Herbivore men

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Herbivore men[1] or grass-eater men[2] (草食(系)男子 Sōshoku(-kei) danshi?) is a term used in Japan to describe men who have no interest in getting married or finding a girlfriend.[3] The term was coined by author Maki Fukasawa in an article published on 13 October 2006.[4][5][6][7]

Surveys of single Japanese men conducted in 2010 found that 61% of men in their 20s and 70% of men in their 30s considered themselves to be herbivores.[8] Japan's government views the phenomenon as one possible cause of the nation's declining birth rate.[9]

According to Fukasawa, herbivore men are "not without romantic relationships, but have a non-assertive, indifferent attitude toward desires of flesh". Philosopher Masahiro Morioka defines herbivore men as men who are "kind and gentle men who, without being bound by manliness, do not pursue romantic relationships voraciously and have no aptitude for being hurt or hurting others."[10]

Potential causes

Indifference of men to marriage and committed relationships is an observable trend in many advanced societies. Various social and economic factors are cited in playing a role in this trend. For example, the huge proliferation of internet porn has increased the ease and enjoyment of masturbation for men, with the possible consequence that "two-dimensional" females are now more attractive to men than three-dimensional ones. In Japan, the decline of the Japanese economy is often cited as a factor including the rise of herbivore men, the theory being that economic disillusionment has caused Japanese men to turn their backs on typical "masculine" and corporate roles,[11] with over 2,500,000 freeters and between 650,000 and 850,000 NEETs living in Japan between the ages of 19 and 35.[12] Some professionals see this response ingrained in Japanese culture—while Westerners voice displeasure with hardships, the Japanese instead turn inwards.[13][14]

Many of these causes, however, may be enhanced by Japanese women and male perceptions of them. Many women refuse men who do not have steady jobs (such as freeters and NEET).[15] Other women feel that self-proclaimed soushoku-kei danshi (herbivore men) are weak and not masculine, while some men apparently are not attracted to "independent" women.[9][16][17] In a 2011 poll of Japanese boys aged between sixteen and nineteen, 36% of the boys said they were not interested in having sex; the figure for girls in the same age group was nearly double, at 59%.[18] Masahiro Morioka argues that Japanese herbivore men phenomena have had a strong relationship with Japan's post-war peace. He says, "The herbivorization of young Japanese men is a byproduct of the Japan's sixty-six years of peace following World War II."[19]

See also


  1. "From carnivores to herbivores: how men are defined in Japan". japantoday.com. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  2. McCurry, Justin (27 December 2009). "Japan's 'grass eaters' turn their backs on macho ways". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  3. Yang, Jeff (23 March 2011). "After the end of the world". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  4. lifestudies.org Special Report: Herbivore Men
  5. "Japan's "herbivore" men shun corporate life, sex". Reuters. 27 July 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  6. "Blurring the boundaries". The Japan Times. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  7. "Dude Looks Like a Lady in Our Recessionary Times: William Pesek". Bloomberg. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  8. Harney, Alexandra. "Japan panics about the rise of "herbivores"—young men who shun sex, don't spend money, and like taking walks. - Slate Magazine". Slate.com. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Young Japanese 'decline to fall in love'". BBC News. 11 January 2012. 
  10. "A Phenomenological Study of “Herbivore Men”"
  11. "Japan's "herbivore" men shun corporate life, sex". Reuters. 27 July 2009. 
  12. "Youth Employment in Japan's Economic Recovery: 'Freeters' and 'NEETs'". JapanFocus. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  13. "Unmasking Japan, Episode 2 "The Last Days of Pompeii?"". YouTube. Retrieved 20 August 2012. [dead link]
  14. Teo, Alan. "Modern-Day Hermits: The Story Hikkomori in Japan and Beyond". Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  15. "They need another hero". The Economist. 29 October 2009. 
  16. "The last person out of the closet? The bisexual male". CNN. 28 June 2010. 
  17. Harney, Alexandra. "Japan panics about the rise of "herbivores"—young men who shun sex, don't spend money, and like taking walks. - Slate Magazine". Slate.com. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  18. Tomikawa, Yuri (13 January 2011). "No Sex, Please, We're Young Japanese Men". The Wall Street Journal. 
  19. Masahiro Morioka (September 2013). "A Phenomenological Study of "Herbivore Men"" (PDF). The Review of Life Studies. 4: 1–20. 

Further reading