In the sociology of culture, a new branch of studies has become very important during the last decades. This branch is the study of consumption. Such phenomenon is explained by the developments in a modern-day globalized society. People pursue material values as the most significant values in their life. This causes the emergence of a new philosophy of consumption. In the following paper, the spread of the philosophy of consumption in Japan will be researched through the given reading. Overall, the expansion of consumer philosophy in Japan can be explained by the history of the country’s political and economical development along with the cultural concepts and stratification existing in society.
The social culture of Japan is greatly affected by the phenomenon of consumption. Modern Japanese society is built on the idea of improving people’s welfare by means of constant material enrichment. Japanese society is remarkable in the area of consumption researches which can be explained by the history of the country’s development. Japan has become the first non-western country that went through industrialization and managed to do so without being colonized by some other country. Japanese political direction after World War II along with the country’s course for expanding economy and rapid industrialization caused the formation of a consumer-oriented society within a few decades.
Nowadays, Japan is the country with the second economics in the world, and its development never stops despite natural disasters the country suffers. The strength of the Japanese economy can be explained by the way consumption is spread in the country. As the majority of people in Japan live in urban territories and are constantly subjected to mind attacks by mass media and advertising companies, the philosophy of consumption has become people’s way of life. Besides, the success of the Japanese economy can be explained by the size of the population of the country as it is large, and is 128 million people in total.
In addition, the success of consuming ideology is explained by social peculiarities in Japan. People’s lifestyle causes the ever-growing in its pace process of acquiring more material possessions. For example, housewives like shopping and sharing consumer information with each other, teenagers enjoy window shopping and visiting shopping centers for fun, male businessmen and salaried workers take pleasure in competitive eating and drinking, people from all social categories are accustomed to exchange presents, etc. The most influential variable affecting the culture of consumption in Japan is status competition which can be explained by a complicated organization of social hierarchy in the country and the desire of all the representatives of different social layers to support their status by their purchasing culture.
Japanese culture causes constant growth of the level of consumption in the country. Most forms of consumption are enhanced by the processes of creating and maintaining social networks, and the circulation of objects in those social networks. Material culture is what makes people’s self-status; on this reason they are motivated to buy more to support their social position and their membership among the representatives of a certain social layer. The sense of self-importance is also closely connected to the culture of body. People tend to do their best to make the others see their membership in a certain social group through evaluating their appearance. On this reason consumer proactive attitude in such sectors as the industry of beauty and fashion is considerable.
Consumption in Japan is closely connected to urban sociology. The central part of culture of Japanese cities is constant enrichment and acquiring material belongings. Thus, consumption is both the form and the core of mass culture in cities. It is also an instrument of forming social groups and organizations within urban territories. For example, restaurants have become an essential place in Japanese cities. In five minutes of walk, one may find from 4 to 15 restaurants, and some of those restaurants will have large department stores at the top of their buildings. Restaurants in Japan are the major places where consumption is promoted; people not only eat there, but they make their major purchases in restaurants’ department stores. Such consumption venues may also contain hotels, exhibition centers, entertainment sectors such as aquariums, indoor water parks, cinemas or night clubs and discos, and even love hotels.
In conclusion, it should be stated that the given reading offers reliable information on the history of expansion of consumer philosophy in Japan. The author provides a large scope of data explaining the peculiarities of forming consumer-oriented society in the country including political, economical, cultural and social variables. The evaluation of the facts shows that consumer philosophy in Japan is spread due to stratification in society, total urbanization of the country’s population, and political and economic policy by the country’s government. Studying the example of Japan’s consumer-oriented society appears beneficial for understanding the whole course of forming consumer philosophy in the world because Japan is the first non-western country never being colonized where economy reached such level of development by means of promoting consuming culture.