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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Japanese College Students' Awareness of Drinking and Alcohol use in their Lives

Dr Mutsuko Yokota.

Social problems like domestic violence and child abuse have been the subjects of extended discussion in the Japanese media, as they are in other countries. However, the problem of alcohol abuse--which may underlie some of these other problems--is still treated with reticence.

Drinking is a part of Japanese college life, and many young people in Japan start drinking in their late teens, despite the fact that they are not legally permitted to buy liquor until the age of twenty. Alcohol can be a danger to some students in various situations. For example, recently a professor at a major university resigned after he was found to have forced his students to drink when they had failed to complete research experiments successfully. Both the students and the professors can be said to be victims who had never received so-called gateway drug (alcohol) education.

Recently, drug education programs have been initiated in Japan. However, they were primarily directed toward showing how dangerous drugs like heroin are, and the youth were not given practical information about alcohol as a gateway drug. (For example, only 1 out of the 360 students surveyed knew about Al-Anon and 8 knew about AA .)

The purpose of this paper is to give, through this survey, actual data regarding alcohol consumption among Japanese college students, and to gather information and advice from its audience which can be used to refine future drug education programs in Japan.


Dr Mutsuko Yokota  (Japan)
senior researcher
Interface Humanities, COE
Osaka University, JAPAN

Mutsuko Yokota, Ph.D. is a researcher with the “Interface Humanities” project (the 21st century COE program) at Osaka University, Japan. She is also a lecturer at Kyoto Sangyo University and the Osaka Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in social education, with a focus on the study of leaflets and booklets written for Japanese immigrants to the U.S. Her research interest is cross-cultural education, and especially life skills education in different cultures and societies. One of her theses, “Teaching ‘Understanding Japan’ in the U.S. Midwest,” won the 25th ‘Educating for International Understanding’ Thesis Award (the Ace Japan Award) in 2000.

  • Drug education
  • Alcohol use
  • College students' drinking
  • Japan

(30 min Conference Paper, English)