The Contrast of “Low Desire” between Chinese and Japanese Youth

The bursting of the bubble economy made Japan lose 20 years, and thus entered a “low desire society.” In 2015, the economist Kenichi Ohmae wrote in the “Low Desire Society”: “The whole world is’low desire socialization, and Japan is facing the decline of beauty.” He believes that the new generation of social subjects is enterprising. Loss of heart, lack of desire for various things, including material consumption desire and spiritual desire to enjoy love, marriage, and childbirth. The younger generation of Japan has become more and more “desireless and demandless”, and the entire Japanese society is also permeated. The atmosphere of drifting with the flow and being at peace with the situation. On the other hand, in China, since 2017 or even earlier, “mourning culture” has begun to take shape. Until 2020, people’s consumption and demand under the influence of the new crown epidemic have been compressed to a very low level, and “retaliatory consumption” after the epidemic has gradually improved. “It didn’t follow, and the Chinese people seemed to be in a state of “low desire”. With the “net suppressing the cloud” out of the circle, the “mourning culture” is once again active in people’s vision. On the surface, it seems that the various manifestations of Japan’s “low desire society” can be found in common among the Chinese people. However, China and Japan have many differences in political systems, economic development conditions, historical and cultural inheritance, etc. Therefore, The current “low desire” of the two countries cannot be equated.

In 1991, the burst of the Japanese bubble economy spread to the real estate industry. Japanese real estate collapsed. Housing prices in big cities were almost cut in half, and housing prices in small cities fell by 20% to 30%. At the same time, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, Japan’s per capita monthly wage income in April 2020 was about 275,000 yen (approximately RMB 18,000), while the average land price in Kyoto during the same period was 232,000 yen per square meter. With 7 years’ wages of ordinary working-class workers, they can buy a house of 100 square meters in Kyoto. On the other hand, in China, the average monthly salary in Beijing in June 2020 was 9,240 yuan, and the housing prices in first-tier cities such as Suzhou and Nanjing were 29,000 yuan per square meter during the same period. This means that young people can only have 80 square meters of their own in first-tier cities after 20 years of struggle. M residence. However, it is interesting to note that in the 32 years from 1983 to 2015, the rate of housing ownership of “young people” under 40 in Japan dropped from 42% to 10%. More statistics show that 85% of young people in Japan choose to rent a house to get married, 10% live in their parents’ home or employee’s dormitory, and less than 5% buy a house to get married. In the state of low housing prices and high wages, Japanese youth are more willing to rent houses than to buy houses and bear mortgages. The reasons for this may be as follows:

1. The prospect of real estate preservation is not optimistic. The price of real estate in Japan has been declining since 1991. Now the real estate industry is basically in a bubble-free mode, with little room for real estate appreciation and a depreciation rate. The depreciation rate varies according to the construction material of the house. If a reinforced concrete house is worth 50 million yen and the annual depreciation rate is 0.022, then the annual depreciation expense is 1.1 million yen (approximately RMB 71,000). In addition, real estate tax and inheritance tax are also quite high: Japanese real estate tax is divided into three types: acquisition, possession and transfer, accounting for as much as 5% to 7% of the real estate price; Japanese inheritance tax is at least 3,600 based on the basic deduction. Ten thousand yen (approximately RMB 233,000).

2. The renting system is perfect. One is that renting a house does not have to run around for mortgages and be bound by mortgages; the other is that the renting regulations are perfect, and there is no need to worry about rent increases in the short term or forced to move. Therefore, the sense of security provided by renting a house is the same as buying a house, or even less risky. However, young people in China choose to rent more because they cannot afford the mortgage pressure, commuting pressure and life pressure after buying a house.

3. The sequelae of the bubble economy. The lingering power of the bubble economy is still there, and people have lingering fears about carrying mortgages and are unwilling to face the risk of being unable to repay their mortgages after losing their jobs.

In contrast, many young people in China have low desire to buy a house. They are not unwilling to buy a house. They are not really “Buddha” and “no desire without desire”. They are unable to match their own desires. They are under the pressure of reality. Down suppressed my desire.

In recent years, the trend of declining birthrates in Japan has become more severe. According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, the number of births in Japan in 2019 was 864,000, which is the first time that the number of births has fallen below 900,000 since the statistics began in 1899. This is a decrease of 5.92% from 2018. At the same time, as of September 2019, Japan’s elderly population reached 35.35 million, ranking first in the world. Late marriage, late childbirth, and non-marriage of school-age youth are the direct causes of declining birthrate.

As for the low desire of Japanese young people for marriage, the reasons are as follows: First, it is affected by the life experience of their parents. The parents of contemporary Japanese young people are basically over 40 years old, and they were born at the second peak of birth in Japan (1970-1975) known as the “small clump age”, with the number of births exceeding 2 million. Those born in the “small clump era” happened to encounter the predicament of the bursting of the Japanese economic bubble during the peak period of university graduation and employment, and faced an employment crisis. In order to survive, they had to adjust their knowledge structure and enter various fields to struggle again; at the same time, they also faced the mortgage dilemma. , Not getting married means not having to buy a house and not having to bear the risk of inability to repay the loan. The second is the national character. Japanese people have obvious distinctions between inside and outside. In a relationship, it is costly to gain the trust or affection of Japanese people, which determines its low sociality. The Fifteenth Survey of Basic Population Trends by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan shows that nearly 70% of young men and women believe that being single is more free; in addition, the development of Internet technology has made single life more convenient, and online shopping, entertainment, and fitness are increasingly becoming “single”. The way of life advocated by dogs.

Mr. Fei Xiaotong’s “Country China” defines the grassroots of Chinese society as rural, with slow population flow forming an “acquaintance society”, and China’s super first-tier cities are transforming from an acquaintance society to a stranger society, which makes Chinese youth With the capital and opportunity of “Buddha”. In China, while the desire of young people to get married and have children has decreased, the divorce rate has continued to rise. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, 3.879 million marriages and 1.595 million divorces have been registered nationwide in the first half of 2020. The high divorce rate reflects the attitude of Chinese youth towards marriage “not going to end”. Although the two-child policy has been implemented for nearly five years, it has not contained the declining fertility rate. There are complicated social reasons behind this: First, the cost of marriage is too high. With the development of the economy and the improvement of people’s living standards, the cost of marriage is getting higher and higher. Houses and cars have become necessary for many young people to get married. As far as the current Chinese real estate market is concerned, it is difficult for young people to independently afford high down payments and loans for housing prices. In addition, there are a series of high-cost customs such as “beautiful gifts”, banquets, and dowry purchases for Chinese people to get married. It is almost impossible for young people to use their savings from entering society to complete major marriage events. It is common for prenuptial agreement issues to cause emotional gaps or to give up marriage directly. Not only marriage, but the cost of divorce is also very high, involving issues such as the division of property and economic interests of both parties, which leads to young people’s “fear” and rejection of marriage. Second, the desire of young people to realize themselves is stronger. Nowadays, many young people are worried about “returning to poverty” and “losing freedom” after marriage, worrying that they can’t stand the long and ordinary life after marriage, and are unwilling to assume the responsibilities of marriage. Especially in Japan, women’s awareness of independence is one of the main reasons for the decline in the rate of marriage and childbirth. Women no longer need to rely on men’s financial abilities, and they are fully able to have the same educational opportunities, the same competitiveness and salary levels in society; and the major responsibilities and life pressures such as supporting both parents and raising children after marriage will force the division of labor. The woman who takes the role of family as the main part makes more compromises and “sacrifices.”

If it is just low material desires and no pursuit of loftiness, it can still be considered as rational consumption, but in fact, the state of young Japanese people can be summarized as “no desire, no dream, no motivation”. A survey of 1,000 young employees in the Japanese metropolitan area “want to get ahead” showed that 12% wanted to get ahead, 28.8% thought it was best to get ahead, and 43.4% had no obsession with getting ahead. 15.8% of people are not interested at all.

The primary reason for the low desire for success of the younger generation is that they dare not have extravagant hopes for the future. The Heisei generation in Japan is known as the “herbivorous” generation. They are as quiet, stable and peaceful as a grass. Young people’s ambitions are overwhelmed by reality, unable to maintain an optimistic attitude towards the future, thinking that they cannot have the wealth of their parents, and they are only satisfied with the so-called “small luck”-although ordinary, they are better than having a stable career and Good-quality and inexpensive daily necessities.

Chinese young people are also facing the same dilemma: the class is severely consolidated, and it is not easy to achieve a “grassroots counterattack” with their own efforts. As a result, more and more young people are more rational in setting life goals and pursue more diverse meanings in life. On the other hand, the current young people grew up immersed in the Internet. Their understanding of the world and life is very different from the previous generations. Things that are important in traditional concepts may not be so important in their eyes. . A survey report on China’s pension prospects showed that more than 50% of young people did not prepare for retirement savings, which was dubbed as “Buddha-based pension”; quite a number of respondents hoped to retire earlier and were called “Buddhist-based pensions.” retire”.

In summary, the low desires of Chinese and Japanese youths have many similarities in appearance, but there are huge differences in the reasons for their formation. From the perspective of the formation of low desire, it is due to the different national conditions. Japan’s low desires are caused by the long-term slow economic growth, that is, the economic environment does not have the objective conditions for young people to achieve rapid accumulation of wealth. On the other hand, although China’s economic growth has slowed down in recent years, compared with the world, my country is still undergoing rapid development. The idea of ​​young people accumulating wealth and enhancing their economic strength through “development dividends” is not an extravagant hope. In addition to being influenced by Japanese culture, the “Buddhism” of Chinese youth should be more understood as a psychological problem caused by the rapid expansion of large cities. Psychological compensation. It is undeniable that if left unchecked, the “Buddhism” of Chinese youth will repeat the mistakes of Japanese society and fall into the trap of low desire. But as far as the current situation is concerned, the low desires of our youth have not yet constituted a sociological problem, and more of it requires the young people’s own psychological adjustment and a clearer and more rational life plan.