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Why Young Japanese Are Giving Up On Love, Marriage And Sex

According to government officials, Japan has one of the world’s lowest birth rates along with a lack of intimacy among its citizens.
Why Young Japanese Are Giving Up On Love, Marriage And Sex
Nightlife in Shinjuku on 22 October 2013. Shinjuku is one of the most important districts in business and entertainment in Japan. charnsitr /

That’s what is currently happening in Japan, the nation is experiencing a “celibacy syndrome” people under 40s continue to lose interest in dating, marriage and even casual sex.


In 2011 their was a survey conducted that found 61 percent of unmarried Japanese men and 49 percent of Japanese women between the ages of 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship. Meiji-Yasuda Life and Welfare Research Institute conducted a study earlier this year, and found that a third of people under 30 had never dated at all. In Japan a country “mostly free of religious morals” has been a separation between love and sex, though both are of decreasing interest to Japan’s young population.


In a survey conducted earlier this year by Japan Family Planning Association, 40 percent of women between the ages of 16-24 reported that they “were not interested in or despised sexual contact,” and more than a quarter of men had similar feelings. Japanese men who don’t take on some of the responsibility associated with relationships and marriage are nicknamed “herbivores” or soshoku danshi (literally, grass-eating men) and they don’t mind the label.


Kunio Kitamura, head of the JFPA, fears the country might eventually perish into extinction. The government refers to the phenomenon as sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome.”


Dreams of living a single life and pursuing a career crash with conservative pressures of conforming to the salary man lifestyle and either becoming or marrying one and acting as a stay-at-home wife and mother.


As Japanese men become less career driven due to job security issues and Japanese women become more independent, potential marriages and matches are looking less attractive. With the cost of living being sky high combined with old-fashioned beliefs of from past generations, makes marriage very difficult for most Japanese people. Older generations of people in Japan believe the purpose of marriage is to produce children.


Japan’s corporate world makes it almost impossible for a woman to combine a career and family. Most people can’t afford to have children unless both parents are working. Around 70 percent of Japanese women leave their jobs after having their first child. Japan is ranked as one of the world’s worst for gender equality in the workforce.


According to Guardian, “the country is undergoing a major social transition after 20 years of economic stagnation, as citizens deal with the ongoing scarring effects of 2011’s tsunami, radioactive meltdown and earthquake. Both men and women say to me, they don’t see the point of love. They don’t believe it can lead anywhere. Relationships have become too hard. In many of Japan’s major cities, the sexes are spiraling away from each other.”


Tomoi Yamaguchi, a Japanese born assistant professor of anthropology at Montana State University said, “remaining single was once the ultimate personal failure. But more people are finding they prefer it.”

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