*Warning: Blog contains some adult themes and may be NSFW.*
While this blog is mostly about anime, most of the time I’ll post tidbits of interesting stuff from or about Japan. I watched an interesting documentary last night, which was a suggestion made by Amazon Prime considering I watch anime from their Anime Strike Channel. It’s called Love and Sex in Japan, and it gives an interesting perspective on modern day relationships in the land of the Rising Sun.
The documentary explores different perspectives of how the Japanese handle relationships in the modern world. And in some ways, it’s not looking good. Most of the population between 30 to 40 years old are still virgins, which means no ones rushing out to get married and have children. While other major countries populations are going up, because of this trend, the population of Japan is going down. This documentary explores many reasons why this is happening, and it’s very interesting how the Japanese perceive relationships and what they’re looking for in regards to love.
The documentary shows from many different stories from the different people they’ve filmed and showing how certain trends may be contributing to the love/marriage/relationship downfall of the country. When the documentary opens, we meet a girl named Naoko who is planning a western (i.e. not traditional Japanese) style wedding. With the way she is talking, one would assume she is one of the rare few who found someone to spend the rest of her life with. The reveal was quite shocking when her wedding planner confessed that indeed Naoko was getting married, but not with another person. Naoko was going to “marry” herself.
It’s a popular trend that’s been gaining traction. Naoko confesses that she doesn’t know if or when she’ll marry, so she is shelling out the money to at least have the experience of what it feels like to get married.
We see a man named Taro who started up a “rental boyfriend” business, which is booming. Not like an escort service (where sex might be involved), Taro’s business lets young women “rent” a boyfriend for one to several dates. Sex is prohibited, and the actors who play the boyfriends are there to help the young women who “rent” them become more comfortable and not awkward when seeking out companionship from the opposite sex.
Then there is Inoue, your stereotypical “Otaku” who sometimes frequents “Cuddle Cafes,” and outside of working as a call service representative, spends a lot of his time frequenting arcades, anime stores, and hentai/sex stores. At 24 years old, he is still a virgin. When asked why he doesn’t go out and meet real girls, his answer is that Anime heroines always are by your side no matter what, don’t see your imperfections, and will never betray you.
Even when he’s out with his friends, they all claim they want to date girls with super powers. When the narrator lets them know that in reality, there really isn’t many/none who have super powers, they just laugh and still insinuate that they would like it if girls had powers.
Another rising trend is realistic dolls. Dolls can be custom made to the needs of the customer. The documentary spotlights Mr. Takahashi, who while he has been married for twenty years, feels there is a lack of sex in his relationship. He has two of these dolls, one named Saori, and the other Megumi.
His wife lives away in the countryside and visits him from time to time. Mr. Takahasi confesses that when his wife saw the first doll, she freaked out on how realistic they were but is now more accepting of them.
The documentary also covers the decline of porn industry not because of lack of interest, but because there are too few actors left to make them and because they do so many films, they are spread thin. One actor blames social media and texting as a lack for any relationships because people would rather be glued and converse with their phones rather than in person. He also points out how women are coming out into their own, and it makes men nervous because they’re used to have women be quiet and submissive.
A wife and husband who did marry and have children, but now most of their relationship is centered around taking care of their daughters. The husband states how the economic climate has changed and men worry about finances, considering his wife stopped working after having their first child. The men are usually seen as the ones where financial support falls squarely on their shoulders.
There are adult camps shown that try to help men and women intermingle and work on relationships, while cultural affection is still not accepted in public.
The last bit had some hope where a french man named Julien has been holding singles masquerade parties in hopes to get couples together. His vision is to get couples together, but the only way that might be achievable it to promote international couples. Most of his parties gather French and Japanese singles and by the end of the documentary, he attends a wedding of one such couple who met at one of his parties.
I recommend this documentary a look through if you have Amazon Prime. Another counterpart to this is Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Love. The second half of his book covers how other countries perceive modern love and relationships and there is section dedicated to Japan, and mostly the city of Tokyo.
Happy watching and reading!