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The Year 2014 in Japan

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   Subota, 03 Siječanj 2015 14:36

Japan — a country that once prided itself on a “new middle mass” of “100 million middle class” — now finds its direction from passionate minority factions rather than a set of shared mainstream values. In 2014, there is no mass majority in Japan, only powerful pluralities. The LDP won the election after no one turned out other than their solid bloc of older voters. The right-wing maintained its ruling coalition thanks to the gains of another powerful minority — Kōmeitō, a political party that mobilizes the devoted believers of its affiliated religious group. On the other side of the aisle, the minority Communists grew their numbers — enough to introduce bills to the Diet floor. In pop culture, there were a few relics of the mass culture era — Frozen and Yokai Watch — but these shared experiences were mostly limited to children. Adults only came together to share downers: complaints about higher taxes, debates over the effectiveness of Abenomics, accusations towards imaginary STAP stem cells. (Even the year’s preordained comedy catch-phrase “dame yo, dame dame” is all about saying “no.”) Otherwise powerful pluralities own the culture. In music, the idol cults continue to dominate the music charts through an aggregation of splintered factions. Even without cable TV, top dramas struggle to pull more than a 10% rating.

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