- Gender and Relationships
Why the Japanese are not interested in dating
There are quite a number of reasons for the low birth rate in Japan, some are complex but it is easy to outline a number.
Firstly, dating is actually a hassle for a lot of young Japanese these days. Not just for men but for some women too. Unlike in the west where we have our own places once we find a job. Many Japanese tend to live with their parents until they are married, no matter how old they are. In the west, dating may mean going to the movies and bar and then back to your place once you are comfortable with each other.
In Japan it tends to be a bit more formal with stages. E.g. First go out for a coffee and get to know one another. Secondly go on an more adventure date, e.g. movie, sight seeing, shopping. Thirdly a drink and the bar and perhaps and love hotel in which the man would always pay since they can't go to their parents home. This seems very routine and a hassle for many guys and would rather spend their time on their hobbies e.g. TV games, comics, model collection. You would think that they may miss at least a physical relationship with a women, however after interviewing many young Japanese guys, it seems they are not that bothered at all. Many say that women simply use up all their money and free time and they feel they need to always try and impress. Japan has this word "Hikikomri" meaning life "shut in indoors", they are a high percentage of males in this category who prefer to stay in all day playing video games, making crafts and not have too much contact with the outside world.
On the other side for women, many have a similar attitude. Men often take them away from their free time and hobbies. In actual fact though, recently a lot of women prefer going to host bars where they pay money to drink and talk to guys all night. They don't have nor expect any physical relationship with any of the men their but just like to talk to handsome young guys and spend their money. With this kind of mentality from both sides it no wonder the birth rate is so low.
Recently more and more women get getting higher positions in Jobs and many fear that getting married and especially having children will put and end to their careers. This is another reason why women especially in titled positions may be reluctant to get married.
Parents should try to encourage their grown up children to get out on their own, maybe like in the west. This will encourage them to socialize more and the loneliness may also make them realize how much a partner is important. However the main thing stopping young people living along is the amount of money needed up front. In Japan it is not uncommon to pay up to 6 months rents in advance. Upon moving out you may only get 1 or two months rent back.
City governments in Japan should focus a little more an facilities, especially pre-school. It is extremely difficult and competitive to get your child into a decent government run pre-school in the cities. People end up having to go private with very expensive tuition fees and little government support. People hearing about this get put off, parents with just the one child maybe also get put off having more children.
companies need to introduce better maternity leave plans to welcome women back in once they have given birth and are fit to return to work. This would make a great difference in family building and would also take a lot of pressure of women's backs.
Japan used to have a one job for life system back in the bubble economy days. Salary would natural go up with your age and the wife would be a housewife never having to work, just do the housework, cook and make babies. However that has all changed, jobs are definitely not for life, and the husbands salary alone won't always be enough to cover the families expenses so women need to work but hopefully without sacrificing family building.