Understanding Futōkō as a Social Problem in Japan: The Social Context and Motivation for Change




Lozano, Brittany

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Futōkō is a growing social issue in Japan in which students experience so much anxiety from the school environment that they become physically unable to attend, regardless of their intentions. There is much conflict behind the framing of this issue by society, academia, the media, and the government, each of which have competing interpretations about responsibility for the problem and appropriate responses to it. Reform efforts motivated in part by futōkō focus mainly on either economic interests or progressive moralist values, but there is a gap between the rhetoric and actual change resulting from political and ideological conflicts. Options available to children struggling with futōkō at present include counseling or free-schools (institutions independent from the state-mandated system), and the perspectives found within the latter are strikingly different from those reflected by the discourses, representing an inclusive, child-based approach to education that may hold valuable concepts for society as a whole.



Futōkō., Social problems in Japan., Japanese education system., Absenteeism., Educational reforms in Japan., "Free-schools" and alternative education., International presence of social issues.