Thursday, April 2, 2009

The characteristics of young Japanese men--herbivorous men

It's been said that Japanese men, especially young ones, have recently become kinder to and less assertive towards women. Japanese women, meanwhile, have become stronger and more independent.

From a marketing perspective, the distinctive characteristics of Japanese people are defined by age bracket and generation. Some are further broken down and named after their characteristics. Some of the names are so popular that they have become common knowledge.

Lately, I often hear "草食系男子/soushokukei-danshi", which is a name describing a new group of young men mainly in their 20s. The phrase was coined a few years ago. 草食/soushoku is from "草食動物 soushoku-doubutsu" which means herbivore. 男子/danshi means a man. Can you guess what "草食系男子/soushokukei-danshi” indicates? Actually, herbivore is used here in contrast with carnivore. In Japanese carnivore is called 肉食動物/nikushoku-doubutsu. In this contrast, the the Kanji character "肉/niku" for" 肉食動物/nikushoku-doubutsu" implies 肉体/nikutai (body) and 肉体関係/nikutai-kankei (physical relationship).

Well, the main characteristics of " 草食系男子/soushokukei-danshi” are as follows
  • They prefer staying home rather than going out in their free time.
  • They are (relatively) sensitive and kind.
  • They don't actively/aggressively try to find their girlfriends and date.
  • When a man is asked by a woman to go shopping or to go to dinner etc, he will accept her offer, and will accompany her on the outing, but this rarely leads to them dating each other.
  • When they spend the night with a woman who is just a friend, and sleep in the same room, nothing even happens between them.
Other than this, it's been said that many Japanese men in their 20s aren't interested in cars. In the past, many young Japanese men used to work hard to buy brand-new/stylish cars. In contrast, at the moment, many Japanese men in their 20s don't think they need cars. Under these circumstances, it's often reported that automobile companies in Japan have been seriously damaged not only by the current economic crisis but also by the attitudes of young people toward cars.
On top of that, young men have less interest in traveling overseas because they think that they can get any information they could possibly need about foreign countries over the internet. They usually don't spend money on expensive thing seven though they can afford to.

It seems that Japanese men in their 20s are no longer able to serve as the driving force for the expansion of domestic demand.