More serious than their parents

I notice that a lot of senior employees of traditional Japanese companies often bemoan the fact that their daughters cannot easily find desirable husbands these days. Some people describe Japanese young men today as “grass-eating boys” who are too timid to find girlfriends. Others say today’s parents are less likely to urge their children to keep house for themselves. Society makes light of this.

But I believe many old-timers have gotten so accustomed to an obsolete way of Japanese life — such as the lifetime-employment system — that they overlook the harsher situation for young people. Nowadays one-third of the Japanese labor force consists of irregular workers, whose average annual compensation is far less than ¥3 million and whose social security benefits are much poorer than that of regular workers.

Meanwhile, Japanese young women are said to have become more conservative and to take a careful view of their future, hoping to marry men who have a stable job with good earnings. Few, if any, Japanese people will come out and say explicitly that the first prerequisite for a happy marriage is economic stability, but young women today, to be sure, seem to know this fact very well.

I see a lot of old-timers who can’t rid themselves of nostalgic notions, saying they can’t understand the thinking of young people. I think these old-timers should realize that today’s young people are more serious and conservative about the future than they were.

shuichi john watanabe

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.