Escape from Work: Freelancing Youth and the Challenge to Corporate Japan
Escape from Work is about an important evolution which has been occurring in the Japanese labor market over the past decade. As Japanese came to enjoy higher levels of affluence in the late 1980s and early 1990s, attitudes towards work and life course began to change. At the same time, globalization and heightened competition have accelerated the casualization of work in Japan. The furiitaa, young people who are free-lance, long-term ‘casuals,’ are less committed to their employers and employment than is the norm in Japan. Based on rich interview data and extensive surveys, author Reiko Kosugi documents the increase in the number of casual workers in Japan over the past two decades and looks at their demographics. This study explores ways in which young persons falling outside the normal pattern of transition from school to employment might better be incorporated into Japan’s world of regular, full-time employment. At the same time, Kosugi calls for a reappraisal of the rather negative way in which those in the labor market hiring casuals have been traditionally conceived, and recommends acceptance of that market as a means of providing viable career and lifestyle options for the Japanese in the 21st century.