National Leisure Policy in Japan from 1966 to 1974

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Momoko AONO , Graduate School of Social Science, Hitotsubashi Uni, Tokyo, Japan
In Japan the first national leisure policy was made from 1966 to 1974. Before 1966, it was a regulation of manners and customs. Moreover, it was divided vertically into divisions. However, in 1966 Japanese government begun to pay attention to leisure as a social phenomenon. Finally, government made special leisure departments at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Tsusyo Sangyo Syo) and the Economic Planning Agency (Keizai Kikaku Cyo) in 1972.

It had three purposes. First, in those days, rapid industrial development caused urbanization, rationalization and mechanization. Human alienation was so increasing that juvenile delinquency was one of the social problem, and productivity at factories was falling. Government estimated that leisure can restore national humanity. Humanity was thought as the base of productivity and much pleasure from leisure activity expected to satisfy young desires.

Second, at that day, farming, fishing and heavy industries had been replaced by tertiary industry. That means Japanese government had to spread domestic market. For that purpose, government thought that leisure industry is a good new market. For example, Discover Japan Campaign by Japanese National Railways (Kokutetsu) and Expo ’75 in Okinawa (Okinawa kokusai kaiyo hakurankai) were main plans for promoting leisure and tourism industries.

Lastly, the leisure policy is the start of “disciplination”. In this policy, “Wholesome leisure” is an important keyword. Government assumed that tourism and sport were good leisure for people, but gambling and watching TV were type of unwholesome leisure, because they were decadent and defensive. In short, Japanese government tried to enlighten Japanese people in leisure policy. Today we are forced to have self-responsibility for our daily life and self-defense from social problem such as poverty. It is a result of national leisure policy from 1966 to 1974.