Youth Nationalism in Japan During the Lost Decades

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


With the bursting of the “bubble economy” in the early 1990s, Japan has been experiencing deflation for more than two decades–known as Japan’s “Lost Decades.” What has been the impact of this prolonged economic stagnation on Japan’s youth? In particular, how has it influenced and shaped their national identity and, accordingly, their nationalism? Looking from a constructivist approach and guided by the experiential theory of social generation, this study examines how Japanese in their 20s have come to mediate and respond to economic stagnation and reconstruct national identities different from those of Japanese youth in the 1970s and 1980s.

It suggests that without inheriting the previously established national identity and homogeneous economic nationalism of the prior generation, yet with their constant aspiration to ensure Japan’s global competitiveness, current Japanese youth have tried to identify Japan with various other social institutions rather than simply with economic development. They have, therefore, exhibited a high level of heterogeneity in their nationalism, signifying a similar transition from homogeneity to heterogeneity in many other sectors of Japanese society during the Lost Decades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-50
Number of pages20
JournalJapan Studies Review
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

I thank Professors Hidetoshi Taga, Brian Bridges, Shalendra D. Sharma and Liah Greenfeld for their help with this article.


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