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July 27, 2009

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Well I guess this story is making the rounds among the various media outlets.

I think some of the "pro male" type bloggers out there like Roissy among others have made a point saying that a similar thing is happening in the West, though perhaps not to the same degree as in Japan.

According to these bloggers, the betas are increasingly shut out from access to women, as women and the predominant culture shifts more and more in favor of alphas. And betas increasingly have fewer and fewer good jobs and hence social position, as the competition from women, and the society's favoring of women, makes good employment tougher for them. So the betas increasingly retreat to their homes, internet, etc.

Seems plausible, I guess. Though another aspect of this is that betas will become increasingly violent and "thuggish" as they have less and less to lose, and realize that organized violence is one of the few ways for them to gain respect, women, etc. It seems like this is what happened in previous civilization, but I guess it's possible that tech like internet porn, video games, and a stronger police state may constrain them.

[HS: Nope, it's making them less violent, as you can see from the quote I added to the original post after you wrote this comment.]

Doesn't this undermine the HBD perspective at some level? These men carry the genes of their grandfathers, who made war across Asia, undertook the Rape of Nanking, and committed suicide rather than being captured. Okay, Japan is a very conformist country, so groupthink is pervasive. But the bottom line is that this trend shows that culture can change dramatically over the course of one or two generations despite no obvious change in the gene pool.

Anon the Moose,

I'm no scientist, but I wouldn't be surprised if pollution causing a decrease in testosterone is a big factor in all this.

Yes, I do read stuff like this and wonder what happened to the generation who would fight to the last man to preserve some god-forsaken scrap of tropical jungle.

I briefly had a very hot Japanese girlfriend in college who I pursued aggressively. She kept giving me suggestions that in retrospect I see as an attempt to get me to be a grass-eater.

[HS: this is interesting I want to hear more.]

These were the men who took over half of Asia?

"These men carry the genes of their grandfathers, who made war across Asia, undertook the Rape of Nanking, and committed suicide rather than being captured. Okay, Japan is a very conformist country, so groupthink is pervasive. But the bottom line is that this trend shows that culture can change dramatically over the course of one or two generations despite no obvious change in the gene pool."

Maybe the radiation from Hiroshima and Nagasaki had unknown side effects?

How long can this trend last, given that these people seem like they won't be breeding (or at least that most won't)? I'd conjecture that memetics (like this herbivore man meme) are more difficult to pass when the population that carries it doesn't breed.[1]

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[1] Of course, that assumes that this is mostly a memetic phenomena, and not mostly genetics.

[HS: The Japanese who DO have children will be selected for greater fecundity, do it will all work out in the long run.]

"despite no obvious change in the gene pool."

Says who? World War II was a heavy cull.

Anon the Moose wrote:

"Doesn't this undermine the HBD perspective at some level? These men carry the genes of their grandfathers, who made war across Asia, undertook the Rape of Nanking, and committed suicide rather than being captured. Okay, Japan is a very conformist country, so groupthink is pervasive. But the bottom line is that this trend shows that culture can change dramatically over the course of one or two generations despite no obvious change in the gene pool."

In another post the possibility was raised that WWII had a large impact on the Japanese population. At WWII, Japan had 70 million people and 2 million who died in the military, which was about 3% of their population. I'm not biologist, but I don't think that culling the most violent or nationalistic 3% of the population could completely change the genetic character of a nation.

Alternatively we could argue that people who were soldiers in WWII had reduced reproductive fitness due to injury or loss of time, even if they did not die in the conflict. About 8.5 million served in the Japanese military during WW2. That's about 12% of the population. Again, I have no technical background but it seems a little bit implausible that reducing the fitness of 24% of the male population could really change a nationalistic country into a peaceful one.

"According to these bloggers [Roissy & Co.], the betas are increasingly shut out from access to women, as women and the predominant culture shifts more and more in favor of alphas. And betas increasingly have fewer and fewer good jobs and hence social position, as the competition from women, and the society's favoring of women, makes good employment tougher for them. So the betas increasingly retreat to their homes, internet, etc."

There's a big difference. Betas of this sort are not happy with their fate even if they've become resigned to it. In contrast, the Japanese "herbivores" sound happy with their lives.

These stories lend credence to what I have heard from people who have taught English in Japan: you merely need to ask women and they will bed you. They cannot say no and the men are no competition. I have even heard that married women are more than willing to cheat on their husbands. One guy I knew brought home a beautiful Japanese wife. His friend hasn't left Japan in years because he claims an unlimited number of sexual partners. I always thought these stories were fantastic but maybe not. I wish I would have gone for a year to find out for myself.

I blame capitalism. Unrestrained commodity fetishism has created (literal) sexual surrogates for these men, who no longer see women as worth the time or emotional investment that traditional relationships require. Why leave it to chance when you can buy a doll, subconsciously fulfilling the same desires that have motivated most since childhood? Japan's hyper-consumerist society is slowly killing itself off.

There are a lot of phytoestrogens in the Japanese diet (Soy and green tea). Soy and green tea TOGETHER, cut testosterone drastically (almost in half) in mice.

The study, http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/133/2/516

The MONEY CHART THAT SHOWS YOU THE DECREASE IN TESTOSTERONE AND DIHYDROTESTOTERONE: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/vol133/issue2/images/large/4w0132769002.jpeg

LOOK at the chart kids!! When soy and green tea are consumed TOGETHER, testosterone drops from the control level of 5pg/deciliter to under 3pg/decileter. Thats almost CUT IN TWO.
DHT is damn near cut by at least 2/3 if you look closely at the chart. Neither ALONE do this, but if you use soy and green tea TOGETHER (and the Japanese oft-use both) you get this effect. Soy ALONE will cut Testosterone and DHT. These are your most potent two male hormones and they both make you horny and make you act like a man.


Stay away from foods with phytoestrogens, they will effect you negatively if you are a man.


I -openly wonder- if women who use these two together during pregnancies might effect male children in physical development (penis size anyone?) and behavior over there. Asian males who were born and bred here in the United States seem much more masculine, larger, and "American-like" than the Asians who emigrate over here as adults.

"At WWII, Japan had 70 million people and 2 million who died in the military, which was about 3% of their population. I'm not biologist, but I don't think that culling the most violent or nationalistic 3% of the population could completely change the genetic character of a nation."

Keep in mind that in dealing with HBD factors we are dealing with an age demographic. A 3% population death associated specifically with military members could mean the death of up to 20% of men who were of typical marriage and child rearing age. This is not including the number of wounded who may not have reproduced (or at least at levels they would have otherwise). That's more than enough to have dysgenic effects.

Juse speculating, there may also have been effects in reproduction because of the shake-up in status roles during the ensuing occupation (i.e. collaborators were more successful financially, etc).

"I always thought these stories were fantastic but maybe not."

For what it may be worth, I have a European appearance and spent some time in Japan in the early 1990s. Women were hitting on me left and right. It was like being some kind of rock star.

Anyway, it does seem like the industrialized world is getting more and more feminized. I wonder if there is any link between that and alleged drops in sperm counts.

Too much Koikuchi soy sauce...

His friend hasn't left Japan in years because he claims an unlimited number of sexual partners. I always thought these stories were fantastic but maybe not. I wish I would have gone for a year to find out for myself.

Yes but remember that jap women are very racist.

Why do people assume that the Japanese have somehow become timid SWPL yuppies just because they don't date around?

Japan is still fiercely nationalist, with even the left-wing parties probably being more conservative than the GOP could ever hope to be. There's a lot of animosity towards foreigners (gaijin), perceptions of Japanese superiority, and the immigration laws are some of the strictest on earth.

Yes, they no longer perform banzai charges on US marines on Makin, but I'd chalk that up to the current global environment and the position that Japan finds itself in. If we had the same global conditions as we did in the early 20th century (no nukes, colonialism in full swing, China not united etc) but the Japanese had their current population, you bet they'd still be going into Asia bayonets first.

As for the herbivores, I must say I find the situation hilarious. The cause is probably a clash between the old Japanese values and the westernization of their society. Basically, Japanese men have managed to pull off the first gender boycott in history. Of you wacky little island.

Roger, the variable in this equation is your mastery of japanese. With limited knowledge, you'll find yourself mostly resigned to the gaijin-hunting skanks who prowl the bars of Roppongi.

For what it's worth, a blogger who appears to be a white guy living/working in or somehow affiliated with Japan claims to debunk some of the stuff from the NYTimes article on 2-D love:

http://www.mutantfrog.com/2009/07/27/nemutans-revenge-some-fact-checking-and-reaction-to-the-nyt-story-on-anime-fetishists/


If you believe WWII instigated the Japanese herbivore, then I think you'd also have to believe the Atlantic crossing instigated the hypertensioned African-American.

If I recall correctly Gregory Cochran has done the math to show there is no basis for the Atlantic crossing causing a genetic predisposition for hypertension.

My money is on environmental factors, perhaps abetted by a highly conformist culture that counter-intuitively allows for a smaller than typical "critical mass" to establish a new normal, which is herbivores in this case. But why aren't the women turning to homosexuality? I've always thought female sexuality to be the more mutable of the two. It would seem to me all this pent-up demand should turn on itself.

Maybe it's due to the breakdown in monogamy combined with sexual freedom. Forced monogamy made most people end up with a partner and children. With the forced Socialism that is monogamous relationships are falling back to the natural order - Alpha males (and higher Betas) are getting to spread their DNA whilst Omegas are shut out because it's merely evolution not a conspiracy. (In Nature only the underwhelming minority of critters who earn their 'Alphaness' get to sire the next generation.) One big problem is that birth control means Alphas may not be spreading their genes either. So instead of seeing a 're-Alpha-isation' of society there's nothing but an ageing population. Maybe the problem (if it is one) is the way Japan seems relatively accepting of this behaviour. Few Westerners would openly admit to 'herb' behaviour.

However it's doubtful that the current herb Japanese are the necessarily the descendents of the hardcore WW2 soldiers. Most soldiers were probably standard conscripts. Alternatively, modern warfare is horribly dysgenic - Alpha males are the ones who can be a 'real' soldier and end up dying on the battlefield whilst the wimps were farther from the front line and less likely to be killed.

P.S. What are the attitudes of female Japanese tourists when travelling in the West? :)

The problem is that most Japanese women are very unattractive. They're short, have bad teeth, fat calves and no breasts. I rank Japan with England as one of the least attractive populations on the planet. Still, with odds that good a Westerner can probably find some cute girls.

There are other examples of nations changing from warlike to fairly pacifist after significant culling in wartime - Sweden after getting beat by Russia in the 18th century, Germany after WWII, and France has arguably never really recovered from the Napoleonic wars. Even Russia, despite posturing, doesn't seem any longer like the country that beat the Germans at Kursk.

"I rank Japan with England as one of the least attractive populations on the planet."

Two island nations, fancy that. British women have great jugs, though:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article17807.ece#nogo

The rest can be fixed.

France was still warlike after Napoleon. At the start of WWI there was a whole generation of young french men who *could not wait* to avenge the 1870 defeat against Prussia. They didn't know what laid ahead, of course. France , like the other western european coutries became more or less pacifist after WWII but that wasn't due to any kind of culling ( the losses of WWI were crushing but not those of WWII for the french ).
I don't think the culling hypothesis works so well.

"Unlike earlier generations of Japanese men, they prefer not to make the first move, they like to split the bill, and they're not particularly motivated by sex."

Sounds like a panda.

"She kept giving me suggestions that in retrospect I see as an attempt to get me to be a grass-eater."

grass-eater or rug-eater? Lost in translation?

Allan, you may have a point. If we allow that the Japanese are more conformist (higher anxiety, more prosocial) and less diverse than the West, a smaller group can lead a trend.

I also wonder if herbivore men aren't the same as American metrosexuals. More media invention than fact on the ground.

[HS: There are very few "metrosexuals"; it's more of a made up trend than a real trend.]

HS: that was exactly my point. Metrosexuals were were a "trend." Herbivore men (Can we just call the Herbs?) could be exactly the same sort of trend. Or playing at role reversal: girls chase boys!

OTOH, people with shizoid personality disorder sound quite a bit like the herbivores. Pconroy in gnxp comment said SPD is similar to INTJ on Myers Briggs. Maybe a couple-3% or so of Japanese men are schizoid.

On the third hand, the guy who keeps saying Asians are like ants might be right. Herbs are a worker caste. No ambition, no sex drive, they help relatives have children when the environment is near carrying capacity. But no one has three hands.

I know lots of straight American men who could qualify as herbivore, in that they never date women, are unaggressive, and don't have great social skills. I assume they get their needs met from porn and/or hookers and don't date because they've been beaten down by rejection or view committed relationships as too much work, unfulfilling, or unnecessary.

Japan hasn't always been a conformist country, and has been largely violent and disunited in it's history. It DID have and continues to this day a fairly feudal structure, which a lot of people overlook. But violence was commonplace in the run-up to the Shogunate, and even during the Edo period there was a lot of banditry and killing, amongst Japanese themselves.

Violence is down, NOW, but Japanese film, tv, and comic books (which many adults read) are incredibly violent. It remains to be seen if violence levels by young adult males disconnected from women and family, will remain, particularly if economic shocks make infotainment substitutions no longer possible. If these guys end up on the street, they'd have every incentive to go form packs and simply "get" women through thugging it up.

It does seem pretty clear, raise standards of women's living, earnings, etc. and they prefer only a few higher-status men.

The Culling hypothesis does not work, because many nations became more warlike not less after great culling: Rome after the losses in the Second Punic War (about half their young men were wiped out by Hannibal). Germans took terrible losses in inter-necine feuds yet conquered Roman provinces. Vikings took terrible losses among themselves and enemy peoples yet became more not less warlike. German speakers total declined by a third after the Thirty Years War yet German speakers became more warlike not less. The South lost 40% of military age men 18-40 during the Civil War, yet the South remains today the most masculine and aggressive region.

The only time when the Culling Hypothesis seems to hold is the Twentieth Century, which lo and behold, coincides with the rising status and earning powers of women, urban anonymity, cheap and reliable contraception, and female-oriented consumerism. Suggesting that just as Sailer offers that crime declined with the end of the Crack Wars in the early 1990's, not abortion as Freakonomics believes, the changing status and social power of women serves to make societies more "herbivore."

The alternative explanation for Herbivores is that women in Japan post-War found enormously more influence and power, and could and did change social mores and demanded behavior to be far less aggressive, warlike, and masculine. Creating a few feminized, dandy rakes, and a mass of beta-like herbivores who are even more feminine, do what women demand (act very feminized) and withdraw in puzzlement when it nets them no sex and affection/love.

Women post-War in Japan had a choice for the first time ever: to have kids or not (contraception). To marry or not (independent careers and earnings). To escape social censure for violating social rules (urban anonymous living). To decide on their own who they will reward by sleeping with and who they will abjure, and to express vocally their views (as always, totally opposite their behavior). More or less, this is the story of nearly all developed and developing nations, even Iran or Algeria, no feminist hotspots.

Interesting comment, whiskey.

The Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima made a similar point, arguing that post-WWII Japan is an aberration and unbalanced. He said that Japan's violent, martial side was being unnaturally repressed by WWII's total defeat, imposition of a pacifist constitution, single minded devotion to commerce and industry, etc.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPAZQ6mhRcU

The herbivore man is a textbook description of Schizoid Personality Disorder.

A woman without a man is an independent woman. Lots of single mothers don´t have a date for years.

A man without a woman is considered a strange person.

"grass-eater or rug-eater? Lost in translation?"

Must not comment ... must not comment ... must not comment ...

The traditional salaryman life style sucked really hard, even during the bubble (late 80's). When the bubble ended in the early 90's, so did any kind of career opportunity for young people. Given that the salaryman career path sucked hard to begin with, the kids didn't mind the fact there was no opportunity and became freiters (slackers), worked temp jobs, lived at home, and took off for S.E.Asia and India for months at a time. Lonely Planet books made a lot of money off of their Japanese language books.

The economy recovered enough during the '04-08 period that there were lots of jobs available for young people. However, the kids still did not want the conventional salaryman life style and resisted being promoted into managerial-level positions.

The only "openness" in Japan's economy is if you go into engineering, then do a start-up after working at TEL (Tokyo Electron) for 8-10 years. There is an entrepreneurial scene in Japan, but it is not as prevalent as it is here in the U.S. It is slowly growing, however.

I don't know what the deal is with these "herbivore" men. I suspect that they are just burnt out on the whole scene. Few Japanese young people seem to be into the entrepreneur scene.

I was a big-time pussy hound when I lived in Japan, until I met my wife. I met my wife during the same time the "Ko-Gal" look was at its peak.

I think the internet has a lot to do with it. A lot of time spent watching anime, games on the computer. And now you can get your kicks off by downloading porn. In the past you had to get a magazine, everything is much easier now and people are becoming more lazy.

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