Individualism and individuality are notions sugared with a heady dose of western ‘freedom’ in a Japanese view. Alone, and without further modification, they probably stand for more ideology than any other western concepts which have been introduced into Japanese ways of thinking. Opposed to allegedly Japanese notions of ‘groupism’ and ‘collectivity’, they have been evoked to explain all manner of differences between ‘the Japanese’ and a wide variety of western peoples, often enough presented as virtually indistinguishable from each other. In recent years, attempts are being made in the rhetoric of educational reform to introduce more opportunities for Japanese children to develop their individual qualities, partly as a response to western criticism of the Japanese system, although the extent to which such words will bring about practical change is far from clear.