessities for life such as housing, food, and clothing, to social security and social welfare. By lightening the skin color, people can more easily get these kinds of advantages and live more comfortably in a society. This social structure promotes the preference of whiter skin, however the skillful advertising and marketing strategies of cosmetic firms also affects this social inclination to white skin. Evelyn Nakano Glenn (2009) argues that the giant multinational corporations have grown by meeting the needs of women in each nation, thus the market for cosmetic products has expanded. When you focus on the Japanese case, the complicated contents can be seen.

Recently, Japanese women have sought white skin, as they think that white skin is beautiful or healthy and they persist in trying to to have whiter skin. There are some arguments about the reasons for this tendency, and some claim that Japanese ideal image of women is almost Caucasian because of the advertisements of media and companies. They insist that in most cases, whites are chosen as the models of cosmetic companies, and regarded as beautiful women, and therefore Japanese women try to mimic Westerners. On the other hand, others claim that whitening one’s skin color is part of Japanese traditional culture, because even in the Nara period, people already had customs to whiten their skin tone by using “Oshiroi” (White powder). However, in my opinion, these arguments neglect some important points toward this question “Why do Japanese women seek white skin?”.

Of course, we cannot define the main cause of Japanese preferences for white skin, since there are lots of causes and all of them are associated with each other. Through the discussion of my class, many of the interesting, persuasive ideas are came up and I consider this issue deeply, then I came to the conclusion.

In my opinion, we Japanese all share the misleading idea “Japanese must have nearly same white skin tone naturally”. Therefore, we sometimes discriminate against “Jiguro people (people who naturally have blacker skin compared to other Japanese)” regardless of their birthplace, and draw the line between “naturally white Japanese” and “naturally black Japanese”. Furthermore, because of this premise, “skin whiteness” symbolizes one’s youth or health. Having white skin implies that you make an effort to keep your youth by caring for your skin condition.

In Japan, a proverb says “stand out from the crowd and you just invite trouble for yourself”. Not to be “others”, to keep one’s youth, and to become healthy, Japanese women are paranoid to have white skin, I guess.

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White is right: Body decoration, skin color, and beauty in Japan

Nivea Skin Whitening

Nivea Skin Whitening (Photo credit: kalleboo)

by Saki Miyata

Body decoration is a term that describes how people change how they look from how they looked originally. This decoration of the body seems to be conducted by people in order for them to symbolize or fit into a certain group. Skin lightening is also one kind of body decoration which can be practiced worldwide. In Japan, it is not difficult to find women who use skin whitening products. The practice of skin whitening has become a very “natural” thing for women in Japan.

It has become “natural” for woman to seek whiteness since the ideal beauty of Japanese is to have a white skin. The unconscious notion of “Japanese people are originally white” creates an image of white skin as pure, young, and healthy. Which drives women to practice skin lightening as an anti-aging process.

As Mikiko Ashikari (2005) notes, in Japan, “white skin” is also seen as dominant, since having tanned skin is something to be ashamed of, unless the tanned skin is a result of some leisure activities. This could be the result of thinking “Japanese skin is originally white and expected to be white”. An example of white being dominant is when talking about skin in Japan. Saying “Your skin is white (light)” is taken as a compliment. However, saying “your skin is black” is never connected with a positive image. It is also a taboo to point out to someone that they have black skin.

Japanese usually separate their whiteness from Caucasians’, and find uniqueness in Japanese whiteness. It is true that Japan has a tradition of seeing white as a symbol of purity and beauty. However this is not the only reason for this massive boom of skin whitening in Japan. By globalizing, Japan interacted with societies that were white dominant and white superior. This dominance of Caucasians has also affected the notion of universal beauty, which sees white as beautiful. However, even though this idea was imported to Japan, it is not recognized by people that they are trying to look white, since the idea of white=beautiful was already there. The globalization of cosmetic markets has also encouraged more women to practice skin lightening.

Personally I found it interesting to find out that Japanese unconsciously think we have white skin. However when I think about it, the “fresh colour” pencil crayon is light beige, which is lighter than the average Japanese skin. Although the pencil crayon does not represent Japanese skin tone, children colour their skin with this colour. When I was in Canada, I was drawing each other’s face with my Caucasian friend. I remember feeling really offended when she used light beige colour for her and dark yellowish brown colour on mine. Although I was only 8 years old when this happened, this shows how the sence of “Japanese skin” is deeply rooted in our minds.

Reference

Ashikari, Mikiko. 2005. “Cultivating Japanese Whiteness: The ‘Whitening’ Cosmetics Boom and the Japanese Identity.” Journal of Material Culture 10(1):73-91.

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Ibasho as a lifeline to maintain our lives

Michael Ende - Momo

Michael Ende – Momo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 Natsuki Shinmei

In this blog post, I would like to write about what I felt and thought through reading Allison’s book, and show what I hope for my future.

In Japanese society, we have a lot of inequality. Employment conditions are different between men and women. Different names are given to workers depending on their situation; sarari-man, furi-ta, NEETkasha ningen, and so on. The working style has changed from life-long jobs and a family-based model to a more flexible and unstable model. Because of fast-aging Japanese society, younger generations are not sure how much welfare pension insurance they will be able to receive.

Despite the fact that we are flowing in a precarious and unequal age, one thing which is equally given to everyone is “time”. Whether you are rich or poor, you have 24 hours each day. However, as I go on reading, I thought even “time” is eaten by someone in this society. For example, company men (kaisha ningen), who work too much and devote their personal time like evening, weekends, and leisure time to their company, seem to live their time less. In addition, according to Asahi newspaper (2014, April 28), Japanese female high school students spend 6.4 hours on average using a smart phone each day (this number is three times as much as that of seven years ago). They are facing its small screen for one-fourth of a day. I feel it is becoming true what happened in “Momo,” written by Michael Ende; the grey gentlemen steals the time of humans.

When I think about myself, I can say that I am living my time. I am studying what I want to, and I have friends and family, whom I feel comfortable being with. Therefore, I feel it can be said that having your time is often related to being at ibasho. Abe (2011) says that ibasho is a lifeline (inochi-zuna) to maintain people’s lives, and people who you trust in are there. When you imagine your ibasho, you should come up with several places or spaces. You may imagine your family, school, working place, your room or favorite café. Abe (2011) indicates this shows that you have various kinds of “you”, and “you” differ depending on ibasho. He also says that you are consisted of multifaceted “you” and supported by ibasho, maintaining your life in relationship with other people.

In conclusion, I want to make person-to-person relationships with people I have met and I will meet, and cherish my ibasho as a space I can be myself. Though precarious facts are shown in Allison’s book and some of them may happen to me,

ibasho would be my lifeline to survive this age.

References

Abe. M. (2011). Ibasho no shakaigaku [Sociology of Ibasho]. Japan. Nihon Keizai shinbun press.

Allison. A. (2013) Precarious Japan. Duke University Press.

Tenohira no sumaho [Smart phone on the palm] (2014.April 28). Asahi newspaper.

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Promoting a More Lively Planet

English: Internationally recognized symbol. De...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Kyle Phan

When the earthquake damaged Fukushima a couple years ago, I knew something big had occurred because radiation is not a simple matter. It was only when I came to Japan that I learned from a documentary that the aftermaths of the earthquake are indeed, really bad. People are protesting against nuclear power and the Japanese government must decide where to throw away its nuclear waste. It appears the situation got way out of control, and some people are ignoring the situation. I can’t really blame the people of Fukushima for feeling powerless, but I think everyone, especially countries who use nuclear power, should brainstorm solutions and learn from the situation instead of ignoring it. To prevent future scenarios involving nuclear radiation, the situation must be approached both locally and internationally because an environmental crisis could happen at any given time to any country that uses nuclear power.

In order to improve the conditions at Fukushima, it is really important that the government first stops denying the situation. The people with power need to take responsibility for their decisions of building the nuclear plant at Fukushima and start developing perspective of the unequal treatment of the people of Fukushima. Japanese politicians and any person with power needs to move away from their self-interests (tragedy of the commons) and realize the injustice of the situation because environmental crisis can happen to any person regardless of social background. If the Japanese government has the money, then why not fix the situation and help the victims of Fukushima? Allowing the nuclear waste pile up somewhere or discarding the waste to some poorer area in Japan or even China (environmental racism) is no solution.  If they decide to get rid of the waste like that, the politician must make sure no people inhabit the area, but doing so, either way has implications for the environment which must be handled internationally.

Since dealing with nuclear waste is easier said than done, I think the top scientists of every country that uses nuclear power should collaborate for some feasible solutions because they are the experts on the subject. The Earth is our home and we should work together to alleviate pollution! If we can’t fix the problem right now, we must strive for the future: people all over the world must start pursuing alternative sources of energy! Maybe we should invest in solar panels, or better yet, better funding for STEM research might be the answer. Since Jeffrey Jousan has said the US is partially the reason why Japan first began using nuclear power, I also think US could offer some assistance in cleaning up the waste.  I think everyone would agree that both the poor and the rich are alive because of what the Earth offers: the water you drink, the air you breathe, the food you eat, you’re alive because of the Earth.

Clearly, the current issues goes deeper than what has been mentioned. It is obvious that something must be done with the power differences among the power companies and the Fukushima victims. With that being said, only the Japanese can fix their own problem. The people with power must develop the perspective of the victims and realize that Fukushima are “Japanese” people too. In order for progress to be made, the younger generation needs to stop isolating themselves from the polluted environment (inverted quarantine) and start being getting their voices heard by those with power! Maybe we can’t fix Fukushima, but in order for environmental conditions to change for the people of Fukushima, there needs to be more support for environmental change. The Fukushima moms can’t be out fighting by themselves. Being aware is not enough, it is time for people to start being active in the process! However, it is difficult because of limiting factors such as the cultural values of Japanese people not wanting to appear troublesome to other people and the “lack of freedom of press in Japan.” People internationally also need to start being active with environmental movements because nuclear waste has implications to our home, the Earth.

References

Press Freedom Index 2013″ en.rsf.org. 2013. 11 Dec. 2013. http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html

KFC and Christmas cake – Christmas in Japan

by Michelle Liebheit

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 7.15.27 PM

„Let’s make a reservation for the best Christmas.“ (KFC Christmas advertisement, 2013). Source: http://www.kfc.co.jp/xmas/?utm_campaign=xmas&utm_source=kfc

It is December and like every year this means that Christmas is coming soon. The city is more crowded than usual, packed with people looking for presents. The shops downtown are playing Jingle Bells endless times, and from everywhere Santa Claus and his reindeers are smiling at you. A giant Christmas tree is displayed in the central station and when it turns night, all the Christmas illuminations come to light.

So which city do you think this is? New York? Berlin? Or is it London?

No – I happen to be in Kyoto, Japan. However, this description could easily suit all major cities around the globe. You might say: This is globalization! But what is this word actually and what influences does it has on Japanese culture? In the following I want to analyze this question with the example of Christmas in Japan.

Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, although the 23rd of December happens to be one, as for being the present emperor’s birthday. While there is only around one percent Christians living in Japan, Christmas has received great approval. However, since Japanese Christmas does not consist of going to church, listening to the sermon and watch a nativity play before having dinner with your family, Japan has developed some unique elements itself.

Due to a clever marketing campaign dating back in 1974, KFC successfully established its fried chicken as the perfect Christmas dinner in Japan. Nowadays for Japanese people, Christmas equals a bucket of fried chicken from KFC just like New Years is associated with the especially prepared and in boxes presented food called “o-sechi ryôri” (おせち料理). Promoting this idea, even KFC’s figurehead Colonel Sanders, whose lifelike stature stands in front of each Japanese store, will be dressed in a Santa costume around Christmas time. Due to its popularity, people even need do reserve their KFC Christmas dinner at least a month prior to the event. KFC makes twice as much profit in December than in other months.

Another unique Japanese Christmas dish is the Christmas cake (クリスマスケーキ), its most typical type being a sponge cake decorated with whipped cream and strawberries. It is usually picked up by the father of the household. By the 26th prices drop immensely and shops are trying to get rid of their left stocks.

Even though Christmas became a “big hit” in Japan, other Christian holidays like Eastern remain rather unnoticed. Japanese have been picky in choosing what to borrow from foreign countries – apparently most, when it comes to holidays. In class we talked about how some movies are successful around the world, whereas others are not. In this case, action movies seem to be the most “translatable”, since they usually do not have a lot of talking and shooting with guns unfortunately seems to be universally understood. Converting this to our look on foreign holidays in Japan, is it simply a failure of marketing that Eastern has not been as well received as Christmas in Japan, or what are the factors for successfully making a society celebrating a non-native holiday?.

As Millie R. Creighton writes, a holiday successfully promoted by Japanese department stores needs to “accord with Japanese ideology, or serve a particular function in contemporary Japanese society” (1991, p. 683). So even though Christmas came from a different religious background, it still transports a deeper meaning Japanese can relate to: Christmas is all about love and giving. These are values that are universal throughout different societies and Japan is a living proof for this. The holiday has been domesticated and the important male figure is Santa Claus and not Jesus. Of course, this is not a Japanese phenomenon only. On the other hand, Eastern still concentrates more on the historical figure of Jesus and therefore might not seem quite appealing to people with different believes. Other examples of successful holidays in Japan are Mother’s and Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day.

This example shows that globalization is not about making everything the same. Societies adopt particular parts of foreign origin and create a version that suits them best. Through globalization ideas, things and people can easily spread and move from one place to another on earth, but what is being accepted and what is being rejected is still up to society and its values.

References

CREIGHTON, Millie R. “Maintaining Cultural Boundaries: How Japanese Department Stores Domesticate ‘Things Foreign’”. Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 25, No.4, 1991.

HODKINSON, Alan and STRONACH, Ian. “Towards a theory of Santa. Or, the Ghost of Christmas Present“. Anthropology Today, Vol. 27, No. 6, 12/2011.

QUIGLEY, J.T. “A Kentucky Fried Christmas in Japan”. The Diplomat, 12/2013. http://thediplomat.com/2013/12/a-kentucky-fried-christmas-in-japan/

Social Movements and Japanese Political Culture

English: Anti-Nuclear Power Plant Rally on 19 ...

English: Anti-Nuclear Power Plant Rally on 19 September 2011 at Meiji Shrine Outer Garden 日本語: 2011年9月19日に明治神宮外苑で行われたさようなら原発集会 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Chihiro Kobayashi

When I was in the U.S., I joined some social movements such as “Stop Modern Slavery Walk” and “9.11 Unity Walk” for the first time. My image toward the U.S. is that they insist and try to change their society by themselves through social movements if the current society is not what they want. Therefore, when they want to change the society, social movements are one of the most important ways.

However, in Japan, many people would think social movements are a bad thing and they avoid doing it. One of the biggest reasons why Japanese people do not join social movement is that they fear the bizarre eyes toward people those who join movements such as demonstration march. I do not say there is no social movements at all in Japan, but I think the understanding toward social movements is lower than other countries. Since demonstration type of social movement is hated by Japanese, it is important to find the suitable social movement instead to change our society better.

At the Japanese Political Culture Theory class, I learned Japanese people tend to avoid joining social movements as their culture. Instead, they tend to rely on others to change the society. For example, in the case of politics, many Japanese people complain current policies and criticize about the government as well. However, Japanese citizens tend not to make social movements to change these, instead they depend on politicians to change these problems. I do not really know if these tendency is because of Japanese culture as I learned in the Political Theory class, but I think it is sure that many Japanese have negative image toward social movements. However, I think Japanese people need to have better understanding toward social movements because it is difficult to make our society only by depending on the politicians.

In the past seven years, the Prime Minister of Japan has changed seven times, and Japanese citizens do not expect politicians to make our society better anymore. Since Japanese cannot rely on and trust politicians anymore, how we can change our society? I think we individuals need to join social movements and speak out about the problems to the government.

For example, more and more anti-nuclear plants demonstrations have been occurring in Japan recently, since the Fukushima Nuclear disaster. However, Japanese still might avoid joining a social movement, such as a demonstration march, because they do not want to be seen as bizarre in the eyes of other people. I think there are many other ways which is more suitable for Japanese cultural characteristic to join social movements which is other than demonstration. For example, in the case of anti-nuclear power plants, we have these variety of social movements.

  1. Voting for anti-nuclear politicians: Social Democratic Party and Communist party are anti-nuclear plants.
  2. Purchasing campaign: By buying the products from local area, they can appeal that they do no need to depend on money from the nuclear power plants but they can be independent.
  3. Consumer Boycott: Avoid buying the products which company is related to building nuclear power plants, such as Toshiba, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Hitachi, Ltd.
  4. Changing the deposit account: Our deposit which is deposited in mega bank such as Japan Post Bank and Bank of the post office is used in bond purchases, and as a result, it will be used to construct dam construction and nuclear power plant constriction. By changing the bank account such as to National Association of Labor banks, it is possible to prevent our deposit from being used for building nuclear power plant. (Stop Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant)

Even though these social movements do not stand out openly rather it is more hidden movement different from demonstration march in the city, these movements still have big power to change the society. Also, even if we cannot change our society and policies, we can still influence public policy by bringing attention to the issues. Considering the recent lack of trust in politicians, we individuals need to stand up to make our society better.

I think it is important for Japanese people to find the best suitable social movements for them, based on their political culture (avoiding demonstrations) because we have different culture and characteristics from Americans and other countries. These little by little hidden social movements might change not only policies but also might change people’s negative perspective toward the social movements in the future.

Reference

“Stop Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant.” Web. 19 Dec. 2013.