If more babies will not be born in Japan, the country’s population will go down by a third by 2060. One of the reasons for the country’s low birthrate could be a new breed of Japanese men – the otaku, who love manga, anime and computers more than sex.
Kunio Kitamara, of the Japan Family Planning Association, describes many young Japanese men as “herbivores” – passive and lacking carnal desire. Being interested more in the anime culture than in real human relationships, they seem to lack the ambition or the interest in joining a company.
A survey by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2010 found 36 percent of Japanese males aged 16 to 19 had no interest in sex – a figure that had doubled in the space of two years.
Nurikan and Yuge are two otaku fans who claim to be in relationships with virtual girlfriends. The girlfriends are actually a Nintendo computer game called Love Plus, which comes as a small portable tablet.
Nurikan and Yuge take their girlfriends, Rinko and Ne-ne, on actual dates to the park, and buy them cakes to celebrate their birthdays.
“It is the kind of relationship we wish we’d had at high school,” said Nurikan, according to the international press. In the game he is a 15-year-old, though in reality he is 38.
“As long as I have time, I will continue the relationship forever,” said Yuge, who is 39. “With real girlfriends you have to consider marriage. So I think twice about going out with a 3D woman,” he added.
Another reason for Japan’s low birthrate is that even if men and women are involved in relationships, they rarely have sex, according to several surveys. One of the surveys showed that only 27 percent of the couples said they had sex every week.