Rights and Responsibility - Investigation of the Emergence of Entitled Children and the Amendment of Juvenile Law in Japan from the 1990s into the Next Century

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:20 PM
Room: Booth 52
Distributed Paper
Yoshie UDAGAWA , Claremont Graduate University, Shibuyaku Tokyo, Japan
In Japan during the 1990s, concepts of childhood changed, both within the domestic and international contexts. The emerging notions of self-determination, freedom, and responsibility, being debated on several fronts, were applied to children. The application of these notions extended into the functionality of juvenile law. The questions to be raised are: Is the child considered as an object in need of protection and guidance? Should the child be viewed, similar to the adult, as an independent being who has an innate ability for self-determination? How has Japanese society perceived the child?  These questions form the core for investigating social, political, and legal transitions within Japanese culture in regards to its entitled children who newly emerged in the 1990s and started emphasizing their rights as they thought were rightfully theirs. In this research, entitled children are defined as those who consider themselves as an independent adult holding the rights concerning the choice of their actions. This research aims at reconsidering and reconstructing Japanese society during this time concerning the topic of entitled children and their degree of self-determination as conceptually developed by their observers, such as educators, psychologists, sociologists, legal professionals, and others. This research also enables the production of interdisciplinary discussions between areas of law, sociology, cultural studies, media studies, and qualitative fieldwork. Investigating the developed observations of multiple disciplines is beneficial for formulating a broader context in order to analyze and comprehend the topic (235 words).