Before the collapse of the Bubble Economy, Japan enjoyed a great degree of prosperity: they were secure, respected, and wealthy, and the future only promised more. However, once the bubble popped, all the dreams the future had promised left quicker than it had ever come.
This story is illustrated by the rose to the right. What had once been a beautiful and thriving suddenly withered, leaving only memories of what once had been. Japan was seemingly alone, as the praise for the “Japanese system” and its “economic miracle” was replaced by harsh criticism and pretentious “I told you so”s. As the future fell from their sight, something new appeared on the horizon: insecurity, fear, hopelessness, and anger.
Unsure of how to handle to new reality, some of society sought refuge in tradition, devoting themselves to education and then into work, trying to salvage the prosperous times of youth. Others, jaded by broken promises, decided to retreat from society, creating their own sub-culture movements through religion, otaku culture, becoming freeters, or, more drastically, completely shutting themselves within their rooms.