Japan Faces Extinction (Because Nobody Is Having Sex)

Is Japan tired of sex? Due to drastically falling birthrates, researchers predict that within the next 1,000 years Japan will be a nation with no children. This isn’t Children of Men, this is really happening. Not because of infertility or a disease, but because people just aren’t having sex.


            Let’s look at a few facts before we jump to conclusions as to why Japan’s birthrate is shrinking. Japan’s youth population has been gradually shrinking in the past 20 years. It’s been shrinking so much, in fact, that schools have been closed due to a lack of children to teach. Also a factor is the growing elderly population. Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world by far. Currently, the average age of death is 86.39 but Japanese officials expect that number to rise to 90.93 by 2060. The growing number of senior citizens means that the amount of workers contributing to the economy will decline which in turn affects the amount of people who can pay for those on pensions.

            To put Japan’s shrinking birthrate in perspective: there are 16.6 million children under the age of 14 in Japan, but that number shrinks by one every 100 seconds. In 50 years, Japan’s birthrate will fall to 1.35 children per woman, well below the replacement rate. Last year, adult diapers outsold diapers for babies. One in four unmarried men and women in their thirties have never had sex, and most young women prefer the single life. Over 60% of unmarried men and 50% of unmarried women were not dating, nor did they have any interest in dating. Most shockingly, 36% of males aged 16-19 had no interest in sex.


            Why is this happening? Well, most obviously is the cost of living in Japan. It’s extremely expensive to have a child in Japan even though the state gives plenty of benefits to parents. With a little digging, it’s evident that the issue goes far deeper than money. One argument is the fact that Japan’s youth prefers virtual friendships and relationships to real ones. Japan’s virtual worlds are incredibly sophisticated and it’s smart phone apps are the most created. The country is so physically overcrowded; it’s easy to get lost in a fantasy where anything is possible.

However, the real impact on the sex drive in Japan appears to be linked to both celibacy ads and women’s rights issues. Celibacy has become the norm in Japanese youth due to promotions by celebrities. For example, 20-year-old pop star Minami Minegishi, shaved her head in shame for spending the night at her boyfriend’s apartment. Apparently her band, AKB48, had a strict no-dating policy and forced her to make a video apology to their fans. The video was aired on the evening news. Advertisements in Japan are also increasingly attempting to appeal to the “single life.” Disposable underwear is sold in individually wrapped packages. “Meals-for-one” and Internet cafés have encouraged people to stay single for the sake of affordability. On top of everything else, the Japanese youth seem to be happy with their sexless state.


As odd as this new trend appears to us, birthrates in developed countries worldwide have been dropping. Though Japan’s celibacy is far more pronounced and accelerated, the rest of the world is not far behind.




Alter, C. (2013, October 22). Japan’s hottest new sex trend is not having sex. Retrieved from http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/10/22/japans-hottest-new-sex-trend-is-not-having-sex/


Piper, D. (2012, May 11). Lack of babies could mean the extinction of the japanese people. Retrieved from http://www.amren.com/news/2012/05/lack-of-babies-could-mean-the-extinction-of-the-japanese-people/


Urbanski, D. (2013, October 2013). Will this nation’s ‘celibacy syndrome’ cause it to ‘perish into extinction’?. Retrieved from http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/10/23/will-this-nations-celibacy-syndrome-cause-it-to-perish-into-extinction/


Waters, P. (2013, May 18). Japan’s population on pace to become extinct by 3011. Retrieved from http://elitedaily.com/news/world/japans-population-extinct-3011/

8 thoughts on “Japan Faces Extinction (Because Nobody Is Having Sex)

  1. Also, if you guys want to find out more on this subject, read up on Japan’s sexual culture and traditions. It’s incredibly bizarre from a western perspective. Because Japan’s youth culture is becoming more westernized, their sexual practices may be unattractive to this generation’s young people.


  2. Great read. While I did enjoy the use of facts and supporting articles, I still find that the Japanese will, in fact, NOT go extinct. Thinking critically, having sex for pleasure and having sex for the sake of reproduction. From a more superficial standpoint, it is understandable how the Japanese culture differs. How do you think this relates to the world of advertising? How would you cater your ads for certain products to this very different culture?


  3. I definitely did not think that advertising had such an impact on birth rate in Japan. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that the birth rate has decreased so much within the years on the Eastern Hemisphere. The fact that being single is more socially acceptable than dating strikes me as odd. No wonder people aren’t reproducing —the society shuns those who as much as spend the night at their significant others, such as pop star Minami Minegishi as you have mentioned in your article. Advertisers should try a different approach in their ads and promote sexual activity in a smart and refined sense.


  4. It’s so interesting to see that campaigns trying to fight against sexual culture have been so effective in Japan that they have contributed somewhat to another problem. Japan is going to have problems with an aging workforce and no one to fill the jobs if this trend continues, so I would not be suprised if within the next 5-10 years we see ads promoting sexual activity, or more likely ads promoting getting married and having children as an attempt to try and combat this ‘greying of Japan’.


  5. Wow….I guess ad campaigns have been….too successful in marketing abstinence? This situation is incredibly unpredictable. Where does Japan go from here? An attempt to change mindsets and market unprotected sex? For their sake, maybe MTV should travel to Japan and promote teenage motherhood?


  6. Crazy read. It is hard for me to see this part of the world when living in the United States where sex is EVERYWHERE I turn. I think a main component of life is reproduction and with a major absence of this in Japan, it is possible that extinction may occur.


  7. This was a really interesting post. I agree the ad campaigns may have been a little too successful, but maybe the young adults of Japenese culture are too easily influenced? Either way, I think the advertisements are a too extreme but I like the idea of supporting independence.


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