22 November 2016

The Rise (of Japanese Cyber-Virgins) and Fall (of the Japanese Population)

Nearly 20 years ago I was in Japan. People on the subway were staring at their lap and at first I thought they were merely avoiding eye contact, then - when I saw hand movement - wondered briefly about rosary beads (wrong culture) and then was flummoxed. I asked my client about it and he said that they were "texting." "Texting," I asked. "What's that?" He explained but it didn't really make sense. Years later, we adopted the craze and since then I've paid closer attention to Japan, which brings me to this excerpt from Mary Aiken's The Cyber Effect.

A [Japanese] government survey released recently estimated that nearly 40 percent of Japanese men and women in their twenties and thirties are single, not actively in a relationship, and not really interested in finding a romantic partner either. Relationships were frequently described as "bothersome."
Another survey found that one in four unmarried Japanese men in their thirties were virgins. The number of virginal single women in their thirties was only slightly less. At the time, Shingo Sakatsume, who works as a "sex helper" and counsels middle-aged virgins, observed, "In Japanese society, we have so much entertainment beyond love and sex. We have animation, celebrities, comics, game, and sports .... Why do you need to choose love or sex over the other fun things that don't have the potential for pain and suffering? The illusion of a perfect relationship, combined with the Japanese fear of failure, has created a serious social problem."
By 2060, if current trends continue, Japan's population will have shrunk by more than 30 percent.

In 2010, Japan's population was 128 million. By 2082, the number is projected to drop to 64 million, a drop by half. These aren't just projections. Last year Japan's population dropped the most since they began keeping records.

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