|A member of the "ant tribe" lives in a 10 square meters apartment. (Photo/Xinhua)|
The "Ant Tribe" has become a term that refers to groups of people who are attracting extensive attention in society. Ant Tribes exist not only in China but also in other countries. They are groups of low income university graduates who settle for a poverty-level existence in big cities. Statistics show that there are about 10,000 people without proper accommodation in the city of Tokyo. Many of them spend the night in 24-7 Internet bars or sauna rooms because of a lack of money.
The Daily Mail in Britain reported on a young Japanese living in a tiny apartment of less than 5 square meters, for which the rent was 145 pounds per month. Living in a clutter, the man had become a member of the ant tribe.
There are many such well-educated people on low-incomes in Japan, just like the ant tribes of China. These particular groups of people represent the same social phenomenon in both countries. However, there are other social issues the two countries share if one digs deeper.
In Japan, the aging population is a huge burden for the young. A lot of younger Japanese are increasingly concerned about their future. Though China's situation is less serious than Japan, the problem of "age before affluence" is already a hot issue today. In 2013, the number of senior citizens had reached 200 million, and the elderly population is now 14.8 percent of the total in China. It is predicted that the total will reach its peak in the middle of the 21st century, when those aged 60 or more will number 400 million, making up 30 percent of the total population. Young Chinese face the same great stresses as those in Japan.
Young people today in both China and Japan are paying more attention to their self development and facing similar social issues. Based on these common problems, young people in the two countries can reach a better mutual understanding. With the development of the Internet and the influence of globalization, more young people from different countries are sharing the same popular culture. Cases in point are Japanese anime and Chinese wechat, both of which have infiltrated the other country and affect young peoples' daily lives.
Today, young people from both countries still lack a mature perspective and understanding of each other. Despite the background of historical problems between the two countries, when we look at the problem from a modern perspective, the differences between young Chinese and young Japanese are not as great as we might expect. So why not try to build a healthier relationship between China and Japan in the future by looking at things from a modern viewpoint?
Young people will have to take on the main responsibilities for the future of both countries. Continuing a long-term confrontation between China and Japan is going to making both countries suffer. The peoples of China and Japan, especially young people, should have confidence in the future of the two countries' development, enhance communications and exchanges, and try to build a better relationship.
This article is edited and translated from 《中日青年的差异，没有想象中那么大》，source: China Youth Daily, author: Lian Si