Changing society

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During the 1990s, commonly referred to as the "lost decade," Japanese youth "started to question the mechanics of the economic engine, most notably the jobs and lifestyle that sustained," said Ogilvy & Mather Japan President Mark Blair. Uncertainty has torn the fabric of society, creating consumers who want to steer away from traditional roles:

Schoolgirls

Japanese teenagers are powerful consumers, not only spending vast sums on their own, but setting the trends for all of Japan, and the world.

Makeinu

Single women in their 30s who would rather have a successful career than children call themselves makeinu, the Japanese word for a "loser dog." The point? If traditionalists see them as losers for rejecting the role of wife and mother, they may as well revel in it while they're out having fun as single gals.

Parasite singles

Unmarried women who live at home and devote most of their salary to personal indulgences like luxury goods and travel while steering clear of marriage and children. With a combined monthly spending power of more than $6.5 billion, these women eat, shop and travel lavishly and are a major driving force in Japan's economy.

Divorcees

When baby-boomer salary men began retiring and hanging around the house, many wives realized they didn't know these men anymore and dumped their dull husbands. Newly single, they are affluent, self-sufficient and ready for new adventures.

Freeters

Young adults-men and women-who have abandoned the "salary men" work-ethic of their parents. Freeters (a combination of the English word "free" and the German word "arbeiter," or laborer) work part-time or start their own business to maximize their freedom and flexibility. Most aren't wealthy, but they are hip trendsetters, and the rising number of female entrepreneurs is reshaping the expectations of Japanese women of all ages.

Otaku

Mostly male geeks who are less industrious than freeters, these hardcore manga and anime fans are completely submerged in otaku subculture. They aren't rich, but spend generously on manga/anime comics, videos and branded consumer products.

Neets

At the bottom of Japan's social pyramid, Neets (an acronym for "not in education, employment or training"), don't work or study and usually live off their parents. These society dropouts make great dupes for youth-oriented advertising and they are rising in numbers to about 850,000 this year.

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