Unmarried men are increasing more than woman in Japan. It is said that 18 to 34-year-old men who don’t have a partner reach 60%. And 20 to 30-year-old men will be single all their life. Why are Unmarried men increasing? It is said because of economic depression or informal employment. But I think there is another reason which relate to gender and partner norm.
Today’s Japanese prefer to distinguish two types of character. They are 草食系 ‘herbivorous’ and 肉食系 ‘predatory’. Predatory people are active to find partner and interested in relationship. Herbivorous men are the opposite. They are not eager to find a partner and tend to be clumsy in love. 70% of Japanese men feel herbivorous, and They are called 草食系男子(soushokukei-danshi) ’herbivore men’ and often become popular in Japanese society. But Japanese woman have not so good image of them. Herbivore men are clumsy in love and afraid of risk that if they are rejected. So they can’t approach positively and fail to make relationship with partner. Japanese women feel them week-need and not masculine.
Since Japanese women’s idea of ‘herbivore men’ becomes pressure, herbivore men maybe make them more passive. But women have wanted masculine men so far. Then why are herbivore men increasing in this time? I think Japanese gender norm has completely changed. Up to the present, Social duty and authority could be used by only men in Japan. These elements were essential to make men masculine. But in the 1980s, women rights have completely changed. Women were advanced to social life, duty and authority that used to be monopolized by men can be shared. That’s why herbivore men are increasing.
Japanese Gender Norm has updated but Japanese Partner Norm has not. I think Japanese people tend to persist old-fasioned partner norm like ‘masculine men’ and ‘sensitive women. Therefore they can’t find their partners. I don’t think they must do have partners, but if they have partners and make a good relationship in this modern society, They should change their partner norm.
by Ayana Hisatani