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The sexes, especially in Japan's giant cities, are spiralling away from each other. Lacking long-term shared goals, many are turning to easy or instant gratification, in the form of casual sex, short-

22 Comments

Former dominatrix Ai Aoyama, 52, who is now a sex and relationship counsellor, on why many young people in Japan are losing interest in sexual relationships. (The Observer)

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Add the J-Government, the police and prominent prudes!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I read this quote in TheGuardian/TheObserver the other day in the October 20 article, "Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?" (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex)

It's an interesting read, but some parts are best taken with a grain of salt. However, from what I have seen and heard in Japan many of the anecdotes conveyed by the article do certainly ring true.

The unhealthy attitudes among Japanese youth regarding romantic relationships, particularly in the city, I think ironically stem in large part from Japan's top-heavy demographic bubble, which translates to much larger numbers of adults placing excessive control and structured lifestyles on youth (long hours in juku, all-day/every-day sports clubs, etc.). They have no opportunity to think for themselves and experience childhood, and no chance to form healthy friendships. This mindset starts from a young age and extends into adolescence and the adulthood.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I have lived in both Osaka and Tokyo for several years each. Without doubt the people in Tokyo seem to have a mental disease and social regression from the stress and overcrowding. Women have perpetual scowls and seem to revel in disdain. The men look disgusted and invite confrontation such as constant bumping, scowling and open flatulence on trains to release some of the stress. Osaka is much more normal in that regard. Just my 2cents. Thanks.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Good post sensato. I would say that young people are kept perpetually tired because it is easier to maintain social control. It seems that Japan is terrified of free time or even wasted time, these kids can't be given free time because their thinking has been controlled to such a degree that they wouldn't know what to do. Look how many people go back to doing menial jobs (the kind of jobs that are done by school kids in western countries) as soon as they retired, I have always wondered whether they actually need the money or they just can't function when they have have free time. Add to this that in Japan your friends are on the whole socially appointed from about elementary school, they are either in the same class or school club; this phenomena goes on into the workplace, so people don't really know how to make friends and have even less of a clue when it comes to making relationships with the opposite sex. It is criminal that Japanese haven't really been robbed of a healthy adolescence and increasingly childhood, which I dare say is the real reason that the love of things cute and cuddle extends into adulthood. I suppose this is similar in many western countries where we look back at the teenage years as being the time of freedom, although this is starting to extend into adulthood with more participation in university and backpacking and the like.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

There's a recipe to stimulate chemistry between men and women in a way that results in babies. It's a simple formula, it's foolproof, and it's worked for tens of thousands of years. It goes like this:

Financially secure man + young woman = babies.

Neither of the ingredients exist anymore in Japan.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

@thepresident934, I think the alternate formula is a little bit different and goes MAN + WOMAN + ALCOHOL = PREGNANCY

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Introducing high school dances would help. That's where a lot us in North America, especially guys, first learned how to muster up the courage to approach someone of the opposite sex and reap the rewards (and how to deal with rejection). Just getting over that mental hurdle is important. The first step is always the hardest, as they say.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

SensatoOct. 24, 2013 - 10:07AM JST

The unhealthy attitudes among Japanese youth regarding romantic relationships, particularly in the city, I think ironically stem in large part from Japan's top-heavy demographic bubble,

Good post and the above point is very spot on. The difference between mostly staid Tokyo (Shibuya and a few small spots being the exception) and most European capitals, with relaxed young couples enjoying their own space and styles as well as the company of each other, is mind blowing.

Japan is slowly becoming one giant old-people's home.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I read this quote in TheGuardian/TheObserver the other day in the October 20 article, "Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?"

Yea, that article has been making the rounds. Anything that involves Japanese sex, and a dominatrix is bound to get plenty of attention.

Most of the stuff is anecdotal, and can be said for pretty much any post industrialized country. It's called "Demographic Shift" and it's a widely known phenomenon.

That article tries to make it sound like it's some kind of recent, sudden phenomenon which is only related to Japan.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

There's a recipe to stimulate chemistry between men and women in a way that results in babies. It's a simple formula, it's foolproof, and it's worked for tens of thousands of years.

Is that why the neanderthals died out, because they didn't have a stable job at sony or toyota?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

There's simply no form of escapism possible in big cities, like Tokyo. It's just too uptight and stressful, not to mention way too packed. I've lived in both the city and the countryside and I believe this has a huge impact on people from a young age. Then, mix that in with the "top heavy demographic", as Sensato mentioned.

Once uni graduates find work, they're trapped in their "work circle" for life. After work - drinking with colleagues. Weekends? Yup, golf / trip with colleagues. There's no divide between "work" and "private", and I think this has long contributed to the decline in birth rate and overall lack of chemistry between sexes. To go even further, they live and breathe work - even when it comes down to regular conversation. It's just bonkers.

I feel this is only going to get worse.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If working hours were restructured so that people weren't forced/coerced into working unpaid overtime stress levels may come down and allow people to relax a bit more. I also think people are too tired - from my own relationships with Japanese women they have been so tired and stressed that even one day out (or in), just doing normal couple-stuff made a difference. Sometimes a cuddle at the end of the day helped.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I got to admit that I am seriously confused about how instant gratification, trysts and casual sex means people are losing interest in sexual relationships. Maybe they mean "long term" sexual relationships?

Oh well. I don't see what the big deal is. Japan is way overpopulated. Sex without commitment and children I think is pretty much just what Japan needs.

and the usual technological suspects: online porn, virtual-reality 'girlfriends', anime cartoons.

What guy does not look at online porn? The guys getting girls watch and so do those not. By anime do they mean anime porn?

I don't think tech is to blame at all. I think this society is. Dating is not encouraged and young people's time is hogged with homework, school and clubs. Like it or not, childhood and especially teen years are the times for experimentation with sex and sexual relationships, and yes even just the plain old real deal. If that aspect of life is ignored, it will wither by the 20s and die completely before the 30s in many people.

I think the real problem with Japan is that there used to be an image of chasteness and indifference but the reality was a hidden world of rampant sex. I think what happened is that the current generation of adults missed the boat and now think the image they grew up with was the reality. I have seen quite a schism with the old and young here, where the old actually know how to laugh and be social behind the scenes. It seems they failed to pass that on.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@gaijinfo have you been to any other country recently? Demographic shift from having a multitude of babies to having 1.8-2.1 child / woman (the sort of average you see in Europe, the USA) and demographic collapse as seen in Japan are 2 very different beasts. Interestingly I think only Germany is in a situation comparable with Japan w regards to both social attitudes towards working women and very low birth rate, but with influx of immigrants from neighbouring European countries a very real alternative to natural generational replacement it's still in a very different position than Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Okinawa must be the exception that proves the rule. Relaxed atmosphere, high unemployment, friendly people of both sexes.... and high teen pregnancy rates, followed in rapid succession by young marriage and high divorce rate. Not paradise, but it's great that there are some choices left for Japanese.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"That article tries to make it sound like it's some kind of recent, sudden phenomenon which is only related to Japan."

@gaijinfo i think you're conflating lower birth rates and less interest in sex or relationships.

here in the states, while birth rates among most groups are either stable or dropping...interest in dating, relationships and/or sex certainly hasn't gone away

as other commenters have noted, it's the lack of casual gender interaction that makes japan unusual

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Observer prurience, quoting from a sex counselor with an unusual background. I think some second opinions are warranted.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lived in Nagasaki 3 years. Many girls in their late 20s want to date and marry before the daunting age of 30 sets in.

However, most the girls I knew worked a day job, and a night job at snack bars etc.

They thought they would meet their Mr. Right at a snack bar, but that's hard to do when your average snack bar client isn't really there looking for anything binding.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

when the dudes look like women one has to wonder where the turn-on is

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is the outcome of the closing gap in gender equality. Women no longer feel the need to "get hitched" to some guy just because he's the only way she'll find a stable income. As the pressure subsides, women (AND men) are being much more selective on what they see as their ideal mate. Their choices are based on what they see (or don't see) in their parents' relationship as well as their friends' parents. Unfortunately, this method of comparison usually results in the "ideal" mate also being the "unrealistic" mate. I don't care WHAT your sexual prowess is, 10-hour bouts of wild, uninhibited sex will quickly taper-off to a more mundane level. It's human nature. The "ideal" partner might exist for a month or so, but they WILL change as a routine gets established. When the change happens, suddenly Mr./Mrs. "Ideal" starts looking like any other one in the city. They're no longer special.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@malfupete -when the dudes look like women one has to wonder where the turn-on is.

Thank you! My sentiments exactly!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ MumbaiRocks! i really agree with u. my tokyo ex was grumpy n cold to me all the time. i've met ppl from osaka n boy are they more fun n lively to be with! MOVE TO OSAKA PEOPLE! LOLOL NOT TOKYO!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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