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Baseball, Soccer Stars Aren't Boys' Heroes Any More
was the most popular future occupation for Japanese boys, while running
a restaurant was the favorite choice for girls, a recent survey found.
The poll, conducted in the summer of 1998 by Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance
Co., asked 720 children attending kindergarten or elementary school in
Japan what they hoped to become when they grow up.
Professional baseball player and soccer player had been the two most popular occupations among Japanese boys since the company began the annual poll in 1989, but they both fell to fourth place in the most recent survey.
The highest share of boys, or 9.9 percent, said they want to become carpenters, a choice that was in tenth place in the previous year's poll. In second place was scholar or researcher with 7.9 percent, followed by restaurant owner (7.1 percent), professional baseball player (6.0 percent), and soccer player (also 6.0 percent).
The results reflect a great change in Japanese boys' preferences. Baseball player was the top choice in 5 of the 10 previous polls, while soccer player led the list 3 times; they also shared first place in one year. The combined share of baseball player and soccer player reached a high of 32.5 percent in 1995 and has been declining since then.
Meanwhile, 11.5 percent of the girls polled said they want to be a restaurant owner--the top choice for the second straight year--followed by nurse (9.0 percent) and veterinarian or animal keeper (8.3 percent), a big jump from ninth place in the previous year's poll. Kindergarten teacher, which had been in the second place, fell to its lowest ranking of fifth with just 4.9 percent.
"Even kids seem to be affected by the recession," a spokesperson for the company said. "Rather than trying to become star players, they seem to have become more realistic in choosing to acquire skills that will guarantee them a job."