Generational differences between younger and older Japanese adults in perceptions of society from retrospective, current, and future time perspectives

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Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


This exploratory study investigated Japanese citizens’ past, present, and future perceptions of aspects of Japanese society by age. A 22-item questionnaire was inductively developed and later administered to 571 Japanese adults to assess their perceptions of Japanese society across past, present, and future time perspectives. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses yielded three distinct factors that describe perceptions of traits of individual citizens within society, traits of collective society, and traits of human relations within society. These factors were later studied within and across time perspectives by two distinct participant age groupings (younger and older). Statistically significant differences by time perspectives and age were interpreted through Carstensen’s socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) and the social context of past and present Japanese society. The study provides a picture of contrasting and distinct perceptual differences of society, that exist between younger and older Japanese across time perspectives, and yields insights into the chasm of differing views of society manifested in the generation gap.

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