The repression doesn't start until around the teen years. Asian society isn't that cruel. It's not gonna repress little kids. They're gonna let kids be kids. The repression starts around junior high and high school. That's when things get serious so to speak. In Asia, it's different cause high school determines your entire life. It's the most crucial time period whereas in the western countries, the university/college years are the most determinant. Actually, not even, lots of people don't even figure out what they want to do until after university. It's cause western societies are more open-minded and will give opportunities to those who figure things out later in life. In Asia, there's more people and more competition and so you have to figure out stuff in high school. That's why things get messed up the moment you turn 13. Suddenly your whole future is at stake. Your parents and teachers turn strict. It's well-intentioned but damaging. Those are the years you're supposed to be socializing, dating, and exploring yourself. This is why Asian people, Asian men in particular, find it hard to fit in in western societies. Western folk started on their journey of self-discovery in their teens and so by the time they're in their 20s, they're very seasoned and know themselves and know how to interact with others. With Asians, it's like they're finally done school and thrust into the big bad world of work and alhtough they do well in their careers, everything else they're starting from scratch and they're much less opportunities for socializing once school is done. Sorry for the rant. This has been my experience anyway. I'm 34 years old and I spent the last 10 years of my life focusing on my career because that's just how I was taught. But naturally, I'm an arts person. I love music and I love dance. Now that I have the financial resources to do so, I'm making the most of it while I'm still not too old. I'm doing dance lessons and guitar lessons and I'm playing recreational sports. I'm pretty much discovering myself and learning to enjoy life. My western peers and friends started this way back in their teens and I never got a chance to do so. The above being said, I think Japan is a little different. They're much richer than the rest of East Asia and highly developed. Also, I don't think the new generation is as serious about work and the economy as previous generations. They want to enjoy their lives and make the most of it. They're still very regimented by western standards but I think they've laxed much more. In countries like China where competition is fierce, the poor kids just don't have much alternatives. There simply isn't enough opportunities in the economy for kids to spend their high school years messing around and dating and socializing although these are very valuable things.