“In Japan, people have an impression that when someone stands out, they will be targeted or bullied,” she said. “So people learn not to stand out, and young people see this as a survival method. Teachers talk about individuality, and yet people’s uniqueness is crushed.” In corporate Japan, that in turn creates an atmosphere in which people are often scared to speak out, particularly in meetings, and especially if they are women, Oshima and Nozu said. Read more (Washington Post)
Stop me if you’ve come across this type of brand before: It has a contemporary and minimalist feel, tells a story of ethical production and sustainable living, and is based in California’s tech centers. Also known as the “DTC brands,” these West Coast-born lifestyle labels have seen their popularity soar with China’s young and upwardly-mobile consumer class over the past few years. Read more (Jing Daily)
Whether it be a bold, single-colored coat or a bedazzled optical illusion, fans of nail art know that the tiny canvases of our fingernails can contain a cosmos of possibilities. A beauty routine that is widely practiced by women in China, nail art is starting to gain popularity among young men as well. Read more (Radii China)
Clubhouse is blowing up in China, but many Chinese-speaking users aren’t talking. Instead, they’re using it to network. One chatroom is named “Silent Room 2: No talking on the microphone, just checking bios and following each other” in traditional Chinese script. It’s attracted over 1,700 participants, including the famous Taiwanese singer and actor Aaron Yan. Even with over 80 people set as speakers or moderators, the room is dead quiet. Read more (Protocol)
Rich in tradition and material wealth, Japan’s reclusive youths are often completely uninterested in sex, relationships, or work.
The country’s youth – especially men – are seeking escape from the job and romance market. Video game addiction and shut-in adults (almost all male) make up a large part of what could have been Japan’s workforce. Suicide is rampant.
This may involve some unique Japanese cultural and economic factors, but the trend won’t be uniquely Japanese. This transition from productive nation to virtually reclusive, depressed, and aged nation is one that may be the natural course of the First World.
Artificial intelligence, more immersive virtual mediums, and continuing existential loss of purpose and direction. These factors are likely to drive many other rich First World nations into a solipsistic virtual escape. Read more (Dan Faggella)
There was a time not long ago when China’s newly rich — and their scions, known as fuerdai, or “second generation rich” — flaunted their wealth and status. In the go-go 1990s and 2000s, when the country opened up and let its economy blossom, the rest of society looked on in awe as these princelings posted videos of burning money or posing next to the family Lamborghini.
In today’s China, though, the mood seems to be shifting. The pandemic has left the wealthiest even better off, in China as elsewhere, widening an already yawning gap between the haves and have-nots. The list of China’s wealthiest families added $1.5 trillion to their personal wealth over 2020, according to the Hurun Report, which tracks them.
China’s increasingly powerful leader, Xi Jinping, has waged a campaign against corruption, jailing businessmen and officials who deviate from the Communist Party’s vision, which he has repeatedly urged everyone to embrace. Not even Jack Ma, China’s most famous and, until recently, richest entrepreneur, has been spared the government’s scorn. Read more (NY Times)
As economies across the region plunge into their worst recessions in generations, workers in their 20s and 30s are facing the brunt of lay-offs as workplaces shed employees on a last-in, first-out basis. Read more (South China Morning Post)
Up to 15 million youth jobs in the region are expected to disappear in 2020, and even those who find work face the prospect of lower earnings for years to come
In India, the Philippines, Thailand and elsewhere, the story is much the same – no jobs, no income, no future
First coined in the 1980s, revenge buying was used to describe all of the “pent up demand for foreign products that had been denied [to China’s] citizens when the nation was closed off to the outside world”, according to Business of Fashion. However, the term has more recently been used across Chinese social media as a way to describe how ordinary citizens were dreaming of treating themselves once quarantine was lifted, as well as by those expressing disdain at unnecessary spending as the economy struggled. Reopening day could be a one-off or, as some brands and retailers may hope, just the beginning of restoring depleted coffers.