The Japan Youth Study Group is a research group comprised fundamentally of researchers from over 10 universities in the field of sociology and education, whose purpose is to theoretically and empirically research modern youth's awareness and behavior.
This research group was formed in the early 1980's with the urban sociologist, Yuetsu Takahashi (at that time a professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University) as its head.
At that time, Japanese society was entering the maturity stage of a consumer society, as it can be said that youth are at the forefront of a changing society; much attention was being paid to the change in city youth, whose awareness and set of values were different from youth of the 1960's and 1970's.
By taking a look at this change specifically, it was decided to establish a research and study group to consider the whole concept of youth and society.
Since then, 30 years have passed, there has been a generational turnover in our research members, and not only do we focus on youth culture but also the relationship between youth and a consumer culture, youth and a media culture. This cultural influence and the culture that youth create, has been thoroughly investigated both in a social scientific analysis and actual state.
Not only with youth culture, but while it cannot be said that there is a lot of empirical research on the social science about popular culture, this research group not only has gathered important information on the change over time of youth awareness and behavior from the advanced consumer society of the 1980's to the present day ICT focused information society that is under way, but also analyzed and presented on this.
Fortunately, twice during this 30 year span, from 1992 to 1994 and from 2001 to 2003, we were able to receive Grants-in-aid for Scientific research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, which enabled us to administer a large research study on youth in the Suginami Ward of Tokyo and the Nada and Higashi Nada Wards of Kobe.
Based on these research results, we were able to have numerous academic presentations and publishing activities, along with gathering a large interest socially in research focused on the real youth and not confined to the image of youth.
In 2006, Masayuki Fujimura (Sophia University) became the head of research and from 2011 we received our third grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science: Grants-in-aid for Scientific research on the theme “Longitudinal research of urban youth culture in liquid society -comparative analysis from inter-and intragenerational “ and in which we are in the process of a three year research study.
In 2011, we held an international workshop with sociologists from Finland, the Netherlands and Hong Kong who are in the field of youth research.
In 2012, we held a large research study on Japan's urban youth culture. This research, compared with the research results from our 1992 study and 2002 study can be used as data for a further generational comparison.
While it is said that "Youth are a generation's litmus paper." and "Youth are the mirror of tomorrow," the Japan Youth Study Group will, while continuing to have a theoretical perspective, conduct studies on the concept of youth and society and the base will be formed from the results of empirical research.