Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?

Not housing related, but pretty cool…


In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.

It’s a common sight on Japanese mass transit: children troop through train cars, singly or in small groups, looking for seats.

They wear knee socks, polished patent leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as six or seven, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight.

Parents in Japan regularly send their kids out into the world at a very young age. A popular television show called Hajimete no Otsukai, or My First Errand, features children as young as two or three being sent out to do a task for their family. As they tentatively make their way to the greengrocer or bakery, their progress is secretly filmed by a camera crew. The show has been running for more than 25 years.

I think I purchased my first merchandise when I was 6 years old… :rofl:

It’s similar in Germany. I was amazed that kids take public transit to school. It makes you wonder what’s wrong with America. BART isn’t even safe for grown adults.

Is it really safe?
I used to walk to school (had to cross the busy street as well) since kinder but don’t think it was safe enough.
I once got lost on my way back home (when I was in kinder) and wandered around the neighborhood crying.
Luckily, I met the lady who delivered milk to our home and she walked me back home.

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Sadly, there are too many wackos or pedophiles out there in this country. I used to take the Muni to the Mission from Chinatown in middle school but you can’t do that anymore. Frankly, if not for the criminals I would be worried about crazy drivers who are late to work or texting on phones…

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Do kids walk around by themselves in Seoul nowadays?

We need free range kids like in my day

Remember that story about some parents letting their kids walk to the neighborhood park by themselves in Maryland? Child service knocked and wanted custody of their kids. It’s no kidding matter.

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Yeah, still very safe. Little kids are taught very early about street safety, whistles, etc. I was running around on trains by the time I was 5 on my own.

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We have too many criminals in this country. We need a good president to eliminate or greatly reduce crime. Where is he or she?

No. Not any more.

Crime is down but the news media knows bad news sells so they continue to scare the hell out of parents. Who keep their kids indoors fat and miserable…

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Violent crime peaked in the early 1990’s. Most people assume it’s higher today thanks to sensational media headlines creating a misinformed public.


Japanese school kids clean their schools too.


Colleges could dramatically reduce administration staff by letting student organizations run things. Almost everything at my college was run by students. We had complete control over the budget from the activity fee.

Let’s have college students clean toilets. In fact I read somewhere Japanese managers are required to clean toilets as part of their training. To each them humility they say. We have a thing or two to learn from the Japanese.

When we hire at the VP level, they go through months of training. Part of it is working in the warehouse as an associate picking orders for customers. I went through a week long program in a fulfillment center. It’s part of the corporate culture. You need to know what the front line people that directly impact the customer are doing. If you aren’t making their jobs easier, then you’re failing at your management job.


If Japanese kids are doing so well then why has their country fallen behind America in terms of wealth, wealth per capita, and innovation? Apparently there’s something more to it than little kids being independent at a young age…

One word, immigration.

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Also: geography.