It’s estimated that by 2060 unless something drastic is done to boost the Japanese birth rate, its population will shrink by a third. In the last year alone, it has dropped by 0.17% (215,000 people) – back to a level it was in 2000.
This aging population poses a threat for politicians as they’re faced with the dilemma of trying to make sure the dwindling number of young workers are able to pay for the their growing number of pensioners.
New breeds of Otaku men are being blamed for the drop in birth rate. Otaku is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests in anime, manga and computers. Said to be passive and lacking desire, they are a generation of computer geeks who show little interest in relationships and sex. They would rather tune in to their own fantasy worlds and have virtual relationships.
Love Plus is a Japanese video game for the pocket-sized Nintendo DS game player that provides virtual manga girlfriends and simulates the experience of a being in a relationship. The girlfriends like to be taken out on dates and treated on their birthdays, they also get cross if they’re neglected. The men say they form feelings of love and attachment towards their online lovers, who are more than enough to handle without adding a real relationship to the mix.
Love Plus is currently only available in Japan and Japanese but I imagine it’s only a matter of time before a similar programme infiltrates the rest of the world. A shocking truth, but if the population of man is replacing its cave man instincts and sexual desire for the ease of virtual relationships, the digital age could well be the beginning of the end of humanity.
Thanks for the interesting post. We have been traveling through Japan all the way from Kyushu to Hokkaido, and have been quite surprised by the lack of social interactions: often we see Japanese people close to each other in a coffee shop, not exchanging a single glance and being on their smartphones. Same thing in the train. Indeed, if they don’t come up with a ‘make a baby’ app (!) or open to immigration, it will be a tough one to overcome.
Interesting problem the Japanese are facing. The problem is starting relationships ans having sex have become almost taboo in Japanese culture. This has created a social anxiety, especially for men, around asking people out or doing more than that. So to avoid the taboo, men just turn to technology/pornography. Technology plays a large role, but you couldn’t just take it away and expect things to go back to “normal”. It’ll be interesting to see what the Japanese government tries to fix this issue.