Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Hail the furita

I was discussing societal ills in class yesterday, when one of my students, to my surprise and delight, singled out the humble furita. Seeing as this group of delinquents make up a fair portion of our students (the majority being Matsushita employees), I felt obliged to defend them. Plus, the tarty top that this girl had opted to wear to her English lesson was severely limiting my respect for her opinion, the gaijin-hunting minx. (In fairness, the student in question did lay a fair amount of blame at the door of Japanese companies and their increasingly myopic hiring policy.)

The furita (pronounced f-reetah) is a growing phenomenon in Japan; the definitions I found were "a job-hopping part-time worker", and better still "a part-timer by choice." Those that are finished with education, but can't be bothered with company life. "Choice" is an important aspect: many will announce their furita denomination proudly; it's becoming a status thing. ("My name is furita; we are many.")

The scourge of the east
Like this lazy wench, for example.

The term itself, I have heard variously described as being derived from "free time" or from "free arubaito" (a part-time job, from the German Arbeit.) The sound of the word conjures up so many other appropriate images, though: frivolity, frippery, frittering away one's money...

I guess they could be considered Japan's equivalent to Generation X: the economy's gone west, job prospects are crappy; if you throw your lot in with a company then you'll probably be out on your ear in a few year's time. With my succession of temping jobs after university and my reluctance to commit to anything, was I any different? All I wanted to do was prolong the student lifestyle (getting steaming drunk on Tuesday nights) for as long as possible.

Hell, am I any different now?

And just because some smart-arse level 4 student's working hard to get a good degree, juggling part-time positions and spending a fair bit of her remaining free time mentoring under-priveleged children, what makes her think she's entitled to pass comment on a collection of lazy good-for-nothings who can't be bothered to get a proper job?

Actually, forget I asked that.

For more information on the furita plague, gnawing away at the heart of this once-great nation, check out the following hot links:

Japan's free spirits BBC

Furita futures for Japanese youth

New life patterns for a new age The Japan Times

mad props for supporting the furita. i love those losers. if they can't commit to a job, what does that say for relationships? everyone knows i love ho's.--VMM
and where's your citation for my desecrated Word by Word card? Ingrate.--VMM
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