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Chapter Summary

In any place and at any time in history, the young have always been the object of criticism, whether it is how different, ignorant, immature, or inadequate they are compared with the adults doing the criticizing. Peer pressure may significantly affect the self-esteem of young people everywhere, but the degree to which Japanese youths and young adults desire to conform is puzzling as well as disturbing. They often worry excessively about not being liked or accepted by others. Sometime in the mid-1990s, the word yasashisa, that means gentleness or kindness, gained special popularity and was thought to best represent the mood of Japanese youth. Extended childhood and longer adolescence are phenomena common to many post-industrialized societies. Japan's examination culture encourages one to quantify one's value in figures. Family is the most direct and primary influence on one's life, at least while one is young.

Keywords: Japan's examination culture; Japanese youths; yasashisa



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