No thanks, I’d rather read about it

A recent article in the Japan Herald states, “Third of young Japanese men have no interest in sex.”

Japan’s birth rate is plummeting because more than a third of Japanese males have no interest in or are actively averse to sex, says a survey.

According to the survey of 671 men and 869 women, issued by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 35.1 per cent of men aged 16 to 19 said they are not interested in or averse to sex, more than double the 17.5 per cent of men in the previous study in 2008.

Really? REALLY? I wonder about their statistics. AFP reports on the same news, as do many other news agencies.

Japanese, in general, are not great at responding to surveys. How were these surveys performed, in what context? It is true that the birth rate in Japan is really low, and the population is declining. It will be a real strain on the country to support all the aging people right now. If current eating habits continue though, I predict the life span of the Japanese will actually decrease for a while in the future. But I digress. Economic models still seem to be focused on growth instead of sustainability, so until Japan shifts their model to a sustainment model, it will be difficult. With neighbors like China, staying out of a growth race is pretty hard, but one that probably can’t be won.

World birthrate


What is leading to such a reduced birth rate? Developed countries or countries with strong regulations on birthrate (China) tend to have lower birth rates. Japan clearly falls into that category. But if I look at the life of a typical Japanese young person, would I want to have kids? Likely, if single, they are living at home or in a small mansion. If married, they are still likely living with one of the parents. Not a whole lot of time for privacy. Plus, people really do work late into the night, easily between 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm. So people are tired and have no privacy. Two strikes against a good sex life. Then, if a couple does get it on, do they want to have kids? Space is small, living is expensive, and having kids amplifies those problems. Many couples are going childless or opting for one child. There are exceptions of course, but I know of few families with more than two children.

What about the 16 to 19 year olds? Are they really so uninterested in sex? I don’t think so. Any trip to a 7-11 will reveal lots of sexually explicit manga [LINK]. Lots of manga shops have huge areas devoted to 18+ manga. My local manga shop is Toranoana and walking through the floors is quite the eye opening experience.

Manga shop


Recently, Tokyo has passed a law that will require a lot of restrictions on manga. This news even made the Wall Street Journal.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on Wednesday enacted an ordinance that vastly expands a law meant to restrict people younger than 18 from purchasing or flipping through manga depicting rape, sex crimes, incest and “sexually explicit acts and graphic images that are not acceptable morally.” By making previous rules broader and more clear, the Tokyo government will have the authority to deem more manga as “unwholesome books,” which restrict where and how they can be sold.

Perhaps these days, the 16 – 19 year old boys would rather read about sex than actually participate, then spend the next 2 hours trimming their eyebrows and styling their hair. Yes, the AFP article even dredges up the Herbivore man again.

Of course, all my comments are merely speculation. I’ve done no personal research with the 16 to 19 year old boys in Japan.