The Generation Gap and Its Implications: Article`s Analiz

In the article “The Generation Gap and Its Implications: Young Employees in the Japanese Corporate World Today”, author Gordon Mathews argues that 'the generation gap' getting worse and worse in Japan. 'The generation gap' in this article means the contradiction and misunderstanding between the younger generation and the older generation. Because of the universal news kept the focus on teenage criminals, magnifying youngers' shortcomings. Not only the news publish lots of information that disadvantages of the younger generation, lots of authors also published some books that defame the younger generation, those books were talking about youngers' morals, values, work ethic, and intelligence. We can know that the generation gap already happened in the 1960s through the author's first-time visit to Japan in the 1960s, the author was told that 'younger workers are individualistic.' Because of the transformation of Japanese culture, the younger generation was given a way of escape to not obsess in work like the older generation. Even the generation gap cause a contentious matter in Japan social, but it does not receive a lot of attention.

Up to now, the generation gap is still a popular topic, in the United States published lots of books about the generation gap, such as the values of 'generation X' and 'generation Y'. Generation X is means people who were born in 1965-1980. The 'generation Y' is means people who born in 1981-1999. The author noticed that the younger generation is described negatively in Japan, this situation is different from other countries, such as American countries, European countries, and other Asian countries. The younger generation is described as neutral or even positive in other countries. There are three reasons to explain why the younger generation is described negatively by the media in Japan. First, Japanese writers are age-related to mass media power. Second, is the large transformation in the past 60 years. The younger generation did not experience the transformation. Third, the author thought that the social order in postwar. Pierre Bourdieu said that education would lead the younger generation to recreate their own society, education is means diffuse education, family education, and institutional education. Rohlen published an article 'Order Society' in 1989, he thought that to adapt shudan seikatsu, the younger generation needs to train since childhood by discipline. The generation gap in Japan means the interval between the protector of social order and the younger generation that does not socialize.

There were a few examples that depicted the contradiction and misunderstanding between the younger generation and the older generation. A late 40s bank section chief thought that young people just want to earn money in the company, not because they want to work. The younger generation cannot create a sense of oneness in the company. It was different from what they used to be. His subordinate (the mid-20s) thought that the company wants to act like their parents. He thought no young people would sacrifice their life for the job. And there was news saying that 'the young may, in their laziness, destroy Japan's prosperity.' But this news was wrong, because of the 'bubble economy.' A 50s employee claimed they work too hard and generated too much money that they had to put it into the system, then created 'the bubble economy.' The older generation should take responsibility. The system of the companies was changed, Japanese companies eliminated lifetime employment, and adopted contractual employment. Because of it, some younger generation views changed. Some of them would work in their company as long as they can. Some younger generations would leave when learned what they wanted in their current company. Young people thought that quitting job would not lose their advantage, and they can bring more skills to the new companies. Also, young people thought that the older generation can not advance with changes. They would not learn how to use computers, and can not make the company more efficient. The company elder becomes a burden, young people need to work harder.

Japanese sociality pays much attention to etiquette. The use of language truly affects the relationship in the company. Using Keigo properly is a basic skill that every employee should learn. Young employees have to communicate with older colleagues carefully and show respect to older colleagues by showing obedience. If young employees make a mistake, the reputation would fall into the bottom. One of them made a mistake, she got bullied by her colleagues, and called her 'namaiki.' Learning how to communicate with older colleagues carefully is not the only thing young employees need to do. They have to learn how to deal with their client like apologizing to them even that is not their responsibility.

In Japan, the Japanese male elder has the most power, but the young people, females and foreigners do not have much power. In the 1990s and 2000s, gender equality had a huge change in Japan, there was an example to explain this situation. The author interviewed a young woman. In the 1990s, she completed the company text with high marks, but the company did not let her enter the career track. In the 2000s, this young woman got into the career track, and she had been promoted to the higher office many times. The foreigner is hard to fit in the style of the company. Because of the Japanese young people who were given company standards, they had to stay overtime. They do not know well the style of the Japanese company and Japanese culture such as Gaman. The Japanese Ryugakusei do not have any basic idea of Japanese company culture and Japanese culture. They can not fit into the company easily. The author thought that the Japanese education system and examination system were ruined young people’s ingenuity and initiative.

The author said that if Japan wants to reproduce the social of order, they need to train young people, like shudan seikatsu. The power between the older generation and the younger generation was changing. The younger generation led a huge transformation that japan would change to capitalism. He wonders when the younger generation accept shudan seikatsu training and the order of society, would they create a new order of society for Japan. 

07 July 2022
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