Not long ago, viewers of Japan's social scene identified the so-called "zesshoku danshi" (literally, men who fast), meaning men who abstain from physical contact with women. These males prefer the company of other male friends over females, and place high importance on their private time.
Now, reports Nikkan Gendai (June 11), another new category of guy been identified: the "kosupa-kei." The word is shortened from "cost performance" and refers to men in their 20s who dispassionately evaluate all aspects of their life in terms of returns on investments. When dating, this would apply to both monetary outlays and time expended.
"I can't really see any meaning in spending money on women or other people," says 23-year-old Hiroshi Okada (a pseudonym), at graduate student at Tokyo's Waseda University and said to be a typical male of the "kosupa-kei" persuasion.
"I don't feel any need for sex," Okada adds. "And as I don't want to have children, there's no point to doing it. Getting married runs into money -- for living, children's education and so on. If you get divorced, then you're stuck with alimony payments. There's no point in devoting any time to these things. And for a woman to fall in love with me would be a waste of time for her, too."
Okada says he disdains all the trappings of romance and family life. "You just let yourself get caught up in the marketing rush for gift-giving on St Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc," he frowns. "What's the point? All the more reason to trim the trappings of human relationships to the bone."
In a nutshell, for people like young Okada, outlay of funds can't be justified for things that don't lead to some personal advantage.
"In these times, one married couple out of three winds up divorcing," says a woman who goes by the name "Enon," chairperson of the Japan Gokon Association. (Gokon are mixed parties.) "For that reason, more than entertaining hopes and dreams from marriage, these people are aiming to minimize future risk, so they place emphasis on 'cost performance.' They realize that marriage, and for that matter, divorce, run into money. With the rapid diffusion of smartphones and social networking, they sense that the risk factors affecting their lives are increasing, particularly as they relate to love and romance.
"What's more, this is an age when people split up and then post negative things about their ex on social networks. And items that are posted stay online forever."
Enon says the male university students she talks to these days might tell her, "I like to look good, so I put time into shopping and spend money on clothes. In terms of cost performance, it's a better value, and I have more opportunities to meet up with my kind of friends."
In a follow-up article published the next day, Nikkan Gendai undertook a "kosupa" breakdown, hypothetically comparing two men employed in the auto sales industry, one a lifelong bachelor and the other a man who marries at age 30 and fathers two children. Although the overall cost of raising each child exceeds 30 million yen, the married man is still projected to have total assets of 27.19 million yen at age 65, as opposed to the bachelor's 24.11 million yen. And at age 85, the married man will have 18.9 million yen in assets, compared to 15.87 million held by the bachelor.
Nikkan Gendai's conclusion: Marriage may have its pitfalls, but lifelong bachelorhood carries no clear financial advantage.© Japan Today