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Friday, May 12, 2017

No Babies in Japan

BBC World Service - The Documentary, No Babies in Japan

"In the last few years, Japan's government has joined this matchmaking party. The central government has pumped billions of Japanese Yen into konkatsu activities sponsored by local governments...

The irony of course is that while Japan's birth rate is declining, its sex industry is thriving. The fūzoku industry, which includes brothels, massage parlors and love hotels, caters for the desires of mostly businessmen. The market reached an estimate $24 billion in 2014...

Japan and Asian countries have very different concepts of marriage and romance. Unmarried women have very high expectations for their future husbands' income. Most of the men say they don't care about their future partner's income. However, the majority of women want their future partner to have a high annual income. And there are only a few men who meet this criteria.

When I made a speech about this in Manchester a few years ago, an English professor asked: how can Japanese women ask such a rude question? How can they choose their future partner based on income? Isn't that disgraceful for women?

In Europe or America, people think of marriage as the result of romantic love. In Japan, an important part of thinking about marriage is the financial aspect. This doesn't mean people marry someone they don't like, but people seem to think the most important thing is how comfortably they can live after marrying...

[On a matchmaking event] It's too embarrassing to come here on your own, so I came with my friend. We were complaining that we don't have boyfriends. I'm looking for someone strong and masculine. I don't see such guys so far. Most of them look like the indoor type. They may be a bit herbivore. Perhaps many of them are not really used to talking to women. I think I'll have to compromise a bit to find someone...

I think Japanese guys may be compared to guys from abroad: they're not pushy enough, they're too shy. They were very chatty when we were bowling but in this free time they became very quiet. When the time came for talking to the girls they just can't face it...

At the bowling machicon what was surprising was how shy the men were but also how critical the women were of the men...
A lot of women seem to suggest that herbivore men are why they can't get married...

'Women who say that there are those who cannot get married, it's because they can't stop moaning. I mean how old are they now? 35? 40? Then what? Women over 25, they're just like Christmas cakes - past their expiry date. So that's it for them... Those who are over 35 yet still want to get married but are unable to do so, it's because they have problems. Problems such as being strong-willed - they don't get on with men. They go on about: ah, this person is a bit bald, this person is a bit small, ah, this person is a bit smelly, oh, this person's nostril hair is poking out. Based merely on things like this, they will reject a man'

'But don't you think it's unfair that men can still get married later but women have to adjust accordingly?'

'It's not unfair. Women during their teens and 20s have had their time. They got men to buy them meals, drive them to places, took many advantages. You didn't find a marital partner during those days? Are you kidding? At their age men have now stopped spending on them. And then they start to consider settling down. Yet these women are still picky. Past the age of 30 the position of men and women switch'...

'I'm worried about where Japanese people's sexual appetite has gone. According to the research conducted 6 years ago asking: do you ever fall in love with a character from the media or do you fall in love with stars or idols, the percentage is very high. The percentage is higher among women. Over a quarter of women have fallen in love this way, almost a third...

Based on the Western sense of value or culture, you think you have to have everything: intimacy, passionate love and sex all from one person. By contrast in Japan, people are diversifying where they get these things from. For example, they get passionate love experience from the idol of the character that they fall in love with, but they pay to have sex with prostitutes, thereby satisfying their physical need in the case of men and they get intimacy from their parents'...

'Virtual love, through western eyes is shocking but for Japanese people it's everywhere'...

'Surely the idea of physical interaction is essential for sexual satisfaction.'

'When I ask whether there's a difference between a real physical partner and a virtual partner, every westerner would say there's definitely a difference, whereas among young Japanese people there is an increasing number of them who say it's the same thing.'

'This is a lot for me to get my head around too I'm 35 and I still feel quite young but this new generation of Japanese people don't seem to share my world view. If so many young people are completely forgoing conventional physical relationships for virtual love which could include porn, prostitutes, host or hostess bars or even falling in love with characters from cartoons or films then surely this is a threat not just for Japan's economy but also for its society'...

'Guys don't hate women. It's because they like women, that's why those virtual female characters were created. Virtual women are the perfect versions of women. If women acted like them then it would have been great...

Virtual women aren't perfect. They may be autistic, bad cooking, small breasted and short. There are lots of imperfections in these so called ideal women. It's because they have their vulnerability and modesty, that's why men find them cute even if they are not good at cooking et cetera'...

'If it's an issue of men exerting control over women in the real or digital world then why according to Yamada's data are even women choosing virtual relationships than men?'...

'They're not interested in physical masturbation. From long ago Japan has been a male dominated culture so the very fact of being treated with warmth by men rather than physical desires is what they want. Just being spoken to kindly fulfills them enough...

If you go to a concert say Toshiki and they ask you from the stage: how you feeling? Have you already eaten? Just that makes them so pleased. Getting a kind word like that or at the most getting hugged is more than enough to get them satisfied. So I'm sure nobody does anything like masturbating'...

'The current system will fall apart in twenty years. In twenty years Japan will be overflowing with middle aged people who cannot depend on their parents, have very low paid jobs and are left single. When I speak to these people they say they don't want to think about what will happen to them twenty years from now when their parents have died.'...

'I've come to another match making event. We're not going bowling or drinking this time. Instead we're in a Buddhist temple where twenty sets of men and women are about to arrive. They're here to find their perfect partner - through meditation... they have two minutes to talk to each other based on their question form and then the men move on to the next woman until all participants have spoken'"


So much for SDN being Uniquely Singapore
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