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Rent-a-sister: Coaxing Japan’s young men out of their rooms [video] (bbc.com)
79 points by tartoran on Jan 20, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 68 comments

Also interesting:

"Substitutes: Japanese men woo silicone sex dolls to overcome loneliness" [RT, 26 min, 2018]


People have a tendency to laugh and ridicule these things. But there is a growing trend of single males in Asia.

For China [0]:

> in a country with 34 million more men than women...

For India [1]:

> has an excess of 37 million males...

The mind absolutely boggles at this combined amount.

Necessity is the mother of all invention as they say. Remember the first mobile phone or remember the first car? Primitive to say the least. Now look at what they can do.

I would wager we are 25-50 years away from deus ex machina bots. I hope to see it in my lifetime.

[0]: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/leftover-men...

[1]: https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/arti...

Re: China

"Millions of single Chinese men desperately seeking a wife" [France 24 English, 26 min, 2017]


I caught both this report and the one in my parent comment around the same time. The Chinese solution looks to be divided between sex dolls and importing women (though leaning more towards the latter) while the Japanese solution is about sex dolls and rent-a-families (possibly leaning towards the former).

Now I feel a bit bad for having three girlfriends :/

Yep turns out all you need is a friend. This is a draw back and advantage of city life. if you want to be isolated, you can

Rural and sub urban areas can be way more isolating. I don't think it's a city phenomenon.

Speaking only from my own experience I'd have to disagree, to isolate yourself in a rural area you have to become the weird person with the curtains closed 24/7 that people talk about

In a city you simply cease to exist if you don't leave your apartment

Some rural areas are so isolated, or neighbors so unconnected, that nobody is talking about you or even aware of you. There may not even be anyone near who would be a candidate to discuss you.

For example, my friends who live in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. They moved from the Midwest and rented a 60 acre plot. They have yet to meet any of their neighbors after about 10 months. They’ve vaguely gotten to know people who work at the hardware or grocery stores, but these people don’t think about them outside of work. Since default is to stay at home and have no contact with anyone, they’d have to go out of their way to have social contact with people in the town.

This is not nearly as remote as some areas I know, either. And even more remote areas, if your neighbors talked about you at all, it might just be like “oh yeah, there’s some guy that lives down by 45 with the truck” and they keep you in mind in case they have an emergency.

I wonder how different this is from therapeutic companions [1], once you strip it from its "something weird that happens in Asia" trappings. A companion is sometimes used in Western countries for people who have mental disorders or difficulties (sometimes very serious, like Schizophrenia), sometimes as an alternative to internment. They are often very expensive, unfortunately. These "rental sisters" don't look bizarre when looked through this lens.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6741585

Is this the future of every society?

I think It is a future of every society that 'standardizes' on 40 hour, or more work week, and restricts legal immigration of competitively-skilled workforce.

Perhaps, naïve, but the only way for Japan to solve these kinds of problems is these 2 steps

a) work week as well as university workload must not be more than 25-30 hours standard per week.

b) allow immigration for young, technology/STEM - educated workforce ( young, to mean, within biologically reproductive age).

Japan has standardized at way more than 40 hour work weeks. From what I've heard, 60-70 hours is the norm.

I'm curious where this question is coming from. If depending on the understanding that Japanese society is, in general, futuristic relative to other societies, I don't believe that's the case. Otherwise, I see no reason why this specific phenomenon might be in the cards for other societies, at least anecdotally speaking.

Is there reason to believe that the problem is specific to Japan? The video says it's also known to be happening in the US, UK, Italy, and South Korea. Those are 5 very different developed countries, on 3 different continents, and together make up nearly 10% of the earth's population.

>Otherwise, I see no reason why this specific phenomenon might be in the cards for other societies, at least anecdotally speaking.

Well, sub-replacement population rates, lower fertility, lower testosterone, more divorces, more unmarried people, and more lonely people ("loneliness epidemic"), are all phenomena that have made it to western societies (US and EU for starters).

And the current sexual climate isn't exactly very hot and "anything goes" either -- 70s was probably "peak sex" as far as the west is concerned. It's more like a variant of Victorian era prudishness than the "sexual revolution".

More like hipster versions of Alex Keaton than Steve and Elyse...

I think tech is causing it, at least in part. You can have everything without leaving home, people stay in their shell more and more until it's too late.

Also look up family rental service.

Asian Boss made a video some time ago about it [1].

Conan also made one, a bit more on the humorous side [2].

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEhYMirs7fk

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzaXw2ztCqU

How about addressing the cause instead of focusing on the cure? After WWII they adopted a view of masculinity as toxic. And women have a big part on this phenomenon.

> In a 2011 poll of Japanese boys aged between 16 and 19, 36% said they were not interested in having sex; > the figure for girls in the same age group was at 59%.


I don't see your source alluding too this "view of masculinity as toxic". The reasons in the article are that they couldn't be bothered, not a toxic view of masculinity.

I have heard about this in regards to Asian cultures[0] but I've wanted to read more into why that is.

[0] I remember reading a [rational wiki article](https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Singapore) on Singapore and they talked about how shitty it was to be a dude because of conscription, low wages and limited job opportunities.

Going by this video alone, there weren't any indications (in my opinion) that they're only focusing on the cure.

It did mention that the government is trying to understand the condition (which requires figuring out the causes) but the rental sisters were not treated as a cure. They're treated as last-resort treatment for some men. It is not scalable though; if there are a million or so men already in that stage, addressing the causes won't help, it is already too late for most.

Note that this isn't an issue to Japan either, it is becoming a bigger issue in other countries like US, UK, India, China as well.

In addition, you have not provided any source as to your assumption as what the cause is. We have the words of one men already in the video saying he was bullied and the society is tough on bullied people like that.

Why are you blaming women exactly?

Japanese men seem afraid of women in general and have a need to infantalize them so they can consume them. There is a big culture of illustrated child porn there, it's out in the open, everywhere and normalized like no where else. It's retweeted on twitter by otherwise normal seeming illustrators/people, though it would disturb most people outside of Japan. The culture of cute, kawaii things is just as obvious in it's sex industry as it is in everything else, although in a very horrifying way.

Less than 40% of young men are otakus. And only a fraction of that are into hentai. And a further small fraction of that are the group you refer. Yours is a very horrible generalization of all men and shows exactly my point. Men are to blame. Women are do not share any of the responsibility. Right.

Your theory is that the reason why there is a gender difference where 36% of men but 59% of women in the age group of 16-19 wanting sex, is because of illustrated child porn? Does that not sound a bit like an extra ordinary claim which might need some supporting evidence?

Gender roles and norms is normally used to explain gender differences, and is often one of the first area that people explore. If the data had been reversed and 36% of women and 59% of men wanted sex, what would we normally claim to be the cause?

I think you read that backwards. Those are the respective percentages who don't want sex.

> Japanese men seem afraid of women in general

Talk about sweeeeeping generalisations ...

I do wonder if the pervasive sexualization of young girls in Japan deeply affects of psyche of Japanese men, who never develop the chance to form healthy sexual relationships with adult women -- because they've never had the opportunity to sexually desire adult women.

So your theory for why some Japanese men withdraw from society is that they are defective?

My theory is that the cultural inclination to sexualize very young girls in Japan has created a great number of adult men who are unable to be sexually attracted to adult women.

It's a cultural disorder, not a problem of any individual man being "defective".

And your 'theory' is based on exactly what credible evidence?

I don't think that's the case here. The Japanese are tough on the weak, and make it hard to adopt to the society. Kids are bullied if they don't conform to the norm. This is not dealt with in Japan or hasn't been too much except for the few NGOs doing a good job. And it seems that their approach works.

I don't see your point. How did you link toxic masculinity, not wanting sex, and coaxing men out of the room?

> After WWII they adopted a view of masculinity as toxic. And women have a big part on this phenomenon.

You have no source for this at all. Don't blame Japanese women for Japanese men's lack of sexual desire. It seems Japanese women WANT to have sex. So... the problem is obviously not women.

Well, not OP, but I can’t help but notice that women complain, a LOT, about male attention. Young men can be forgiven for taking that to mean that they just don’t want any of it.

> You have no source for this at all.

Have you got credible sources for your crazy misandry, and crazy generalisations about JP men, women?

I'm sure our kids will laugh at this and will spend much less times on their phones or in their rooms than we did.

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