Youth culture in Japan
Japanese youth fashion magazines
Japanese fashion magazines like Popteen, whether online or in print, are very popular. Girls used in fashion shots are often not professional models; in fact, their names and very ordinary occupations are often listed next to their photographs.
The magazine Egg which first appeared in the late 1990s, gained popularity because it used only amateur models. The fact that amateur models are used in these magazines makes the fashion and the lifestyle represented seem more realistic and achievable.
Other fashion magazines use a combination of professional and amateur, Japanese and foreign models.
The magazine layout
Magazine articles are usually brief, set in small text boxes, and the images and advertisements dominate the page. The magazines focus on products that their readers would be interested in buying.
Brand-name fashion accessories and designer labels, especially French and Italian, have been popular in Japan since the 1980s. Three-quarters of all Louis Vuitton sales are made to Japanese people, either in Japan or in another country. Other popular European names are Chanel, Christian Dior, Hermes, Gucci and Courreges.
The changing image of Japanese teenagers
Young women like those in Popteen represent two controversial developments in Japanese popular culture: materialism and female assertiveness.
The word 'gal' came into use in the mid to late 1990s to describe girls who do not conform to the traditional pattern of Japanese feminine behaviour. 'Gals' are outspoken and fun-loving; and they want to enjoy their money rather than save it for later. After graduating from high school, many go into freelance work. This gives them the freedom to shop, eat out and go to karaoke or dance clubs. They do not use traditional demure and polite forms of speaking, either: 'gals' use direct, in-your-face language.
They represent the new face of Japan. The movement has been highly criticised. Adult commentators have said that the materialism and their assertive behaviour symbolised by the 'gal' signifies the breakdown of Japan's social fabric.
Japanese urban entertainment guides
Apart from fashion magazines, urban entertainment guides are very popular among young people in Japan. The pioneer in this area of publishing was PIA, which began in the 1970s.
PIA publishes weekly film, concert, museum and gallery information and schedules, including maps of how to get to places. It also features short articles and guides to shops, restaurants and amusement parks. Another successful magazine of this type is Tokyo Walker.
Adapted from Voices and Visions from Japan, 2003 © Commonwealth of Australia.
Youth culture in India
The impact of globalisation on young people in India
Globalisation and the opening up of the Indian economy have introduced Indian society to new cultural and social norms. However, this process has not eradicated traditional Indian values and beliefs. Young people in particular want the best of both worlds.
While for a casual gathering they might choose to wear jeans and perhaps a DKNY T-shirt, for more formal occasions they prefer traditional dress: the girls will wear saris, while the boys don a sherwani. Similarly, before an important examination young people may perform a puja (prayer) with great devotion and take prasad, but afterwards they will eat out and go dancing.
And, while they may choose to marry for love, they are equally eager for their parents to accept their choice of partner and give their blessings to the marriage.
Family life: Traditional vs modern
In a traditional Indian family, young people had minimal say in either the running of the household or their own affairs; their finances were controlled by their parents, who also made decisions on education and even personal matters such as marriage.
Young girls were largely confined to the home, which was the major place of recreation for young people of both sexes.
While urban India today represents a combination of the traditional and the modern, in a number of areas modern values and practices are taking over.
Materialism is increasing; young people today understand the value of money and believe that India must become part of the global marketplace to ensure its future economic success.
Young people in India have emerged as a significant target for marketers. Not only do they have disposable income but also, in contrast to the situation a few decades ago, their parents now spend generously on them.
Manufacturers are targeting this new market, and new trends in fashion, culture and lifestyle are emerging.
The increasing reach of satellite television and the growth in Internet usage has helped to facilitate the spread of these new trends among young people.
Adapted from Voices and Visions from India, 2004 © Commonwealth of Australia