Magazine
Latest Issue

Coming of age in Japan

In 50 years, Japan has hurtled from devastation to post-industrialism. Is it now counting the psychic cost? The Aum gas attack and similar disturbing events have shocked the world. Lesley Downer explores the country's shifting values by talking to members of a youth cult with mass support, the otaku

By Lesley Downer   November 1995

Saturday night in Centre-gai, the main drag in Shibuya, Tokyo’s youth district. It is early, barely seven o’clock, though the street is already full of pleasure-seekers. I am with friends, fresh from England, who are shocked to see, just behind us, a group of young women staggering about. They are little more than schoolgirls, plump, in short skirts and ankle socks. And they are either drunk or high. One crouches over a drain and vomits copiously. Another supports her, giggling, as the group reel into a bar.

Worse is to come. A group of thugs descends upon us. They are…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect