Problems in Japanese society
For a lot of people, Japan is a great country to visit and live with. There are tons of entertainment to experience (such as six-storied arcades and seeing the Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama), tons of delicious foods to try, and an interesting history to learn.
In spite of the great things that Japan have that people from around the world knows or wants to know, Japan is like a human being: they do have some flaws and challenges they have to handle. It’s not a perfect country with no crime, no poverty, and society is pure and clean. Every country in the entire world has its flaws and challenges.
So, I have some information that does show the somewhat messed up reality of Japan to help you realize that not everything in Japan is unicorns and rainbows.
Immigration Laws in Japan
Japan is one of the most homogeneous countries in the world with more than 95% of the country is Japanese or of Japanese descent. Less than 1% of Japan is mostly dealing with foreigners from other Asian countries or from Western countries. So it comes as no surprise that immigration laws in Japan are very strict.
Lately, the Japanese population has slowly started to decrease because of both fewer babies being born in Japan and some Japanese people emigrated out of the country to pursue other countries inside or outside of the continent. So, Japan slowly starts to open its doors in order for foreigners to come to immigrate to Japan.
Strict Rules for Immigration to Japan
While it seemed welcoming for Japan, it does have a controversial rule to handle. The Japanese government created some rules that foreigners have to handle in order for their process into Japanese residency goes smoothly.
Requirements such as living in Japan for a certain amount of time, having a bachelor’s degree (inside or outside of Japan), good income, and to have a high-level certificate from the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).
As a result, only less or about 10% of the participants actually gained access to Japanese residency. It was deemed controversial because some people deemed it morally wrong for the Japanese to limit refugees and given an extremely hard process for the refugees to handle. Especially since the majority of the refugees are from countries in the Middle East or Africa.
There were some that accepted and praised Japanese controversial call because it might protect them from a possible increase in crime and even mass terrorism.
Japan School Bullying
Like the United States, Japan school bullying is present in its primary and secondary schools.
Japanese schools are notorious for their over-the-top bullying (such as writing obscene comments on the bullied person’s desk, verbal teasing, and physical attacks that are deemed “horseplaying” by the bullies) and how little they actually tried to do to stop it.
Within these schools, the students that were bullied are shunned from not just their classmates but some of the teachers themselves.
Many articles and sources believed that school bullying in Japan is one of the biggest reasons as to why their suicide rates are extremely high compared to the world average.
Because of this, August 31-September 2 are a daunting time in Japan since those are the day many children commit suicide to get out of the stress from bullying. Nanae Munemasa was a victim of bullying that made international news.
From elementary school to high school, she was being physically and verbally abused by male and female bullies. There were times she skipped school in order to get away from the bullying and even had suicidal thoughts.
Despite the daunting statistics, there are many ways the Japanese government tackles bullying. Tons of anime and Japanese drama has shown many scenes of bullying in schools so they could combat and inform on schoolchildren as to how being bullied actually felt like.
Basically trying to teach them how to show empathy to other people. Nanae had made a blog talking about what she had to go through and made a band with her brother. She and her mother believed that the Internet was the biggest reason to help her gain self-confidence. So the Internet is not always a bad place.
Aged Society - Population Decline in Japan
Speaking of population decline in Japan, Japanese society now has a problem that is dealing with elderly people. According to JapanTimes, one out of five Japanese people are now over 70 years old, one of the highest elderly population in the world.
The main reason for the aged population growth is that not many Japanese people are being born. It could be a harsh drawback for the Japanese people because of more elderly people living in Japan, there would be lack of workers, the economy would be damaged in the future, local areas being abandoned, and not having many chances of taking care of all elderly people.
In the article Odyssey, one of the biggest ways Japan can combat the aged society is to improve on their sex education.
Despite having many perverted contents on pop culture, Japanese people are not really keen on having sex, especially on a consistent basis like the Western countries.
In Japan, over 50% of Japanese people over 20 years old are still virgins. The biggest reasons why many Japanese couples are not having sex is because of the fear of pregnancy. Also, because of the digital age, there are fewer Japanese people that are into dating that correlates to having less sex than average.
As electronics started to improve, it makes it difficult for the Japanese to mingle and mate with each other in real life since they could (technically) do that in the palms of their hands. So, to summarize the entire thing to what the article says, Japanese people should either open the doors for more foreigners to come or try to have sex more often in order to make more babies.
Women’s Rights in Japan
Despite the constant rise of women being in the Japanese federal government and more women working instead of being housewives, Japanese women are still facing many problems dealing with gender discrimination in their home country. It is clear to everyone that women's rights in Japan need improving for sure.
The biggest example was the Japanese princess named Ayako being stepped down and leave the royal family because she’s marrying a commoner. It was heartbreaking for her to leave the family because she was following her heart and marrying someone that she loves dearly.
However, there was a controversy that males in the royal family would still be part of them despite marrying a female commoner. Plus, the female commoners would now become a part of the royal family. It was one of the many reasons as to why it was believed that Japanese women have a long battle to go in order to gain some recognition and close the gap of gender inequality.
With the 2020 Olympics coming to Tokyo, bringing in women from different countries, the government needed to embrace the Olympic Charter, which bans gender discrimination. Many citizens from Japan and foreigners believed that the country needs to learn how to close the gap of gender discrimination before the Olympics come.
Examples such as increasing the availability of child daycare centers, and adopting rules to make fathers and mothers take an equal amount of parental leave.
The literal term means “education mother” shows Japanese mothers become super obsessed over their children’s academic success over anything else. Not just in academics, “kyouiku mama” would dictate their social and physical development and their emotional well-being.
There were times that parents would bribe their way or go to extreme lengths in order for their kids to attend an elite school. The reason is that in Japan, the schools you attend would dictate your success in the future. If you go to a great preschool, then you’ll have a decent chance of going to a good elementary school, and it builds from there.
In America, it has a similar meaning like a tiger mom or a helicopter parent. In American society, it was looked up to and praised since the tactics they used for their parents would help American society if Americans followed those same tactics.
However, in Japan, it was deemed a social issue because of the constant pressure and sacrifices the child had to go through in order to please their mothers. If they failed to meet their expectations, they would cut off not just the family but Japanese society in general.
The term hikikomori would come to mind since the children would seclude themselves into their own homes. It’ll become a domino effect if the problem isn’t confronted:
Kyouiku mama would pressure kids academically, kids would fail at something, get super depressed because they believe they failed their mothers and didn’t live up to their expectations, then (if possible), suicide rates would increase.
If you want to read more about Japan, make sure to check out our blog post about 10 Bizarre Facts About Japan!