It is well known that Japan now has the second largest economy in the world, the greatest longevity for women, and the second longest for men. It also has a highly literate population, relatively little poverty, and a long established socialized medical system. All ingredients for a smoothly running, salubrious society one would assume, but a glance through a few recent newspaper headlines indicates otherwise: “More Girls, Housewives Becoming Drug Addicts”; “Schools Reverting to Corporal Punishment”; “More Middle-Aged Men Killing Selves”; “Stress: Serious Problem of Japanese Work Force”; “Number of Suicides By Youths Up 30%”; “School Phobia Caused by High-Pressure Education”; “Japanese Youth Unhappiest [among eleven industrialized countries polled], in Spite of Economic Growth.” This last article concludes with the statement: “they are like a floating generation, without any sense of purpose. And the real problem lies in the family” (emphasis added, Asahi Evening News 1984).
- Middle Class
- Nuclear Family
- Junior High School
- Absent Father
- School Refusal
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In my youth, I was opposed to school. And now, again, I’m opposed to work.
Above all it is health, And righteousness that I hate the most. There’s nothing so cruel to man, As health and honesty.
Of course I’m opposed to “the Japanese spirit”, And duty and human feeling make me vomit. I’m against any government anywhere And show my bum to authors’ and artists’ circles.
When I’m asked for what I was born, Without scruple, I’ll reply, “To oppose.” When I’m in the east, I want to go to the west.
I fasten my coat at the left, my shoes right and left. My hakama I wear back to front and I ride a horse facing its buttocks. What everyone else hates I like, And my greatest hate of all is people feeling the same.
This I believe: to oppose, Is the only fine thing in life. To oppose is to live. To oppose is to get a grip on the very self.
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Lock, M. (1988). A Nation at Risk: Interpretations of School Refusal in Japan. In: Lock, M., Gordon, D. (eds) Biomedicine Examined. Culture, Illness and Healing, vol 13. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-2725-4_15
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