1. Interesting article!

    I never thought to consider that the declining birth rate in Japan could be attributed to a variety of causes like the growing sense of careerism as well as the growing disdain for sexual contact among young, ambitious Japanese people. Do you think that the growing commodification of intimacy in Japan has cheapened the idea of intimacy and thus has given the connotation that any sort of sexual encounter is “dirty” or “cheap”? Also do you think that the commodification of intimacy is a result of the growing concept that many Japanese people do not need other people or do you think it was created as a solution to give people the chance to experience what they have trouble experiencing on a daily basis? Do you think that women deciding to delay marriage is an effort of feminism in Japan to defy the typical stay-at-home wife standard and thus creating a space for men to find other outlets to satisfy themselves? Are there large differences in the numbers of men and women who seek these services? Just some thoughts that came to mind when reading this thought-provoking article!

  2. It was very interesting to learn about this rapidly growing new culture of Japan. These new intimacy services are indeed salient, but somehow I was not too surprised. Whereas Japan has been known for its relatively open-mindedness for sex and sexuality, especially compared to other neighboring Asian countries, I have also heard that going herbivorous was a new way to go among young Japanese people. In an incredibly modernized and individualized city, such as Tokyo, people must feel they lack energy and time to actively look for “something real.” To me a cuddle cafe almost sounds like a natural course of outcome of the generational fatigue, as well as a great reflection of Japanese culture. As a senior Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies major at the College, I’m usually very torn about questions — for instance, can prostitution be liberating? should prostitution be legalized? what consists of sex work? — because I think they all really depend on the context. I don’t mean to give out a wrong idea that these service providers should be viewed as sex workers, but I feel that it would be extremely interesting to study their demographics and their own views about the job, and compare to those of the consumers. I think that’ll shed some light to how gender/social/economic/class relations or hierarchies can impact on Japanese popular culture. Thank you for sharing a very intriguing topic.

  3. mazuschlag says:

    Many other European countries suffer a similar birth rate problem. Has the Japanese government intervened to help alleviate this problem at all? Is it possible they may put their foot down on the practices you described in an attempt to get people together? Or perhaps they’ll encourage dating apps like those mentioned in the US in bid to get more people dating? Have any other countries done anything like this with success?

    I’m also curious to know how prevalent these practices are throughout all of Japan. Tokyo seems to have a culture/society of its own in some regards, and it wouldn’t surprise me if things that seem normal or acceptable in Tokyo would seem silly or immoral in less populated areas, much like New York or London and their respective countries. Are these services popular in other populous cities like Osaka or Sapporo? How much influence do sex and cultural artifacts in Tokyo have on other populated areas? Does the same mentality of too little time/energy for relationships exist in more rural areas or smaller communities? I know it’s a lot of questions but the cultural differences between large metropolitan areas and the rest of a state can be surprising.

  4. lflucerocarter says:

    Really interesting topic! It’s cool that your pop culture theme has real world implications through population numbers, while also being related to commercial consumption trends. Though you’re discussing a theory outside of database and grand narrative, does the Animalization theory have any sort of interaction with the database or grand narrative theories of consumption? Or is it completely independent?