Corporate life, the multi-billion dollar sex industry and lack of incentive for a relationship are all contributions to the drop in dating.
A nationwide study conducted by the Japanese Association for Sex Education in 2017 found that 28 percent of men and 30 percent of women in higher education have never been on a date.
19-year-old university student Issei Izawa commented that dating was simply too troublesome, noting that he would rather not be tied down.
According to 26-year-old salaryman Taiyo Hashimoto, there are simply not enough hours in the day to date. “I’m supposed to finish work at 7 p.m., but I work overtime basically every day,” he said. Hashimoto blames corporate life and Japan’s multi-billion dollar sex industry on the decline of Japanese dating.
“Men go to brothels or massage parlours, fueled by after-work drinks with their colleagues. That sort of thing is common.” Hashimoto added, “actually, they brag ‘I met this type,’ or ‘mine was so hot,’ to each other. It’s all part of the fun.”
Japan is home to an array of host and hostess clubs, fetish clubs, sex shops, masturbation clubs and even blowjob salons. Everything except full penetration is legal in Japan. Hostess clubs are considered part of the mainstream culture of Japan, with one in four Japanese women having had some experience working at a hostess club.
The Queen of Love Ai Aoyama, a former dominatrix turned sex and relationship therapist, said that with sex so readily available and other alternatives to dating there isn’t much of an incentive to be in a relationship. “There are lots of places for men to have fun,” she said. “Men don’t have to bother having a girlfriend.” Aoyama’s clients who are mostly in their 20s and 30’ lack the confidence to talk to a ‘real woman.’
“Young people in today’s Japan are into a virtual world where they meet very pretty girls. A flesh and blood girl is scary, she might disobey you,” Aoyama said.
Akihito Kondo, 35-year old male who wants to be recognized as a sexual minority, found love in a virtual idol named Miku Hatsune. Kondo and Hatsune tied the knot on Nov. 2018 despite his mother’s wish for him to find a real “3D woman.” Anime obsessed Kondo recalled that rejection and harassment from women ultimately led him to the hologram. “Girls would say ‘Drop dead, creepy otaku (Japanese word for geek)!’”