The Japanese Youth in the Conservative Elite Society: Essays on the Liberal Young Super-Achievers

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This skillfully edited collection of essays analyzes the social engineering process employed by both public and private sector Conservative ruling elites in Japan in its effort to mold and cultivate a small minority of Japanese youth super-achievers in order to maintain its conservative view domination of society. Five important aspects of Japanese youth culture are discussed including the impact youth labor, youth education, young women, juvenile crime and youth culture have on the ruling elite structure as Japan transitions into this age of globalization.


“This volume is likely to stimulate discussion… [it]takes us through shifting definitions and manifestations of “youth”, historically and more closely through the post-war years, against the backgrounds of social, political, and economic transformations of the Japanese society itself.”
-Fumiko Ikawa-Smith,
Professor Emerita,
McGill University

“The contribution of this work to scholarship is clear… the work has refined the concept of elitism by clarifying the grey areas of young future elites. It has also articulated conservatism in different context and different policy issues. All in all, this work is ambitious and unique by offering important interpretations to key concepts and theory building.”
-Professor Shin-ichi Nishikawa,
School of Political Science & Economics,
Meiji University, Tokyo

“…the editors of this book are among the first to combine the conservative youth culture and elite super-achievers in Japan. In this sense, the present editors articulate some of what has been suspected of Japanese Youth culture in the face of challenging Japanese economy.”
Michi Tamai,
Oberlin University, Tokyo

Table of Contents

Foreword by Fumiko Ikawa-Smith
Preface Hiroshi Itoh
Chapter 1: Youth Culture – Hiroshi Itoh and Tatsuo Arai
1. Youth Pop Culture
2. Changing Youth Culture
3. Conservative Culture
4. The Culture of Educational Meritocracy
Reading 1: The Precariat as proletarian Literature: Poverty and Youth Culture – Shigemi Nakagawa
Chapter 2: Youth Labor – Bernard Bernier
1. Antecedents of the Labor System
2. The Post-War Labor System
3. Changes in the 1980s and Thereafter
Reading 2: Temporary Workers’ Unions and Political Representation – Vincent Mirza
Chapter 3: Juvenile Criminal Justice – Hiroshi Itoh
1. Youth Delinquency
2. The Youth in the Aum Truth Sect
3. The Conservatively Revised Juvenile Law
4. Victim’s Rights in Juvenile Crime
Reading 3: Youth Madness and the Invisible Monster: Juvenile Delinquency in Japan – Akané D’Orangeville
Chapter 4: Young Women Bernard Bernier and Hiroshi Itoh
1. Confucianism
2. Work and Career Choice
3. Marriage, Family and Divorce
4. A Declining Birth Rate
Reading 4: What do Young Japanese Women Think of Marriage, Work and Career? Bernard Bernier
Chapter 5: Youth Education – Hiroshi Itoh
1. The Rudimentary Mass Education
2. The Post-War Egalitarian Education
3. Educational Meritocracy and Flexible Curriculum
4. Japan’s Higher Education
5. Moral Education and Conservatism
Reading 5: Bushido and Education for Young People: Inouse Tetsujiro and Yamaji Aizan Yushi Ito
Chapter 6: Globalization – Hiroshi Itoh and Tatsuo Arai
1. Globalization and Japan’s Political Economy
2. Globalization and Japanese Youth
3. The Mango and the Anime as Cultural Diffusion
4. Globalization of Japan’s Higher Education
Reading 6: Academic Harassment: A Japanese Female Student at an American College – Hiroshi Itoh
Reading 7: Ninja and Ninjette: Toward the Theory of Planetary Iconology – Takayuki Tatsumi
Conclusions – Hiroshi Itoh
Selected Bibliography

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