Japan is an island nation that many people think they know since Japanese culture and arts have become widespread throughout the rest of the world. The truth is that knowing a bit about manga and final fantasy just doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to Japan. There’s much more to this strangely exotic country. For this reason, we give you the 10 things you didn’t know about Japan.
9: Lack of Interest in Dating and Sex
One of the most interesting trends in Japan in recent years is the lack of interest in dating and sex and marriage in both the male and female populations. In fact, one poll cited information suggesting that 46% of Japanese women have either no interest or despise sex with men following slightly lower percentages. It’s not clear how this came to be, but there are theories. One theory suggests that the stressful nature of Japanese work life along with marriage stress is preventing young people from engaging in traditional dating and meeting interests. Well, another theory suggests it is related to the high financial cost of both dating and marriage as well as children. The Japanese government itself is called it syllabuses syndrome is actively looking for a solution to this problem. Though beyond government coercion and force, it is unlikely any solution is on the horizon.
8: Grass Eaters
Related to the disinterest in dating, marriage, and sex is the phenomenon of herbivore men. It is a term first coined by Japanese academics some years back. “Grass Eaters” as they referred to in Japanese or not so small percentage of the male population with little to no interest in any of the traditional roles expected of Japanese men. Much of the “Grass Eater” phenomenon to be understood in light of Japan’s traditional salaryman economic structure and work life. In earlier decades it was expected that Japanese men upon graduation would spend the rest of their lives working long work weeks. Often into the wee hours of the morning coming home exhausted and feeling awful upon coming home. And many of the “Grass Eater” men grew up observing their own fathers engaged in such behavior. They actively realize that such a life might not be the best for them.
Additionally, as cited previously, marriage and children are very expensive prospects in Japan. It is difficult to realistically acquire the money to be able to support that sort of lifestyle. “Grass Eater” men typically are viewed as very effeminate and girly, taking a key interest in hair and clothing styles. There are many who are just reclusive and rarely leave their homes. Some estimates suggest that as much as 60% of Japanese men in their twenties might be considered herbivore men. It is a startling number if you think about it. Regardless, unless something drastically changes in Japan at the societal level. The Grass Eater phenomenon might become the norm in the next few decades.
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7: Earthquake Zone
Japan is situated in the collision zone of at least 4 lithospheric plates. These are the North American plate, the Eurasian Chinese plate, the Pacific Plate and the Philippine plate. The continuous movements of these plates generate a lot of energy release from time to time in tsunamis and earthquakes of varying magnitudes and effects. Written records of strong earthquakes date back at least 1600 years. Regardless, because of Japan’s unique geological situation, earthquakes have become a part of its history. As well as having been woven into the very fabric of Japanese society.
It is not uncommon to experience tremors on a weekly basis in any major city. Things that would throw off many people living in larger European cities are just taken for granted in Japan due to its perfectly prone nature. Due to this, the Japanese government has invested a great deal of time and infrastructure into earthquake detection and damage prevention. Although, it is impossible to fully protect the population from this deadly natural occurrence. And that happens far too frequently in Japan.
It might seem nearly superfluous to mention Japanese food because every Tom Dick and Harry these days knows things like sushi and teriyaki. If you thought that was the be-all and end-all Japanese food you’d be wrong. Japanese food can be far more exotic than just that. There are many Japanese specialties that are only available in Japan. Perhaps the most exotic thing you can eat in Japan fugo or balloonfish. Special care must be taken in the preparation of this dish. Because of the inherently toxic nature of the fish. If you aren’t the conservationists’ type? You might want to try whale or dolphin meat. That is risky too because of the high levels of mercury found in it.
Then there’s the famous Kobe beef, which is a type of beef taken from the Wagyu cattle. Wagyu cattle is a group of Japanese cattle breeds that produce very high-quality meat. Finally, while you might think that the sushi near you is just fine. It cannot hold a handle to the sushi prepared in Japan itself which might be a good reason to visit Japan.
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5: Japanese Macaque
Excluding human beings, the Japanese macaque is the northernmost primate in the entire world. Its is found from the southernmost islands of the country of the northern most tip of the main island Honto. This curious monkey is renowned for its intelligence, highly social behavior, and its favorite past time of bathing in hot springs in the cold winter months while grooming the other members of the troop. These curious little primates are possibly the most interesting animal to be found in Japan.
4: Early Economic System of Japan
A rather depressing term used to describe the period of recent Japanese history. When decades of economic growth and prosperity ended. When in the late 1980s abnormalities within the Japanese economic system had fueled a speculative asset price bubble of a massive scale. The bubble was caused by the excessive loan growth quotas dictated to the banks by Japan’s Central Bank. The Bank of Japan through a policy mechanism known as window guidance. This led to the collapse of the tremendous economic growth in the 1990s. Some economists and historians even go as far as to call this period “not a lost decade”. But the lost core for 20 years and believe that Japan has never fully recovered from this series of economic blunders.
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3: Allowance of Immigrants
While the west might have an open-door policy on the allowance of immigrants into its ranks, with some countries being more liberal than others on this front. Japan has had the opposite strategy. Japanese people are very concerned about the preservation of their culture and heritage and fear. Allowing an unchecked influx of immigrants might be harmful to its continuation. As a consequence, the Japanese government is exceptionally careful about whom it lets in. Only the most skilled of skilled workers have even a chance of getting a working visa.
2: Ainu People
A minority found early in Japan specifically on the northernmost island of Hokkaido. The Ainu people remain a mystery in terms of their origin and where they originally came from. Although, it is safe to say that their presence predates the arrival of the Amato or Japanese people. Morphologically and culturally they very distinct from the Japanese. The Ainu had all but disappeared from the scenery of Japan. Most of what remains are kept up through artificial preservation and intervention. The Ainu like many minorities has become a casualty of history.
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1: Low Birth Rates
Like many modern countries, Japan has been struggling with low birth rates and a few solutions to the problem. Generally speaking, it can be observed that low birth rates arise everywhere there are modernization and industrialization. Thus a solution cannot be easy. Some Japanese think the use of robots might be a solution. While others believe that government tax credits to incentivize couples to reproduce are better. Regardless, no country has found an actual workable solution to this problem. Thus the long-term future of Japan might very well be called into question.
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