SimCity has become the tool
to get young people in Japan interested in politics and if the initiative succeeds, some of them could be the leaders of the future.
In 2015, that country’s parliament undertook the biggest reform of its electoral system since the end of World War II.
One of the main novelties was the reduction of the minimum age for voting: from the age of 20 it was passed to 18. A considerable advance since, until 1945, only those over 25 could participate in the country’s politics through voting.
According to the official data, the new regulation was going to get almost two and a half million young Japanese to participate in the elections to the Upper House of 2016. But neither by those.
The Japanese youths did not go to mass voting precisely and that set off the alarms of the Japanese authorities. Using the statistics, they found that, since the 1960s, young people’s interest in politics had not stopped falling.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Japan’s political activity was frantic. Even more than desired, given the rise of nationalist ultra-right groups such as the writer Yukio Mishima or the murder of Inejiro Asanuma, leader of the Socialist Party of Japan at the hands of a 17-year-old.
However, from the 1980s and 1990s, politics only imported four cats. Young people went from participation in the elections of 70% in 1960, to just over 35% in the last elections.
For this reason, those responsible for SimCity decided to launch an initiative that would return the interest of that sector of the population in politics and encourage their participation in the life of the community.
The result is the SimCity School of Politics, an idea based on the graphics and the image of the popular simulation game SimCity, which is supported by EA, game developer, and Newsweek magazine.
In fact, the pedagogical method of the school is very similar to the SimCity game. Based on trial and error, students will discuss and simulate public policies that have already been applied in the real world. The difference is that you can go back if the thing goes wrong and no one is harmed.
They want young people to understand the importance of politics, how rulers’ decisions can affect people, and how they can limit the power of those with debates, demonstrations or voting. In short, make political activity reach the whole world and make it as simple as a game, without losing the seriousness that a theme like this requires.
Tuition is free and its first activities will take place in Tokyo from August 21 to 23. The course includes lectures by prominent politicians and teachers from different universities in the country and, once the first year is over, activities will be posted on the web so that they can be consulted by those who have not been able to attend class.