The Japanese media have increasingly been raising concerns that Japan’s younger generations are no longer the bastions of mindless consumer capitalism they once were, with potentially dire consequences for the nation’s economy; a psychiatrist has even gone so far as to say this is a result of mass schizophrenia.

Psychiatrist Hideki Wada, known for a number of books and television appearances as well as some academic publications, claims the drop in consumption is not tied to anything so mundane as Japan’s long-running economic slump, but is instead a result of mental illness.

When asked what he considers to be the cause of the so-called “consumption collapse” amongst Japanese young people, he claims that it is an “illness” which can be explained through clinical schizophrenia and depression, which he theorises as being endemic amongst Japanese.

Explaining this apparently completely unsubstantiated claim, he theorises that a loss of individuality caused by schizophrenia contributes to making people more susceptible to group trends, and that as a result when young people see others refraining from consumption they follow this trend (he does not approach the issue of why people might be consuming less in the first place).

As a countermeasure he suggests doubling income taxes for workers and then allowing them to claim general consumption as expenses, in order to force people to buy rather than foolishly save their money – “if they don’t spend their money the government will take it from them, so it’ll be best for them to spend it all.”

He also proposes education for recalcitrant consumers – “Previously we taught that saving was a virtue, but we should be teaching that consumption is a virtue instead. We should teach that if people don’t spend, the country will gradually decline.”

For a psychiatrist to abuse the definition of a serious mental illness by applying it wholesale to an entire generation on the grounds that they do not feel the need to own cars or buy Louis Vuitton bags seems particularly grotesque, though at least he stops short of proposing compulsory medication.

Most actual young Japanese can easily propose a plausible alternative explanation: “because we have no money,” though unfortunately the Japanese mass media seem resolutely intent on ignoring such an obvious explanation.

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    Avatar of Ivan .M
    Comment by Ivan .M
    12:25 03/05/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Well, rather than vilifying what some of us perceive to be "capitalism" (this dubiously financed corporatism being quite the opposite), we should keep in mind that the root of the problem is Japan's monetary system itself. It's the same system everywhere though, with local and regional flavors that hardly succeed at masking the taste of national insolvency.

    It is not merely consumption which has bloated into excess here, but production as well. It depends on the country in question as to what side of the coin the excess falls on, but the worldwide result is a mindless waste of natural resources. Any economy dependent on interest-bearing debt to have money in circulation will always need to grow exponentially until it collapses -- Mathematics 101.

    No one should really be surprised at this quack doctor postulating such an absurd suggestion. The demand for never-ending economic growth imposed by the global bond market influences everyone's thinking. How many of us, during childhood, have heard the following:

    "Sorry son, but daddy has to work again tonight. I promise that I'll take you to that ballgame next time."

    Too many.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:41 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is why I'm glad I live in America, where our economy is booming and we have geniuses like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to guide us. All we need is another old, rich, fat, mentally ill white guy in office and we're all good.

    Oh wait...

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:30 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    There are psychiatrist in Japan? This is news!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:25 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    so this means otaku are not schizophrenic since they spend like crazy on anything they like

    Avatar of motaku96
    Comment by motaku96
    12:13 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This psychiatrist should lose all credibility for this idiotic assessment.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:43 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This guy just trolled Japan.

    Comment by Pyrus
    14:17 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Reading that was a pretty Orwellian experience. For this doctor, Big Brother isn't the government, it's big business! That stuff about saving money being bad & foolish seems like a perfect example of Orwell's black/white: where a concept is held to be its opposite.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:57 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    A culture based on shopping is bullshit, anyway.

    Marx had us pegged 150 years ago.

    Avatar of Ivan .M
    Comment by Ivan .M
    14:33 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    As opposed to what other type of culture? One in which the serfs ceaselessly work like animals only to surrender their earned gains to a small group of parasitic elites? What's the difference exactly?

    Both systems are the same, and they're ruled by the same masters.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:08 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    >“Previously we taught that saving was a virtue, but we should be teaching that consumption is a virtue instead. We should teach that if people don’t spend, the country will gradually decline.”

    Sounds like a very roundabout way to get the economy out of this slump.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:37 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The idea perpetual economy growth is impossible. There are limited resources on this planet. Eventually we will run out and the cycle will finally collapse under natural law.

    This is just Japan course correcting itself. It's the same thing with low birth rates. They are thinning the heard of humans in their cramped island.

    Avatar of Harmonics
    Comment by Harmonics
    08:55 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I really feel like smacking this psychiatrist with a dictionary, maybe the trauma will a reset his brain.(Even if it doesn't it will still make me feel better.)

    Avatar of Myballz
    Comment by Myballz
    10:24 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hideki Wada you realize you just enforce the Xenophobic sterotype on your country men good job.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:45 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    i do agree with the lose of individuality claim...not that it has anything to do with a mental illness...especially one was well documented as schizophrenia...

    Avatar of DFC
    Comment by DFC
    09:50 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    There goes all his credibility. Modern consumerism is engineered to transfer the riches to the hands of a few. Eternal/infinite economic growth is but impossible, the current economics models are screwed anyway.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:51 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "We should teach that if people don’t HAVE CHILDREN, the country will gradually decline."


    Comment by Anonymous
    10:18 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That in itself is a vicious problem, people who don't have children cause prices to go up cause theres less money being spent, causing people not to be able to afford living expenses much less having children. Causing a never-ending problem. This problem is only going to get worse, and not just in Japan. The whole world will probably end up like this soon.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:54 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Trying to make them spend more by lowering their self-esteem isn't going to help one bit.

    Avatar of ventlus
    Comment by ventlus
    14:42 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    damm i don't consume i must be scitzo D:, *goes to psychiatrist for mind altering pills*

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:40 05/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What you need to get by for a month in the Philippines:
    desc: male, single, not in a relationship, working

    1. 4 boxes of juice
    2. 4 boxes of milk
    3. 500g of pork
    4. 500g of chicken
    5. 2kg of rice
    6. 500g of fish
    7. 500g of beef
    8. 50g of tomatoes
    9. 500g of any vegetables
    10. 500g of potatoes
    11. 4 rolls of tissue
    12. 1 bottle of alcohol
    13. 1 bag of cotton
    14. 4 bags of potato chips
    15. 5gal of water

    ........ just my grocery amounts to Php3000 without electricity and LPG.... that's $60 or Y6000....

    Why does it costs much more in Japan and America?

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:22 16/04/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    because you eat very simple. Most people in America eat a lot of high priced crap with artificial color, flavor

    Avatar of tingle
    Comment by tingle
    02:31 08/02/2015 # ! Neutral (0)

    that might work. I'd just use my savings to buy mutual funds. it takes two days to sell and make a withdrawal but it DOES make more then a savings account. I actually have been doing that for a year or two.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:06 08/12/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Being poor has been found to create mental illness, not so much the other way.

    That being said, go figure he would basically call for communism while calling the people sick.

    So let's get this straight:

    First, the banks run up a huge debt based on nothing or other slight of hand.

    Second, the debt becomes unpayable and they muscle the government into signing on to it, which in turn destroys the economy.

    Thirdly, they blame the victim and start openly calling for the government to loot it's people.

    The government basically has been taken over by the banks, based on nothing. Lives destroyed by CORPORATISM/crony capitalism, not capitalism.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:56 02/10/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Consumerist capitalism is just wasteful and unsustainable

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:30 02/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    lols talking shit about how people need to buy more stfu

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:43 22/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Are people really having trouble understanding this? Consumption is down because PRODUCT QUALITY IS DOWN. Start making better shit, that lasts longer, is more interesting, had some work and creativity put into it.. and we'll buy.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:59 09/04/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    They want $$$$$.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:31 05/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "If you don't buy this useless piece of crap you are SICK! You are SICK in the HEAD!"

    Does he know what a schizophrenic is? I don't think he does.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:09 05/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If being frugal is schizophrenic then I don't wanna be sane.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:24 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    not sure if this was mentioned but i see this as a ploy to keep the poor poor and the rich rich. By not allowing the poor to save money they keep them poor and unable to advance in life i.e. buying a house. I know from my experience that what you get paid never reflects the market and if you do get a pay raise they increase everything else so i doesn't make a difference. Perfect example, i am a manager of a store, after a 2 year pay freeze i get a raise of $0.35 while all items in the store go up by $0.50 to $2.00 under the guise of everyone's pay raise. I don't see that, but if i had to pay more taxes and can only get it back by spending what would i have left to spend, i bearly have enough to feed my family at times.

    Avatar of GHS
    Comment by GHS
    18:05 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well he's right about one thing. Spending your way out of an economic depression is a viable option. It's just that most people think that if I spend, then the other guy doesn't need to, so fuck that, I'm saving; let the other people spend for me. And of course everyone thinks that so this turns into a constant squeeze on the economy. It'll recover on it's own of course, as companies start lowering their costs and firing people, but it'll take a while without any help from the public.

    Avatar of alex251
    Comment by alex251
    23:19 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    There is a major problem with spending money -> you have to earn them again :(
    So you can:
    1) spend your money on shit and work for them like an idiot
    2) or if you have some money, to enjoy being a neet

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:04 04/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    that guy is a PSYCHIATRIST ? He should be LOCKED UP as a CRIMINAL MADMAN !

    Comment by Hibakusha
    00:21 04/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Forced extreme capitalism FTW

    I just had to lol at what that guy said. Freaking moron.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:14 08/12/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Forced extreme capitalism"

    Sounds more like communism.

    Avatar of Ikuhisashiku
    Comment by Ikuhisashiku
    05:47 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think I just facepalmed so hard that I probably gave myself a concussion... Not only am I speechless because of this article, but now I might have some damage to my brain on top of that.
    Great. Just great.

    Comment by Schrobby
    06:10 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You now have a brain damage? Then that madman reached his goal... ^_^

    Avatar of Ikuhisashiku
    Comment by Ikuhisashiku
    06:28 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thanks for the show of concern, Schrobby...

    Avatar of smorki
    Comment by smorki
    05:53 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    But people who compulsively buy things are also following trends... why aren't they being called schizophrenic as well?

    Avatar of Metty
    Comment by Metty
    05:42 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hideki Wada is the one who suffers from Schizophrenia

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:59 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He's simply a charlatan. Worthless academic. Years of study (and his parent's SAVED money) went down the drain.

    Avatar of Metty
    Comment by Metty
    15:11 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He also forgot that if no one saves, no one can invest in the stock market. What an idiot.

    Avatar of Darkrockslizer
    Comment by Darkrockslizer
    06:06 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    He suffers from thinking he's sane.

    Avatar of Metty
    Comment by Metty
    07:33 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The only way saving money can sound dumb is because the inflation rate is higher then the interest rate, so you're losing money in a sense. But no, no such reasonable claim from this lunatic.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:54 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Most psychiatrists are crazier than their patients!

    Maybe they should ask ppl like Bill Gates (of cause japanese ones in this case) if they want to spend some billions to support the economy. I bet there are rich ppl hoarding their money in Japan too...

    Also how can ppl spend money if they dont have much like japanese animators...

    Avatar of fxc2
    Comment by fxc2
    05:35 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Amusing how often so many academically intellectual people (or how should I put it) fail to see common sense when it's dancing naked in front of them wearing a horse mask.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:07 30/07/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    pretty much 'cause they are so focused on the analyzing the horse mask and the vulgarity they call the naked human form. not to mention the audacity to enjoy your self expression by dancing.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:39 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Amusing? It's depressing. Higher education only reduces the percent of morons a bit, it doesn't eliminate them. It's horribly depressing how many morons there are in total on every level. I can only hope they will weed themselves out, leaving the hard-working sensible people around.

    Avatar of Bla7e
    Comment by Bla7e
    06:43 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Now i got the need to search for a common sense tan and imagine her with a horse mask because that's what got into my head. :D

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:37 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is one of the most incredibly retarded thing's I've ever heard

    Avatar of Bakamoichigei
    Comment by Bakamoichigei
    05:41 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Schizophrenic? I wouldn't say that... Crazy? Possibly. I mean, I don't 'buy' things, at least in the typical consumerism sense. If I'm not buying stuff I want used off ebay-- like my NEO-GEO arcade cabinet --I'm making it. And I will readily admit to being completely batshit insane. :D

    I'm a bit of a mad scientist...or rather, adapting terminology from a certain crazy steampunk comic, I like to think of myself as a 21st century digital madboy.

    I built, in my apartment, what amounts to a small scale research, development, and manufacturing facility for electronics and other things. (Read: Not nuclear weapons, really.) :3

    When I build my army of robots, you are all proper-fucked. Seriously. :O

    Comment by Schrobby
    06:09 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    How much for a lolibot?

    Avatar of Bla7e
    Comment by Bla7e
    06:43 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I see wat u've read thar. Me concurs. ^^ :D

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:12 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    i've got a list of at least 1000 people on board for a lolibot, you should consider it!

    Comment by Schrobby
    07:29 03/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Nothing better than a lolibot for proper robot fucking. ^_^

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