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What is jiko sekinin?

What is jiko sekinin?

Update: 2020-06-15
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What is jiko sekinin? Thanks for asking!


Jiko sekinin is a Japanese term which more or less translates as “individual responsibility”. It’s more than just an expression. It represents a culture or even ideology of duty and guilt in the Land of the Rising Sun. Rather than attracting pity, the likes of homeless people, the chronically ill and even hostages are considered responsible for what happens to them. What’s more, they are expected to simply accept their fate and deal with it.


Is jiko sekinin a recent phenomenon?


The values of independence and individual merit have long been rooted in Japanese history and culture. But Jiko Sekinin is actually a relatively recent phenomenon, dating back to around the mid-1990s. Experts have traced its origins back to the crippling recession of the late 90s and the rise of neoliberalism. At the time, government officials blamed the country’s economic problems on its social system, which was seen as overly generous and egalitarian. They believed the road to recovery should be based on jiko sekinin and efforts to achieve individual success. This would lead to a more competitive, creative and healthy society. 


Does anyone actually support the idea? Has the coronavirus pandemic made jiko sekinin more apparent in Japan or in other countries? In under 3 minutes, we answer your questions!


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Comments (1)

Nyambura Mbugua

Wow, what an insightful episode. It may seem like a Ludacris thing to say, but I believe people (around the world) have been practicing jiko sekinin and just don't know it. There are always people ready to blame victims for their abuse, poor people for their lack of. Rather than the systems designed to continuously oppress.

Jun 24th
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What is jiko sekinin?

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