Among the so-called “young adult” generation (approximately 20 to 35 years old) there are people who do not (or cannot) a place in real society, even when they have completed the period of social moratorium. It is certain that this problem of “extended adolescence” is structured by the economic system and labor market of Japan. However, it involves more fundamental issues, which cannot be simply linked back to economic problems. The aim of this paper is to elucidate the reality of the individual process of “self -socialization” our contemporaries living within their own lifestyles in the extra period of extended adolescence, buried under a postmodern situation characterized by an “unfinished individualization process” and “breaking up of grand narratives or metanarratives.” In that case, there is a group of key words that can provide clues to answering the question, and which are interrelated; they include the freedom of choice, virtual reality, the sense of “fear of landing, ” and difficulty of social maturity. Modern youth tend to hesitate to land in the real world, as a result of the enlargement of the idea of freedom in a land of individual freedom of choice, and the pursuit of pleasure or comfort in a virtual world. However, the youth in question are not simply lazy individuals trying to avoid becoming independent. Although they may be like a magnetic substance completely engulfed in the magnetic field of contemporary society, each one still gropes honestly for a way of living their own lives. We should look within their “immaturity” for clues to promote the increasing maturity of our own society.
This article reviews studies on the post-adolescence period, mainly from the UK, and highlights recent developments in the field. The article considers the significance of the lengthening of the transition period to adulthood and various problems that have been associated with this phenomenon. It describes research methods in the area and the related context of some of these methods. John Coleman points out that the developed countries have seen a number of profound social and economic changes affecting youth since the 1980s, the most important being in the areas of the family and employment. Since these are two of the major factors in the “transition to adulthood, ” research and policies are now being focused more specifically on these particular areas. Taking this into an account, the article first examines the EU's policies in this area. The examination focuses on the acknowledgement of the right of young people to become independent from their parents and to build their own lives (the right to have an independent life). It also examines the ways in which the social policies have become more specific in trying to make the transition to adulthood easier for youth by introducing policies focused on areas such as employment, education and training, family, housing and social security. The article then examines recent research on the transition period and attempts to identify changes in the actual problems of the transition that are studied, as well as the research methods used. The result of this examination shows some new characteristics in research methods, namely inter-disciplinary and holistic approaches, and more process focused longitudinal studies. Another notable characteristic that has emerged is the innate desire of individual youth to act and develop. Finally, the article reviews the findings of “Youth Programmes, ” a large-scale research project funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
This paper examines the process and mechanism through which young people are differentiated and sorted into various locations in society during the stage of extended adolescence. It examines:(1) how social origin affects class position at the time of initial entry into the labor market, and (2) how social origin and the initial entry position affect current class position. The data come from the 2000, 2001, and 2002 Japanese General Social Surveys. The analysis is restricted to respondents who were 20 to 35 years old. The analysis of the determinants of initial class position reveals that the father's class position and parental education have a significant influence on entry position. The effects of class origin and parental education are mediated through the youth's own educational attainment, so the direct effects of social origin on entry position were not clearly visible. For example, male adolescents whose fathers engaged in white-collar work have better access to professional -managerial positions and jobs in large firms than those of other class origins, because of their greater chances of receiving higher education. In addition, the assistance of schools and public employment offices in the transition from school to work and the immediate transition to work following graduation increased the chances of finding regular employment among males, and the assistance of schools and public employment offices increases the chances of finding regular employment, professional-managerial work, and employment in a large firm, among females. The attainment of current class position is strongly influenced by the entry class position: there is consistency in the class position between the two periods. The entry position continues to affect later positions regardless of social origin, educational attainment, and labor market conditions. When youth are engaged in professional-managerial work or work for a large firm, they have a much higher chance of being in such a position at a later time than those who begin their careers otherwise. It is also found that beginning one's career in atypical or non-regular employment leads to an increased chance of being in that type of employment at a later time. In addition, if the youth unemployment rate is high at the time when young males first enter the labor market, this has an enduring negative effect on their chance of obtaining regular employment and professional- managerial jobs at a later period in life. Thus, “bad luck” at the time of entry into the labor market continues to affect later career progression among males.
Reviewing existing research studies, this paper considers the characteristic patterns of gender relations among “post-adolescents, ” who are at the stage between adolescence (students) and adulthood, and its consequence on changes in the gender relations of Japanese society as a whole. Along with many other industrialized societies, Japanese society is characterized by a male dominant structure in terms of socio-economic status and the male-breadwinner pattern at home. The life structure of post-adolescents corresponds to the gender patterns of society. Post-adolescent men have a relative advantage over women in the same age group in terms of socio-economic status. A considerable percentage of both men and women find the male -breadwinner marriage pattern desirable. Despite their relative disadvantage in terms of socio-economic status, the satisfaction level of post-adolescent women is higher than men among all age groups. It has become more difficult to maintain an “affluent” life with a singleincome family due to the slowdown of economic growth and the deterioration of employment conditions. In order to avoid a slide in living standards, postadolesent people tend to continue to depend on their parents for living costs and domestic services, rather than forming egalitarian couples and sharing the responsibility of earnings and housework. This tendency is believed to be behind the tendency for late marriage and the prolongation of post-adolescence. In the long run, this tendency might prompt a diversification of household and gender relations and lead to a change in the gender order of society. Taking account the types of people who have the most power in society, however, it would be difficult to subvert the status of the “male-breadwinner” model as a cultural ideal and the structure of male-dominant gender relations. To further develop this research field, it will be important to focus on romantic love, “multi-layer” gender relations and the subjective worlds of post- adolescent men and women.
This study analyzes the relationship between the usage of media and subculture in extended adolescence. The media seen as most characteristic of people in extended adolescence include chatting and electronic bulletin boards on the Internet, and comic magazines. Sherry Turkle thinks that the use of the Internet has influenced the establishment of the identity of adolescents since they can experiment with multiple identities in the world of the Internet. She also presented the concept of an “online persona, ” where one can assume a fluid and multiple identity and act differently from one's true self. During the 1960s and 1970s, young people were fond of popular television programs known as teen dramas, which were set in high schools and involved young teachers and their students. The shows were based on themes such as “effort, ” “dreams” and “love, ” and the heroes fulfilled their dreams, overcoming various obstacles. One effect of these shows was that during this period, young Japanese people discovered their own stories of adolescence by reproducing the teen drama programs in their everyday lives. However, after the 1980s, young people started to read comic magazines targeted at teens and the postadolescence stories gained in popularity. At that time, animated cartoons such as “Mobile Suit Gundam, ” “Dragon Ball” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion” became very popular. Their heroes all experienced an “awakening, ” in which they became super-heroes. Unlike the heroes of the teen drama shows, who were regular high school students, they realized that they had latent superhuman powers. In these animated cartoons, the “adherence to identity” is typically represented in the form of an ominous alien. The sense of liberation from one's actual self through means such as chatting and electronic bulletin boards, as well as the post-adolescence stories, is thought to be closely related to the problem of extended adolescents who are a focus of social attention in the present world. It is clear that the adolescent strategy toward the media, which uses the media as a means to arouse one true self, has a parasitic relationship with the media.
Previous research findings show that voluntary activities carried out by NPOs (nonprofit organizations) enhance learning and self-development among volunteers. Meantime, it has become difficult for post-adolescents to form a selfidentity. Can NPOs reduce this difficulty? This report discusses the above-mentioned issue, by adopting the concepts of reflexivity and public space. First, it discusses how the human relationships nurtured in voluntary activities can provide the self as a “reflexive project” with opportunities to form an identity. Second, it proposes a concept of public space produced by NPOs and examines the possibility of a reflexive transformation of the self and society promoted by voluntary activities within the public space. Finally, it discusses the significance of that kind of space for the formation of identity in post-adolescence, by combining two concepts, namely, public space and learning. The following findings are obtained. Voluntary activities nurtured within the public space produced by NPOs promote the reflexive transformation of the self and society based on concrete human relationships, experience and outcome of activities, and therefore liberates the participants from the formation of an identity dependent on abstract information. Such public spaces are filled with various kinds of learning, and therefore are nothing less than “learning spaces.” The learning emerging there can be called “reflexive learning.” At present in Japan, it is important for post-adolescents to understand that social transformation and self-development are part of one united body. Through that process they can recognize their own position and power in actual society and gain an identity as a member of society. Meanwhile, it may lead us to evade a “risk society.” Therefore, “reflexive learning” has the potential to achieve simultaneously the formation of identity in post-adolescence and the liberation of our society from risk.
It has been pointed out that adolescence is being prolonged, individualized, and becoming more difficult in contemporary Japan. In response, new policies and institutions to help youth find employment have been suggested and carried out. However, these youth policies cannot be successful as long as they are conducted from the perspective of social benefits or of the researchers, because whether youth take part in these policies depends on how they look at modern society and institutions. The purpose of this paper is to make clear the necessity and significance of looking at society from the perspective of youth, and to suggest alternative youth policies. Research in educational sociology has made clear how difficult it is for disabled youth to move from school to work, and advocated policies that give them occupational awareness and skills from the theoretical viewpoint of promoting social equality and mobility. But how many people share this purpose? Will these policies be effective for all youth, including person who do not share the purpose? When we look at the issue from the perspective of youth, we should realize that some youth see as advantageous a situation that is considered to be disadvantageous from an outsider's point of view. They have built social networks in a local area, and managed to live making use of them as their resources. It is unclear whether and how these resources are effective in practice. However it is certain that policies without or against the interests of youth will not be successful. Consequently, policies and institutions should be constructed from the viewpoint of the people concerned. First, support for youth is needed not only from an instrumental angle but from an expressive one as well. Second, the idea of youth participation should be introduced into youth policies. In this case, however, it is important to ensure that participation is not compelled or manipulated, and that the opinions of a part of youth are not seen as those of the whole.
The aim of this study is, through a secondary analysis of the number of child abuse reports filed with children's welfare centers, to examine activities to prevent child abuse in Japan. The number of cases of child abuse, filed in 47 prefectures and 12 ordinance-designed major cities, can be analyzed by focusing on the regional differences among them. Adopting the perspective of social constructionism, this study regards the number of child abuse reports as a rate of discovery rather than incidence, and analyzes the differences between urban areas and rural ones through some variables. The main findings can be summarized as follows.(1) Especially since the latter half of the 1990s, urban areas have been carrying out activities to prevent child abuse (in this study, termed “child abuse discovery activities”), and all areas have been converging on an average discovery rate.(2) In urban areas, new types of child abuse (sexual abuse, emotional/psychological maltreatment, and neglect) were discovered a few years later than physical maltreatment. In 2001, the first whole year when child abuse prevention law was put into force, all types of maltreatment were discovered relatively higher in urban areas.(3) Neighbors, acquaintances/friends and medical facilities have been discovering child maltreatment in urban areas significantly and particularly in 2001 most urban public organizations have higher rate significantly. In Japan, child abuse is often discussed in the context of contemporary and urban ways of life, such as “the weakening of local bonds and blood relationships, ” “increase in nuclear families” and “psychological troubles arising in the course of growth and development.” However, as stated above, since the latter half of 1990s, urban areas have been the forerunners of child abuse prevention activities in Japan. Therefore, the way of life in urban areas cannot be identified as a causal factor of child abuse. Rather, the great interest that urban people, medical facilities and public organizations have in child abuse is behind the incidence of “abuse” in urban areas.
This paper examines present-day images of “childhood” by analyzing “childhood” images of children themselves, as they appear in the reader's column of Mainichi Chugakusei Shimbun from 1983 to 2002. Nowadays, many people think that “childhood” is changing and some have even predicted the “end of childhood.” However, much of a decline has there been in the influence of school and peer culture, which make “childhood” visible for children? It is necessary to examine whether children have doubts concerning the old images or whether they still consider them to be obvious. Consequently, this paper examines children's concerns and criticisms about school or school friends and looks at whether their own images of “childhood” are changing. The findings can be summarized as follows. First, from the 1990s, and especially from the second half of the decade and the end of the century, children's doubts concerning the old images strengthened and “childhood, ” distinguished from adulthood, seemed to be coming to an end to them. However, on the other hand, they never ceased to believe in the image. Therefore, “childhood” for children seems to have entered a state of suspension, and the concept itself will not disappear. The second and more important finding is that children have come to use the rhetoric of individuality, or self. Of course, there is nothing new about young people seeking their own identities in the course of becoming adults. But the contemporary insistence on self-choice is new, because children are supposed to be “selves” now, and this rhetoric blurs the distinction between “children” and “adults.” Accordingly, it is necessary to continue focus on this issue. At the same time, there is a need to place the findings in a wider context: such as a historical analysis of reflexivity in the educational system and a comparative analysis with other social systems.
This paper compares the characteristics of meritocracy in the Japanese and Singapore education systems, by analyzing the input, throughput and output of education at post-secondary schools with low prestige. Based on survey data gathered from students studying at low-ranked post-secondary schools in both Japan and Singapore, this study first illustrates the fact that most students from these schools belong to low social strata and have low academic achievement. However, as Singapore schools provide lowperforming students with access to not only good jobs but also to higher education, Singapore students who are given such double chances show more positive attitudes and expectations upon admission to these schools, when compared to their Japanese counterparts who are given no such chances at all. Data from the survey also bring up an image of lively schools in Singapore, with interesting lessons and competent teachers, who emphasize the importance of study and encourage students to perform well. Japanese schools, however, are dull, with none of these features. This study further demonstrates that while the aspirations of students in Singapore are increased during their course of study, those of Japanese students remain low throughout. Nevertheless, some Japanese students from low-ranked schools also do spend time on study, and the more they find their lessons interesting or their teachers competent, the longer they study. It is thus concluded that while Japanese students are `left out' to fend for themselves, the output of their education can be maximized by enriching the throughput at schools. To date, many research findings have indicated a decline in meritocracy and an expansion of inequity in Japanese society, but few have ventured into the epicenter of the issue, i. e., schools with students who are poor and who do not study. This comparative study shows the plight of low-ranked Japanese schools and advocates the urgent need for more research and reform efforts.
This paper investigates the issues of students' ability to learn and the necessity for educational knowledge from 1957 to 1969, using the specific example of English teaching. With a special focus on discourse in the movement of the Japan Teachers Union, this paper examines the manner in which teachers dealt with these issues by constructing their own discourses and practices. Several points emerge from the analysis of educational movement discourses in English teaching. People, including educational participants, initially tended to believe that learning English served no purpose, and students found it extremely difficult to master the language. In the movement of the Japan Teachers Union, however, teachers indicated that the aim of learning English was not only to master the language but also to build the learner's character; therefore, it would be useful for all students to learn English. This idea is embodied in the “Four Goals, ” which seek the solidarity of nations and the deepening of students' understanding of their own languages rather than the acquisition of English. Consequently, two concrete attempts to attain these goals are notable. The first is independent practices by teachers to concretize the “Four Goals” that help build character. The second attempt is the discourse to redefine the ability to measure achievement in independent practice. The discourse on ability demonstrates that “true ability” is best measured not by the achievement tests given by the Ministry of Education but rather by a “zest for living.” In summary, focusing on the building of students' character rather than the mastery of learning materials led to a “solution” of the issues involving students' ability to learn and the need for educational knowledge in the discursive space alone. This form of “solution, ” through the analysis of discourse within the educational movement, is described as the “Japanese educational structure from the perspective of student's ability to learn.”
The purpose of this paper is to describe the interaction between a nursery school teacher and a child. It is notable that children who have not yet acquired competence in language use are able to participate in conversation using a special tool, namely “crying.” This viewpoint is very important for considering the following two things. One is how children's crying is understood as a concrete expression of will. And the other is how children are socialized, and especially, how they acquire language. Generally, in interpreting children's crying, there is a tendency to think that adults should try to understand the causes of the crying and to remove them. However, this is not adequate. Let us imagine a case where it can be understood that a child is crying because he or she wants a toy. How can this request be understood? Probably, the adult cannot understand until noticing the crying, passing the child the toy and noticing that he or she stops crying. That is, understanding why the child is crying is an interactive process. Not only the adult, but also the child needs to take part in that interaction. From this perspective of conversation analysis, this paper focuses on the interaction and attempts to describe the scene when the meaning of a child's crying is revealed. It goes on to note the operation of a “turn-taking system.” This system leads to a knowledge of how children's crying is understood as concrete will. Then, the paper goes on to examine the symmetrical character of “crying.” Unlike words, crying itself does not have particular meanings. Therefore, to be understood concretely, it requires the help of words. In other words, children who participate in conversation using crying cannot or cannot sufficiently use natural language, and need the help of adults. Starting from this, children can gain the chance to acquire language and to be socialized. Through the examination of these two issues, this paper attempts to present one viewpoint for considering socialization.
The growth of “transnational universities, ” including offshore branch campuses and degree programs provided in partnership with local institutions, is a major factor that made higher education a target of WTO/GATS negotiations. Quality assurance for transnational universities, including approval and evaluation, is a newly emerging issue for national higher education systems in the face of globalization. This paper analyzes Australia's policy on quality assurance for transnational universities, since Australian universities are extremely active as transnational universities, and because the Commonwealth and State governments of Australia have developed an explicit quality assurance framework for transnational higher education. The analytical viewpoint adopted in the paper is that for nation states, assuring the quality of transnational universities is a control measure for embracing those universities into their national education system, as a part of their strategic adaptation to globalization. The paper examines whether or not this viewpoint is valid by analyzing quality assurance policies in Australia, a leading country in this regard. The results of the analysis confirm the validity of the viewpoint, and demonstrate that Australia, as both a supplier and recipient country, is utilizing quality assurance as a control measure for incorporating transnational universities into its national education system. The quality assurance policy of Australia, as a supplier country, is to implement external quality assurance of Australian universities' offshore programs through overseas audit visits by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), while calling upon the universities to develop their own internal quality assurance mechanisms, in order to sustain the brand image of Australian higher education. Its policy as a recipient country is to manage the approval process for foreign universities to operate in Australia, requiring them to have equivalent quality and standards to Australian universities. While there is a difference between the former policy, which is supportive in nature, and the latter, which involves legal regulation in the form of licensing, both policies are instruments that aim to incorporate transnational universities into the national education system, and place them under the nation state's control. Australia's policies will have significant implications for Japan as it begins to recognize foreign university branch programs, and authorize moves by Japanese universities to open offshore branches, opening up its national borders to transnational universities both into Japan and outwards from Japan.
The Chinese government has been expanding college student enrollment since 1990. Although the employment of college graduates has not become a serious social problem as had been originally anticipated, the number of students undergoing entrance examinations for graduate school are increasing. Studying abroad is also becoming an option for some graduates. Because going to graduate school adds an economical load upon parents, there is concern that family background will influence undergraduates' options. This paper analyzes the effect of family background on the intent to continue education and on early occupational attainment among undergraduates. The information used in this analysis has been collected from 1, 341 undergraduates in four elite universities located in Beijing and Shandong, from February to March 2003. The main results are as follows:(1) In the elite universities, the desie to go on to domestic graduate schools or study abroad among undergraduates is very high. Undergraduates there are likely to seek employment in foreign-invested enterprises, to seek employment as managers or professionals, and to seek work in big cities.(2) The desire to continue education or study abroad among undergraduates is greatly influenced by family background. Educational continuation is influenced by parents' education and studying abroad is influenced by family income. However, educational continuation among graduates in their fourth year is influenced by not only parents' education but also family income. However, the impact of family background on early occupational attainments is significantly weakening.
This paper examines the changing relationship between postwar eugenics and education/pedagogy, with a focus on the late 1940s through the 1950s in Japan. First, the paper explores how the postwar eugenics developed and how pedagogy responded to its development, examining the discourses of sterilization of “mentally retarded children.” Second, it explores the type of pedagogical that emerged as a result of the newly established relationship between eugenics and pedagogy, through an examination of the journal Jido Shinri (Child Study) and the special education of Yasumasa Miki. The following conclusions are drawn: First, the importance of the environment and happiness of the “mentally retarded” became a powerful reason legitimizing the practice of sterilization. Second, there emerged a chain of ideas that asserted that it was better for the “mentally retarded” to not be born because, as a result of their lack of ability, they would bring unhappiness both to their families and to themselves. This new logic is described as “meritocracy that threatens the existence of individuals.” Third, the paper characterizes the pedagogical logic of meritocracy as follows:(1) individuality, personality, and ability are equated, (2) the development of individuality/personality/ability is the foremost criteria for a child's happiness, (3) child's individuality/personality/ ability has to match the demands of society, (4) the development of a child's ability is determined as an interactive result of heredity and the environment, (5) the role of education/pedagogy resides in the manipulation of the environment, and (6) slogans such as “postwar democracy” and “human dignity” justify the association of these ideas. Finally, the resonance between pedagogical ideas and eugenics is pointed out, and the notion of “meritocracy that threatens the existence of individuals” is criticized as the most serious problem of postwar education.