Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Asian Studies

First Advisor

Jennifer Matsue




time, people, number, support, based


My paper attempts to analyze the existence of NEET (No Employment, Education or Training – ニート) and Freeter (Freelancing part-time worker - フリーター), two common groups of young unemployed people and irregular workers in Japan. Throughout the study, the relationship between Japanese social changes, modernization process and Japanese NEETs and Freeters is thoroughly examined. The first social change related to the establishment of these two groups is the transformation of employment system. The combination of a seniority-based system and performance-based system as well as their contrasts has increased the competitiveness in the job seeking war while eliminating some of the employees’ former benefits. Consequently, they prevent a lot of Japanese people from joining the full-time workforce. In order to explain the difference between the percentage of female NEET/Freeter and male NEET/Freeter, I also consider the changes in gender roles in Japanese society. The contradiction between traditional gender expectations and the rise of Japanese women’s independence could be a possible reason leading to the increasing number of NEET and Freeter. Another element that continues expanding these groups is the development of the Internet and social media in Japan. Besides discouraging Japanese youth from joining mainstream workforce by eliminating their confidence, the Internet and social media also make mainstream jobs less appealing to the youth as they offer these people various chances to earn money effortlessly. With the support from the Internet, these NEETs and Freeters can easily contact each other and form their own sub-culture groups, and further separate themselves from the mainstream workforce. Pressure from family members along with the youth’s over-dependence on family seems to have a major influence on Japanese youth’s employment pattern as well. Receiving financial supply from their parents dissuades many young people from working as they can live by using money provided by their parents. Meanwhile, many young Japanese people turn into NEETs and Freeters as they are forced to join the full-time workforce by their parents despite their unwillingness or lack of preparation; eventually, they quit their jobs because of either the work pressure or their inability to integrate into the full-time employment world. Lastly, the difference between two generations’ ideology, and Japanese youth’s reliance on governmental financial support have urged some Japanese youth to become NEETs or Freeters. A portion of Japanese youth who oppose capitalism, through which laborers have to depend on their companies for social services, quit their jobs and become NEETs. They probably value independence from the employers more than a stable source of income or the ability to support family. Meanwhile, Japan’s social support allows young Japanese to become Freeters as the income from this financial support and part-time jobs alone is sufficient enough to lead a decent life. Different from the older generations who work to contribute to the nation’s economy and to secure the financial resource for their families, many young people quit their full-time jobs and rely on the money provided by the government as they prioritize their needs over their responsibility to support country or family. Besides analyzing the causes, my study offers an overview on the negative consequences that NEET and Freeter can create by further exacerbating the existing social problems, such as the economic crisis, aging population, low fertility rate, worsening living conditions. Additionally, the Japanese government’s attempt to decrease the number of NEET and Freeter, as well as the reason leading to the government’s solution’s ineffectiveness is included.