The Japanese Love Industry

VICE, October 17, 2013

Japan is a country that is dying—literally. Japan has more people over the age of 65 and the smallest number of people under the age of 15 in the world. It has the fastest negative population growth in the world, and that’s because hardly anyone is having babies. In these difficult times, the Japanese are putting marriage and families on the back burner and seeking recreational love and affection as a form of cheap escape with no strings attached. We sent Ryan Duffy to investigate this phenomenon, which led him to Tokyo’s cuddle cafes and Yakuza-sponsored prostitution rings.

[Editor’s Note: This short documentary contains some obscene language and imagery.]

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  • Jesse James

    WOW talking about taking societal sexual dysfunction to the next level! If you want a good laugh watch this short film this evening. The cuddle cafes are bizarre like something out of a Sci-Fi version of sexual behavior in the future.

    • D.B. Cooper

      Aren’t the Japanese the ones working overtime to create an authentic looking robot companion? Well, I’m afraid they are still 100 years off from a truly lifelike Summer Glau (John Connor’s terminator protector from the Sarah Connor Chronicles). This is the best the Japanese can come up with for now.

      • Jesse James

        I am usually against the whole gaming women approach but those Japanese boys need to man up and they clearly need some help. Way too many attractive women being wasted over there; robots, whores and sex toys be damned.

        We need to send every young guy in Japan a link to Chateau Heartiste and get them to put the video games and the manga comics down and get them the hell out of the house. One 20something actually said he doesn’t date girls because he likes to buy toys and it would cut into his gaming time.

        • Katherine McChesney

          Isn’t Chateau Heartiste a men’s sex site?

          • Jesse James

            It isn’t pornography just game advice for dating. I threw it out as a joke as I don’t really like the whole gaming women sub-culture, it seems childish to me. Those 20 something Japanese guys just look like they need a lot of help with the opposite sex.

    • Tim_in_Indiana

      Yes, as Spock would say, “Fascinating.” But definitely dysfunctional.

  • David Ashton

    Sick news from a sick mag (or bag).

    • Jesse James

      Just part of the ever spiraling downward trajectory of popular culture.

  • D.B. Cooper

    North Korea would be doing the Japanese a favor by attacking it. That might wake them up, plus get rid of some of that surplus population.

    • WhiteGuyInJapan

      No need for a foreign country to attack, the Japanese are getting rid of themselves.

    • If my brother-in-law is any example, the NKs would get their heads handed to them. The last thing anyone wants is Japan involved in a war. I doubt even South Korea would want any “help” from Japan.

  • Spartacus

    I don’t think calling that stuff “love” is accurate…

    • No, it isn’t. I think it is a divorce between man and woman, and this is a very sad thing.

      • Jesse James

        Agreed

      • MikeofAges

        You may have a point. In America, even some blacks have considered that maybe their men and women have agreed to just split up and go their own ways. Hasn’t stopped population growth just yet, but demographers say the black population in America will begin to decline within a couple of decades..

  • CourtneyfromAlabama

    I commented on this once before. Before we get too depressed over how relationships are playing out in the West, we need to realize the grass isn’t so green on the other side of the fence. Please don’t misunderstand my intent in writing this. I am not writing this to blow our problems off. I am writing this perhaps to cheer people up. I think we as whites like to compare ourselves with the rest of the world in a lot of cases. As I said, the grass isn’t so green on the other side of the fence.

  • CourtneyfromAlabama

    In the West we make such a big deal about women being unmarried in their 30s and men being unmarried in their 40s, but at least in the West, people in those age groups are trying to date, and most of them have marriage in mind. Look at how popular dating sites are right now. In Japan, it doesn’t even seem like singles even want to date or have intimate contact with each other. Wow.

    Now before somebody comes and misinterprets my post…..I am by no means saying that things are ideal in the West. But, seriously, this video here makes the West look normal.

  • logwarrior

    I believe the huge amounts of processed soy in the Japanese diet over the last 40 years has vastly increased the estrogen level of the males. It has led to very asexual men. I think the flipside of this is the women not being as attracted to them. Mix in the cultural attitudes towards marriage and high cost of living and you’ve got a problem. I have zero proof nor am I aware of any studies to back my hypothesis but it seems plausible.

    • M.

      “The Japanese are putting marriage and families on the back burner and
      seeking recreational love and affection as a form of cheap escape with
      no strings attached.”

      This implies that the Japanase haven’t lost their libido. They’re just not into committed relationships anymore.

      • logwarrior

        I have read of a sub-cultural group made up of males that eschew sexual relationships completely. I can’t recall what they were called but I found it odd.

        • M.

          Well, asexuals exist everywhere. Although they’re a very small portion of the world’s population. Less than 1%, if I remember correctly.
          But maybe the percentage is a little higher in Japan.

          • rowingfool

            Yeah, remember the Hale Bop comet castrati? Yikes!

        • I sure like sex, but I don’t need it. I’m really good at foreplay and the rest, and I’m hung like a horse. My old fear was not being loved. I eventually got used to it. I eventually came to expect to be emotionally hurt by women.

          I completely understand why these guys avoid relationships.

          • WhiteGuyInJapan

            ” I eventually came to expect to be emotionally hurt by women.”
            I can relate, had plenty of bad relationships with women. On the other hand, I keep taking chances as that is life is all about.
            The Japanese are typically a risk-averse people and this avoidance of relationships is a sad extension of this.

    • Jesse James

      Log I think you are really on to something here. I know that soy can really depress your testosterone levels. The quality of our food is a problem for everyone on a global level. I am trying not to make myself too crazy about the whole thing but the GMO business and the way the government is starting to hassle people who are trying to produce their own food concerns me. We know the food industry adds things like MSG, tons of sugar and other additives specifically designed to make food addictive. I wouldn’t put it past them to add other substances as well, it would not be hard to believe that some of the people Obama surrounds himself with wouldn’t add psychoactive substances to our food to influence our thought processes. Then you have the high levels of heavy metals, hormones fed to meat animals and industrial chemicals that end up in our food and you have a real witches brew setting in your pantry. The more food of your own you can grow and barter with your neighbors the better. We eat a lot of deer meat, especially this time of year.

  • CourtneyfromAlabama

    Aside from Japanese porn, which is well known around the world, there seems to be an odd stereotype about the Japanese that still exists in regards to how “modest” they are. Outside of the porn world, everyone thinks of Japanese men in business suits, gender separate bathhouses (contrasted to those in Finland), and blushing women wearing kimonos. What people don’t realize, is that up until WWII and even after, the Japanese were very open about nudity. They learned about modesty from the West.

    • Jesse James

      Yes Courtney isn’t this the same country where there are Shinto parades with women carrying giant carved penis statues? This photo is from the Hounen Fertility Festival, Komaki Japan.

      • Bossman

        Is this a recent picture?

        • Jesse James

          It is celebrated every year on March 15th, it is a traditional celebration of a bountiful rice harvest, prosperity and fertility. I consider myself a Traditionalist so I don’t see anything unusual about such a agrarian celebration. It is similar in phallic imagery to the old Western custom of dancing around the Maypole. I just mentioned it in relation to the discussion of Japanese public displays of sexuality.

          • Bossman

            Before Christianity Judaism and Islam came along, man’s true religion was sex worship. Now, all societies have become prudish.

          • Katherine McChesney

            Those were the pagan religions. God and goddess worship.

          • Bossman

            According to some thinkers, these old religions were very positive and life-affirming kinds of religions.

          • Chris Granzow XI

            I think you’re going out on a limb with this one though. What are you going to say next? Teatherball is actually subconscious phallus worship lol?

          • Jesse James

            Actually I don’t think I am out on a limb at all when it comes to the Maypole. I’ve certainly suggested a lot of crazier things.

          • Chris Granzow XI

            I know a lot of swedes (including my grandparents) who would disagree with you.

          • Jesse James

            You might be correct, though most people would admit that the original meaning of the Maypoles are long lost in history as they developed in pre-literate cultures that haven’t maintained a consistent oral history. To be fair we just don’t know for sure. I understand that some people think it comes from pagan tree worship. The phallic idea originated with Thomas Hobbes but some say he confused this with the Roman worship of Priapus and that the German people didn’t have these beliefs. I don’t particularly care for Freud’s constant sexual interpretations of everything and I am not married to the theory that the Maypole has phallic meaning but it is a theory that has been advance for over 100 years now.

          • Chris Granzow XI

            “I don’t particularly care for Freud’s constant sexual interpretations of everything..”

            Exactly. I hate it when these pseudo-intellectuals insert their own perversions into otherwise innocent phenomenon.

          • Even Dr. Freud said “Sometimes a guitar is just a guitar.”

          • Mayday is the old Celtic “Beltane” holiday, a pre-Christian fertility rite. Halloween is Samhain. There are also Imbolc and Lamas.

      • Katherine McChesney

        I also read that there were food stands at the Olympics that sold tasty morsels of various animal penises for snacks.

    • Bossman

      It seems that all the non-white races learned sexual modesty from the whites and that appears to be a function of the Christian religion. When it comes to sexual modesty, the hordes of Islam appear to have the most prudish attitude towards the human body.

    • In Japan, nudity is seen but never noticed.

  • Nice Guy

    This is SO true. I live here, right in Tokyo. But guess what, I married a white woman and therefore have seven kids. No population problem in MY world.

    • M.

      Are you Japanese (ethnically)?

      • Nice Guy

        No, I’m a white American.

        • M.

          Great! Kudos for the seven kids!
          Hope they’ll find their white soulmates when they grow up. I know Whites aren’t exactly the majority there.

  • M.

    It would take a lot of not having kids for the Japanese to go extinct though. I’m sure they’ll figure something out.
    Let’s just hope their government doesn’t betray them and open the borders in the meantime.

  • Archibald_Cunningham

    Japan is a country that is dying, literally.

    Japan is not dying. They are moving toward a more responsible, sustainable, less-congested population, which will benefit all Japanese people. Of course they are moving a little faster than than they should be. It would be much easier if they reduced their population more slowly with a TFR of 1.8 or 1.9 instead of 1.3. Will they have some problems due to this? Yes, they will. But will a single one of those problems NEED to be “solved” by immigration? No. There are always other, real, solutions. Their economy and GDP will probably shrink, but so what? I doubt this will cause their standard of living to decline at all. I hope the Japanese are able to continue to keep their government free of traitors.

    • Jesse James

      Agreed.

    • Bossman

      The Japanese wanted room to grow: that was what WWII was all about. They were soundly defeated in that endeavor. Nations that cannot grow will eventually shrink.

  • Luca

    Japan is simply “right-sizing”. They are an island nation short on national resources.

  • MikeofAges

    Is everybody sure that a declining population is such a bad thing? Couldn’t Japan function with a population of, say, 65 million? There are ways to deal with an aging population. For example, people could simply work longer. If the old job gets too hard, put people in an easier one, or at least one closer to home involving less travel and fewer contentious interactions. The problem, I think, is more one of social patterns than people think, not the issue of how to take care of people who cannot live independently anymore.

    If guest workers are needed, pay them for their privations, so that when they leave (and make them do it) they won’t have so much to bellyache about.

  • Mike Lau

    Asian places that have been Westernised are the most fucked up. The people lose cultural self-confidence. China is the least Westernized East Asian place, and Marxism Leninism in the past actually made them even more racially confident (as it did the Vietnamese). But the West is doing its best to push its way back into China and reclaim hegemony there as it had in the past before 1949. Chinese need to beware the machinations of the white man.

    • Luca

      Westernized Japan and Korea have a much higher standard of living and quality of life than either China or Vietnam. They have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to buy Western products and services and to incorporate them into their culture. Nothing is being forced on them as happens in Communist countries..

      • Mike Lau

        ‘Forced’ on them…..I don’t understand.
        Japan and South Korea were bankrolled by the US as part of a policy of containment against ‘communism’.

        Vietnam only had a change to develop from the late 1970s onwards, and has made a reasonable job of things since then.

        China has also performed well for a developing country over the past 60 years – much better than say, India.

        • Luca

          I’m sorry you don’t understand.

          In Communist countries you are “forced” or coerced to do what the State says. Examples: one child policy, no freedom of speech, association, or press etc.

          You said the West is trying to “push” its way into China. Do you really think the US is going to push its way into China and China would simply allow that?

          In a free country you can vote for your goods and services with your money. That is what is happening in Japan and Korea. No one pushes American products or culture on them. In a free country people embrace or reject the culture, products or services of their choice.

          Simply compare North and South Korea for a better understanding.

          • Mike Lau

            No one pushes American products or culture on them. In a free country
            people embrace or reject the culture, products or services of their
            choice.

            You surely must know that is ridiculous. The masses lap up the culture that is thrust into their societies. If it was Islamic culture they would lap that up. Just as white kids lap up what you would call black and multiracial culture in the US. If you had a society where homosexuality was openly promoted you would get more gays.

            Obviously it is voluntary, but who has the power to control the media and entertainment industry defines the cultural contours of any society.

            For example, young Chinese people were as fanatical about Mao and Maoism 40 years ago, as they are about Hong Kong singers today.

          • Luca

            You are talking about propaganda and indoctrination. I am talking about products, services and culture offered in a free society where the people can voluntarily choose to buy or reject what they please.

            If you know anything about marketing you know that something can not merely be thrust upon a people and they will automatically embrace it. Products are advertised heavily and fail all the time. Same with service and culture. Just because I see a TV show about gays does not mean I will become gay or that I will even watch the show. I choose to change the channel.

            I’m afraid your view is completely over simplified.

            Culture can be “pushed” upon a people but they can choose it or reject it at will. Who knew that the Japanese would embrace Elvis and not Dean Martin or Harley Davidsons over Triumphs?

            Again, people vote with their dollars and are not persuaded just because it is waived in front of their noses..

      • Mike Lau

        Vietnam has had about twenty years less opportunity for peaceful development than South Korea, and almost 70 years behind Japan.

        In 1949, China could not produce a paper clip. Japan had already had a full half century head start in industrialisation. Similarly Taiwan, admittedly, did benefit from Japanese rule in having a highly educated populace and industrial infrastructure.

        It will be interesting to see how both China and Vietnam look in twenty years time.

        The great movement this century will be the rise of Asia, and hopefully soon Africa as well. Africa has been seeing great growth the past decade. I think this will be good for everyone – including the West.After all with rising living standards you will see fewer Asians and African refugees and boat people etc.

        • Luca

          Africa will never rise above the Neolithic stage it has been relegated to due to the low IQ, work ethic, and culture of it’s inhabitants.

          China will see tremendous growth but they will have problems controlling that growth, using their limited natural resources, controlling and feeding their massive populations and the damage they do to the environment. Viet Nam is a flash in the pan offering mostly cheap labor and their economy will probably remain dependent on foreign corporations. Once those corporations find another country with cheaper labor and more resources and incentives, they’ll pull out.

          Almost every problem in the world is related to overpopulation and therefore India and China will be interesting to watch in the next decade. It depends on how much more authoritarian their governments become and how much they can control their people.

  • Anna Tree

    It’s maybe culture or soy, but it is also maybe just dna, genetics. East Asians do less children and are less sexual as per Richton and others. There is this Chinese proverb related to love/marriage: put water on the fire and it will boil, i.e. no need to love each others, it will come eventually (or not). So now that it is not pushed on them by their families, survival or the political power, many just stop. It will solve the overpopulation but will endanger Japan when you have a surplus of millions of men in China.