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'Herbivore' men misunderstand what marriage arranging parties are all about

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You’re a young person looking for a partner, lifetime or not – where do you start? The traditional "omiai" – dating presided over by pushy families seeking a link by marriage – gave way to the looser, freer, familyless "gokon" – mass parties where guys and girls could mix, play games, attract each other and go off together into the short-term or long-term future.

Is the "gokon" doomed? Weekly Playboy (Nov 15) fears it may be. Why? Changing times is the broad answer. More specifically, young men of the so-called “herbivore” type no longer have the fun-loving devil-may-care exuberance the occasion calls for.

An informal survey the magazine conducts among men in their 20s shows 52% have never attended a "gokon," apparently a sharp dropoff from the recent past. Why not? “I don’t have male friends who would invite me,” say 42%. Twenty-six percent say they have no inclination for the heavy drinking and boisterous games that characterize these affairs, while 13% are turned off by the boisterous women who like boisterous games and who, more and more, are setting the "gokon" tone. Of them, more in a moment.

So where, you might wonder, do young men meet their girlfriends? There’s something pre-cyber, pre-virtual about the answer, which is that nearly 70% meet them at school or at work, as compared to only 11% who meet them at online dating sites or social networking sites like mixi.

Mixi has its advantages for the hesitant and finicky – you can study posted profiles and photos before making your studied approach. True, but, Weekly Playboy hears from a veteran of 400-odd "gokons," who knows if the profiles are true, or if the photos are genuine? Besides, he adds, mixi people are not necessarily looking for what "gokon" participants unmistakably are intent on – namely, sex. So personal contact among people whose inhibitions have been shredded by alcohol and the party atmosphere is more likely to end up… well, where?

We mentioned boisterous women a moment ago. They, if anyone, says Weekly Playboy, will save the "gokon." The magazine eavesdrops on four “'gokon'-loving OLs” in their early 20s. Poor Shinobu! She struck out at the party under discussion, and she’s not in the best of moods. Ayuna, for her part, admits that these days the only guys worth meeting at "gokons" are in their 30s, but she ended up in a love hotel with one and is not complaining. Shinobu’s preference for younger guys will be her undoing. Megumi explains: The 20-somethings lucky enough to have a job are working too hard and earning too little for partying. Besides, sniffs Mikage, they’re all herbivores, don’t know how to approach a woman.

There should be a law, says Ayuna. Everyone should be required to attend a "gokon" at least once a month. For the sinking birth rate, she grins.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
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This reads like an episode of Sex in the City - frivolous garbage

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I'm sorry, I don't get the author's point.

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Besides, sniffs Mikage, they’re all herbivores, don’t know how to approach a woman.

Aggressive and judgemental women like Mikage are the problem it seems. They'll yell sexual harassment or chikan (groper!) the moment anyone so much as asks for their telephone number or taps them on the shoulder to say hello, but then turn around and say that men are "herbivores".

Honestly, while there are legitimate sexual harassment and chikan cases out there, the entire chikan and sexual harassment phenomenon is interpreted way too broadly, and the legal and social consequences are so dire that most sensible men immediately put their hands over their heads the moment they walk onto the subway.

It is any wonder therefore that men are less prepared to take the lead and attend parties, flirt and socialise when at any point a woman can turn around and accuse them of chikan, have them arrested, have them lose their job and then follow up by suing them for large amounts of money (even if they don't get imprisoned).

The current system isn't any fairer than the old days when women where assumed to be lying it's simply flipped to the opposite ridiculous extreme, where the man is assumed to be lying.

Sorry ladies, but you can't have it both ways. It's time for a little role reversal. Time for the ladies to do all the work in asking men out and for the men to start making up excuses about having to wash their hair. Let's see how you like having to do all the legwork.

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Frungy...are you telling me the reason why j men dont approach women is because they are afraid they are going to yell chikan?? Man, you are soo off. Number one, less than 0.0001 % of j women would do anything about being molested, let alone scream chikkan, and that is why all j guys are very aggressive. #2 Do you know where all the HOT J girls are?? With J men! and one wonders why almost all gaijin men are left with the 6/10 or 7/10 J girls...thats why they (the 6 or 7) complain they cant get a man, because nobody wants them (except gaijin)..its sad...but not because jmen are too shy to pick them up!!

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It is pretty telling when a former goth kid from the US says "Japanese boys are too feminine" that the local boys have fallen over a dangerous edge.

Goth guys back in the day had their share of feminine influence, but never lost sight of being male enough to go after and then keep the girl they liked. Nor did they waste away too uptight to enjoy life, instead balancing artistic, moody influences with the ability to have fun.

The problem with the current J-boys is that they have bought into the whole "kawaii" thing far more than any male should ever do. I think they saw how much fun the girls were having being spoiled, being kawaii and child like and wanted in on it too. So now it is getting hard to tell the kawaii behavior of girls, from the equally kawii-infused behavior of young men.

These are not brooding artist types laboring over poetry in the corner of a cafe. These are shallow, helpless guys hopeing to be eternally child like (ala Michael J.)with no capacity to endure what is necessary to have a future. With mom and dad footing the bill, it does not bode well for where these guys will end up.

I hope guys realize that they can be fashionable, gentle and yet still manage to be men. Maybe some former Goth guys should open clinics to help train the herbivores before they end up as 40-something lonely guys doing weird things at train stations.

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This is just excellent excellent news.

Calling all red-blooded foreign guys... the coast is clear in Japan!

Japanese guys are mostly faint hearts, so it's up to us to treat these Japanese ladies properly.

Go get 'em lads...

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Glad I snagged one of the last 'manly' J-guys then. Over coiffed babies give me the willies.

I went to one of these 'gokons' in Uni in Japan......ugh. The guys were so freaked out by the gaijin in the mix I think some of the girls struck out. Kinda fun though. Would have been more fun if they had stopped trying to get me to go home with the 50-something year old Bucho.

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If the four ladies they talked about at the end are only interested in getting laid, why is 'marriage' in the headline? Shouldn't it be "Herbivore men misunderstand what sex-arranging parties are all about?"

And this:

mixi people are not necessarily looking for what “gokon” participants unmistakably are intent on – namely, sex.

Sex and marriage don't mix, right?

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lovejapan21 -- "Do you know where all the HOT J girls are?? With J men! and one wonders why almost all gaijin men are left with the 6/10 or 7/10 J girls..."

Bet you don't have any statistics to support that conclussion. In fact, logic says that if "all the HOT J girls are with J men" as you state, then these same women would not be getting married later and later in life, if at all, and the birthrate would not be at an all-time low. In fact, the number of still single females in their late 20's and 30's in Japan is at an all-time high. Sorry, but it is not a J-men vs. foreign guy issue, as you seem to imply. It is simply that J-men, especially the hebivores, just aren't that keen on dating a "HOT" J-woman. Maybe because they know that there is just too much baggage to deal with.

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Men that read playboy don't attend gokons.

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lovejapan21. Do you live in Japan? Of course the 9/10 and 10/10 girls are usually with someone locally. But given that Japanese make up 90+% of the people here, would expect that to be the case.

But I see plenty 9/10 or 10/10 ladies with foreign guys.

More common, is that girls in this range tend to be with people who have money or some kind of strong social status within their circle. Like anywhere else in the world.

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why is 'marriage' in the headline?

It really shouldn't be should it. The article itself qualifies in the very first paragraph how the gokon common today differ from omiai in the past.

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"Maybe because they know that there is just too much baggage to deal with."

AMEN! Having dated a few girls in this category when I first got to Japan, one learns very quickly that these girls are more pain than they are worth in general. Picky, materialistic, unreliable, self centered, vain, lazy, demanding and too often mental. Just for starting reasons to avoid.

I am lucky I met a great lady who is lovely, she is a 10 on my scale but maybe not on everyone's. But she is creative, smart, motivated, sweet and I trust her with my life. She is the kind of girl the herbivores should be after. Sadly she also thinks the young guys are too vain and helpless to have girlfriends, jobs or responsibility.

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They're telling their readers to go to gokon because they can easily get laid. I'm pretty sure that's the message :)

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I want to give Ayuna my number!

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lovejapan21 at 08:50 AM JST - 4th November Frungy...are you telling me the reason why j men dont approach women is because they are afraid they are going to yell chikan?? Man, you are soo off. Number one, less than 0.0001 % of j women would do anything about being molested, let alone scream chikkan, and that is why all j guys are very aggressive. #2 Do you know where all the HOT J girls are?? With J men!

Wait, so what you're saying is that J guys are aggressive molesters and J girls like that? ... ummm.... no mate. No way, no how. I've been to a few "blind date" parties and the guys and girls sit at different tables, and the girls occasionally come over to pour drinks and make some small-talk, but mostly it's just painful to watch.. and a little cute, but mostly just painfully slow and awkward.

As for your statistic about chikan, I doubt it. I've been on a train where someone yelled chikan and I've got fair reflexes. The guy in question had both hands above him on the rail. It didn't go any further than that, because the woman was told clearly by female bystanders that she was wrong and that she'd instead brushed up against a standing backpack. I can understand that she made a mistake, but common sense would suggest looking before yelling chikan and then apologising afterwards, which she didn't.

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I do live in Jland but not tokyo, sooo. So i must admit i cant really make accurate number statements. You guys are right, what's hot does depend on the person, of course. I consider HOT, magazine capable hot. Not body hot, because, in my opinion, most j girls have killer bodies! So face wise. Anyway, I was just trying to tell Frungy that it had nothing to do with CHIKANs and i just went off. and so true about those hot girls being about money, dumb etc..soo it is hard to find that dream person i guess!

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Besides, he adds, mixi people are not necessarily looking for what “gokon” participants unmistakably are intent on – namely, sex.

Finger SO off the pulse here. Mixi is filled with people looking for sex. Especially since they stopped it being invitation-only. Also, not everyone who goes to gokon are after sex. He must be living in his own fantasy world when he says they are "unmistakably" intent on it.

Oh, and should Mixi be capitalised in the article?

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i have a nice manly Japanese man,,,he asked me out , and the rest is history

if girls want men, as in manly men, they should hang out around construction works, lots of eye candy and muscles there!

if you want a fling, stand around outside roppongi hills, or ikebukoro station

if you want a life, well go out with someone from work or school, these are normal people

if you dont want a relationship,, get a cute doggy and dress it up

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if girls want men, as in manly men, they should hang out around construction works, lots of eye candy and muscles there!

there are lot of manly man on internet...until you meet them in person lol

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52% have never attended a “gokon,”

So half of the young male population is otaku now. Pathetic. Grow some balls.

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I am saying exactly that Frungy. You just havent been to the right parties. For example, I go out with Junior High Teachers for Nomikai's etc and the amount of touching, flirting, and cheating that goes on between married or single, young or old,TEACHERS is unbelievable. Anyway, the gaijin ladies or J girls that "I" Know, tell me how often J guys compliment or ask for their digits. Daily Daily. I live in Aichi. I would expect Tokyo or Osaka to be even more aggressive in respect to j guys. I go to the beach in the summer and the j guys are constantly harassing girls for numbers etc. YOU are definitely seeing what you wanna see because you dont hit those places that offer more of what im talking about/seeing. I get this info straight from my experience just like you. We all see what we want to see. and we all experience what we wanna experience. I am just trying to tell you that there is a whole different world out there where the opposite of what you observe is happening here in Japan in front of your eyes!

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lovejapan21,

I live in Aichi as well and my experience is basically the same as yours, especially on the beach in the summer with all the nampa going on. And the nomikai's are really, really, impressive when everyone gets smashed!

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Mixi is filled with people looking for sex. Especially since they stopped it being invitation-only.

Now, this sounds great. I am joining this evening.

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Mixi is filled with people looking for sex. Especially since they stopped it being invitation-only.

Now, this sounds great. I am joining this evening.

Mostly guys. But if that floats your boat...

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I went to one of these 'gokons' in Uni in Japan......ugh.

Now this is a story I would like to hear a bit more about - gaijin girl at a gokon - tell us more.

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lovejapan21: most j girls have killer bodies

come in my company... nobody would ever try to touch any girl here...

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Let's be clear: most Japanese women do not have killer bodies. There is no T&A to speak of.

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mrskit: LOL!

So are gokons about finding a marriage partner or getting laid? Maybe that's where the misunderstanding comes in. Or is it that the boisterous girls are there looking for sex and the herbivore men just want to play games? This article tells me nothing.

Meeting someone through a friend is great but gokons seem so artificial that I can't imagine many people finding a lasting relationship. You would probably have just as much luck picking someone up at a bar.

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@ dolphingirl....Artificial ?!?!?! Look around you if you're living in Tokyo, and tell me what's real?

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"boisterous women"

I see them almost every night on the trains and the streets.

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Perhaps they don't want to go to these parties because the women are insane and desperate? I have been to more than a few and I love going to them to laugh at how competitive the women get on these things. I once went to one where another girl flipped out that I was there. Reason? As a gaijin, I would get all the male attention. She was right and I loved watch her get pissed off.

I LOVE going to places where they are having gokons, sitting at a table near by and watching the women battle it out while the men just look shocked at some of the things they say and do. That and trying to figure out who will hook up and who won't. If I was a guy, I wouldn't go on them unless it was for an easy score. The girls sometimes are just so desperate it hurts to watch.

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Funny...why do I have this feeling that these gokon-goers mentioned in the article are all a creation of the author?

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I am not sure what the article is referring to as a "Gokon".

I have been here a long time and there are basically two types of "Gokon" (with a few sub-groups in them) the primary reason for "gokons" is looking for marriage/ boyfriend, girlfriend ( sex ones are a sub-group type).

The first and oldest type is the friend organized ones, that is where (usually) two or more girls arrange to have guy friends and girl friends bring their friends to a restaurant and then drinks in an even number of each sex.

So it goes like this:

You have a friend you would like to introduce to a female friend so you ask him to bring along 2 of his male friends and you ask your (the) female friend to bring along 3 of her female friends that way you now have 4 guys and 4 girls (there are multiple ways to get to the goal of even men to women ratio but I think you get the point) the Japanese find the less of a pressure system then just a strait introduction by you ( it also benefits you if you are looking) and it eliminates the awkward situation if they don't care/like each other ( a sort of mix and match possibility)/

The second type and the one I am guessing this article is referring to is and organized "Gokon" this type has the most subgroups and there are many businesses that organize these, they find the men and women through advertising and networking (usually an employee posing as just another "partner seeker" that goes around telling people about this "great gokon" they attended), these are organized to make money, in most cases the men have to pay a fee and it is free for women, but I have seen several where it was the women that had to pay these were very specific in some cases the "promise" to the women was that all the men were "professionals" (doctors, Lawyer, etc..) and in one that I now is still going on the "promise" is that all the men are "professional" well off (read banker) "gaijins" and in these cases the women pay anywhere from ¥100,000 to ¥300,000 for the chance to meet Mr. Right (read Mr. Rich), what ever the case it will always be an even ratio of males to females.

Now a side note, in the friend type the men are sort of expected to pay for the dinner and drinks and it is not uncommon for the girls to bring a "filler" friend ( that is a girl that is already in a relationship or possibly even married) just to even the male female ratio and many guys have caught on to this and are now a little reluctant to go unless they are very sure all the women are available!

This article needs to be more clear as to what type of "gokon" it is referring to!

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Aside from the j-men having a difficult time getting a girl. It is safe to assume that incase of a war, any country would be able to pound the crap out of japan due to a lack of spines? :D

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I have never been to one where the guys pay for everything - they pay a little more. Usually it is a company thing or a friend thing. I have gone to some even though I was with my husband (before getting married) as a buffer which is even better as you can sit back and watch the show. The ones with good companies are seen as marriage possibility. The others? Sex or a fling. Companies like Sonya, Panasonic, Honda, Itochu... are the ones the girls want!

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All I can do is offer advice to the single herbivores...

RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! IT'S TOO LATE FOR ME, SO SAVE YOURSELVES!

O_o

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Herbivores spend too much time pampering themselves with beauty makeup and sit in front of their laptops with their hands down their pants all day. No wonder the J-population is decreasing. J. men should be more manly

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In the early 90s I remember the mixed group get togethers that limbo refers to, these were all pretty laid back, usually half the people there knew each other so only about half were new, they were pretty innocent I dont recall much happening after. But I remember paying a little more into the pot when paying the bill as guys tend to drink more which was fine for the most part.

Heck i suppose I met me wife at one of these then haha & didnt even realize it.

As for the more recent for profit deals, I wudnt participate if I cud go back in time LOL

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J guys these days dont drink, dont bathe, dont earn, dont care to talk to women... Is there any wonder J girls are losing interest?

Having said all that... back in the 90s, it was all about clothes, cars, and music... no real substance there.

Meh, being single sucks.

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these japanese "herbivore" guys need to be careful lest they get eaten up by some of the yummy japanese cougars that prey around the supermarket aisles in my town.

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Most gokons I have been to are pretty pathetic. almost all interaction between the sexes is of the organised variety inasmuch as it consists of drinking games or the standard questions on hobbies, fave movies etc. spontaneous interaction pretty infrequent. Boys one end talking cars etc, girls other talking nails etc. But to say the J blokes aren't prepred to come on to J girls in day to day life is just plain wrong. Happens all the time because J blokes grow up thinking that J girls are there fo please/serve/listen etc...

J blokes can be way more forward than non-J blokes when dealing with the local talent.

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I wish they had these out in the countryside.. :(

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