By Dag Leonardsen
Japan is frequently 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 rather is dealing with social malaise, or if the media are easily making a 'moral panic'.
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Additional info for Crime in Japan: Paradise Lost?
5). When comparing Japan with other OECD countries Tachibanaki concludes that ‘Japan’s income inequality is currently among the highest of the advanced and industrialized countries’ (p. 5). However, it is only during the last five to six years that this topic has become a public concern. 5 per cent in the 1970s and 1980s but then started increasing from 1992, with an especially sharp jump between 1997 and 2002 (more than 5 per cent)8. The official numbers confirm the 1990s as a period of slump – for women as well as for men.
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. Obligations towards group values imply that each person should be willing to bear quite extensive renunciations and to take these without complaint. Endurance is expected and can be taken for granted. As long as the individual is subordinate to the group, and as long as ‘group membership is the basis for individual identity’ (Stevens, 1977: 16), each citizen has to relinquish what are regarded to be particularistic interests.
Anyone who wants to understand not only the psyche of each individual, but the whole social structure in Japan has to take this concept as the starting point. While Westerners cultivate independence as a basic value to strive for, in Japan the situation is in many ways reversed. The verb amaeru carries a meaning of ‘being the object of love from others’ or ‘a wish to behave like a spoiled child’ (Kalland, 1986: 67), both with the implication of creating relations of dependency. Traditionally, Japanese children have been taught that the outside world is full of dangers and that their mother or (later on) membership of an in-group is the only means that the individual can be protected and provided with a safe life.
Crime in Japan: Paradise Lost? by Dag Leonardsen