Asexuality Conquers Japan!

Comments

1
That makes me feel sad for them.
2
I like to think that it's just a result of Japan being overcrowded, but then I see the asexual crowd in the U.S. growing fast, and it doesn't seem good.
3
@1: you sound like the people who feel sad for those with no religion. Do it, don't do it, I don't have a problem with other people's preferences as long as they don't adversely affect me.
4
That's a fascinating article. So much going on! The bullshit young Japanese women face has to be incredibly stressful. I wonder what sort of relationships LGBTI Japanese are forming these days. Off to Google.
5
@3 It is possible that some people are avoiding relationships out of fear born of social distance, which is not good.
6
@5 People don't always need some other person in their life to be happy. Some people are happier alone. Stop projecting.
7
@6, what is it about Japanese society that makes it so?
8

Japan is on a path to decrease its population down to a third of what is is today.

And that's a good thing.

9
Well social norms define interest in sex usually. (For example sex-drive which was until rather recently seen as something women had no control over as they where seen as "the sexual creatures" in comparison with the more "logical man")

Things shift and change and if they don't want to have sex and are happy without it - fair enough. They probably all have mean right hooks about now though.
10
@6: This is an unusually high percentage (relative to other countries/cultures), which suggests there is something going on. Maybe Japanese people are better able express their true feelings, or maybe cultural forces are pushing people apart. There are some fascinating gender dynamics present in Japanese society - for example, significant gender segregation even through high school, college, and adulthood, and tremendous pressures on young women to quit their jobs, get married, and crank out children. Given that, it seems reasonable to question whether the reported feelings are an effect of external social forces.
11
Back in 1980, I met a young Japanese woman who said she hoped that her future (hypothetical) husband would agree to getting a dog, so he could kick that instead of her when he had a bad day. I wonder if things have changed much in 30 years.
12
Hopefully she moved passed kicking animals after a bad day.
13
past, not passed. Jesus coffee, get it together.
14
Yeah, I'm not saying that I'm feeling sad for asexuals in Japan. I'm feeling sad for the people of Japan (most of whom are not asexual) who have through circumstances not under their own control, been deprived of the joy of sex. And the joy of companionship, for that matter. Look, Japan has social problems that are pretty different from the usual social problems-- though the certainly have those, too. They have a very high suicide rate in addition to these statistics on the lack of romance and sex. I hope that they can work through this slump and come out a happier nation.
15
surely homosexual "marriage" can fix their social ills, as well?
16
so Danny;

which mormon prophet got the black thing and polygamy wrong?
do you think mormons are racists?
do you know any mormons?
do you have any mormon friends?
perhaps you could get some mormon friends from the same shop where donny osmond shops for gay friends?

and what part of polygamy did mormons get wrong?
doing it or stopping it?

don't be shy.
17
and Danny;

if the unnamed mormon prophet got the black thing and polygamy wrong and if two 'wrongs' make the next decision also a 'wrong' does your Iraq War mistake and Transgendered Bigotry and Fatphobia Hatefulness mean your next position will also be Wrong?

Do the Danny FanBoys need to admit that their Hero got the gay thing wrong just like he got the Iraq thing wrong and the Transgender thing and the Fat thing wrong?

Is this a smack down between the Unnamed Mormon Prophet and the Gay Jesus?
18
I think it was This American Life which had a piece on a Buddhist monk who did a lot of work with the (insert Japanese name), people who just stayed in their rooms all the time online while their family fed them. Mostly young men living with their parents. So something with escalating social isolation does seem to be going on there.

Is the difference in male/female rates of relationships due to age (women in the top of the age range dating men outside it) or differing definitions of "in a relationship"?
19
Based on the cartoons, it seems like Japanese men want to date 13-year old schoolgirls with pink hair in pigtails and blue eyes bigger than their feet. Unfortunately, most such girls are already in relationships with centaurs.
20
@12/13. I suspect you missed the point, perhaps due to the caffeine challenge. SHE was not the kicker, she feared being the kickee. Sad all the way around,
21
Hmm. It seems to me that there's a world of difference between those who are simply not interested in sex and those who despise it. Probably a huge chunk of the despisers have very hot and rich sex lives.
22
@20: Don't feed the trolls.
23
Younger Japanese view relationships as very "mendokusai" meaning they are more trouble than they are worth. I think a lot of people can relate.
24
Japanese culture, let's admit, is remarkably strange. Well, at least by Western standards. If men and women in America are Mars and Venus, then the Japanese are Pluto and Mercury. On top of that, it's extremely hierarchical and politeness is extraordinarily ritualized. As is heavy and mandatory social drinking among the men, and overly dramatic demureness among the women. Everything about Japanese culture seems to create a huge gulf between people.

Then, there's the whole shyness thing and pathological social self-consciousness. Unless you shot up your interviewees with truth serum, I'm pretty sure they'd only tell you what they think they're supposed to.
25
The article in full points to the real overarching problem with Japanese lovelives, the extreme pressures to conform to one single mode of operation. If you don't want to be a workaholic salaryman/baby factory couple you can expect nothing but trouble. I know a very bright exchange student who after years of study was told by her parents she had no choice but to forget her career and marry a man she did not find appealing to begin producing children. This is not uncommon, and is the antithesis of the sort of good sex life Dan promotes.

Even in young people dating expectations are all supposed to point in the same direction, if that or wacking off to hentai were my only choices I might go without as well. Sex is the best thing in life when it goes just right, but when you have not experienced that in your life it is not hard to write off as inconsequential.
27
The world's population continues to grow. Fewer people is a good thing because humanity is using up the Earth's resources. Having fewer births rather than higher deaths is a good thing. Though I agree it is sad if people who want children are being prevented from doing so, the problem appears to be the loss of balance between the percentages of old people and the younger people needed to provide support for them. A solution would possibly involve new ways to care for the elderly that either give the elderly more ways to contribute to their own care or more efficient ways for the youth to care for them. Technology/robots that the elderly can control might bridge a gap or two, or new forms of community living. Natural experiments are going on everywhere to try to find solutions since the problem is immediate and ongoing. The two solutions we know fail miserably are the "hospital/institution" model that strips the elderly of all personal control and deprives them of reasons to live, and the "neglect" model that destroys those who have survived only to fall through the cracks.
28
@18 the word you were looking for is hikikomori.

According to government figures released in 2010, there are 700,000 individuals living as hikikomori with an average age of 31 Additionally the government estimates 1.55 million people to be on the verge of becoming hikikomori.


These phenomena in Japan are not quite the same as their seeming counterparts here. The issue is not Asexuality [I really don't think that Paula Poundstone needs to get laid], but a broad trend in Japanese society. Increasing numbers of shut-ins, climbing suicide rates, and massive disruption in the ability to form relationships/reproduce, I think indicate an environment that out species finds intolerable.

[For the record, I am particularly fond of Japanese culture, but modern-day Japan seems out of balance to me.]
29
Surprising amount of casual racism in this thread.
30
In Germany there is also social pressure on women so they stop working when they have children. So women often end up choosing between mothering and their career -see Chancellor Angela Merkel for instance. Or they have only one child.
Aaaannnd guess what? The population is decreasing and Germany has now a bad need of foreign qualified worker. So this is what happens when you wanna force mothers to stay at home once they breed ;)
31
@8 Alright, I'll bite. Why is it a good thing that, according to magical, statistic-less Bailo land, Japan is set to decrease its population by (random percentage/fraction)?

And a preemptive go fuck yourself for pretty much every answer you could possibly give, since I can't think of a way for you to respond that ISN'T teeming with racism/sexism. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. At least you're consistent.
32
Ah...I see that the 1/3 statistic appears, sourced, in the original article. I retract that portion of my criticism. The rest still stands.
33
@31 Japan has an extremely high population density.
34
My guess is that it's the whole lack of religious base morals. Maybe humans invented religion so we would have something to rebel against as a culture, thereby making us horny? My catholic roomie used to always jack off as soon as he got home from confession.
35
The problem is a combination of toxic gender roles and fear of suffering embarrassment. Japanese culture still expects women to become housewives and devote themselves entirely to raising children after being married; careers are for young women who aren't yet married. Women enjoying their lives and careers have little desire to submit to this expectation and are exhausted by the prospect of having to negotiate with a husband who will expect this of them. Similarly, men don't want to submit to the expectation that they'll throw themselves into 100 hour workweeks to support their families while hardly ever seeing them. The notion that you can have a family without submitting to these expectations just isn't possible or thought of and so many young japanese people are just opting out of the whole system.

Additionally, Japanese culture sets up embarrassment as being a completely soul-crushing shameful event, so young people are unable to even ask someone out, let alone allow themselves emotional intimacy, because they're so terrified of being embarrassed.

Look up "Hikikomori" and "Parasite Singles" for more background info.
36
Sorry but I instantaneously thought of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIx1vDKCm…
37
It may not be a religious culture, but Japanese society is strictly organized and regimented, and deeply sexually repressed in almost every way you can think of...despite the tentacle anime.
38
Japan is leading the world away from an overpopulation crisis. Nothing wrong with that.

Want to do your part, but still have fun? Get a vasectomy, and read up on the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, http://www.vhemt.org

“May we live long and die out”
39
@38: I do not think that the Japanese model for population control is a very good one, as it's leaving people loveless and miserable. I would look instead to a nation like Sweden in which people have excellent access to contraception and use it, but the social structures emphasize gender equality and parental aid.
40
It will be interesting to see what social reforms the prime minister makes, and how long they take to make an impact. It doesn't sound like corporate culture has caught up with the realities of modern life, and it will probably take government mandated reforms (daycare, mandated shorter work weeks, mandatory provision of maternity leave, protection from being layed off for being married and female) for things to change. Come to think of it, we could use a couple of those things here.
41
"16&endash;24 'were not interested in or despised sexual contact.'"

That's young women. Given the pressure placed on people to become educated and start careers in Japan (nothing to what happens in South Korea but still hefty) I wouldn't be surprised if this is a situational reaction to sex. Even in the U.S. there are plenty of schools where the smart girls don't date—eschewing dating is sort of a package deal with the studying. What happens with women over 25?
42
It's funny how in America we have a culture that encourages abstinence and fails miserably at it, and in Japan they have a culture that doesn't encourage abstinence at all yet they have less sex than any other nation. It's almost as if when the government tells people what to do they do the opposite thing.

What this article doesn't mention is Japan's weird lonely masturbation subculture. There are men in Japan who buy pillows with pictures of women (or men) on them and treat them like girlfriends. Some even take their pillows out in public with them. I don't know if asexual is the right word to describe them, they're clearly pillow-sexual. Google dakimakura.
43
ugh.

so much to fight back against in these comments from people who don't live in Japan, but apparently know oh so much about it, 'cause: reasons.

Japan is not densely populated, though it's cities are very high density. most of Japan is rural and sparsely populated.

Weird trends (like hikikomori, dakimakura) & our manga/anime/character culture have made the news internationally and have therefore come to define Japan. but the first 2 are aberrations and the whole manga/anime/character thing goes back decades and more and you are only seeing one facet of it.

the people surveyed are not today's youth,but rather yesterdays. in 20 years these asexual attitudes will have disappeared from this kind of polling. or maybe not because also, the Japanese do not respond well to direct questioning and will lie to your face rather than admit they like sex and all of it's trappings.

there's plenty of sex and plenty of babies being born, yet we have a declining population overall. the only problem this presents is to our tax base and the social-democratic structure that it supports. the government is taking steps to address it, but they are baby steps and we're not sure what the results will be.

also what #29 said.

still, we are a better country than the yU.o S.uck, so i don't think we have much to worry about overall.
44
@19 You win a cup of Otokoyama.
45
So, more sex with robots, less babies, solution to global warning. I'm ok with this.
46
I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so.

I'd rather stick tacks in my eyes than consider dating at this point. My interest in intimate contact with the opposite sex is less than zero. Thanks to the heartbreak of losing my wife to another man, I don't see much in woman anymore. Or love, for that matter. Yay.
47
@38, and all the other "hooray for population decline" people. Look to the comments on gender roles in Japanese society, then project a few generations in the future. If the only people reproducing in Japan are workaholic dads and stay at home moms, these will be the only role models children have for what "parenthood" means, and will then either opt out or be like Mom and Dad. This seems like it would be terrible for society, pulling the standard for an "acceptable" family structure way over to one extreme.
48
I love many of the aspects of Japan and it's culture, BUT, according to a book I read about it's traditional sex practices, it is a weird place. Anecdotally, it seems like it is a (paternalistically) harsh environment for females as they grow up. I am neither Japanese nor female, so would love clarification.

Peace
49
@48

what book? and how is it weird?

"anecdotally", it _was_ a harsh environment for women growing up - it's not anymore.

employment figures still skew towards men, especially in industry and management, but we kind of want it that way. most women don't want to work outside the home. is it innate? a forced attitude? smart women who know working is for chumps? a mix of these things?

young women today have plenty to aspire to and it's their choice what path they take. . .
50
@43 Hey refund, I referred to dakimakura as a Japanese SUBculture, not a reflection of mainstream Japanese culture. I've never been to Japan, but I'm well aware that most Japanese people are totally boring and normal, because people in general are totally boring and normal.

As for your theory that Japan is a nation of liars, well, statistics don't lie. Maybe not everyone is going to be honest about their habit of seeing 12 year old prostitutes, but you can't fabricate the fact that there are less married people than there used to be.
51
@50.

it's not a theory, Japanese people are just so deferential that they lie to be nice/polite/non-confrontational and don't think it's a bad reflection on them.

less married people doesn't mean less sex, Japanese people can shack up just as easily as anyone.

anyway, this too shall pass. . . and Japan will continue on lower population or growing population.
52
@46- I'm in a similar boat, though I'd say I was interested in intimate contact, I just don't want to have to reveal my feelings to them.
53
@48 refund,

Sorry. A) I can't recall the title. B) I shouldn't have used the word weird (except for the public parades of giant male and female genitalia).

I should have used the word different. Certainly I shouldn't be surprised that other (non Christian/non fundamentalist) societies have different attitudes (and public facilities) than the US.

From the standpoint of observing themes in Hentai: sorry again, but a lot of the themes are decidedly distasteful to me (around incest, pedophilia, and graphic violence). I realize those themes aren't the society, but if there wasn't a market, no one would produce it.

Peace
54
those parades (here known as matsuri) are fertility festivals, nothing more.

and hentai is just a small microcosm in the world of anime, true that if it weren't marketable it would be seriously underground (and it's not), but that market has grown from here to the world. so we might have taken an existing cultural point (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunga) (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-…) and made it modern, but it isn't all that strange that a small minority of people here and around the world patronize it. you and i choose not to and we can disapprove if we wish, but we shouldn't judge an entire people on a tiny aspect of their media culture.

peace be unto you as well. . .
55
Well, I found these excerpts very telling...
"'Marriage is a woman's grave,' goes an old Japanese saying that refers to wives being ignored in favour of mistresses. For Japanese women today, marriage is the grave of their hard-won careers."

"This is true for both sexes, but it's especially true for women. "Marriage is a woman's grave," goes an old Japanese saying that refers to wives being ignored in favour of mistresses. For Japanese women today, marriage is the grave of their hard-won careers."

"Tomita sometimes has one-night stands with men she meets in bars, but she says sex is not a priority, either. "I often get asked out by married men in the office who want an affair. They assume I'm desperate because I'm single." She grimaces, then shrugs. 'Mendokusai.' ... Mendokusai translates loosely as "Too troublesome" or "I can't be bothered". "

Though I did have a friend point out that you could replace "Japan" with "Tokyo" pretty much everywhere in this article and it would be more accurate...
56
The article was fascinating. Whoever pointed out that Japanese people stay gender-segregated in school and life much more so than other countries was highly illuminating, because the article doesn't make much sense without that detail. The guys complain that they don't want to work insane hours to support a stay-at-home wife and kids, the women complain that they don't want to give up their careers to stay home... if these people were comfortable talking to each other about what they really wanted in a relationship, it seems like they could easily come to a solution they both liked.

Also, to people who are saying that Japan is a weird place, women have a lot of the same problems in the US, too- it's just that most of us end up prioritizing love and family over the work. The Japanese could point at US women and say that they're sad for us because so often, we're kept down in our careers if we marry and have children. It's still true that being a mother penalizes a woman in terms of her perception in the workplace- she doesn't get as many raises or promotions.
57
@51: Do you think that this whole super-deferential aspect of the culture causes the disconnect here? It just seems like the obvious solution to these people's problems is that the guys admit that they don't want to work insane hours and the women tell the men they're not giving up their careers, and so they both work- men less than they're "supposed" to, women more. If they're all lying to be deferential all the time, are they able to say that? I mean, obviously this scheme has another roadblock in the sexism of the bosses who think that a married woman is just going to get pregnant and stop working. But it just seems obvious to me that a lack of directness could be a serious challenge for anyone who even vaguely wanted a romance.
58
Seems like fantasies of ideally balanced lives for professional couples with children are the same worldwide: fantasies.

Though unlike my fantasies of war profiteers and Wall Street plunderers going to prison, the fantasy of finding a partner to share one's life with seems a little more attainable.

Peace
59
#55 - tokyo. exactly. and tokyo has nothing to do with real Japanese life.

#56 - that gender segregation is social more than institutional. in school every one is in class together, but once the bell rings the boys hang with the boys and the girls the girls. but isn't that true of any school any where?

#57 - a bit.

that deferentialism (is that a word) that's displayed is more for strangers than friends (it's a sliding scale), but the Japanese on the whole don't state directly what they want. in 1-to-1 relationships that are established you can talk about plans/needs/wishes, but for those just starting you can't. and i don't know where you cross from the latter to the former.

employers are still the biggest problem both for the advancement of women who want to work and for the men who'd like to slow down, especially in larger corporations.

my local (30km away) mcdonald's is staffed mostly by women (including management), but that's no indication of good job prospects nation-wide, it's just that restaurant work is a place where women are readily accepted. car building at mazda? not so much. . .

the answer? the next generation of women. i know some bad-ass 12 year old girls that with luck will stay that way no matter what they choose to do.
60
Clearly, there's a correlation between religious morals and feeling horny.
61
This might be the one thread in Slog history where you'd be best advised to check out the unregistered comments (from 43 onward, NOT before....) and safely ignore most of the rest.

Thank you, refund -- you saved me the trouble of arguing with a whole list of clueless or misguided commenters here...
62
#61-

ありがとう ございます。。。

feels good to contribute some understanding. . .
63
@refund, so what is the flirting/dating/sex/casual sex related communication like in Japan?

My impression is that in the US a girl will quickly be considdered a bit of a slut if she asks for a phone number even after a hour of flirting with a polite shy (overly?) respectful western European guy waiting for her to finally make a move. In western europe some girls whistle, ask for directions/phone number or (eastern european girls) ask to light their sigarette as you walk by in the park/street...

What would be the ettiquette for a Japanese girl?

If there is a bigger fear of embarrasment, would there also be a broader "plausibly deniable" flirting language?
64
Since this trend is mostly happening in Tokyo, I wonder if it is a reaction to the population density there, which is (I believe) higher than most places in the US? Many animal populations have ways they reduce reproduction when the population gets too dense; it makes sense to me that humans would too, and a decrease in interest in sex seems like a good one to me. I'd assume if this is true, then any place where there are similar densities of people would have similar results; might be interesting to run the surveys there, with sufficient care as to how different cultures would frame the same basic human reaction.

As an unregistered user I can't post a direct link but googling (population density animal reproduction) pulls up lots of hits.

I think it is simplistic to cheer such a fast population drop too, slower changes are usually better for the people experiencing them; and we can't know all the ramifications yet. With a slower rate of change it is easier to mitigate any bad consequences that we see developing.

And, refund, I know it is irritating to have people pontificate about things they know less about than you do; but insulting another country for being different than yours does not help your argument.
65

Japan has a higher population density than India.
Here's a video of people getting on a Japanese subway
during rush hour to illustrate the problems this causes.
People have very little personal space.

In the West people talk about being touch-deprived -
I can easily see people getting touch-overloaded in Japan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0A9-oUoM…
66
@ 42: It's almost as if when the government tells people what to do they do the opposite thing.

Or the government only bothers to tell people to do things they aren't already going to do.
67
@refund Please get a real account so people see a voice of reason here! (Normally the unregistered comments are for apoplectic racists and homophobes.)

But to everyone else: yeesh! Quit exoticising Japan, already! These are problems that are going to manifest in the US more and more as the recession continues. I think Meaghan O'Connell at The Billfold commented on this best:
It turns out what happens when you give young people a totally raw deal is that our genitals go on strike (...)
68
I did three years in J-land. Best part? Shaggibg J-birds and J-wives. Seriously fellas, if you're young, head over to J-land and fuck to ya hearts content. I musta had callouses on me John Thomas by the time I left. Second best part? Different j-bird every night practically.
69
Oh and mates, unlike in Seattle, no fatties or feminists in j-land. Just ready and willing to please ya! Three years of non stop fucking I had there and I never had to say so much as 'please, for a blowjob.
70
And lads, the best place to pick up J-birds in Nippon is NOT a bar. Best way is to get a job at a few eikaiwa and start gathering birds in the classroom. It's like shootin' fish in a barrel. Being a foreign lad in j-land is a fucker's paradise.
71
I lived in Tokyo for 4 years in the late 80's/early 90's. For 6 months before that I lived in a small town half-way between Himeji and Kobe. As a gaijin, I was pretty much exempt from "regular" expectations in both places, and my friends were not a typical cross-section of Japanese young people, but I observed more freedom from sex role stereotypes among my Japanese friends in Tokyo than in the little town. The pace of life and the work pressure in Tokyo was much more intense, though.

Working in a private elementary school, the majority of my Japanese female co-workers were married with children. A few were married with no children, and a few were single. Nearly all my male co-workers were married, and the single ones got married during my stay there. I think education is a different environment than the typical business world in Japan, though. You can be a married woman with kids and still work without much stigma that I could perceive.

I dated a few Japanese while there, and didn't find them more or less inhibited than other folks. The queer subculture was more hidden in Tokyo than in New York (where I lived after leaving Japan), but in my experience, once you found them, queer Japanese people were no more or less inhibited than queer folk in other countries I've been in.

There certainly was a strong cultural bias against being socially unpleasant or calling someone out on their social unpleasantness. You were expected to put up with bad behavior, because trying to do something about it would magnify the unpleasantness. That I found hard to take. You're supposed to ignore the guy rubbing his hard-on against your thigh in the jam-packed train. If you're a woman expecting that the average guy you meet will expect you to just put up with his unpleasantness, you might well decide it's too mendokusai to find one who's not unpleasant.

No one on this thread has yet mentioned the effect that the tendency towards Japanese mothers focusing exclusively on their sons might have on relationships between young Japanese men and women.
72
#63 - dating? haven't done much of it since i got married. but, Japanese girls can be just as forward as the men if they're comfortable with the situation. the second Japanese girl i dated laid claim to me (in her mind) and then negotiated a meeting between me, her and a mutual friend where she laid out her plans for us. we were together for a while, but it didn't stick. most dating seems to come from familiarity - high school or university or work acquaintances - and dating leads to other things rather quickly. but that first step can be quite big and awkward.

#68 - 70 nice story bro. i guess it happens, but the only guy i know who operated thusly ended up back in the u.s. and wondering what he might have done wrong. it was probably accepting money for sex from women that were older than him and willing to pay for his drinks and the love hotel for a night, but he screwed up all his relationships (personal and professional) in playing the role of the playboy. oh and you got your sexual conquests from your eikawa - very professional. . .

#71 - thanks for expanding the discussion.

getting ready for typhoon #26. . .
73
@72 come on mate, J-birds are for the picking! Ya gonna tell me you're in J-land for the temples? Thanks for the laff. Never met a fridged j-bird in all my years there, no fatties or feminists eitha'!

So ignore this article lads. J-birds will throw themselfs at ya within days if ya landing in Tokyo. You have ta peel 'em off your dick to get another one in it.
74
@72 screw up ur relationship? Mate, the last fing ya want is a relationship with a J-bird, they're fucking nutters! Stick ta fuckin' 'em and you'll be smiling all the way to Narita.
75
I've never lived in Japan, but I did grow up in South Korea for six years (fourth grade through 10th grade) which has a pretty similar culture, and I can totally see why women would be turned off of dating and marriage. Women really are expected to defer and cater to their husbands in (from an American standpoint) ridiculous amounts. I worked for a Korean company in the US for about a year when I was younger, and it just reinforced the notion that I could never go back and live in Korea again, though it's a lovely place to visit. Except for me, everyone who worked there had immigrated to the US as an adult, so the environment was very similar to workplaces in Korea. When we had to stay late, the women would actually go home to make dinner for their husbands and then come back. If they couldn't, they would talk to them at length on the phone, apologizing that they couldn't come home and asking their husbands if they would be okay. If we had a potluck lunch or dinner, the women were expected to set out all the food and clean up afterwards, although some of the women told me that that usually didn't happen in Korea any more.

I suspect this is the reason many Asian women in the US date or marry non-Asian men - Asians often raise their sons to be catered to by women. At family gatherings, it's traditional for women to gather in the kitchen and prepare food or wash dishes while the men watch TV or play board games. My father told me once that this is because "women LIKE working in the kitchen and gossiping" in complete seriousness, but then that side of the family is quite conservative even by Korean standards. He was also pleased to discover a few years ago that I actually knew how to cook decently, because it meant any potential future in-laws would not be angry with my lack of domestic skills and kick me out of the house (he was less than thrilled a couple of years later when I started dating my non-Asian husband). These kinds of expectations made me less than enthusiastic about dating Asians or Asian-Americans, especially considering one of the women I worked with was married to a Korean guy who had moved to the US as a boy, worked in an American company, and still maintained some of those Korean attitudes.

But by living in America, at least I had a choice. In Korea and Japan, when your choices are limited to sticking to the cultural norm (not sticking to the cultural norm means you will most likely be stigmatized) and celibacy, I can see celibacy being an attractive choice.
76
Interesting points from refund (seriously, do register an account--almost all unregistered commenters here are blatant trolls like that Lad character), mostly ignorable stuff otherwise ("Japan so cray-cray LOL").

One thought that has not been mentioned that springs to mind: it could be a (partially) chemically-driven phenomenon. Estrogenic compounds (chemicals that mimic estrogen when introduced into the body) are becoming ubiquitous in the environment; hormones inadequately filtered from drinking water, common compounds in plastics, unfermented soy-based foods, etc. Excess estrogen (or estrogen-mimics) can reduce the effects of testosterone, one of the most notable of which is driving libido. I wonder if areas in which birth rates are declining (of which there are of course many worldwide) correspond at all to areas in which the average level of estrogenic compounds in people's bodies is higher. Probably take a hell of a wide-scale study to test, but it's worth reminding people that the physical and chemical ways we interact with our environment can have a huge impact on our mental function, attitudes, and behaviors.
77
Holy shit, this thread. My skin is crawling in various degrees throughout: We've got a thinly disguised discussion of the inscrutable otherness of Japanese people interpolated with the completely undisguised gaijin horndog troll. Not everyone, but Jeebus, I feel like I just got time-warped back to 1985.
78
Lots of ethnocentric ignorance in this thread, and like most internet outlets The Stranger proliferates and endorses it because the resulting controversy generates additional web hits and page reloads.
79
A American friend of mine worked in Japan for a couple of years and seemed to be incredibly popular with the women there because, in his words, he was only *somewhat* misogynist. That might say something about the 45% number.