A Man Needs A Woman Like A Fish Needs A Bicycle

Posted on February 9, 2012 by

This is the emerging sentiment among young Japanese men as reported by The Guardian:

In the most recent government study, published at the end of last month, the percentage of unmarried men spiked 9.2 points from five years ago. More telling: 61% of those unwed men reported not having a girlfriend, and 45% said they couldn’t care less about finding one.

Is Japan becoming a feminist utopia? Perhaps. Indifferent or emasculated men, strong women, and no pressure for them to consent to voluntary rape in the form of heterosexual relations:

Why the generational malaise and indifference to sex? Theories abound. The most provocative to me, a Japanese-American and longtime Tokyo resident, is that Japanese women have become stronger socially and economically at the very same time that Japanese men have become more mole-ish and fully absorbed in virtual worlds, satiated by the very technological wizardry their forebears foisted upon them, and even preferring it to reality.

Virtual girlfriends are becoming the rage among a subset of young Japanese men. Is this a taste of things to come as men become increasingly frustrated with a culture that frowns on masculinity and leaves its boys weaker identities with each successive generation?

“I don’t like real women,” one bloke superciliously sniffed on Japan’s 2channel, the world’s largest and most active internet bulletin board site. “They’re too picky nowadays. I’d much rather have a virtual girlfriend.”

Virtual girlfriends became a sensation last summer, when Japanese game-maker Konami released its second-generation of its popular Love Plus, called, aptly, Love Plus +, for the Nintendo DS gaming system. Konami skillfully arranged for an otherwise deadbeat beach resort town called Atami to host a Love Plus + holiday weekend. Players were invited to tote their virtual girlfriends, via the gaming console, to the actual resort town to cavort for a weekend in romantic bliss. The promotion was absurdly successful, with local resort operators reporting that it was their best weekend in decades.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the time I laughed at the blogger who insisted that one day virtual intimacy will make traditional relationships and the stresses that come with them obsolete. It doesn’t sound as absurd now as it did then, but I highly doubt that this kind of thing will take hold on a grand scale. Human beings are after all, Created for true intimacy and human interaction. And traditional, physical interaction is the one and only dependable method of procreation.

Still, this is one of those things that make you say, “Hmmmm…”

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