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Japanese Society

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Wed 2009/09/30 14:10 JST

Robin Lustig - a man who is trying to make sense of the world writes for the BBC and posts an article up entitled "Is Japan a Dying Nation?"

Robin writes:-

As I reported on Wednesday, on current trends, the population of Japan will have halved by the end of the century.

It is, literally, a country that is slowly dying.

According to one United Nations estimate, it'll need to import 17 million foreign workers over the next 40 years, just to keep its economy afloat and provide enough carers to look after the elderly. (By 2050, there will be more than a million Japanese over the age of 100.)

I'm no social psychologist, so I wouldn't dare to come up with an explanation for why Japanese couples aren't having enough babies. But one theory is that Japanese women are increasingly reluctant to marry, because they think Japanese men have shown themselves unable to adapt to the needs of a new, more flexible society - and have retreated into a fantasy world of comics, video games and animated pornography where they feel less threatened.

(read the rest at BBC)

This article has been picked up by Japanese media and the topic been thrown to the 2ch netizens - Itai News summarizes their thoughts on the article:-

-Make reality more interesting than games please.
-Yeah I can live on games alone.
-If everybody became obsessed with games then we would live in a peaceful society.
-Whats the point of increasing the population of this resourced starved narrow country.
-I tried to fight with reality but failed so many times.
-Reality does not want to deal with me you idiot.
-The world in the monitor is reality. The world we live in is just imaginary.
-To be honest, I don't want a (real) woman.
-Love Plus is reality.
-But in reality women don't want to marry us unless we earn more than 10 million yen (100,000 USD) per year.
-There are too many Japanese people anyway so decreasing the population would be just right.
-But the 2D world is ideal.
-Oh and its OK to be obsessed with movies and books then?
-My (2D) girlfriend is Aika-san. She lets me meet her whenever I want and greets me with a smile if I forget a date - and she does not cost money. Thats all I need.
-His words are racist.
-OK then - hows this for reality?
-I'm 30 and earn 3.5 million yen (35K USD) - how am I supposed to get married?
-Why is somebody from a declining country (England) telling me this?
-The decline of the population has nothing to do with games or manga.
-My partner is Hatsune Miku. I would do anything for her and we are thinking of having kids.
-I tried to face reality and it became Love Plus.
-We must fight reality!
-The problem is that dolphin waxing feels good.
-I cant see the merits of getting married - all I see are demerits.
-When sexaroids become reality, humans will become extinct.
-Blaming Japanese men is not going to solve anything.
-Those who face reality risk suicide.
-They should make a game for the DS called "lets face society"
-A country of Neets (England) being worried about Japan?
-Not sure about England but the hurdle to getting married over the past 20 years in Japan is gone up too high - socially and financially.
-Unless there are more job positions then I cant face reality.
-Cant trust women - will just be worried about her having an affair - cant be bothered with that.
-Women are not attractive to me anymore. I can wash my clothes with a push of a button and can eat from a convenience store. As long as I can clean up, I don't see the reason for feeding a money sucking worm (wife).
-People don't get married because they know that life is over when they do.
-Japan is on the decline because women prefer good looking men with money.
-Girls in games wont cheat on us.
-The solution is to make reality in games.
-I'm too busy with work to think about getting married.
-Getting married and having kids is happiness?
-Working like a slave and then dying after getting married - no thanks.
-But Sanya is too cute.
-I'm living off 2.1 million yen. If I don't read manga or anime then I just cant go on.
-Solution is simple - make it so that anime and manga characters can get pregnant.

And the other 2507 comments at Itai News which currently end in "Lets go down together England!"

My personal observations from the people directly around me is that while they do have their anime, manga and game interests, they still do get married (or intend to) and they have normal jobs some of them executives and some running their own gigs.

As for the comments about it costing a bomb to get married - well it can in Japan and traditionally most (not all) wives then quit their job to stay at home to have and look after children.
Weddings alone can cost a bomb too. The average cost of getting married is 3.76 million yen (about 37K USD).
Then the average cost of moving in together costs 1.9 million yen (19K USD).

What do you make of all this about games, anime, manga, reality, population decline and getting married? Are there any comments above that you particularly agree/disagree with?

Photo taken at Sakuraya Hobby Kan in Shinjuku of some young lads indulging in some games - perhaps meeting up with their 2D partners?

Tokyo · CEO Mirai Inc
http://www.dannychoo.com/profile

Director for Culture Japan. Creator of Mirai Suenaga. Member of the Japanese governments METI CIIC.
経済産業省クリエイティブ産業国際展開懇談会委員。
テレビ番組カルチャージャパンのディレクターと司会。
twitter.com/dannychoo
facebook.com/dannychoodotcom

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