My boyfriend and I have started watching some of the BBCs “This World” programmes that have been on recently, presented by Anita Rani.
The first was on BBC Two called, No sex please, we’re Japanese.
The show essentially was about the lack of people in Japan having children. There are now far more older people in Japan, to the extent that nappies for the elderly are outselling babies nappies. They showed a town which once had 21 primary schools, and now has just 1. The town had to close their maternity ward because there was no one having babies at all. The people said that the town had nothing to attract younger people, but also the birth rate is dropping very dramatically in Japan in general.
They started looking into the reasons as to why the birth rate is dropping. The reasons included culture, distractions, the economy and immigration.
Japan is so different from the rest of the world. Anime and manga, for example, is created not just for the younger generation but for the older ones too. One guy on the show was married, but he had a virtual girlfriend on a game called Love Plus for his Nintendo DS. He considered this his actual girlfriend and didn’t want to tell his wife about it. These men were called Otaku – geeks who are obsessed with anime and manga and tune out of the real world to live in a fantasy. It’s a common thing in Japan. A place in Tokyo called Akihabara (I want to go!) is full of anime and manga to please these sorts of people. They said that with entertainment and distraction like that, why would you want a complicated relationship?
The state of the economy means that men in Japan have confidence issues, believing they will never amount to a lot and never make any more money than their parents did. They therefore want to revert to a childlike state of computer games and a virtual world to make them feel more comfortable. It is easier to deal with the virtual world than a real woman.
Other reasons for the dropping birth rates included that there are a lot of immigration rules in Japan making it harder for people from other cultures to come over, keeping the culture very traditional. In Japan men often think that women should stay at home, have children and be a housewife, whereas the women want a career. If you have children in Japan, in many ways it can end your career. Basically they were saying that if they were more interracial relationships, maybe there would be a population boost!
One survey said that just 27% of couples in Japan said they had sex every week. I’m not sure if it is just me…but that’s really not a lot is it!? Why do you guys think the birth rate in Japan is dropping?
You can read a more in-depth article by Anita Rani here. It focuses on the part of the show about men preferring anime and manga to real life women. Those in the UK can watch a clip of the two men with virtual girlfriends.