Contemporary Realities and Future Dreams of Oki Islands Youth

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This paper explores young people’s reflections on their native island community and on its position in their personal future plans and dreams. Based on narratives and perspectives of a group of local senior high school students in Oki Islands, the paper examines the changing nature of youth identities and cultural values in a rural region in post-industrial Japan. This article argues that the (peripheral) islandic viewpoint contributes to a better understanding of the dialectic local/global interplay influencing young people’s everyday life practices and education and working career preferences in contemporary Japan. Furthermore, the article demonstrates how young people use their home—social and cultural constructions of their islands as place—as anchoring point when navigating transitions in the context of traditional expectations and (late) modern ambitions. Young people critically rethink—beyond typical presentations of rural/urban dichotomies—the structures of opportunities in local contextualities. Employing theoretical work on reflexive modernity, the article provides a legitimate way of understanding why young people’s future thoughts and dreams matter.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalElectronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Young people
  • Future
  • Identity
  • Island community
  • Reflxive modernity
  • Japan


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