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Contemporary Japanese Society


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Introducing Japanese contemporary culture and society to a Yeungnam University group visiting Kansai University. On Day 1, traditional Japanese culture was introduced to the students from South Korea; this is Day 2, 15 January 2016. The author is a lecturer for the Kansai University Division of International Affairs, other universities, and the Japanese government international agency JICA.

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Contemporary Japanese Society

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  2. 2.  Regions of Japan today (photos)  Population issues  Foreigners in Japan  Economic issues  Energy issues  International Marriage & Bilingualism  Jenkins-Soga family example  Fun quiz  Conclusion / Q&A
  3. 3. Fuji japan by, 2012, CC BY 2.0
  4. 4. OSAKA Big Issue Stall – Osaka Station by GanMed64, 2011, CC BY 2.0
  5. 5. HIROSHIMA: Peace Memorial by Stripy T-Shirt, 2004, CC BY-SA 2.0 NORTHEAST JAPAN earthquake/tsunami: Volunteer at Kesencho, Rikuzentakata by Hajime Nakano, 2011, CC BY 2.0
  6. 6. SHIKOKU island DSCF0752.JPG by Kazu Letokyoite, 2007, CC BY 2.0
  7. 7. Demographic shift, its reasons, & difficulty of solutions “6 out of 10 respondents said the biggest reason for having fewer children than they really want is that ‘it costs too much money to raise & educate children’.” From
  8. 8. Does not include 30,000 US soldiers & illegal immigrants
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  10. 10. Japan and the global economy  Stable cost of living, saving vs. consuming  Working conditions, part-timers increasing  International trade, exports vs. imports  Distribution of wealth, social safety net  Inflation policy and consumption tax increase  Deflation vs. inflation: Who benefits from which?  Overseas Development Assistance
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  12. 12. Weakened yen & purchasing power “The yen has fallen nearly 25% against the US dollar since November 2012, as policymakers unveiled a series of aggressive measures to revive growth.” “A weak yen has its advantages as well, the biggest one being that it makes Japanese goods cheaper for foreign buyers. That helps to boost exports - one of the key drivers of Japan's economic growth.” “… shipments from Japan rose 12.2% in July, from a year ago, the fastest pace of growth since December 2010.” “Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, rose by 9.5% from a year earlier, compared with 4.7% growth in June.” “Meanwhile shipments to the US jumped by 18.5% from a year ago, up from a 14.6% rise in the previous month.” BBC News, 19 August 2013, from:
  13. 13. Abenomics: 3 arrows of monetary, fiscal, and structural policy. It has started mostly by having the central Bank of Japan print more money, weakening the yen. Are leaders giving up on the real economy in favor of financialization, or will fiscal stimulus work, and will structural reforms overcome special interests?
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  16. 16. Japan still depends on imported non-renewable energy. Increased fossil fuel consumption since 2011 nuclear shutdowns.
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  19. 19. Japanese Society  Maintaining traditional customs while wanting the latest attractions  Society and people’s values change very gradually  Japanese people are reserved  The Lonely Crowd  Difficult to meet strangers