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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Vincent Lesch

Vincent Lesch

Vincent Lesch
Japanese Studies, Sociology
(PhD Students, April 3, 2017 - December 31, 2017)

Education and Deregulation – The Consumption of Education and its effects on Employment Trajectories for Japanese High School Graduates

In contemporary Japan, the ratio of irregular employment patterns and average job turnover rates has been increasing constantly. At the same time, we observe a shift form a credential society (gakureki shakai) to a learning capital society. The challenges that emerge at the intersection of these dynamic shifts in the realms of labor and education are threefold: (a) an increasing performance pressure for (not only but especially) young people on the labor market, (b) the emergence of a new dynamic of class cleavage and (c) the overall shift to a flexible labor regime (Kariya 2010).

Employment in unstable and low-wage sectors, reduced career mobility, fragmented work biographies and a higher risk of unemployment can be considered a result of insufficient education. Although a crucial factor for finding successful employment, learning competencies are not equally distributed among school children. Moreover, educational achievements can no longer be reliably and predictably translated into desirable occupational success, i.e. the concept of a smooth transition from school to labor market, which was once a defining characteristic of Japans credential society has been called into question (Tachibanaki 2006).

This PhD research project attempts to unravel the mechanisms of how the attitude towards and consumption of education influences the chances for Japanese high school graduates to successfully transition into a labor market that has become subject to some pronounced deregulation.