Andy Furlong and Japanese Young People

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 10:50
Oral Presentation
Akio INUI, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan
Maki HIRATSUKA, Hosei University, Japan
Andy Furlong had been interested in Japanese young people and frequently visited Japan in the last fourteen years. One of his interests was, of course, the commonality of difficulties that young people confront in the late modernity whether in the West or East. However, his particular concern was that Japan might represent the most serious scenario for young people in the neoliberal regime. He was particularly concerned about Japanese ‘hikikomori’, social withdrawal (2008), and argued that “the epistemological fallacy is one of the mechanisms through which frustration and anger is internalized as self-blame and self-doubt’ (2015, 34).

Young people in the late modernity with precarious condition and unpredictable future suffer from the four As’: anxiety, anomie, alienation and anger (Standing 2011). Standing argues that young people’s anger will lead to political mobilisation. However, Furlong suggested another potential reaction, in which “young people withdrawing and suffering psychologically by their circumstances to their own actions rather than linking them to external forces’ (2015, 29). He argued “the neoliberal discourse that underpins education and labour market policy promotes individualized responses, and therefore promotes self-blame rather than externally directed anger” (2015.29). For Furlong, many of Japanese young people seemed to suffer from severe self-blame instead of anger directed to government and employers.

We will examine Furlong’s assumption with our longitudinal data, and also the socio-cultural background of Japan.