Who are Japan’s grass eaters?

4 Nov

people-932069_960_720Lately my American friends have been asking me the most strange question:  “Who are Japan’s grass eaters?”  Initially I thought they were referring to vegetarians or people who ate grass, but it turned out to be something entirely different.

The media overseas has been reporting a shocking recent phenomena in Japan for some time.   According to their report, soshokukei danshi (草食系男子)  -herbivorous boy – refers to men who are not interested in dating, sex, or marriage.  These men have decided to live a life without a partner or even a romantic relationship as a way of turning their back on “macho ways.”   They find it safer both emotionally and financially to stay single and celibate.  This is a serious matter, they say, because it’s contributing to the rapidly declining birth rates in the nation.

One article cites that 60 percent of Japanese men aged between 20 and 34 display at least some “herbivorous tendencies.”  It’s a worrisome trend, another article warns us, because what’s happening in Japan maybe a glimpse of all our futures in the rest of the world.

To find out if these reports are true, I asked my girlfriends in Japan.  They told me that there were many soushokukei danshi these days, but when I asked them what the term really meant, all they could tell me was this: they’re a type of men who are “not aggressive about dating.”

“Dating soushokukei is such a pain ,” said one of my girlfriends.  “They don’t ask me out, so I have to ask them out.”  She said.

“But I thought they didn’t even want to date.” I said.  She looked puzzled.

Masahiro Morioka is an university professor who came up with the term, soushokukei danshi, and made it popular.  Morioka defined the term as the following: “Grass eating men are those with gentle hearts.  They are neither tied to the traditional sense of masculinity or greedy for love.  They are not good with hurting people or being hurt by others.”

Google search on the word 草食系男子 (soushokukei danshi) brings up a number of blogs written by self-proclaimed grass eaters. If you read some of them, it won’t take you long to learn that the majority of these men are exactly what my friends and Morioka described – men who are not aggressive about dating.  Nothing more or less.

Do some of them refuse to date, have sex, or marry?  Maybe, but they’re not the majority.  When Japanese men call themselves soushokukei, they simply mean that they’re not a macho type, and that they’re not aggressive towards women or dating.  What they do or don’t do in terms of dating, sex, or marriage depends on the person.

Grass eaters exist in Japan, but the definition of the word is much broader than what’s been reported in the media and those who are featured in it are extreme examples.

This leads me to a question – why does the media always feature extreme cases?  Perhaps the answer is simple:  The more shocking the news is, the more people want to read it.

In political news we tend to see either people on the far left or people on the far right.  We rarely hear about people in the middle, even though they are the majority.  The same is true with religions.  When was the last time we heard about moderate Muslims?  It’s always the extreme ones who get the most news coverage.

Today we have a lot of information on the internet, but we don’t know how accurate it is unless we find out for ourselves.  As Einstein said, “information is not knowledge.”


19 Responses to “Who are Japan’s grass eaters?”

  1. hollywoodsam November 4, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Let us say that 9o% of the content on the net is questionable and that the majority of mainstream media is misleading or following an agenda; if you want the truth, you have to look for it. Another interesting post!

  2. Yumi November 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Thank you for the comment. Yes, I’m finding that out, too.

  3. Glenn McBride December 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    It is amusing to see the media finally recognize a phenomenon that men have known about for many years. What is even more amusing is that the same knee-jerk reactions are still being thrown around. In short, if there is a problem…it must be the fault of men. Shaming tactics worked when we were little boys, but are not very effective against adult men.

    Fred Reed wrote an article on this subject in July 14, 2003 (yes, more than a decade ago) titled “Marriage, Horror, And Susan Reimer” A short quote from the article;

    Wonders Reimer, “What is the answer, especially if the 20- and 30-year-old male is such poor marriage material?” She does not wonder, “If I am such a grindingly awful termagant that men on three continents are crossing their legs and feeling queasy over my mere column, and won’t come near me except in a Kevlar bathysphere with a disinfectant system, maybe I’m doing something wrong. Gosh. I wonder what?”

    I suggest women continue to blame men for everything that is wrong. Women should also refuse to admit that they have any responsibility or obligations. In another decade 99% of Japanese men will be “grass eaters”, and marriage rates will plummet another 40%. But women will still be blaming men. And men will continue to not care very much.

    • Yumi December 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      There is a new term called “nikushokukei joshi (meat eating girls)” in Japan. It refers to women who are aggressive about dating, as opposed to grass eating men who are not. More and more women in Japan want to be independent, although it’s harder for them to do so than it is for American women.

      • Glenn McBride December 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

        Yes I understand that Japanese women are becoming aggressive. American feminists are also becoming aggressive “cougars”, but I am American and I married a girl from Ukraine. The problem is, no matter how aggressive a woman is, she will never sell her “product” if the man refuses to buy. Once men understand the truth about women and feminism, there is no turning back. Japanese women should learn to enjoy beef, because there will be very few men in their futures.

  4. Dyourd December 15, 2013 at 4:12 am #

    Men are checking out of Marriage and society because the rules have now changed so they always get the short end of the stick in marriage, divorce and jobs, due to Family Law and employment equity. They have had enough.

    Check out the book Men on Strike by a female psychologist author. It will open your eyes.

    • Yumi December 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

      Thank you for your message. I think both men and women are realizing that marriage isn’t necessarily the best path for everyone.

  5. hermit73 January 2, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    Great post. When I first saw a Western article about it I thought, does this reporter even know a goddamn thing about Japanese culture? Guess not.

    • Yumi January 6, 2014 at 8:33 am #

      Thank you for the comment. I continue to be surprised by how Japan’s grass eaters have gotten so much attention from the media…

  6. moorehead February 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    Reblogged this on JAPANsociology and commented:
    Adding to the long list of Orientalist critiques of Japan from the West, now Japanese men are still not ‘masculine’ enough. When Japanese men aren’t depicted as nerdy otaku or work-obsessed salarymen (with hidden perverted tendencies), now they’re herbivorous men. What about the idea that Japanese men perform masculinity in a variety of ways? Would that be so wrong?

    • Yumi February 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      Thank you so much for re-blogging the article!

  7. Anonymous March 1, 2014 at 4:59 pm #


  8. Ted jordan March 22, 2014 at 5:15 am #

    In the West we have MGTOW. For me, there will be no more women, ever. The laws here give women tremendous power over men from birth to death. I refuse marry my oppressor.

  9. Anonymous May 21, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    They are simply closeted!!!

  10. Chwee Hai Qing Philip August 26, 2014 at 5:29 am #

    Because of the illuminati initiated feminism and the unjust one sided pro women anti men justice and court system,that is why more and more men have decided that its safer to not have marriage and not to have any relationships.

    Why risk losing what you earn in your lifetime all because of the unfair anti men court and family courts…???

    That is the main and real reasons why more and more men have decided to become grass eaters and stop going after women.

    When law makers make bad laws eg the anti men family courts system ,you end up with a situation where the natural balance in nature is being negatively affected.

    The end result is that humans are negatively impacted by bad laws and bad ideology like feminism that are initiated by the Illuminati to try to destroy the family .

  11. hobbyie October 25, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    I was always fascinated with Japanese, they are totally different people ha ha.


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