Dentsu Institute (Executive Producer: Naoki Tani), an internal organization of Dentsu Group Inc. (President & CEO: Toshihiro Yamamoto; Head Office: Tokyo), and the Ikeda Laboratory* (Professor: Ken’ichi Ikeda), a facility engaged in media and social psychology research at Doshisha University (Location: Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture; President: Tomoko Ueki), participated in the World Values Survey in Japan (conducted in September 2019) and presented the results of the time series comparative analysis, etc. performed with regard to changes in people’s perceptions. Launched in 1981, the World Values Survey (the WVS) is a worldwide survey involving research institutions in approximately one hundred countries and societies. The seventh wave of the WVS is still in progress in other participating countries; here we release only Japan's results, which were compiled last year. The following outlines the results: Note: These results do not reflect the impact of COVID-19, as its outbreak had not yet been identified at the time when the Survey was conducted.
Outline of Survey Results
A lower priority is placed on working. Significant changes have occurred in the perception of “work.”
An increasing percentage of people, particularly the young, feel that they have “freedom of choice” and “control over their lives.”
People show more respect for diversity compared to nine years ago.
Subjective levels of happiness and life satisfaction increased slightly and remain stable.
Socioeconomic disparity is widening slowly but surely. The proportion of people describing themselves as belonging to the “upper” or “lower” class has increased slightly.
The twenty-first century will be an era when Japan cooperates with the global community while respecting its “own culture and traditional values.”
People are less interested in “politics” compared to nine years ago. The younger the people are, the less interested they are in politics.
Summary of Survey Results
The results demonstrate that while people’s perceptions are changing significantly, these changes have not necessarily manifested as an interest in social reforms or politics. Changes in perceptions and behaviors of people will have a significant impact on the quality of society. As Japan and the world face a number of social challenges, Dentsu Institute and the Ikeda Laboratory of Doshisha University will continue to identify changes in people’s perceptions and behaviors and promote the “Quality of Society” activities, exploring possibilities for an ideal future and ways to bring it to fruition.
Significant changes have occurred in the perceptions of “work” in the nine-year period since the previous wave of the Survey in 2010, with the doubling of the ratio of people who answered that “less importance placed on work” was “good” or they “don’t mind.” In conjunction, there has also been an increase in the percentage of people who feel they have “freedom of choice” and “control over their lives.” The younger the respondents are, the higher the proportion of such people is. Further, answers to questions about homosexuality, gender, etc. show that respondents’ perceptions have made a radical shift in the direction of respecting diversity. While people’s perceptions change in other areas, the subjective levels of happiness and life satisfaction, which have remained high since the first wave, have stayed at the same level with a slight increase from the sixth-wave Survey. With regard to the subjective social class, on the other hand, there has been no change in the ratio of respondents who think they belong to the “upper middle,” “lower middle,” or “working class” but a slight increase in the ratios of respondents who consider themselves to belong to the “upper” or “lower” classes. There continues to be a high perception of Japanese culture and traditional values, indicating that Japanese people hope to cherish their national values while cooperating and building closer relationships with the global community. No increase was observed in political interest.
The World Values Survey is a worldwide project with participating research institutions in approximately one hundred countries and societies. Designed to examine changing values and their impact on society, the nationally-representative Survey draws roughly one thousand samples from a gender-inclusive population of respondents aged eighteen years and older using a common questionnaire. It consists of about 90 questions and 190 topics ranging from politics, economy, and labor to education, religion, and family. Dentsu Institute has participated in this project since the second wave in 1990 and conducted surveys and analyses in Japan through the present day.
* Ikeda Laboratory Ken’ichi Ikeda Media Study Laboratory, Department of Media, Journalism and Communications, Faculty of Social Studies, Doshisha University Representative: Professor Ken’ichi Ikeda Research areas: Media communications, reconstruction of political social psychology, social-psychological study of social reality URL: http://www.ikeken-lab.jp/english/
Professor Haerpfer, President of the WVS Association, Visited Dentsu Institute
In January 2020, Prof. Christian W. Haerpfer, President of the World Values Survey Association, visited Dentsu Institute. He discussed his past endeavors and future policies with Naoki Tani, Executive Producer of Dentsu Institute.
Middle right: Christian W. Haerpfer, President of the World Values Survey Association Middle left: Kseniya Kizilova, Head of Secretariat of the World Values Survey Association Left: Naoki Tani, Executive Producer of Dentsu Institute Right: Seiko Yamazaki, Chief Producer of Dentsu Institute