Government decrees closure of all humanities degrees. No, it’s not another crazed Putin pronouncement from Russia. It’s sober Japan…

Many social sciences and humanities faculties in Japan are to close after universities were ordered to “serve areas that better meet society’s needs”. Of the 60 national universities which offer courses in these disciplines, 26 have confirmed they will either close or scale back their relevant faculties at the behest of Japan’s government. … 17 national universities will stop recruiting students to humanities…”

…[the move in Japan is] linked to a low birth rate and falling numbers of students, which has led to many institutions running at less than 50 per cent of capacity.”

And the situation is only likely to get worse. In population terms Japan is headed back to where it was in 1955…

numbers-dont-lie-graphic2-1440084895801 Source: IPSS (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research) via IEEE.

So it seems that the same blanket closure of humanities departments may soon be forced on other nations in steep demographic decline, such as Russia and most of post-socialist Eastern Europe. Possibly even southern Italy.

Which is one reason why I’ve been so pleased to see the amazing baby boom we’ve been having here in the UK over the past five years, which shows no sign of stopping any time soon. We seem to have babies and toddlers everywhere you look, and the supermarkets usually now dedicate two double-sided aisles to romper-suits, nappies, toddler clothes, baby food etc. Midwives are worked off their feet, and infant school reception classes are so full that the kids are almost falling out the windows. And I’d take a bet that these kids are going to be remaking and reinventing British youth culture circa 2023-28, and then surging into the universities circa 2026-35.

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