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October 08, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

SPEED TRIBES: Days and Nights With Japan's Next Generation by Karl Taro Greenfield (Harper - Perennial: $13, 286 pp.). Japanese American journalist Karl Greenfield profiles marginalized members of Japan's equivalent of "Generation X"--alienated young men and women who reject a seemingly irrefragable social order. Scorning their more successful peers who become good salarymen and housewives, they live only for the latest fads, fashions and vices. They work as porno stars, bar hostesses, rock musicians and small-time drug dealers and indulge in alcohol, amphetamines and casual sex. The hard-working hive that built the postwar industrial juggernaut has no place for their limited skills, especially during the current economic downturn.

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