Japan’s Back-to-school Barcode Program
The concept would never fly among American students, but in Japan , an experiment to track where kids are at is considered cool. In September, 72 schools around the area of Tokyo adopted a program that uses computer chips to track whether a student has entered or left the gates of their school. School gates record signals from the chips that students carry, signaling their location. Most kids carry the chip tags on their backpacks and according to recent AP article, think it’s pretty cool.
While violent crimes in Japan are still rare, including robbery, many Japanese believe that their country is unsafe. Juvenile delinquency has increased during the economic downturn taking place in Japan in the past few years, which, along with other reasons, spawned the idea of tracking kids.
According to our Japan Teen and Youth Culture Study, like any new, kitschy trend, the computer chip tags are popular because enough students embrace the project as cool. And viral marketing works like wildfire in the compact spaces of Tokyo . Once young people start talking about an idea, fashion concept, or electronic, it becomes a must-have among the population in general.
Where this trend goes remains to be seen. However, it’s unlikely to catch on among American youth who remain skeptical of barcodes and still embrace the trend of being “anti-trend.”