Main topic – social misfits

Social misfits is a broad category in Japan, and I have tried to include more recent ones that have gained notoriety in Japan. Please free to post questions and comments in the comments section.

Why are so many young Japanese people ‘dropping out’ of regular society?


16 Responses to “Main topic – social misfits”

  1. Li Julia Says:

    As a very group-orientated society, being accpeted and respected by the group is very much required in the everyday life of Japanese people. As a result, people are afraid to express who they really are or they pretent to be who they are not, in order not be judged or seen as an individualist. The more people are afraid of being criticised or judged, the more they avoid talking and communicating with others, leading to the result of ‘dropping out’ from regular society.

    The bottom line IS that society shape who we are.

  2. gaijinalways Says:

    But is the society shaping who they are?

    Remember, these people are dropping out, so in a sense society is no longer influencing them and their behaviour.

  3. Rikko Says:

    I understand your idea, but I think although the society cannot help them, there are many social security systems in Japanese society. As one has little money and no job and cannot live in the living-standard, he/she can be given money from the government. So, (young) people, who feel they can be happier in living with the money by the othe citizens than earning by themselves. And finally they are ti be ‘dropping out’, I think.

  4. gaijinalways Says:

    But then Rikko they are becoming a ‘burden’ on society. And also by depending on government money, they are less independent and often must plan things that they do around a limited budget. They certainly will have little chance to shape and change society in a positive way. And also, what lesson will be given to the next generation that hopes to do something; let others support you so you can live a ‘free’ life?

  5. Chihiro Says:

    On the basis of above arguments…

    I think in this society, it is difficult to feel that one is needed by other people. Our every day life is so peaceful and convinient that it makes young peple feel they do not need other people’s help and other people can live without his/her help, neither. They might think the society would work regularly even if there were not for themselves. So, they might dropped out the relationship with the society because they could not find the need of connecting with other people.

  6. gaijinalways Says:

    Chihiro, I think you have something there. I know it is so easy to forget about people you know once they move away or you lose touch.

    Nowadays it is easier to keep in touch, but I think people tend to often have more temporary friendships because of the fast paced lives we live, as well as people being more likely to live in various locations (some of which may be on other continents).

    Everyone has a purpose, but knowing what it is might take some people their whole lives to discover, and that purpose may evolve many times in a life time.

  7. gaijinalways Says:

    How could we help people to see that they do a make a difference in other people’s lives, and that they are important?

  8. ropponsen Says:

    Actually, it is difficult to help people feel how important they are. As a first step, through conversation, to find out why they “drop out” and what they’re really feeling now is important. And we need to have the patience to wait for changes in their attitudes. If you rush into things, you would never help them, I think.

  9. gaijinalways Says:

    I definately agree ‘ropponsen’. Some people change very slowly, and many people don’t have enough patience to change things in their own lives, never mind someone else’s. But we do need to make the effort, and finding out why people drop out is a step in the right direction. Encouraging dialogue with another is always better than just ignoring them.

    I think empathy will go a long way in helping others realize that all of us sometimes feel like dropping out. But we fight that urge and push ourselves to find people who can lift us up and help us see our potential to do things, no matter how small, that combined together make the world a better place.

  10. kanty Says:

    I agree with ropponsen as well.
    It seems that as long as people around for those who are “dropping out” the society hurry to try to change them, they would shut their hearts to others.
    There were some crimes commited by people who just wanted others to know that they exist such as indiscriminate murder in Akihabara. I understand Japanese society is stressful in many ways, but at some point everyone who survives this society needs to be tough enough.

  11. maya Says:

    Thinking about empathy, I think the current society is getting more and more difficult for people to live in, because people are more concerened about their own academic goals. Most of the schools have that thought, too as I think. If people could feel empathy with each other, and have more interactive communication, that may help people from dropping out.

  12. gaijinalways Says:

    Yes the pace of change recommended is important. Though with the example you’ve given, the murder rampage in Akihabara, I don’t think that individual was a drop out, he felt more that he was left out of the economic success he thought he deserved in Japan. Part of the reason he became angry was that he thought he was due to be laid off from the factory he was working at because he couldn’t find his uniform, when it turned out it had simply been misplaced (i.e. put in someone else’s locker or just not put away).

    People like this may have a different problem than the drop outs as they feel left out and are angry about it. They may then displace this anger on other people who have nothing to dow ith the problem, the anger that he/she feels.

    As to Maya’s comments, empathy and more interaction will help encourage students to stay in school and get more out of the experience. Society is a group of people living and working together, and having interactions is a big part of what drives humans to create a better society (or at least I like to think so).

  13. ayamo Says:

    I guess dropping-out people tend to compare themselves too much with ohters.
    When they notice that they are more uncapable or useless than the others, they lose their identity or importance in the society. They need someone to trust or accept them but as sometimes it is said that people are divided into two groups, winners and losers (though I don’t think this is the right way to classify people), it’ll be difficut for winners to have sympathy with people who are depressed in the society.

  14. gaijinalways Says:

    Society is becoming more competitive, and certainly people are more likely to be judged as winners or losers by people who keep economic and status scorecards. Everyone gets depressed now and then, so looking down on people who do so is not really a mature attitude.

  15. Minkyeong Lee Says:

    Thesedays, people are becoming all the same with others and society is becoming more superficial. So some people who noticed that became to organize some groups which they really can share something inside and it make the people of the group believe they belong to the certain group and feel that they’re not the only one.
    I think this ‘dropping out’ group is the people who develop their antipathy to society into negative way.

  16. gaijinalways Says:

    Superficiality has always been around. I think the difference now is that people are overloaded with choices, so they have to screen some things out to keep their sanity. Deciding who to be friends with is one choice, and some people make wrong choices or are simply afraid to choose any friends. By not taking any risks in finding people who accept us, we may risk not gaining any real relationships.

    How do we decide who to trust? Do you have any guidelines you’d like to share?

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