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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 :/


There's a good amount of feminists who are absolutely against fembots and sex dolls, so I doubt SV/SF will ever lead the way here.

And of course, radical feminist activists have total control of SV.

Incidentally, I don't think you'll find many feminists who are opposed to sex robots per se. It's more that they are worried about the societal implications. Similarly, some people worry about the implications of children spending lots of time on iPads, but these people are not "against" iPads.

That seems counterproductive. I would assume that fembots and sex dolls would reduce sexual harassment, particularly by the most objectifying men (since they will hold the most appeal to men who want objectified women, not human women).

Yes, but that also themoves the power through self-victimization that they've always held. It's a real thing, Google it.

Why I wonder?

Because if a man is fine with "fembots and sex dolls" and foregoes women, then that means that they think women's only use would be as fembots and sex dolls.

Feminists must really hate gay men.

Historically some did (e.g. you could be an early feminist and still consider gays or even lesbians immoral), but in general gay men were acknowledged as themselves oppressed and besides they do their own thing (e.g. gay men wouldn't be in a relationship with a female in the first place).

Whereas in the situation with heterosexuals and fembots, the feminine side is still present -- just replicated and reduced to sexual functions. .


> What are feminists even going to do? Give sex doll afficionados the cold shoulder?

IIRC there have been instances of governments banning sex doll parlors.

They'd find a way to make it illegal

They’s sign death warrants, in so doing. But whose?

Nothing stops us from dating or marrying outside of the "tech industry".

SV has inherited and most operate within the US cultural puritanism though...

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.


How are European and Japanese societies regressive? And especially how are religious societies progressive? I think you got it exactly the wrong way around.

In the sense of prolonging the species. If the social and economic norms discourage having children then it is regressive in terms of prolonging your (in this sense subscribing to European / Japanese norms) species.

That would only be true if having more individuals of a species with every generation would be a positive thing for that species. If we look at any other species, this seems not to be the case. There are limits to resources and often it makes sense much more sense to have less individuals so you don't overpopulate and destroy the resources which you need for that species to survive (over-fishing, predator-prey dynamics, etc.).

Wouldn't such an approach require limiting immigration? A country won't consume fewer resources if it offsets its native low/negative population growth with immigration.

Sure, but humans are not a school of fish. If one set of humans decides to die out. Another will step in.

Humans are a species, I thought we were talking about all homo sapiens, not a specific group which right now just happens to live in a specific place.

Most groups typically prefer their own members over others. Not out of malice, just out of reality.

Well when a society is 'progressing' to utter extinction, it seems sensible to label the 'progress' as 'regress'.

Regressive regarding evolutionary traits -- not regarding whatever the current trends and fads deem as "progressive" (which could even be asexuality).

I agree. Modern society will eventually die out if this world leads to something that alienates people so much that people don't socialize and reproduce anymore.

"Life will find a way." (Jurassic Park)

Speaking of movies, watch "Idiocracy": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N9nVLXMhPc

What do you mean by dying out? Can you provide an explanation and/or sources for societies in Europe that you believe are dying out?

Probably referring to below-replacement birth-rates.

People do less and less chilidren in the western world, and Africa's population to double to 2.4 billion by 2050.


I don't think there is a single country which fertility rate went up since the 60ies, not even in Africa: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN

And yet Africa's fertility rate is far above replacement levels, while those of China, Europe, and the US are below. I don't see how the change in fertility rate since the 60s is relevant.

It's reasonable in light of modern agriculture and medicine for the fertility rate to go down, simply since fewer babies are dying, and thus breastfeeding longer. However, below replacement fertility rates are not sustainable for a society.

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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