Crime in Japan: Paradise Lost? by Dag Leonardsen

By Dag Leonardsen

Japan is usually defined as an inclusive society, and yet the media reports record highs in crime and suicide figures. This book examines legal justice in Japan, and questions even if Japan quite is dealing with social malaise, or if the media are easily making a 'moral panic'. 

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The word was originally coined a couple of years before the economic crash of 1990, and, at that time, referred to young people (between 15 and 34 years of age, excluding housewives and students) who deliberately chose to be serial part-time workers (or job hoppers as Honda, 2006: 5, calls them). As long as the economy was booming, being a freeter could have some positive connotations. Instead of dying from karoshi (overwork), as some 30,000 Japanese people do every year (Takahashi, 1991), quite a few young people preferred a combination of freedom/material scarcity to little freedom/affluence.

3 Economic, Social, and Cultural Changes 1990–2005 The impetus for change amplifies Like all modern societies, Japan is changing as globalisation and technological innovation proceed. Increasing economic and cultural integration leaves the nation state exposed to strong impulses for change. However, societies are characterised by institutional inertia. Social change is usually about very gradual and slow processes. This is especially true regarding the cultural sphere. Marx was probably right in distinguishing the socio-cultural system by two concepts: social lag and adaptation.

Regarding the crime situation) might seem to be part of the story in Japan. To the extent that the outcry about a social collapse and a spreading moral decay in Japan over the last 20 years might seem somewhat out of proportion, the overriding role played by the principles of kata and wa gives one answer to why this happens. 28 Crime in Japan Conclusion: Do not disturb the harmony of the group The cultural wings that make up the background for the way people think and act in their everyday lives is dominated by strong sensitiveness and other-directedness.

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