[Downwardly Mobile Society]
Kōbunsha (Kōbunsha Shinsho), 2005. 288 pp. ¥780. ISBN 978-4-334- 03321-7.
Also published in: Chinese (traditional and simplified characters) and Korean
The author uses a wealth of data to empirically demonstrate, from the standpoint of marketing analysis, that Japan is being transformed from a nation that was once dominated by the middle class into a downwardly mobile society. He makes the case that economists and sociologists who have researched social classes to date have neglected the concept of consumption, so he conducted his own fieldwork in November 2004 and May and June 2005, asking people whether they considered themselves upper, middle, or lower class and analyzing their consumption trends according to their self-identification.
His results show that the downwardly mobile trend is strong among the second baby-boom generation, whose members are now in their early thirties. As this was the first generation born after Japan had developed a middle-class consciousness, these people grew up not knowing a gap between society’s haves and have-nots, which the author says has led to a lack of desire to improve their station. This book will become an important source of data for understanding contemporary Japanese society. (MK)
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