The need for greater social connections in Japan

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 Jea Jeongmin

Due to the aging society in Japan and the nuclear disaster of 3.11, getting a stable job or living comfortably in Japan has become uncertain in terms of the economic situation in contemporary Japanese society. In addition, since I do not have Japanese citizenship, I will not be able to have a  that has something to do with governmental officials. In this situation, getting a stable job in Japan would be hard for me so that my future plan in Japan will be quite narrow.

Personally, I would like to get a job with high salary to feed my family in my future. There are two conditions in order to achieve its aim, that is, getting a regular job and getting high stable salary for long. However, in contemporary Japanese society, there are many contract workers or part-time workers, due to increasing mobility of employment. It is not guaranteed that I will be able to get a job after I get fired from a company. Also, even regular workers have to work for long with low wages. Therefore, to be honest, working in Japan is unsuitable for me, so I would like to work in different countries, such as United States.

Also, trying to get connection to other people in order to get engaged in society is important because I have a strong desire not to get involved in a society in which individuals are isolated and have few personal links between each other. My ibasho is the place where people accept me as who I am, such as my family, friends around me and my future working place, because my definition of ibasho is the place where I am able to be the way I am or use my own abilities the most.

In my opinion, creating social connections with other people is essential. Due to rapid aging of the population resulting from the decline in the birth rate, the recession made worse the situation of single households being isolated from society. Also, number of an unattended deaths and the suicide rate in Japan are increasing. This is happening in Japan because people have fewer connections with each other and they feel lonely. In order to get social connections, I must be a member of society. Although there are many worries about my future, the first thing I will do is to find the place where I will be able to show my ability the most and get social connection with other people.

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Finding my ibasho in society

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 Yusuke Sugiyama

When I think about my future, I cannot imagine that what kind of work I would do, and what kind of people I would connect with. However, one thing which I want to value in my life is relationship with others. I want to place emphasis on a time, opportunity and ibasho which I can deal with others.

I was born in Kobe and lived with my family before I entered Ritsumeikan University, and it is my ibasho where my family and my friends who spent a same time for 18 years live. Then, I entered this University and I started to live alone in Kyoto, and all is new for me. Naturally there is no ibasho where I can really get comfortable, and it was not until I am away from a familiar ibasho that I understood the importance of family, friends and that is ibasho. Everyday life was terrible before I found my ibasho in Kyoto.

I think ibasho is one of the most important things in our life, and the people who cannot find own ibasho in society have possibility to be hikikomori. Maybe there are many people such them in present Japan. Now I have some important ibasho, it is indispensable for my school life. That is why I would like to place emphasis on connection with people in the future and also I will improve my communication skill for it in University life.

In addition, as my future direction, I would like to overcome a linguistics barrier and get an ibasho because people who live different countries have different ideas. I like the surprise which I feel when I realize new idea from different point of view, and so I would like to over the border, and find my ibasho. Also, I think that I can realize a Japanese precariousness and a good point of Japan. Therefore, I will go to a lot of countries in my life.

When I think about my future job, I do not have a concrete idea, but I want to earn enough money to be able to make a trip, play with my friends, and repay my parents for raising me so well. Indeed, Japan is an unstable society now and it might be difficult to get stable job, but if I am into such a situation, I will find my ibasho in society, and place importance on a connection with people.