Writer Who Coined the Term ‘Herbivore Men’ to Explain Japan’s Problem with Sex Speaks Out on Term’s Misuse

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The changing concept of the ‘female friend’ in recent decades has warped government findings on male sexuality, Maki Fukasawa argues.

Shehab Khan reports: An author has criticised the media’s use of a phrase she coined to define Japan’s “sex problem” – after the country’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research published a new report into the country’s sinking birthrate.

“The institute’s latest research found that 69 per cent of men and 59 per cent of women in Japan do not have sexual partners. It also found that 42 per cent of both sexes remain virgins and 30 per cent said they have ‘no hope’ for a relationship.”

Maki Fukasawa, a columnist and sociologist, has subsequently objected to her term “herbivore men” being misued by the press in order to sensationalise the findings.

Ms Fukasawa’s term was invented 10 years ago to describe those males who have no interest in getting married or having a girlfriend but do pursue sexual relationships. Read the rest of this entry »


話を聞いてくれる男性をレンタル: Japanese ‘Rent Men’ Who Are Paid Just to Listen

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Japan has struggled with problems of social isolation, most notably the phenomenon of ‘hikikomori’ where people, often teens and young adults, refuse to leave the house or engage socially, instead opting to play video games or remain in their rooms.

Tokyo (AFP) – From lonely pensioners to Japanese schoolgirls with shattered dreams, Takanobu Nishimoto and his crew of middle-aged men will lend an ear to clients who would never dream of spilling their guts to a therapist or worse, their families.

Anyone in need of company can sign up to his online service to rent an “ossan” — a man aged between 45 and 55 — for 1,000 yen ($10) an hour.

“For me, the service is a hobby more than anything,” says Nishimoto, who first came up with the concept four years ago and who now has a growing network of some 60 men across Japan.

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“The people who rent me are just asking me to keep them company for an hour or two, mainly to listen to them.” 

“The initial idea was to improve the image of guys my age, people who might not be spring chickens anymore and not taken so seriously.”

And while the 48-year-old professional fashion coordinator is used to renting himself out, he insists conversation is all he offers to between 30 and 40 clients a month, roughly 70 percent of whom are women.

“The people who rent me are just asking me to keep them company for an hour or two, mainly to listen to them,” he tells AFP between sessions, giving the example of a woman in her 80s who would book him every week for a walk around the local park.

“I almost became like her son,” he says.

Other clients include a fisherman who was sick of waiting in solitary silence for a catch, a college student with ambitions to get into show business but who lacked family support, and an awkward young employee who did not know how to behave around his direct supervisor.

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“I never know exactly what they’re going to ask for when they rent me, and of course that’s a bit scary, but it’s also why it’s so interesting. Honestly, I’ve never had problems with any weird clients… I’ve had plenty of emotional experiences.”

Japan has struggled with problems of social isolation, most notably the phenomenon of “hikikomori” where people, often teens and young adults, refuse to leave the house or engage socially, instead opting to play video games or remain in their rooms.

But the people who come to Nishimoto do not suffer from detachment from society or challenges adjusting to it. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] O’Dee! 2-Year-Old Forges Unlikely Friendship, Says Goodbye to His Best Friend

DALLAS — A Texas toddler got his first grasp of what friendship is by befriending the man who collects his family’s recycling.

“I don’t think he really understands that this could be the last time that he sees O’Dee.”

— Deacon’s mom

Every Friday, Deacon looked forward to seeing his first friend, O’Dee.  Deacon’s home was on his recycling route, reported WFAA. One odeeparticular Friday in May, however, Deacon’s mom planned a special party.

“Well it’s our last day seeing my brother’s best friend,” said Deacon’s older sister, according to the report.

The reason is because Deacon was about to become an older brother and the family was moving to a larger house.

When the family heard O’Dee’s truck coming down the street, the family was waiting. Deacon greeted his buddy, and O’Dee scooped him up for a hug. Read the rest of this entry »