Japan is struggling to adapt to a new cultural phenomenon – a generation of new age men who are sensitive, not interested in high-powered or lucrative careers, heterosexual but not really interested in women, sex or marriage. These men are called “herbivores” since they aren’t interested in “matters of the flesh”. The concept of masculinity is changing. These men are more modest and passive than previous generations. They believe men and women can be just friends. They’re usually thin and interested in pursuing their own eclectic hobbies, such as fashion, sewing, video games, personal grooming or eating desert.
Some say the rise in herbivore men is due to the generation growing up in hard economic times, when less jobs were available. However, it’s unclear why that would only apply to the men. Japan is seeing a concurrent trend – the rise of “carnivorous” women – women to take the initiative with men and make the first move when it comes to dating. These women embrace eating meat and are aggressive in their careers. They eschew traditional feminine tasks such as cooking or doing household chores, and are less enthusiastic about marriage than previous generations.
It seems these twin Japanese trends parallel those in the United States – with both countries witnessing plunging birth and marriage rates. And for an economic twist – both countries see a decline in entrepreneurship in the younger generations.