When you think of Generation Y in Japan, it’s safe to say that it can be quite confusing to try and wrap your head around what a normal day for a millennial would look like. It’s not just about spending after school hours at arcades or playing games on their phones, it’s actually much deeper than that. But before we jump into a world of stats and new terms, let’s try and understand what makes a person a Millennial, or in other words, how millennial are you?
If you are the slightest bit interested in marketing or have studied the world of media, then there’s no was you haven’t run into the term ‘Millennial’ when it comes to studying social and cultural behavior. Millennials, or by their other names, Generation Y, Generation Me, Echo Boomers or Digital Natives, are those who were born roughly somewhere between 1980-2000. They were pretty much born into a digital world where technology has not only taken over our lives but has shaped the way we perceive politics and other social realms.
Studying Millennial behavior around the world is not only interesting in terms of marketing and consumption, it’s fascinating on so many different other levels that have to do cultural understandings on a wider level and the way it can affect the future. The Japanese youth, for example, has actually adapted a less materialistic attitude that we’d expect. Japan in general, has one of the most captivating and colorful cultures in the world, especially when it comes to tradition, beliefs, food, fashion, arts and more. In fact, when comparing Japanese Millennials to the rest of the world, it’s no surprise how they would be, at least on some levels, entirely different. For once, these are not trends that are so easily referred to and that come and go, it’s simply a millennial life, and it’s not just about ‘me me me’.
While more and more attention is being paid to the importance of balancing work-life in the Western world and how crucial it is to take care of your well being, this is not the case for young people in their late 20’s in Japan. Employees there work extremely long days and then they have a long journey to get home. While for some that would be an excuse to make a switch in their day and want to socialize more, in Japan, they tend to go home after a long day at the office, making it one of the cultures that have the lowest balance of work and life.
Work Hard, Play Hard?
According to a survey that was done by the ManpowerGroup, 37% of Japanese millennials expect to work for the rest of their lives, making their retirement expectations some of the lowest in the world, while in the U.S only 12% claimed they were going to work until they die. You have to admit, that’s a little bit more optimistic.
This brings us to our next point, that optimism is a rare thing among the youths in Japan. In fact, millennials in Japan rank as the most pessimistic and gloomiest generation among the 18 countries that were tested. This has a lot to do with the fact that they don’t see a bright and successful future for themselves career wise, and they have zero trust in the pension system that should be taking care of them 30 years down the line. Low payments actually make many of Japanese millennials give up on marriage of the dream of buying a home or having children.
Between the Sheets
Things just got a whole lot more interesting. In terms of their sexual interest, it has been revealed that almost 50% of Japanese millennials (singles) between 18 and 34 years old, haven’t lost their virginity. In the U.S, on the other hand, while there has been a slight decline in the age to initiate sexual intercourse (at least when compared to their parents’ generation) the numbers are still higher. The low sexual rate in Japan has been theorized by experts to be related to their dry economy and the young’s blurred perception of reality with all those fantasy realms.
With Japan being one of the most fast paced and technological countries in the world, this fact is quite surprising. The entrepreneurial spirit, unlike in its neighboring countries. In fact it’s leaning more towards traditional corporate rather than a startup one. In the US on the other hand, there is 20 times more investing in venture capital than in Japan. They are more excited and enthusiastic about creating their own work spaces and opportunities and their many of their career goals involve starting a business.