Japan is not only the oldest society in the world today, but also the oldest society to have ever existed. This aging trend, however, presents many challenges to contemporary Japan, as it permeates all areas of life, from the economy and welfare to social cohesion and population decline. Nobody is more affected by these changes than the young generation.

This book studies Japanese youth in the aging society in detail. It analyses formative events and cultural reactions. Themes include employment, parenthood, sexuality, but also art, literature and language, thus demonstrating how the younger generation can provide insights into the future of Japanese society more generally. This book argues that the prolonged crisis resulted in a commonly shared destabilization of thoughts and attitudes and that this has shaped a new generation that is unlike any other in post-war Japan.

Presenting an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of the aging trend and what it implies for young Japanese, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Japanese culture and society, as well cultural anthropology and demography.

chapter 1|13 pages


Studying the young generation in super-aging Japan
ByPatrick Heinrich, Christian Galan

part I|102 pages

Formative events

chapter 2|15 pages

The political economy of the declining birthrate

ByYuiko Imamura

chapter 3|19 pages

From youth to non-adulthood in Japan

The role of education
ByChristian Galan

chapter 6|18 pages

Struggling men in emasculated life-courses

Non-regular employment among young men
ByJun Imai

chapter 7|15 pages

The Fukushima event, or the birth of a politicized generation

ByAnne Gonon

part II|97 pages

Cultural and emotional reactions

chapter 8|13 pages

“How average am I?” Youths in a super-aged society

ByFlorian Coulmas

chapter 9|18 pages

The structure of happiness

Why young Japanese might be happy after all
ByCarola Hommerich, Tim Tiefenbach

chapter 10|16 pages

Life on the small screen

Japan’s Digital Natives
ByHidenori Masiko, Yuka Ando

chapter 11|17 pages

Dialect cosplay

Language use by the young generation
ByPatrick Heinrich

chapter 12|15 pages

No family, no school

Young people in literature by young Japanese writers
ByDan Fujiwara

chapter 13|16 pages

Visualizing elders by young artists

Age and generational differences
ByGunhild Borggreen

part |13 pages


chapter 14|11 pages

Social rejuvenation and change

The resilient generation of the Heisei period
ByChristian Galan, Patrick Heinrich