The Half Asian Corner has an actual text post now!

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As many of you know, my name is Diana and I am the resident Japanese Cultural Advisor. Due to work schedules, I haven’t been able to make it into club since the beginning of the year. Anyways, as the Japanese Cultural Advisor, I am here to impart knowledgable things about Japan and Japanese culture to the club. This is important because Japan is the birthplace of Japanese Anime, and seemingly so, through anime, sometimes there tends to be misconceptions about what is legit and what isn’t in terms of cultural perceptions. And that’s why I’m here; to clear up those faux pas and give you real insight into what the anime doesn’t show you or just to talk about certain issues that affects the current culture in Japan.

One such topic that I’d like to touch on today is the topic of Hikikomori (also can be known as a NEET,) and the sociatal shift from human to human interaction to a society overrun by technology. If any of you have seen the anime ‘Welccome to the N.H.K’ the subject of Hikikomori is discussed and looked upon as it is a societal shift happening in Japan. Essentially Hikikomori are shut-ins that have no jobs and are often times completely sheltered within their own homes. For many, it is social anxiety bumped up to unreasonable extremes. Some hikikomoris live off of allowances their parents pay for them, some live purely off of the government welfare, and there are some that will have jobs where they don’t need to leave their homes. Eventually in the anime, the main character is slowly able to be persuaded to come outside and live a little more of a normal life, but you can see the struggles he faces in terms of dealing with the anxiety and not assuming that everything around him is a conspiracy.

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Some of you may be aware of the fact that Japan is going through a so-called “crisis” where dating and the need for physical intimacy has plummetted to lows that seemingly need to have attention drawn to the epidemic of sorts. While it is true that the dating trend has gone down, and that factors like herbivore men, have become more mainstream, I’m here to quell any fears that dating will become extinct in Japan. Or that people will 100% devolve to a state, like seen in an episode Futurama where Fry dates the Lucy Liu robot, where people will only have romances with technological beings.
grass-eating-boy “I hope you like your men grass fed”

It seems like the largest population that is rebeling against the Herbivore men are the women. They want the days where men would actively seek out the relationships and make the moves. They don’t want men who are virtually without drive anymore. Many Herbivore men enjoy being pampered and cared for by the women and are seeking the comforts of a more feminine side to life in some aspects. Many of these men don’t perceive marriage or relationships as goals they want for themselves until much later in their lives. The harrowing fact of that is many women have a biological clock that is ticking and has no place to wait for men to get into gear or wanting a relationship.However, this isn’t to say that there aren’t women that also live the hikikomori lifestyle as well. A good example of this is the anime, Kuragehime, or better known in English as Princess Jellyfish. This anime follows a group of self proclaimed NEETs that are otakus, (bear in mind that Otaku is an all encompassing term for “geek/nerd” rather than someone who really likes anime. And example of this would be a Train Otaku or Kimono Otaku.) These characters again are individuals that have difficulty going out in public and are extremely shy around the opposite sex. They would much rather not deal with the reprocussions of being in a social environment.

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Another BIG reason for the decline in dating is how much technology has shaped the terrain of dating. As seen in our own society, face-to-face interaction has declined and it is obvious that vocal talking over the phone has taken a dramatic increase as technology has seemingly cause a psychological switch to happen. This transition has undoubtedly made a large impact in the dating community, along with younger generations who have stated things like, “How did people talk to others if they didn’t have texting?!” For me personally, this is a bit of a shock and I will do everything I can to encourage my children to learn how to talk to people on the phone. Combine that in with the fact that some NEETs play video games and they then begin to rationalize legitimate relationships with video game characters instead of focusing on real relationships with members of society. With all that adding up, it’s easy to see how alarming it can be that romance and relationships in Japan seem to be on the decline.

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And they lived happily ever after… in digital matrimony.”

There’s a lot more that I can get into if anyone would like, but I think for now, I’ll leave it at this as I feel like it’s provided a decent over view of something currently affecting Japanese culture. I hope to make a post monthly of different things worth talking about and various points of interest. Recently Girl’s Day happened in Japan, so perhaps this next month I’ll contribute something along the lines of different Japanese Holidays.

With that hope you all have a good rest of the month!
~Diana M
Resident Japanese Cultural Advisor.

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