Women flee Japan, as the men evolve into a different species

Of course, the female population could simply be falling more or less in line with the overall population, but let’s not let that get in the way of an anonymous ministry official’s speculation (thank you Kyodo and Nikkei):

Population Of Women In Japan Sees 1st Decline On Record
TOKYO (Kyodo)–The number of females in Japan fell for the first time on record as of October last year, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Monday.

The female population was estimated to be 65.44 million as of Oct. 1, down 20,000 from a year earlier to mark the first decrease since 1950, when comparable data were first recorded.

”More Japanese women are going abroad for extended periods, and this is thought to be one of the reasons,” a ministry official said.

This might be a good time to tell you that I very much enjoyed attending Patrick Macias’ lecture on otaku culture held a couple weeks ago at Temple University Japan. You can listen to it in full on his website. The lecture is a broad overview of the development of Japan’s otaku culture and the American obsession with it. Within, he notes:

  • Densha Otoko, the dubiously true story of an 2-Channeler otaku who falls in love with a normal woman, follows the storyline of an “interracial romance,” and
  • The ubiquity of erotic elements in anime and gaming indicate that otaku are leaving normal female companionship behind, in a phenomenon he compares to the “post-humans” of sci-fi anime such as the Gundam series.

It’s an interesting listen!

12 thoughts on “Women flee Japan, as the men evolve into a different species”

  1. I translated an article by Harada Yohei in the 12/08 Chuo Koron in which he argues that easy access to “virtual sex” has sapped the younger generation (and particularly its otaku members) of sexual drive. (It isn’t available online but if you’re interested in reading the thing shoot me a note.)

  2. “…otaku are leaving normal female companionship behind”

    And this is news?

  3. On the new male – Oshii Mamoru’s recent book 凡人として生きるということ actually has a section about recent discussion among otaku that being a “3D virgin” (ie. 2D and presumably dolls are okay) gives you some kind of magic mojo. There are even ranks – people born by C-section are doubly powerful because they have never had any kind of… contact with… you know.

    This actually ends up getting worked into Ghost in the Shell (SAC2ndGig) – the perfect cyborg revolutionaries were virgins before they got their mecha on.

    Honestly, I get the attraction of model battleships and stroking Desert Eagle 50cals but this virgin power stuff has thrown me for a loop.

    In any case, we can’t blame it on the guys either – there are hordes of female otaku who live out their sex fantasies through gay porn. It’s like they can’t even put themselves into the relationships on a fantasy level.

  4. M-Bone,

    Stroking a Desert Eagle is nothing. Firing one is quite fun, due to the gas operated action, which is rarely found in handguns. Rotating bolts are fun to use and rarely found outside of rifles.

    Though it’s somewhat misleading to call it a 50cal, when the largest round it can take is the .50 action express. A true .50 cal round is much longer and can expend much greater amounts of kinetic energy.

    A Deagle fitted for the .44 Magnum is much more fun.

  5. Jade:
    The news is that the women are fleeing. The otaku lecture was more of a historical overview, but it seemed appropriate to mention here.

    I should emphasize that Macias is responsible for the different species analogy.

    There may be “hordes” of boy-love manga fangirls, but it doesn’t compare to the men, for whom an intimate knowledge of Gundam or Evangelion seems like the *norm* at least among a certain generation.

    And how seriously do you take this virgin power stuff? It sounds like a minor twist of “Revenge of the Nerds” style tongue-in-cheek humor.

  6. “intimate knowledge of Gundam or Evangelion seems like the norm at least among a certain generation”

    That alone does not an “otaku” make. If that were the only factor guys like Aceface and myself would be hardcore otaku, but there is a difference. Lots of people know Gundam and still, like, go out and stuff. Marxy recently made the point that there is no longer any difference between nerds and cool people as the groups intersect in a serious way. But there are still hardcore nerds, however – the otaku.

    They can’t look another person in the eye, they spend their whole lives on esoterica, etc. So how does this group break down by gender? We are too quick to assume that they are overwhelmingly men. When you look at either comic market attendance or the sales of what I would call “otaku” manga – it seems like girls actually have a slight edge. If men are ahead, it is not by much. The idea that men are manga obsessed and women are not is wrong – 4 of the top 10 selling titles last year are things like Nana and Nodame that only a tiny few men would read while some of the other titles in the top 10 like Hagane no Renkinjutsushi are in there by virtue of having readers from both sexes. The only real sexploitative manga to crack 500,000 copies last year were Kuroshitsuji (think beautiful boy butlers) and Ouran Host Club (think beautiful boy hosts, mostly). The otaku books for greasy hooded sweatshirt wearing guys just can’t compete.

    Oshii was dead serious and took the otaku virgin wonders seriously. I don’t think that this is a mainstream thing, but the fact that the virgin mojo is being discussed is important. In any case, discussion of the “2D complex” is mainstream in manga and, to the best of my knowledge, among otaku.

    Ken – Caliber is not a firearm specific term. Any half inch tube can be called .50 caliber. The DE is indeed is a different animal entirely than the more famous .50cal that the US army use, but there isn’t a “real” and a “fake” .50cal; it is just a measure. That being said, it was off the hook when Omar had one in “The Wire”.

    That, and stroking the model version is all Japanese fans are going to get to do.

  7. Cool. But when someone gets serious about guns, how do you know if they are joking?

  8. Adamu: my comment about “news” was not about your posting that on MF, but the amusement at the radical idea put forth by Marcias that otaku guys are not getting laid.

  9. “And how seriously do you take this virgin power stuff?”

    I should also add that when this does come up in Ghost in the Shell, it is actually a pretty creepy plot point that reminds me a bit of Oe Kenzaburo’s short stories about far right youth in the early 1960s.

    No surprise that guys like Oshii (and protegee Kamiyama) are so up on this – Oshii is the one who gave us the first and best look at the otaku world view in anime – Urusei Yatsura 2 – Beautiful Dreamer.

  10. I doubt that otaku are abandoning women.

    Instead, with the reduction of arranged marriages, there are men who aren’t dating or getting married who would have before. So it would be that society is no longer setting them up, rather than they themselves have chosen to abandon women.

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