Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Japan`s Troubles With Moving Forward

I was looking around Japansoc.com and found an article from TIME on Japan`s slow slide downward. You can read the article here. Anyone who has lived in Japan for a few years should be able to clearly see that this is not a nation which accepts change very well. At times it can appear that it is a nation which lacks the ability to change all together. I try to resist such thinking but it is damn hard when I deal with the ethic majority up close and personal on a daily basis. You know, I have this habit of watching the Japanese pretty close at times.  I try my best to understand what is going on with the ethic majority but they can be a tough bunch to figure out at times. What is certain is that the nation of Japan is in serious trouble on many fronts. It seems that almost every serious problem that could face a highly advanced industrialized nation has befell on Japan.

I don`t think it can be argued that Japan is a nation in serious decline. The aging and declining population is one hell of a problem all by itself. They got a suicide rate that is startling. Japan has the fourth highest suicide rate in the world. The Federal government is in a constant state of either instability or a complete stale mate. Japan has had six prime minsters in four years. On top of these issues is the fact that Japan has a economy that is almost completely stagnant. This nation has so many issues they need to invest in a magazine rack!

Why can`t Japan seem to get it together? They have been in this situation for decades now. Even since the bubble meltdown at the end of the 80`s Japan has seem to have lost it`s mojo. I live and interact with the Japanese on a daily basis and I see a lot of empty pride combined with a kind of collective self loathing. They seem to love themselves and hate themselves at the same time. It is as if they have given up on themselves. When I talk to a lot of them they tell me about a lot of things they want to do but go on to say they don`t have the confidence to actually do it. It is clear that there is a kind of national sadness the Japanese are rolling around in like a pig in shit. Yall every seen a pig roll around in shit? The more a pig rolls around in shit and stinks the more a pig likes it. This seems to be what the Japanese are doing as a whole. The more they stay stuck in this odd national sadness the more they like and accept it as normal.

What can they do to get things back on track?  Well, the aging and decline in population is a bit too far along to fix from inside Japan. It is clear they are gonna need outside help. The solution would seem simple enough. Increase immigration and the number of permanent residents in order to balance thing out a little. What makes that complex is the fact that the ethic majority suffers from extreme xenophobia as a whole. Hell, I have lived in the same neighborhood for years and my neighbors still do not talk to me. If the Japanese do not become more accepting of foreigners and diversify a bit more, the population and work force may very well become unsustainable. 

The suicide thing is very disturbing. It has become so common place that most people are not even phased by it anymore. From my experience when someone throws themselves in front of a train most people don`t even care that a human life has just ended tragically. Most of the people on the train are just pissed that the train is stopped and they are going to be late getting to where ever they are headed. The indifference toward suicide in Japan is something which is not being addressed at all. There are very few outreach programs and people are not encouraged to seek the programs that are available. This problem is more a cultural problem than simply a lack of proper funding of needed outreach programs. The only thing I can say is that they needed to start admitting it is a big problem and talk about it openly.

Overall yall Japan needs a new direction.They need something to fire them up again. So far the government seems to want to spend its time pointing the finger at each other and trying to find ways to make outdated methods work. The people are doing their best to make their way in very uncertain times. The ethnic majority are mostly alright people overall.. They just got some deep rooted problems which have no easy answers. I like living here and am happy to call Japan my home. Maybe things will change for the better in the future. Lord knows the Japanese could use a little inspiration.




Orchid64 said...

A lot of this stems from the whole "shoganai" and "gaman" culture. People think they are helpless and powerless and should endure hardship. They also think everyone should conform so others are comfortable with them rather than adapt themselves to the differences in people. These factors combine for a state of stagnation.

Couple this with the insecurity of their futures and you have a bunch of scared, rigid, and indifferent people who hang tight to every yen so they don't die in abject poverty.

TheGhost said...

Yeah, they have seem to have forgotten the `those who dare win` spirit of years past.

the fashionate traveller said...

Wow, this is very thought provoking. As someone who only visits for short times I don't get the chance to see "the state of the nation' as it were.

It seems to me the young kids in the alternative scene are a bit different - but perhaps they will conform when they get older? They seem to embrace western culture (usually through love of musical genres that come from the west), and love foreigners - but you still don't know how deep-seated these other beliefs & fears are.

TheGhost said...

@the fashionate traveller--Like any culture there is rebellion in Japan. A lot of youth have decided that they are going to get their kicks before the whole shit house goes up in flames.

Alex Wright said...

They defintly need a change I agree. The majority of Japanese seem to be stuck in a routine following the crowd. Its time for their government to make a dramatic change regarding working conditions and standards of living. http://bestbritishgrub.com/