The government of Japan announced the five-year economic plan in 1988 to reduce long working hours. This was a unique attempt by a government to initiate such a movement and encourage people to have more free time. The true reason for this movement is that as an exporting powerhouse, Japan has been under heavy fire from European and American trade partners criticizing the Japanese people for being ‘workaholics’ who do not know how to enjoy life. The government and business leadership have been trying to shift from an export-driven to a domestic-demand-led economy, emphasizing a more leisurely lifestyle and the emergence of a mature consumer society that befits Japan’s economic gains to date (Foreign Press Center, 1990, p. 5). The development of a ‘resort law’ encouraging the development of holiday and leisure resorts is an example of such government effort. As a result, the demand for leisure-related activities in Japan achieved exponential growth in various areas such as fitness clubs, resorts, theme parks, and tourism during the 1980s. This article provides discussion of the characteristics of a leisure renaissance, and how political movement and leisure marketing undertaken by corporations influenced Japanese leisure attitudes.
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