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Towards career education that respects human rights and diverse ways of life

writer: SENOO, ASAMI(Ritsumeikan Global Innovation Research Organization, Senior Researcher) published: 2018-10

As a result of the poor economic conditions in the second half of the 1990s, the concept of a “career” came to be widely known in Japan. This concept was understood as referring to what kind of work you want to do, or what kind of life you aspire to live. The popularization of this concept was discussed in “Human Sciences Front” in June of 2017, and I would like to take another look at it here.
This word does indeed have the kind of implications described above. If we look at research done in various other countries, however, we notice another aspect being mentioned. “Career” means not only thinking about what kind of lifestyle you would like to have, but also engaging with society in order to make living this kind of life possible. Of course, if we examine research in various countries overseas we see this being described. But I began to pay it even more attention thanks to participating in an international applied psychology conference in June of 2018 (one month before the time of writing). At this conference I listened to many presentations on career counseling within the field of counseling psychology. It is perhaps superfluous to note here, but in contrast to Japan where research on counseling praxis is conducted within clinical psychology, internationally clinical psychology and counseling psychology are considered different fields.
In counseling psychology, career counseling based on factors such as religious differences, discrimination, and poverty has become a subject of study. This research focuses on issues like “human rights,” “social justice,” and “decent work” that have not been the subject of debate in Japan, and at first glance may not seem connected to working. Unfortunately such issues have not been a topic of study within the field of career counseling in Japan.
As globalization progresses, however, thinking about how to work and how to live has become a pressing task in various other countries with people of different backgrounds. There is also an inevitable connection to “human rights” and “health.”
When we think about these issues, we realize that even Japan cannot turn a blind eye to these current realities. The number of foreigners working in Japan has doubled over the past five years. Depression and suicide caused by overwork is becoming a problem. Phenomena that should be the target of research are already occurring. We tend to think of university students engaging in job hunting and working for the company they enter for their whole lives, but these are not the only kind of people to be considered. The time has come to reexamine the connection between psychology and Japanese society in terms of how we are to work and live alongside a diverse array of other people, and what sorts of systems are necessary in order for us to do so. Today’s method of job-hunting for new graduates based on Japanese hiring practices, and career counseling that is in turn based on this approach, is nearing the limits of its viability. Going forward, I would like to continue tackling these challenges as a “human sciences front-runner.”


Ritsumeikan Journal of Human Sciences


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Institute of Ars Vivendi. Ritsumeikan Univ.