It was refreshing to read the Jan. 27 editorial, “The ‘keitai’ generation.” With Japanese youth already ostracized and socially strangled, the keitai culture adds fuel to the fire. Kids need physical playgrounds not video games, social interactions not text messaging, more human interactions not keitai. I am not aware of any statistics, but I doubt that cell phones have actually made high school children safer on the streets and kept their parents more aware of their whereabouts. Technology after all is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
On the other hand, why blame the youth alone? Keitai is a symbol of youth’s independent social identity, their response to strict and regimented social control and, as cultural anthropologist Ito Mizuko says, an “embodiment of relational connectivity.” The onus is not on the youth but on society to bring them back into the social net by engaging them in meaningful ways. I am afraid there is little that Japanese society is doing in this direction. Rather slowly but surely Nippon is “robotizing” its youth. As far as keitai and youth’s talent are concerned, I can only say mottai-nai (what a waste).