UK: “Blame 2D for Japan’s Weak Men!”


A British newspaper article blaming 2D for turning Japanese men into effete pillow-frotteurs has lately been provoking controversy online.

The piece, from the pages of top leftist rag The Guardian:

Japan leads the way in sexless love

It’s not easy being a young man in Japan today. Every few months sees the release of a new set of figures, stats and stories trumpeting the same meme: today’s Japanese men are unmanly – and worse, they don’t seem bothered by it.


In the most recent government study, published at the end of last month, the percentage of unmarried men spiked 9.2 points from five years ago. More telling: 61% of those unwed men reported not having a girlfriend, and 45% said they couldn’t care less about finding one.

What gives? As anyone who has watched Japanese or Korean pop videos knows, the popular image of men in Asia, seen from a western perspective, is more effeminate than macho, rife with makeup, stylised hairdos and choreographed dance steps. Even so-called punks in Japan lean more to Vivienne Westwood than Malcolm McLaren – more familiar with fashion spreads than the spitting in the street.


Why the generational malaise and indifference to sex? Theories abound. The most provocative to me, a Japanese-American and longtime Tokyo resident, is that Japanese women have become stronger socially and economically at the very same time that Japanese men have become more mole-ish and fully absorbed in virtual worlds, satiated by the very technological wizardry their forebears foisted upon them, and even preferring it to reality.

“I don’t like real women,” one bloke superciliously sniffed on Japan’s 2channel, the world’s largest and most active internet bulletin board site. “They’re too picky nowadays. I’d much rather have a virtual girlfriend.”

Virtual girlfriends became a sensation last summer, when Japanese game-maker Konami released its second-generation of its popular Love Plus, called, aptly, Love Plus +, for the Nintendo DS gaming system.

Konami skillfully arranged for an otherwise deadbeat beach resort town called Atami to host a Love Plus + holiday weekend. Players were invited to tote their virtual girlfriends, via the gaming console, to the actual resort town to cavort for a weekend in romantic bliss. The promotion was absurdly successful, with local resort operators reporting that it was their best weekend in decades.

I tried to explain the phenomenon via a TV interview for a US cable station: the men who spent their yen on a weekend of romance with a digital lover were a subset of a subculture many times removed from mainstream Japan. They are known as otaku, or hyper-obsessive and often asocial men who seek solace in imaginary worlds (not unlike many artists and writers, I should add).

Nevertheless, these were clearly young Japanese man of a generation that found the imperfect or just unexpected demands of real-world relationships with women less enticing than the lure of the virtual libido. You can’t have sex with a digital graphic, but you can get sexually excited, and maybe satisfied, by one.

The Guardian’s writer can probably be considered to have fallen deeply into the trap of believing the drivel the media writes about Japan (whether Japan’s notoriously deceitful domestic media or the pathetically credulous foreign correspondents who inhabit Tokyo) – any generalisation about 60 million Japanese men which is based on the niche habits of a fringe and much despised population of otaku which numbers a few hundred thousand at most surely deserves to be treated with ridicule.

Anyone looking for proof of this need look no further than the pathetically low sales seen in hardcore otaku markets – eroge, anime DVDs, moeblob manga and dating games are considered hits if their sales number in the tens of thousands, hardly the sort of popularity which could be used to make sweeping generalisations about the lives of millions of men.

None of this stopped the piece being picked up by a Japanese hack (“English Man: 2D is to Blame for the Loss of Japanese Male Assertiveness”) as an example of insightful foreign commentary on Japan’s social woes, which was subsequently presented to none other than 2ch itself:

“I really feel as though we are just being made fun of?”

“It is absolutely impossible to generalise the views of a tiny number of 2ch-posting otaku onto all Japanese men (or even onto all otaku).”

“I can’t deny that there are those sorts of people in Japan, but it’s not as if everyone is like that. It’s as if foreigners think Japanese are nothing but anime and AKB48 fans?”

“The main reason is just that Japanese women have become so arrogant.”

“If you want to have a relationship with a middle schooler you’ll be arrested, so there’s no other choice than 2D.”

“Otaku always end up being picked on for this sort of thing, but for some reason nobody ever reports on just how horrible Japanese women are?”

“Women have become stronger, but for some reason they still never make approaches on men…”

“Housewives don’t do any housework now, so what’s the point of marrying one?”

“Women have too much authority. They don’t recognise themselves as the slaves of men, so it’s no wonder men reject them.”

“Just lower the legal age for marriage to 13 or 14 and this problem will fix itself!”

“I don’t think the lack of assertiveness you see in Japanese men is actually anything new at all.”

“It’s rather simple – young men have no money any more.”

“The vast majority of Japanese marriages before were arranged marriages. Now that parents and friends aren’t meddling in your lives to make you marry someone, it’s only natural that there are fewer marriages.”

“The feminists really are desperate to get 2D banned…”

“I don’t think this writer has ever heard of ukiyoe, has he?”

“The English guy’s analysis is right on the mark!”

“Compared to other Europeans, the British are incredibly negative about everything…”

“A British man says so, I guess that makes it highly credible.”

“This isn’t even written by an English person, it’s a Nikkei American…”

“He said he’s an American who has lived in Tokyo for a long time, it’s not even a British person!”

“I called a girl at work (she told me her number herself before). She got angry at me and said ‘How did you know my number? Calling me like that is creepy!’ Romance is impossible for me.”

“3D women are too much hassle these days. People just flee to 2D instead…”

“Britain should turn to 2D love, it might reduce all the sex crimes they are plagued with.”

“Yet somehow sex crimes are still the fault of games.”

“I can only hope that all the discrimination, prejudice and verbal abuse coming out of this country one day abates.”

“I like talking to real women, I like sex and I like 2D. I think the majority are like me.”

“I lost all interest in anime in elementary school. Isn’t that normal?”

“There’s no way we can support all these old people. We can’t even support a woman.”

“I prefer 2D men, there’s no contest!”

“Polygon Miku is becoming dangerously cute these days, isn’t she?”

“All the overseas articles about ‘hologram’ Miku were calling her ‘creepy,’ ‘bizarre,’ ‘crazy,’ ‘fake’ and so on. They never refer to her in a positive light.”

“Kerutsu-san, you reading? You’ve certainly trolled an awful lot of British and Japanese, well done!”

“If you foreigners keep watching Japanese anime you’ll end up like us. Hollywood has no such powers.”

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    Comment by Anonymous
    19:23 16/01/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    “If you foreigners keep watching Japanese anime you’ll end up like us. Hollywood has no such powers.”

    Well said XD

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:00 16/01/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Hollywood tends to white wash asian related things. Do you remember Akira?

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:28 18/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    do you remember Dragon ball???

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:45 16/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Actually, Japan does the same thing, except non-Japanese are played by Japanese or the characters are just flat out changed to be Japanese.

    Avatar of speedyexpress48
    Comment by speedyexpress48
    03:33 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just like L from Death Note!

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:42 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    who said L is not japanese?

    Avatar of Octopi
    Comment by Octopi
    06:07 18/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    sounds like Thermae Romae

    Comment by Anonymous

    And the Romans were Japanese according to Japanese media. So what?

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:44 17/01/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Simply because the live actors do not portray 100% out of the anime characters, people want cross references, that is the thing.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:27 17/01/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    and so all americans believe that ancient romans look american? I dont see the difference between the japanese flick and american ones set in ancient rome in terms of accurate portrayal. Neither of the actors portray what ancient romans actually looked like. As for the akira thing... did that ever come out? last I heard they were planning on changing the location from neo tokyo to neo em... amsterdam? or something
    maybe york. Anyway, I dont have a problem with having none japanese actors in the movie... Its just hollywood anime adaptions tend to suck. They just dont work out well and changing the city name would make the japanese character names unsuited. If they changed them... Im not sure, the original story would hardly be there.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:07 16/01/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    what media? did they really said roman were japanese ? or you just draw conclusion based on the movie they make ?

    Avatar of TFish
    Comment by TFish
    23:20 16/01/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Media as in movies. The romans in a Japanese movie were played my Japanese men.

    I don't understand the outrage some people have over having an actor that isn't the race of the character in the source material playing the character.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:47 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    If you think about it, the movie is in Japanese, intended for a Japanese audience, and finding 20 or so white actors, fluent in Japanese and able to act out their roles, in a country where you're more likely to see white actors in AVs, they would have gone for Japanese actors

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:45 16/01/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    hollywood turn u into ken and barbie....

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:51 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    anime turn you into ryo and ken

    Avatar of Bigall
    Comment by Bigall
    01:49 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Or a Trekkie or a Starwar fan or Matrix dude or...

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:45 08/02/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    alien/horror BSM lover or snuff video or BB crazy fans or...

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:58 16/01/2012 # ! Drivel (-0.7)

    they turn us into ken and barbie but not into weak men oh lawl! ahahahaha!! XD

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:05 17/01/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    It's scary to say how true that statement is to some extend......

    07:43 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I have other hobbies too such as guns and hotrods the kind with V8s displacing more then 300 ci.

    Avatar of vega427
    Comment by vega427
    10:58 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Woah, You're an anime watching gear head who prefers V8's to 4 bangers? I thought I was the only one..... Brofist

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:46 18/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Im just an otaku

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:34 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    im a gearhead/anime fan aswell... Except i prefer rotary..

    Avatar of Allanx
    Comment by Allanx
    13:01 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Whoever that was, they just won the internets. All of them. For all time.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:39 16/01/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    if I had to work a 56 hour week plus alot of overtime and comuting to work, ontop with drinking with my boss and co workers every weekend I wouldn't want to date.

    Could the lack of dating be more about the amount of work thats expected on Japanese men rather than a exceptionally niche hobby of people who wouldn't be having sex anyway? I find it hard to believe that most Japanese men are otaku.

    Sex and relationships take alot of time and effort, if you dont have that time of course your not going to be having sex. This is a problem thats with the older generation too, how often do we hear of sexless marriages? The young are just being scapegoated when this is a problem the whole of Japanese society faces.

    To Alienate this issue the Japanese Government should change the laws on non paid overtime, then men would feel less tired and would devote more time in the pursuit of women.

    Avatar of dribble
    Comment by dribble
    20:55 16/01/2012 # ! Good (+0.7)

    >time and effort

    Not just time and effort.

    Time, endless amounts of emotional and general physical energy and lots and lots of money - all with no guarantee that the relationship will even be lasting.

    Unless you're a man-slut who just wants short-term flings and doesn't mind providing the endless amounts of attention demanded by modern girls, or someone coming from a high-tier family background that managed to get the upbringing required for success or a high paying job through connections, it seems as if the entire system is basically against you.

    From their jaded business culture that actually puts way-back traditions over practicality and the business needs of today (overwork only dulls the mind and body), to the monstrous demands of their suitors and families - combined with the fact that they have tiny dicks... the nipponese males have it tough.

    (Of course, all this is just my narrowed view derived from narrowed info about the nips)

    Avatar of Slush
    Comment by Slush
    21:26 16/01/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Man slut ftw.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:56 16/01/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    When you look at a lot of Japanese salarymen who are basically grunt level in their respective companies, you'll see that their 'job' often do not end at 6PM. Socializing with co-workers(typically the supevisors) and especially clients would require them to put a straight face until late in the night. For those with worse luck for living far, they could be reaching the door of their homes by 11 PM almost daily. That leaves them little time for themselves; let alone others.

    How else do you see those typical stories of housewives being sexually depraved? lol

    Avatar of dribble
    Comment by dribble
    01:02 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I wasn't disagreeing with you there. I am aware of the after-work work culture.

    Just felt that you are forgetting an important fact, which is that most young salarymen get paid a pittance as their economic worth is set up as only being of any real value after decades of toil, working up the career ladder.

    Most males in any sample are always in the middle of the curve, or maybe, given the general inequality distribution (i.e. a power law distribution), where many earn very little and few earn very much, a large amount of males are below average.

    These males will not have the financial backing to truly invest in many relationships, as that is generally something very expensive to do; weddings, children, houses, even dates probably cost a great deal for a young man - and all these costs add up.

    But at the same time, they are not very likely to be successful with many women, given the fact that women are all whores who always seek more than they deserve given their value as an individual.

    What I'm talking about is the 45% being not interested in sex.

    Women work now, hence they have power. Before they had to be choosy but at least, be reasonably loyal and attentive to their partner, but due to the fact that women working are worth more to the world than women not working these days.. women are working.

    They no longer have to rely on these types of males, so femininity has all but disappeared - and all we are left with is cash guzzling attention seeking worthless whores that simply don't know their worth.

    Sure, plenty of these men are probably too tired for relationships - but relationships are generally meant to be something that heals - something that gives your life meaning and makes it fun to wake up in the morning and work hard during the day for.

    I don't doubt that them being overworked is a reason why their society is the way it currently is, but I wonder if there is also another reason.

    07:46 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I agree the non paid over time is probably the biggest issue here in crushing spirits.

    If you're dog tired you don't care about relationships.

    It also probably dose not help the state of the government as everyone is simply too tired to give a damn about politics and you end up with people like Ishihara voted in because retirees are the only ones with any free time.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:31 16/01/2012 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Again, and I grow tired of repeating this, otaku are a symptom, not a cause. Japan's quote-unquote weak men are caused by socioeconomic and cultural problems, namely the lack of high paying jobs for young men and the hard-coded cultural gender roles of society (And yes Japan is very patriarchal, anyone who says otherwise is a fool). 2D is a refuge for men who can not afford to get married or have a relationship.

    Avatar of dribble
    Comment by dribble
    20:59 16/01/2012 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    I just want a endless harem of beautiful and charming girls.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:29 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.3)

    Then die in the name of Allah

    Avatar of Neferius
    Comment by Neferius
    09:52 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Family Guy references Need Not Apply.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:57 18/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    It doesnt matter if they can only get off to 2d as long as I can get off in their asses.

    Comment by Anonymous

    that's virgins... It does not specify gender and if this topic is accurate; they will be mainly men.

    Comment by Anonymous

    72 virgins isn't an endless harem of beautiful and charming girls.
    It's probably 72 Japanese guys who celebrate Mio's Birthday.
    Boy, I gotta imagine those suicide bombers are in for the shock of their afterlife when their 72 virgins can only get off on 2d...

    Avatar of BlaqCat
    Comment by BlaqCat
    09:54 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Beautiful you might find in japan. Not too sure about charming though. The way 2ch compalains about these women it's like they're all self-absorbed money grubbing whores ( the last part epsecially going for the middle and high school girls).

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:50 16/01/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    "2D is a refuge for men who can not afford to get married or have a relationship."

    If you look at how much they spend on different figurines and exclusive merchandise, you'd think money wasn't really the problem.

    It may look like they all share the same reason, but that's not really how it works. Yes, some men stay away from relationships because they just can't financially support it. However, there are others who just don't have the mental and emotional capacity to have a relationship. These men, who probably have much more problems coping with their own strict codes of the society on a daily basis might just prefer to be by themselves when they're done serving their drunk clients at 10PM. They have to be back at work in 10 hours anyway.

    I also personally know some Japanese men(I work in an industrial area where plenty of Japanese are sent here as management staff or trainee) who happens to have the worst luck of only having the most bitchy, the most self-entitled women who are stricken with superiority(or victim) complex. Not saying all women are like that, but the emotional stress AND the existence of such outlets as '2D' closer to them made them stop reaching out and look for the right one.

    It's a combination of problems, and no two men share the same cause. Well, not the ones that I know anyway.


    Comment by Anonymous
    14:02 08/02/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    if i not mistake, men running into 2D because sick of real women. let say simple things:

    1st 2D women never complain, 3D women complain, even for cloth we are wearing.

    2nd excessive product. well yes it expensive but what happen if you girl demand prada, LV, hermes?

    as i know modern women are smart. they knew they are pretty or charming. in my opinion "why should i date poor guys? not the rich guys?"

    state at much as the japanese women are fans of Premium fashion, if they don't have one they on shame. and they depression blame on men/husband/boyfriends

    every body want to be rich. even for women. can't blame on women, fashion are they life's. and Prada LV are their highest target

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:42 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I found the reaction to this more interesting than the article itself. The article (itself), has repeated itself, in many various forms. It talks a lot but at the same time, said nothing. So in relation to this point, how is anyone able to react to nothing?

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:49 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh - the guardian, that feminist left leaning piece of drivel. Not that any of the other papers are any better, they're all best ignored as either left or right drivel and they're all very happy to insult any foreign country and trivilise problems pretending they have a clue.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:20 18/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    sounds like you have a clue

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:58 18/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    I have a raging clue.

    Avatar of SpideyPHL
    Comment by SpideyPHL
    20:56 16/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is very true. I'd also like to point out that, what SC omitted from it's posting here is that in that very article the writer says that the subculture is "many times removed from mainstream Japan." It's not the norm by a long shot, but it's an indicator of a larger widespread problem.

    Avatar of ArrowInTheKnee
    Comment by ArrowInTheKnee
    21:12 16/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    Don't forget that Japanese men also got accused of...

    Sexual harassment For asking direction to McDonalds

    Sexual harassment For saying hello to a middle school girl

    Kidnapping and Attemped rape For helping a lost child to find their parents......

    and the list goes on and on.... I am not surprise they will turn to their waifu

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:56 17/01/2012 # ! Good (+0.6)

    The ruling men of Japan are too caught up in political correctness and mass media propaganda promoting the superiority faction of feminism, lightly disguised as a movement for equality.

    In return, laws made to fulfill this popular perception has shifted so far away from 'equality' and fair rights into an overprotective social scheme only serves to shift the prejudice on women into prejudice on men. Just go around any topic with a hint of issues on women's right, and you'll see a majority of comments from these feminist extremist who demand superiority masked by 'equality'.

    In the past, there have been some things women can't have, but there have been other aspects that balanced it. For example, despite all the discrimination some elements of the society persisted on doing, there are others who treat them well as a gentleman's gesture. They may suffer rape and other such humuliations in an event of defeat in wars of old, but women was never really an active part of ancient armies drafted into the battlefield to risk their lives, because it was considered mainly a man's duty.

    Ironically, the enacted laws and fabricated social values brainwashed into society was promoted in major part by several corrupt men in power to further their own agendas and interests. Many have since long rot, but the effects are set to last. Feminists might take a potshot at this, but power has been known to corrupt anyone. You can look back into history and examine the handful women who did wield some power, and see that they too became corrupted.

    Come feminists. Come one, come all. See how butthurt can you be.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:38 19/01/2012 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    The feminist movement was meant to break up the family and tax the other gender while giving them more rights then men.

    That's what feminism is and if you don't believe me, read gloria steinem and tell me with a straight face she wants equality and not can't unless you're lying.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:34 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    no you're not a guy. You're just those feminist's slave

    Avatar of Achiuakuna
    Comment by Achiuakuna
    04:12 17/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    03:56 pretty summarized it all. The whole women's superior rights seems to be a common disease of mature democracies in both the East and the West.

    At least in the US, there is just too much trouble to get married. I do long for marriage and kids, but the cost is just too high for me to handle. We are all human and no one is perfect so there's no telling how a relationship is going to end up, but no matter what the cause is, a divorce ALWAYS results in punishment to the male. Even if the wife is cheating as seen in many court settlements. Prenup is a useless scheme because once you have kids, you'd pay child support regardless of the prenup. The court assumes no man likes their kids and they would love to pay money to get their kids away from them, which is not even nearly true. If you like your kids, you are losing money AND losing custody of your kids. Besides, bringing up prenup is like the best deal breaker in a relationship. Women can simply choose to not marry you if you bring it up, with tons of holier than thou justifications abusing words like "trust" "respect" and all that. Unless there are massive legal reforms that at least makes marriages more affordable, no democracies can expect the birthrate to stop declining.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:10 18/01/2012 # ! Neutral (0)

    3d woman are the greediest pigs alive. Not all of them but a good majority.

    Comment by Anonymous

    How much do you know about feminist, other than those portrayed on TV, and those females who, watched TV, come across a usable tool against patriarchy, to gain sympathy from other women and male sympathisers, but deliberately used feminism to further their personal agendas?

    Before railing against feminism, you will need to understand the feminist movement. If I want to argue against the statements of 03:56 17/01/2012, I can go on for ages.

    When these "feminist" try to impose their form of equality on you, just throw back the question at them. "If matriarchy is in power, then what?"

    Lastly, I am a guy.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Yet some parts of the world are just as bad if not worse economically but don't have this problem? Yeah nice try with making an excuse.

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