Japan’s Shrinking Population and Virtual Girlfriends


Despite being the largest metropolis in the world, Japans population is decreasing at a rapid pace. According to the Japan Times, Japans population has decreased by a record of 244,000 people in 2013. Unless birth rates increase dramatically, the Japanese government estimated that the population would decline from its current 127.5 million to 97 million, by 2050.

 What could be the cause of such low birth rates? Some would blame the change in attitude toward marriage and gender roles, and low fertility rates. However, most would say birth rates are decreasing because Japanese men are no longer interested in sex…well, sex with real women, at least.

 “Unless something happens to boost Japan’s birth rate, its population will shrink by a third between now and 2060. One reason for the lack of babies is the emergence of a new breed of Japanese men, the otaku, who love manga, anime and computers – and sometimes show little interest in sex.”

A popular video game that provides men with the experience of interacting with virtual girls is Love plus, a game made by Nintendo. The object of the game is to interact with girls at your high school, get to know them, and eventually establish a romantic relationship with them.

Another popular substitute for intimate contact are silicone sex dolls that are mass produced in factories and sold online. A man who owns over a hundred of these dolls claims that he prefers sex dolls since they cannot betray or give him trouble like a real woman would.

As bizarre as it all sounds, the decrease of relations between men and women, in Japan, proves that all nations are experiencing new changes with new media technologies. While the population decreases in Japan, acts of violence and mental disorders are becoming a major problem in the West. People are still learning how to cope with living in a world that is dominated and highly influenced by digital media. As new technology continues to develop everyday, we must also develop more effective ways on how people can cope with a fast-paced lifestyle and the consumption of an immense amount of information from day-to-day.





BBC News Magazine (23 October, 2013). The Japanese men who prefer virtual girlfriends to sex. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24614830

The Diplomat (3 February, 2013). Japan’s Demographic Disaster. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24614830

BBC News Asia (1 January, 201). Japan’s population falls by a record 244,000 in 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25566868

CNN World (20 January, 2014). Is Japan’s aging population a good thing?http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/20/is-japans-aging-population-a-good-thing/?hpt=hp_bn2

BBC Magazine (23 October, 2013). Japanese men happy with virtual girlfriends. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24638188


2 thoughts on “Japan’s Shrinking Population and Virtual Girlfriends

  1. This is a very fascinating article. You have a country like China on one hand, dealing with population explosion and implementing methods to curb such, whereas in Japan, they are being encouraged to copulate and reproduce, but to no avail. I wonder if work also has an effect on why these couples and young people aren’t having sex. Maybe fatigue is also a factor.


  2. Pingback: Virtual Companionship: Should We Simulate Love? – PREMag

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