Last month we told you about China's record-low fertility rate and social stigma around having a large family. Today, we bring you another aspect of that equation; lame, feminized Chinese men who refuse to step up their game and get laid.
Yes, Hong Kong is suffering from an army of loners - estimated at 20,000 to 40,000 strong - usually in their 20's and 30's, who are choosing video games, anime and internet porn over wives, sex and the inevitable children that follow.
We can blame the prevalence of smartphones, laptops, computers, tablets and other electronic devices. We can even blame it on e-sports, a new pseudo sport that is sweeping the city with government backing. It can also be interpreted as another excuse for people to submerge themselves in the digital world rather than experience the real word. -SCMP
These sexless men are known as "otaku," - a Japanese term for socially awkward gents who have isolated themselves from their families and romantic prospects alike. "[T]hese “geeks” tend to be diehard anime and manga fans who have little interest in dating," writes Luisa Tam in the South China Morning Post.
Taking it one step further are the "soshoku danshi," which translates to "grass-eating men" or "herbivore men" - a term coined by Japanese columnist Maki Fukasawa who describes these particular isolationists as having a "monk-like approach to life and relationships," which of course includes no sex.
Studies in Japan estimate that this class of men, normally in their 20s and 30s, account for around 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the male population. Obviously, their reluctance to procreate is a major cause for concern. Japan has had one of lowest birth rates in the world for nearly a decade now. -SCMP
Hong Kong has seen a sharp rise in the number of "grass-eating men," according to Dr. Paul Wong Wai-ching, associate professor of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at hte University of Hong Kong.
According to Dr Paul Wong Wai-ching, associate professor of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong, the city has seen a rise in the number of “grass-eating men”.
“These herbivore men don’t connect with others, they don’t establish their own families or have children and don’t really contribute anything meaningful to society, either tangibly or intangibly,” says Wong. “They are like parasites who often live with their parents. So you can imagine how it’s going to affect society in the long run, socially and economically.”
Wai-ching notes that similar to Japan, China's society is aging. “These ‘grass-eating men’ are not capable of taking care of their ageing parents and neither are they capable of taking care of themselves when they become old, they are childless so they will have no family support,” he says.
Another type of man you won’t be finding on any dating apps are the “modern-day hermits”. They seek extreme disconnection and isolation from the rest of society, they become practically invisible. This phenomenon is triggered by an overburdened sense of responsibility, and when the pressure becomes too unbearable it causes the person to pull away and unplug from society in a kind of self-imposed exile.
What's worse, after a long period of social detachment, these men lose their social skills - affecting their ability to find employment. This, as Tam writes, has a domino effect of creating youths who are financially dependent on family and friends - jobless and lacking in drive. This vicious cycle leads to a failure to launch - leaving many of these "otaku" without long term relationships, romantic or friend-based.
A recent study found that cows form relationships and even have best friends. When separated from their best friend, their milk production was affected and they showed a change in personality.
Think about it, if these bovine grass-eaters showed signs of emotional distress because of a lack of emotional contact, how will human “grass eaters” fare if they shut themselves off from human contact?
Forget the nerds, China's already in big trouble...
According to the Wall Street Journal, "China’s clinging to birth restrictions defies a clear demographic trend: Its workforce is shrinking and the population is rapidly aging. By 2050, there will be 1.3 workers for each retiree, according to official estimates, compared with 2.8 now," adding "No matter what the government does now, it is too late to significantly change the overall trend because of social attitudes"
President Xi Jinping has acknowledged the need to breed - stating in 2015 that China needs more births.
Meanwhile, China's one-child policy, and now two-child policy, has conditioned the population to shun large families.
In a generation that grew up without siblings, a one-child mind-set is deeply entrenched. Maternity-leave policies have been expanded but some women say taking leave twice is a career impediment. An All-China Women’s Federation survey found 53% of respondents with one child didn’t want a second.
Even without birth limits, China’s economic development would have reduced fertility rates, says Martin Whyte, a Harvard University Chinese-studies expert. That has been the pattern elsewhere in the world: When incomes rise, the sizes of families tend to go down. -WSJ
If the nation drops birth policies now, says Whyte, “China will learn what many other countries have learned—that it is much more difficult to get people to have more babies” than to force them to stop having them.
“I think Xi’s views about demography are clear: He considers population more as a resource than a burden,” said Huang Wenzheng, a researcher at the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based independent think tank, and a co-founder of a hedge-fund firm that invests globally. “But of course he cannot easily abandon the family-planning policy because that would be a sharp turn away from his predecessors’ policies.”
How is this happening?