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May 02, 2010

The idea that Japanese students are grass eaters is catching on internationally

cow.jpegThere has been a lot of discussion in Japan over whether the young generation in Japan are grass eaters, and this idea is increasingly catching on in the international media. The Boston Globe reported today that 'Once a voracious consumer of American higher education, Japan is becoming a nation of grass-eaters. Undergraduate enrollment in US universities has fallen 52 percent since 2000; graduate enrollment has dropped 27 percent.'

This was a repeat of a Washington Post article last month that reported: 'Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said that when she visited Japan last month, she met with students and educators who told her that Japanese young people are inward-looking, preferring the comfort of home to venturing overseas.'

The Independent reported on Japan's Generation XX: 'In Japan some call them herbivores, and on Saturday nights they come out to graze: a perfumed army of preening masculinity. Groomed and primped, hair teased to peacock-like perfection and bodies wrapped in tight-fitting clothes, their habitat is the crowded city where they live in fear of commitment, and the odd carnivorous female who preys on them.'

ABC (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation) reported last month: 'These men are mainly in their 20s. They have no aspirations for love or material wealth or professional promotion. They like spoiling themselves with things like men's cosmetics. They're not interested in sex at all....A recent survey found that one third of Japanese men aged between 20 and 34 had never even had a girlfriend, because most weren't even interested.'

The increasingly popular international perception is that the younger generation in Japan is becoming inward looking, and not interested in studying abroad or discovering more about the world. Could this be one of the factors in the apparent declining interest in learning English?

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