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  • 執筆者の写真Yuko

Youth Culture


The impact of youth culture on politics, such as the civil rights movement, spirituality, such as the introduction of Yoga, and culture such as Mods, is well documented. Whether a minority of lefties or commercial ambitions are responsible for its origin is somewhat questionable. Indeed the very notion of this deviant, difficult and rather scary category of society is ambiguous.


One of the key issues is whether this rather revolutionary culture emerged spontaneously or purposely as a result of commercial trend-setters. The first text explains that the natural-born interests and styles in music and art by adolescents were so powerful and distinct from other generations that they grabbed youngsters’ hearts, spreading quickly all over the world, although the majority of grown-ups over 30, glanced at youngsters with a frown and shut their ears.


On the contrary, the second text introduced two different facets of the birth of youth culture. Firstly, clever trend-setters stimulated young people who were rather bored with the traditional culture to create an extravagant, unusual, cultural category for them, in order to sell more products. The second facet is that young adults innovated their own culture with genuine ambition in order to live by their own values.


In conclusion, although the context of the origin of youth culture was surely influenced by the increased standards of living and the explosion of post-war consumer culture, considering its enduring strength and accumulated political and cultural impact, how could it have been generated by mindless consumer interests? Surely, we couldn’t argue that mindless consumerism was responsible for this vibrant youth movement, could we?


From my point of view, youth culture is being simultaneously innovated and expanded by a new social category, student identity, which has become a rite of passage. In my country, Japan, there is a traditional ritual to celebrate becoming adults when adolescents turns 20 years old. Wearing extravagant traditional Kimonos, they realise a contradictory feeling how to find a balance between freedom and responsibility.


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