|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
10 percent of Japanese men in their 40s still virgins 2006,07,13
Yomiuri Weekly 7/23 By Ryann Connell
Haruka is a 38-year-old temporary employment agency worker.
She met her 41-year-old boyfriend through an online matchmaking site.
Judging by his email, he seemed to be kind and was certainly mature.
After exchanging mail for about a year, the pair finally agreed to meet.
The boyfriend shocked Haruka on their second date, Yomiuri Weekly (7/23) says, when he suddenly blurted out a proposal.
"Marry me," Haruka says, recalling her boyfriend's words for Yomiuri Weekly.
"I've kept my body clean all my life while I waited to get married.
I'm still a virgin."
Haruka didn't know what to say, but kept on seeing her 41-year-old boyfriend and thinks they'll probably tie the knot some day.
While many around the world may have chuckled at the American comedy "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," a complete dearth of sexual experience well into the 40s is a very serious matter.
In fact, according to a survey by Dr. Kunio Kitamura, head of the Japan Family Planning Association (and Mainichi columnist), 7.9 percent of Japanese men from the ages of 40 to 44 are still to have sex.
And Kitamura says the real figure is probably worse.
"There were another 5 percent of men who didn't give an answer," he tells Yomiuri Weekly.
"If you consider that most of these men have probably not had sex, either, I'd say the real number of virgin men in their early to mid-40s is probably closer to 10 percent."
Mayumi Nimatsu, a marriage counselor who has dealt with the problems faced by many couples, thinks she knows the reason why Japan has managed to produce such a large number of chaste middle-aged men.
"This generation reached adulthood just as Japan was in the middle of the bubble era.
Matchmaking parties started to become popular and there were plenty of opportunities for the sexes to mix," Nimatsu says.
"But, on the other hand, it was also the time when women began insisting any men they would show interest in have the three 'highs' (a high income, a high academic background and height).
This really polarized the situation, with men who'd be popular with women standing out above those who wouldn't be and probably did a lot to contribute to the high rate of virginity amongst 40-somethings now."
Ironically, in a Japan where the lack of sex between married couples has reached epidemic proportions, this same demographic producing so many virgins is also the same group with fewer sexless marriages than any other, the weekly says, quoting figures from a government survey on marriage.
Pshrink Seiji Okada thinks he knows why.
"Society has become more Americanized and people are now valued more for speaking their minds.
This applies at work and in the home.
People developed a dislike for arranged marriages and love marriages were dictated to by market principles, with women the party given the choice," Okada tells Yomiuri Weekly.
"Some guys lack the ability to speak out on their own behalf and it becomes a handicap that sees them weeded out (of the love game) through the process of natural selection." (By Ryann Connell)
July 13, 2006