The Herbivore Men

I spotted this article about a sexuality study in Japan last week, but haven’t had a chance to read it until just now.

A startling number of Japanese youths have turned their backs on sex and relationships, a new survey has found.

The survey, conducted by the Japan Family Planning Association, found that 36% of males aged 16 to 19 said that they had “no interest” in or even “despised” sex. That’s almost a 19% increase since the survey was last conducted in 2008.

If that’s not bad enough, The Wall Street Journal reports that a whopping 59% of female respondents aged 16 to 19 said they were uninterested in or averse to sex, a near 12% increase since 2008.

Normally when you see those kinds of numbers of people uninterested in sex, you expect it to be about older, married couples. Oh, snap!

But this is an interesting turn of events, especially coming on the heels of a recent study which suggested that most teenagers no longer care if they get a car or driving license. Apparently the internet has made the previously unobtainable pleasures in life so commonplace that there’s no longer any pleasure in acquiring them.

Oh, wait – I may have made a hasty assumption. In Japan, the problem seems to be that young men are too busy eating salads.

Many commentators in the Japanese and international media have laid the problem squarely at the feet of soshoku danshi — “herbivore men” — a term coined by pop culture columnist Maki Fukasawa in 2006. It refers to Japanese young men who have rejected their culture’s traditional definition of masculinity, and seemingly eschew relationships with the opposite sex as part.

CNN spoke to a Midori Saida, a 24-year-old Japanese woman who described “herbivore men” as “flaky and weak.”

“We like manly men,” she said. “We are not interested in those boys — at all.”

For some reason, every time I hear the term “manly men” I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. For guys of a certain age, being accused of the somewhat vague “unmanly” tag is a sure-fire way to escalate any argument into a brawl. And lately, I’ve been hearing those undertones in the discussions about “sub” inclined men.
But moving on…

BBC News spoke to one such “herbivore” man (see video above). The man, Yusaki Yakahashi said: “Building a relationship seems like too much effort. To get her to like me and for me to like her… I’d have to give up everything I do at the weekend for her. I don’t want to do that.”

Dude, I’m totally hip to that.Like, they want you to, you know, go shopping with them, look at curtains, talk about their friends, and, like, you know, do girly stuff. Don’t they know there’s more, well, manly stuff for us to be doing? Things like, umm, updating the video drivers in our PCs so we can play the latest version of Skyrim, for example.

But yeah, for some reason I’m not surprised at the idea that it would be the Japanese that would make sex somehow too inconvenient for real life:

Another theory that seeks to explain Japan’s shrinking population is that Japanese youth spend too much time engaged with technology, living in virtual worlds or settling for virtual girlfriends rather than real ones.

Now, that’s difficult to believe… isn’t it?

~ by Tom Allen on February 10, 2012.

14 Responses to “The Herbivore Men”

  1. I actually know a few people like that here. Not young, not herbivores, but not interested in disturbing their routine for something they see as being more aggravation than it’s worth.

    I have to say that although I generally do not agree, there are days when I wonder if they don’t have a point…!

  2. As a nation, they are so screwed if they ever discover quiche.
    sev

  3. Our popular culture is so saturated with messages that romantic relationships (especially marriage) are more trouble than they’re worth, I wouldn’t be surprised if this trend didn’t catch on over here as well.

  4. BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN
    Why American men should boycott American women

    http://boycottamericanwomen.blogspot.com/

    I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

    American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

    This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

    Tens of millions of American men have had their lives completely destroyed by American women through the following crimes:

    1. False rape accusations (it has been proven that up to 80 percent of rape accusations are FALSE)

    2. False domestic violence (DV) charges (same as above)

    3. Financial destruction of men in divorce courts through alimony and support payments (women get up to 95 percent of their ex-husband’s income and savings, as well as the house, car, etc)

    4. Emotional destruction of men by ex-wives who have stolen their children from them and forbidden contact

    5. Divorced dads who commit suicide as a result

    Not one single American woman has EVER condemned their fellow American women for committing these crimes against men. Silence means consent. Therefore, American women support and enjoy destroying men’s lives and causing men to commit suicide. Apparently, American women think it is okay to be a criminal, just as long as you are a woman. Therefore, is it any surprise that a huge percent of American men no longer want anything to do with American women, other than using them for easy sex and then throwing them away?

    Over 50 percent of American women are single, without a boyfriend or husband; so the fact is most American men no longer want to marry American women. Let these worthless American women grow old living alone with their 10 cats.

    BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!

    A national morning radio show talked about the Boycott American Women blog and was heard by millions of people.
    Part 1: http://youtu.be/AMjqQmCiMOw
    Part 2: http://youtu.be/iGfhbjw19pQ

  5. Maybe these guys are the ones that work so hard to develop the robots. Next generation of robots could be sexual…

  6. Interesting post. Historically, this will be an transient phenomenon, because these guys won’t reproduce! BUT these guys could well include most of the nerds who keep the internet etc running, so eventually the internet will be deleted by evolution!

  7. Very interesting post, indeed!

  8. Tom,
    I have been HATED ON for FOUR YEARS by western women for doing no more than standing up for my rights. What you are seeing in Japan you are going to see in the west. Check out my site.

    http://www.crimesagainstfathers.com

  9. Could it be that many young Japanese men are too busy MASTURBATING?

    You quoted:”A startling number of Japanese youths have turned their backs on sex and relationships, a new survey has found. (…) Apparently the internet has made the previously unobtainable pleasures in life so commonplace that there’s no longer any pleasure in acquiring them.” The internet has made cheap, titillating pornography so much more available that the “inevitably” following masturbation might suck the sexual tension and willpower out of the young men that they would need for going out and finding a girl to “do it” (which takes as much or even more effort than in the old days). Reading your blog, Tom, I would have expected that you would notice this possibility that stares in our faces. Admittedly, the low interest of young women in sex could not be explained by male masturbation, but I wouldn’t take that number too seriously without a time series also of the past – maybe claimed disinterest in sex has always been what Japanese culture expected from young women.

    All these talk about girly men, herbivores, etc. is just talk – vegetarians don’t have fewer erections than meat eaters, do they?

  10. Upon following the links, I saw that there is some information on past polls: young Japanese women have less interest in sex than in the past, but the decline is stronger for young Japanese men. Increased frequency of male masturbation is still a possible origin of the observations.

    Also, “herbivores” had nothing to do with vegetarians but was used to ridicule the decreasing interest of young men to have a “relationship in the flesh” (= sex). Still all this talk about the failure of young men is just talk by people who are not in their shoes and whose expectations are not met, the old generation and the other sex. In our world, we had the female desire for a “softie” to talk to and a “man” to have sex with – nothing new under the sun?

  11. Seems to be a self-regulating system.
    They don’t want girls; girls don’t want them.

    I bet the guys who are into real world encounters are glad to have less competition.

  12. [...] I just read Tom Allen’s blog entry about Herbivore Men.  http://vanillaedge.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/the-herbivore-men/ [...]

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