This is the fourth in a five-part series on Japan’s population woes caused by its graying society and low birthrate.
Nakamura, an 18-year-old university student, winces whenever he imagines himself dating a girl.
“I mean, I would have to pay attention to what I wear and rack my brains to figure out where I should take her for a date. . . . It’s just too much of a hassle,” he says.
Nakamura, who asked to be identified only by his surname, is happy to remain single. He says it’s much more fun playing video games and chatting via texts all night with his male friends than going on a date.
The economics major at a school in Tokyo has never had sex, but he says he is OK with that. A part of him does fantasize about getting married by the age of 30, but he hastens to add: “I don’t think that’s possible.”
Nakamura is among the young people in Japan that studies show have become increasingly pessimistic toward, or even averse to, romance, sex and marriage — a demographic that, if left unattended, could further accelerate Japan’s population slide.
A survey released last January by O-net, a marriage counseling firm, found that 74.3 percent of the nation’s 20-year-olds were not in a relationship, compared with 50.0 percent in 1996, when the company launched the annual poll. A separate 2015 survey by the Cabinet Office covering 7,000 people in their 20s and 30s found that about 40 percent of singles in their 20s were “not looking for a relationship” to begin with, thinking “romance is a hassle” or that “they would rather prioritize enjoying their hobbies.”
Going without sex seems to be on the rise as well, especially among men.
Now that romance and relationships are seen as such a chore, why bother?