Why are Japanese teens so glum?

May 14, 2019 by

Japanese teens are lagging behind many other countries in well-being and happiness. That is one of the conclusions of a new report on educational well-being recently published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development — with the key finding that out of 35 OECD countries, only South Korean and Turkish teens rated their life satisfaction lower than Japanese young people.

Japanese teens were also above average on overall anxiety indicators and well below average for motivation to succeed in school. This finding, part of a survey of 540,000 15-year-olds in 72 countries, indicates a worrying pattern throughout the world: Advanced economies have lower levels of well-being than might be expected from their material prosperity and freedoms — particularly among young people.

The OECD’s report is just the latest in an emerging literature of global youth studies on this issue. Last year, the Varkey Foundation published the “Generation Z: Global Citizenship Survey” about the attitudes of young people aged 15 to 21 in 20 major countries.

Although the report found that young people globally had a largely internationalist and liberal outlook, it also showed that young people in Japan had the lowest mental well-being of all countries surveyed — particularly worrying given that the figures for 2014 gave suicide as the leading cause of death among Japan’s 10- to 19-year-olds.

Japanese young people were also found to have the lowest level of net happiness of all 20 countries polled, and more Japanese young people said they were unhappy (17 percent) than any other country apart from South Korea (also at 17 percent).

Source: Why are Japanese teens so glum? | The Japan Times

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