"Dying Nation" Responds To BBC Article

By Ishaan . October 4, 2009 . 8:03am

image And what a response it is! Robin Lustig over at BBC recently penned an article on Japan’s societal and population issues. Not entirely informed on the subject, Lustig wrote:

 

As I reported on Wednesday, on current trends, the population of Japan will have halved by the end of the century.

 

It is, literally, a country that is slowly dying.

 

According to one United Nations estimate, it’ll need to import 17 million foreign workers over the next 40 years, just to keep its economy afloat and provide enough carers to look after the elderly. (By 2050, there will be more than a million Japanese over the age of 100.)

 

I’m no social psychologist, so I wouldn’t dare to come up with an explanation for why Japanese couples aren’t having enough babies. But one theory is that Japanese women are increasingly reluctant to marry, because they think Japanese men have shown themselves unable to adapt to the needs of a new, more flexible society – and have retreated into a fantasy world of comics, video games and animated pornography where they feel less threatened.

 

As you’d expect, 2ch eventually catches wind of this article and responds the only way they know how. DannyChoo.com has translations of some of the replies from the BBS. Here are some of my favourites — they’re both flippant and insightful:

 

-If everybody became obsessed with games then we would live in a peaceful society.
-Whats the point of increasing the population of this resourced starved narrow country.
-Reality does not want to deal with me you idiot.
-Love Plus is reality.
-OK then – hows this for reality?
-Why is somebody from a declining country (England) telling me this?
-My partner is Hatsune Miku. I would do anything for her and we are thinking of having kids.
-The problem is that dolphin waxing feels good. (XD!!!)
-They should make a game for the DS called "lets face society"
-Not sure about England but the hurdle to getting married over the past 20 years in Japan is gone up too high – socially and financially.
-Unless there are more job positions then I cant face reality.
-When sexaroids become reality, humans will become extinct.
-Cant trust women – will just be worried about her having an affair – cant be bothered with that.
-I’m too busy with work to think about getting married.
-Getting married and having kids is happiness?
-Lets go down together England!

 

You can read the rest over at DannyChoo.com. It’s a great read. Additionally, Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft had some interesting insights to offer on the subject of marriage in Japan as well.

 

My two cents? First, they complain about people loving 2D women. Then LovePlus comes along and they still complain despite people now loving 3D women. What does it take to make people happy?!


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  • Slashlen

    Well, I doubt LovePlus is going to help the birth rate any. Maybe they should meet otaku halfway: Kigurumi. That *could* result in some kids.

    I tend to agree with Ashcraft that larger social issues are at work here. Personally, I wonder if any “2D > 3D” is more of an effect of this than a cause. In a way it reminds me of the people saying violent video games cause gun violence. We Americans have a love of guns, and a long history of shooting each other that predates video games. It’s also probably why FPS are so popular here.

    If social and cultural issues in Japan are making it difficult for people to marry and have kids, that energy has to go somewhere. While 2ch will defend 2D to the death, a lot of those comments seem to suggest that its not that 2D > 3D, but many of them don’t consider 3D a real option.

  • notajapamoto

    Or Japan you could have an immigration policy like England. Instead of the the Japan will have less people for it’s economy but also less people to pollute and create more congestion, they could bring in lots and lots of people from overseas (preferably of many many opposed religions and ethnic groups) stick them together in crime-ridden, over-populated cities and make sure you also give them welfare payments to live off, that way, (and the BBC won’t tell you this) you can be a minority in your own country like the British will.

    2050 less Japanese in Japan, apparently the environment will benefit but the economy won’t
    OR
    2050 less Japanese in Japan, but a country with even more expensive rents, Muslim youths burning cars in the street, gang-rape of women dressed nicely, be-heading of homosexuals, double-decker bus bombings, suicide subway passengers (that’d be really messy in peak hour :S), ethnic violence, a welfare system that favours the immigrant rather the locals who paid taxes or fought in wars for the country, and a crazy left-wing media (BBC?) that loves camel-jockeys and wants to turn your country into a new caliphate..

    Difficult decision Japan….

    P.S. (also if there is tellyban, what will you play PS3 & Wii on? … worth considering)

    • Code

      Racist much? rar, can someone clean this pile, up please?

  • Aoshi00

    >>-OK then – hows this for reality?

    Lol, this one is hilarious. Are these random ladies or the actual voice actresses for Love Plus, scary…

    Well, the BBC guy wasn’t that harsh if you read his entire article, personally I agree that the “maid” thing is a little bit unhealthy (and that’s an understatement). Maybe games aren’t entirely the issue, but 2-D is oh so perfect compared to the real world it does set up a different standard.. That’s why I say Love Plus is fun and gives you the high school romance fantasy.

    In real life, if you have a gf, the dating at the beginning is nice, but once you get serious and start to think about your life “together”, you argue w/ her about your pursuit of career, her making more money than you, etc.. I think delay in marriage involves lots of social issues. And money is important in the real world. Once you have kids, w/ both parents working it’s hard to go back to school to get that master/PhD (you can, but it takes lots of determination).

    Seems that women being choosy is not a problem limited to Japan but to other Asian countries as well.

    I suppose games are sort of a escape rather than cause, like shooting things in FPS is just a release. After sitting in cubicles all days, taking sh*t from bosses and clients (my workplace is quite okay thankfully), games are an outlet to unwind.

    This reminds me of the US newspaper article making fun of Tokimeki Memorial back in the 90′s, they just see the whole video game dating as silly and fake.

    While manga/games shouldn’t be blamed for not willing to marry or have children, it’s a fact that they do take away a lot of time, that could be used to date women in real life (having a girlfriend means you need to do things together).

    Well, I think the BBC’s guy’s article is interesting and is nice to spark some discussion.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I agree, games definitely distract from social activity. Just like profession does. The thing is, I can also kinda-sorta see where the ones that say being with a woman and having a family is a hassle are coming from.

      I’m sure the financial situation isn’t helping, and having to come home from a long day’s work — and, not to sound snobby or anything, but in Asian countries like Japan and China and India, work equates to a whoooole lot of stress — only to be faced with a nagging wife and child and family and social responsibilities leaves you with zero time for yourself.

  • Trotmeister

    This issue is not exclusive to Japan. The entire Europe (including biggest country on the planet – Russia) is dying out. That’s the side effect of progress. Statistics is a bit better in the States, but demographic is changing there as well, what with all the latinos flooding in. In the mean time, africans continue to breed like crazy despite starvation and the the muslim nations aren’t far behind. Not to mention emerging global super-power – China…

    Still, I gotta admit most japanese babes are really ugly.

    • JeremyR

      Well, actually, China suffers from this problem, too, thanks to their one child policy. They are going to have some pretty severe problems in the not so distant future, especially since so many of these one children are boys.

      The trouble with most social programs, is they are essentially ponzi schemes. You need more and more workers to support the elderly (who keep on living longer). But if you stop having kids, then something is going to break eventually, a la Madoff.

    • notajapamoto

      I think most Japanese women are quite pretty to be honest. Still I haven’t met many who are assertive enough for me. I like a woman with a bit of ferocity ;)

  • EvilAkito

    Regardless of where you place the blame, is a population decrease in Japan really a bad thing? They fit around half the US population size in a country that’s roughly the size of California. If the population goes down, everyone will a least have a little bit of elbow room.

    • CleruTesh

      Not only that, but in a worldwide sense, we are a bit over-stretched in terms of food production, and we certainly don’t need anymore carbon emissions either.
      People who don’t reproduce should be considered a positive thing.

      • notajapamoto

        Governments do not see it that way, they want to keep growth, so they replace local populations with immigrants from poorer countries.

        Also the cost of the pension and the expense to maintain the public system is massive if you have a greater percentage of elderly people and not enough young taxpayers.

        Although I would love to see the population of the entire planet shrink over the next few decades. People who have 7 children like the average woman in Yemen need to be kicked in the head. What are they thinking? We’re running out of room and resources. Pretty soon there will be more famine in the world if we reach 9 billion global population by mid this century.

        Chinese communists had at least one good idea – One child policy!!!

        • CleruTesh

          Given this past century’s average growth, I would say 9 Billion global is actually a conservative estimate for mid-century. And Chinese communists had a LOT of good ideas… It’s a shame that they have so thoroughly rejected almost all Marxist/Maoist principles. The distribution of wealth in China is so dramatically unequal, it’s absurd to think that they have the right to call themselves “Communist”. It’s just corrupt corporate capitalism, without even having a legitimate democracy to keep it in check.

  • Serge73

    All of this strikes me as somewhat melodramatic. I could see myself trying one of these games to see what the commotion is, but I really cannot imagine it being so good that I’d choose it over a real life relationship. I feel like people who claim they do this, are really just people who would be single anyways. Much like someone who would “choose” to be 30 year old virgins. >_>

    I hope this doesn’t come off as offensive. I just don’t think there’s really a connection.

    • http://twitter.com/matty_125 matty

      I see it that way, as well. 2D (or 2.5D) can’t replace 3D. Try as you might, but a pixel can’t hug you back.
      On the flip side, I can see why they wouldn’t try. Relationships can be very stressful, mentally and physically straining and throw your whole stride off. I mean, I’ve seen fellow friends go on about losing their family for whatever reason. I can only imagine the amount of emotions they go through. I was never into marriage based relationships so I’ll never know!
      But, yeah, there’s definitely more to it than whats be stated in the article, but that last bit must be hinting the increasing hikikomori conditions in Japan, and maybe elsewhere, as well. That’s an issue that concerns me.

    • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

      You don’t know any 30 year old virgins if you think a single one of them is that way because they want to be.

  • QBasic

    What would happen if you turtle wax a dolphin…? Would it become shinier and more wind resistant? Er….water resistant?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      This is a rhetorical question right? You couldn’t possibly have missed the reference…

      • cocytusx

        I sure did cuz I have no idea what dolphin waxing means.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Think hard.

          • Pichi

            Ah, that made me investigate and now I know! XD

          • http://several-hours-into-the-game.blogspot.com/ Nika

            I should not have investigated….

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Don’t look at me. I was just doing my job.

            Btw, I need a mail address for something if possible.

          • http://several-hours-into-the-game.blogspot.com/ Nika

            I’m sorry I’m only seeing this now (after a month or so) But did you mean my mail address?

          • QBasic

            Oh yeah… Speaking of mails and addresses, is your connection still all frakked up…? So much for “tonight’s the night!”

      • QBasic

        =)

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Can’t reply to the other comment. It’s up now (explains why I’m on at 8 in the morning!)…I’ll be on tonight. Got loads of catching up to do with writing stuff though.

          • QBasic

            Aw, it’s okay though. >:3 I’ll still be here to pester you.

            For some reason I’m rewatching my Battlestar Galactica DVDs, so I’ll be up pretty late.

            H-hey…if you’re on now…how come I can’t see you? -_- Paradox!

  • http://twitter.com/matty_125 matty

    “-If everybody became obsessed with games then we would live in a peaceful society.”
    -Er, uh…

    It would be interesting to see what the developers of these games have to say about these issues. In the end, it’s all in the lifestyle you choose.
    I don’t think we’ll reach a “Japanese Reservation” like in Guilty Gear, but if that ever happens, well, dayum.

  • http://ofurotaimu.dreamwidth.org shirokiryuu

    I think blaming comics and games for a declining birth rate is like a parent blaming their kids for getting bad grades in school because of too many video games.

  • http://twitter.com/ECMIM ECM

    It *is* a dying nation–why everyone is getting so defensive about this is beyond me and it’s hardly something that is only afflicting Japan, with most of Western Europe, Russia (will be a graveyard by mid-century) and China all facing the exact same problem of a rapidly aging populace–unfortunately for Japan and Western Europe, the youth are going to be slowly asphyxiated under the crushing bulk of their advanced welfare states that not only will tax them to death but will also make it so expensive to have children that it will only exacerbate demographic decline.

  • http://honorless.net honorless

    Last paragraph = best thing ever. oh Ishaan. :>

    What bothers me is that most of the countries that fret about their “graying population” make assisted suicide illegal or extremely difficult to obtain legally. (Yeah, I’m going there.)

    I’m hardly saying “ALL OLD PEOPLE SHOULD KILL THEMSELVES”. But my father has expressed on many occasions that if he ends up incontinent and incapable of anything but drooling on himself, he’d rather I buy a Colt .45 instead of a spot in some nursing home. I’m the same way…only I’d much prefer a nice morphine cocktail + anesthesia. :>

    How many people would simply choose to go out painlessly rather than drain familial and/or societal resources if the option was available?

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      That’s quite the honourable thing to say, “honorless.” :P

  • maxchain

    Say, what IS taking them so long to create sexaroids?…

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