When we first got wind of a report from a Japanese cabinet survey saying about 541,000 young Japanese people (between 15 and 39) lead reclusive lives and will not leave their home or interact with others for up to six months we were very surprised. But now another report coming from a government survey published last week, claims that almost half of Japan’s millennial singles between the ages of 18 to 34 are virgins, which is 42% of men and 44.2% of women, this is a 6% increase from 2010.
The lack of interest in real life relationships majorly seems like the fallout of the people’s preference for fantasy over reality.
Japan is home to a severely aging population, with a recent survey finding 34.6 million Japanese aged over 65 and has one of the world’s lowest birth-rates. With this survey results from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research it becomes obvious that government’s attempts to boost the number of marriages and children is not working just yet.
In a bid to solve the problem there are support groups for men who want to overcome their anxiety of approaching women. White Hands, a Tokyo-based non-profit offers regular nude art classes, where mostly middle-aged men sketch naked female models. The classes, complete with textbooks, also try to help people feel more comfortable with their sexuality. Class organizer Shingo Sakatsume, who calls himself a “sex helper,” understands how the growing interest in the fantasy world of anime is leading single men to choose entertainment over real love and sex.
Living the life of a recluse is not new to the Japanese culture- the term Hikikomori was coined as early as the 1980s to define those who haven’t left their homes or interacted with others for at least six months. The Japanese government and society is combating this problems by providing Hikikomori support centres that provide therapy to people of all ages with this condition, helping them reintegrate back into society.
For those who can’t yet face stepping out of their homes, virtual high schools offer an alternative. Established by Japanese companies hoping to identify and develop unique talent, these schools allow students to develop alone at their own pace from the safety of their rooms.
These are temporary support plans- the ideal situation is one in which young men and women interact and mingle with the society. This kind of news makes you appreciate the bold and courageous Naij men. Or is that just me?