This paper will discuss a wide range of issues regarding change in Japanese sexual relationships. The crux of the paper will be a discussion and analysis of a journal article posted in “The Guardian” on Sunday 20th October, 2013. The article puts forward a discussion on why young people in japan have stopped having sex. This will form the crux of the paper, and the analysis will be compared with two other readings from the material sent to the class during the lectures and also some other work by other writers. The idea will be to provide original analysis and a proficient application of the essay in discussing emerging issues of Japanese culture as far as sexual relationships are concerned.
Emphasis will also be given on the ability to go beyond what the writer in the article has written as their perspective of thinking and make a link to what was discussed in class. To start with, the main book in the class reading materials discusses the concepts of fragility, robust and antifragility. Regarding fragility, the writer discusses it to mean the package that, as he puts it, is at best unharmed when subjected to such acts as pressure or harm. “Robust”, according to him, applies to those packages that lie in between being at best unharmed and also at worst unharmed. The opposite of all this is definitely antifragility that according to him implies the packages that are at worst unharmed.
These and other terms will trouble the crux of this paper but as outlined earlier, the main part of the paper will be to discuss Japanese culture about sexual relationships in the modern world.
The youth not having sex
The writer in this article commences his discussion by introducing the term “celibacy syndrome” which in Japanese translates to “sekkusushinaishokogun”. Various instruments have defined this terminology as the tendency of the youth below the age of 40 years to steer away from dating and anything to do with sexual relationships. This is what is happening in japan because the people who belong to this age bracket are not engaging in sexual relationships hence the term celibacy. This has led to a change in Japanese culture because ordinarily, the people belonging to this age are expected to be the most active in sexual relationships yet they are now the most dormant.
A few factors could be attributed to this sudden change in behavior among the youth. The first one is economics and the workmanship nature of the youth that we have today. Many youth are engaged in busy working schedules and most of the times they find themselves too busy to engage in sexual relationships (Haworth, 2013). As time goes by and they do not develop an urge to engage in sex, the desire diminishes, and they are likely not to do so at any time in the future. This, therefore, puts the country in jeopardy because when its youth is not productive, yet its older generation is slowly fading away, the doctrine of inheritance and continuity of species will be at stake.
The second factor that could be seen as slowly yet so fast driving the youth into being celibates is the change in technology. The current technological advancement has brought with it the internet that provides for virtually everything the youth requires in order to feel at home. The youth can now socialize via social media, chat via instagram, messaging and other programs play video games when they need to have fun and lastly watch pornographic material whenever they feel the urge to have sex. This has diminished the need for physical conduct with one another which would have necessitated the need to have sexual intimacy. This is a show of a nation headed towards the wrong trajectory because its youth is not productive. Imagine such a scenario happening to the older generation! That means that the current youth would not even be in existence if at all the older generation had involved themselves in such immoral and irresponsible behavior. The country would most likely not be in existence as we talk right now because there would have been no continuity that is caused by sexual intimacy and hence procreation.
Abigail Haworth cites a few reasons as to why the youth are not engaging in any committing relationship that would eventually lead to marriage or childbearing (Haworth, 2013). The first of such reasons is the difficulty that arises in finding the syntax between family and career. The career woman, as she opines, finds it better and easier not to engage in family matters to the detriment of her career and instead remain committed to working. The danger that arises is when this career woman starts ageing, and there is no one to take care of them, and all that is close to them is the money and the other resources they have been working for, which, of course, is not good enough for satisfaction in life (Haworth, 2013).
Men, on the other hand, operate on the deception that the single and more available man will always have a better pay as compared with his counterpart who is always seeking holidays to cater for their families. Therefore, they are not available every time they are required at the work place. When such men compare the short term benefits of getting a better pay with long term benefits of having a family to take care of them when they are ageing, they always go for the short term benefits because it will be easier for them to realize them. This puts the future of the nation at jeopardy because the population of the country is doomed to reduce drastically. The effects of a declining population in a country like Japan, which depends largely on an experienced work force to work on its machinery and, therefore, grow its economy cannot be overemphasized. The country will most likely have a deteriorating economy. Whereas this may not be seen in the near future, the effects are long term and Abigail opines that in a period of not more than 50 years from now, the population will be headed to decline in the scales of approximately 33%.
As discussed earlier, this is likely to be a national disaster because a country whose birth rate is declining at an astonishing speed is headed to a total collapse in the future. Very few, if any is being born every year yet there are also others who are dying. In a nutshell, the rate at which the population is declining is higher than the rate at which the same population is growing, a very catastrophic trajectory.
Japan may not be the only country that is experiencing this sudden cultural “metamorphosis." Various other developed countries are experiencing the same. The main thread that is cutting across these countries is the fact that people are finding it difficult to merge career with family demands. They, therefore, find it easier to work on their career first and then, if necessary, work on the family demands later. As discussed earlier, the development in technology is also contributing a lot in this area. The youth are finding sexual satisfaction in watching pornographic material over the internet, and they, therefore, find no need to commit themselves in relationships.
The culture is however more pronounced in Japan because of a number of factors. One is because japan does not have a religious authority that makes marriage and family to appear as a prerequisite to every sane human being (Fisher, 2013). Religion defines a family and marriage and ordains them as God-given. Those countries that have an authoritative religious doctrine find themselves living by the demands of such authority. An example is the Muslim countries who authoritatively believe that a family is the basic unit of the society and, therefore, other things like career and work come second (Fisher, 2013). Christians also believe that for a person to be complete, it is important for them to have a family comprising a wife and children.
The other factor that is leading to this cultural mutation in japan is the country’s ecology which is characterized by susceptibility to frequent earthquakes. Many people usually lose their lives and property, as a result, and they, therefore, dread engaging in long term commitments. They choose to leave single lives and in this respect they view family relationships as too complicated and involving. Any person who survives an earthquake or any other disaster is left with more grief and melancholy than one who did not have a family in the first place. This has, therefore, had a role to play in the decisions of the current youth not to have a family or sexual engagements.
The other factor resonates with the high cost of living in the country. The youth is not ready to engage themselves in long term relationships whereby they will be required to take care of their families at the middle of high inflation in the country. They, therefore, choose to remain single. Engaging in sexual relationships is however a different thing altogether because a good number of youth in the country are not doing so. This can only be explained by advancement in technology.
The government of japan is obviously being troubled by this new development. There is a big danger on the country’s fiscal-demographic balance. Slightly more than half of the country’s population is aged 65 years and above, and this means that the country has more people to take care of than it has to engage in the economic activities that are aimed at accelerating the country’s economy (Haworth, 2013). This is a dangerous trend. Whereas no one can say that all the aged generation must be wiped out, it is important to encourage higher fertility rate that will see more of the young generation taking over the mantle of the country’s development agenda forward and also assist in taking care of an ageing generation.
Japan arguably enjoys one of the most educated and wealthy population in the world. This is however not replicated in the country’s systemic gender equality. The people making up japan are torn in between two worlds (Fisher, 2013). They practice a European style economy but on the other hand they have family set-ups and societal structures that resemble the South-Asian society. In fact, women who are married and working have a name: “Oniyome” meaning the “devil wife." This is dangerous for a country whose population dropped by an amazing scale of 21,000 people in the year 2013. It is, therefore, not the time to mock those women who are working and at the same time they have families to take care of. In fact, they should be encouraged to bear more children to compensate for those that are not engaging in family commitments at the moment.
This trend has effects not only in japan alone but also all over the world. Japanese technicians are on demand all over the world because of their expertise in engineering work (Metaxas, 2013). Moreover, a decline in the country’s economy will also have an adverse effect on the economies of the other countries. It will not be easy for the country to meet its debts to other countries, and this will therefore make the economies of those other countries deteriorate as well.
Possible solutions to the Japanese cultural problem
This trend should not be allowed to continue for any longer now. There is a need for the government and other stakeholders all over the world to intervene and salvage the situation before it is too late (Haworth, 2013). This could be done by adopting a number of approaches. The first approach could be to encourage public debates on the need for personal and physical attachments that incorporate intimacy. People need to be encouraged to be close to one another, and this does not mean that the abandon their career demands. They are expected to get intimate not just for baby creation but also for affection. They should not allow technology and career to get the better of them or to substitute their personal affection towards each other.
Secondly, politicians, health officers and religious leaders have an obligation to preach the need for cohesion, intimacy, friendship and love for the Japanese people. They should let them know why it is necessary for them to have families and also to get intimate. Such campaigns could also be directed at encouraging the people to avoid such vices as pornography and abortion and embrace procreation. They should not allow such things as technology and career to take up their family obligations.
The relationship between fragility, robust and anti-fragility in this discourse
As explained in the introductory session of this paper, fragility refers to the package that is at best unharmed when subjected to pressure or any other physical act. In this domain, therefore, the human heart and affection should not be exposed to fragility as in the example of Japanese anti-sex and anti-family culture. Robust involves the package that is at best unharmed and also at worst unharmed while anti-fragility involves the package that is at worst unharmed. Applying these to this discourse, Japanese culture will be deemed fragile if allowed to mutate or metamorphose to anti-sex and anti-family doctrines.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book discusses these concepts and at one point wonders what exactly people are fond of calling “modernity”. To him, this is just an oxymoron and may as well not be in existence. Japanese culture may as well have been affected by the concept of modernity and it may take just a short period of time before the effects of this modernity are felt. Modernity in Japanese culture is exemplified by the fact that the people are relying more on technology and careers than on the social aspects of life. This has caused them to detach themselves from the family ties of sexual relationships and procreation.
Nicholas Taleb gives an example of a hungry donkey which cannot be forced to feed on grass so that the hunger disappears. In the same way, the Japanese people cannot be forced to start having sexual relationships so that the birth rate is kept constant. It is only through their will and desire that they can do this. This, according to Nicholas, will be like “fragilizing” the “antifragile” society in order to make it more “robust”, hence the terms “fragile”, “robust”, and “antifragile”.
Nicholas writes that anything that has life in it may be said to be both fragile and antifragile. In a nutshell, all biological substances, human beings included, possess both aspects of fragility and antifragility. They therefore require what he calls “stressors” in order to strike a balance between the two. Stressors, according to him, may be offered by the adequate supply of information. For example, men require information regarding social change, environmental change, economic fluctuations, political climate of the country they live in and other information that can help in bringing a change in the course of things. This means therefore that information, when relayed at the right time and in the right way, can cause either a positive or a negative change to human beings. Regarding culture, people only need to be informed on the effects of adopting a certain culture and then they may adjust accordingly. That is the essence of the terms “fragile”, “robust”, and “antifragile”, as he uses them in his book.
Fisher, M. (2013). Japan’s sexual apathy is endangering the global economy. The Washington Post, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/22/japans-sexual-apathy-is-endangering-the-global-economy/.
Haworth, A. (2013). Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex? The Guardian, available at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex.
Metaxas, E. (2013). No babies, no future: Japan, and eventually, us. Lifetime News available at http://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/no-babies-no-future-japan-and-eventually-us.