The Japanese Love Industry (2013)
The Japanese Love Industry and the Negative Population Index
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.
This is the urban culture. Rural culture is unrecognizably different. That is where the babies come from: the country-side. Japan has a huge population, like uncomfortably huge for such a smallish string of islands, many young Japanese people are terrified at the prospect of bringing children into such a crowded country. When the population reduces to a more reasonable size/density this sentiment will doubtlessly change.
In Japan’s larger cities, you don’t have to look far to find some form of commercialized sexual pseudo-gratification. Host and hostess bars exist in abundance, as do maid cafes, cuddle cafes and sex shops, and advertisements for pleasure seeking businesses are plentiful – particularly in central Tokyo. But the patent love industry’s boom sends out a message which might not be immediately obvious. One of the main factors contributing to the appeal of seeking no strings attached commodified intimacy is undeniably the career driven nature of Japanese society.