The Two Tokyos


I am StrateGigi, an Assistant Professor of Strategy. I am currently visiting Waseda University in Tokyo. Today I will share my thoughts on the generational divide between the elderly and the young in this beautiful city.

Tokyo is a place where people age graciously. In the park at sunrise, women and man in their 60s and older do exercises and yoga. Late at night, they run convenience stores and drive taxis afterhours. In essence, the elderly are the personification of the can-do attitude that drove Japan during the post-war economic miracle.

But next to this Tokyo, there is another one. A place where young people are introvert and show little interest in socialization. They are the herbivores, the parasite singles, the daughters and sons of the economic downturn which took away their financial stability and long-term employment.

The two Tokyos show how interconnected the economic climate of a country can be not only to the material side of life, but also to the spiritual. Deprived of economic security, the young behave as if they were deprived of their future and zest for life. And as simplistic as it may sound, these qualms, yesterday, might have led Satoshi Uematsu, a 26-year-old, to kill 19 disabled people in Sagamihara. What’s more, similar frustrations might have triggered Mohamed Bouhlel in Nice, Mohammed Delel in Ansbach, and Ali Sonboly in Munich. These atrocities beg the question: Are these disturbed minds or does society play a role?

Stay safe,


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