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Answerman - Why Is Japan's Population Declining?


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Fronzel



Joined: 11 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Shiki showed a section of a village becoming totally empty when the last three or so very elderly residents die, a circumstance that is pretty important to the rest of the story. Also, one of the teenaged characters is frustrated that the village is full of boring old people.

Maybe this is reaching but even a kid's show like Ojamajo Doremi showed a first-grade class being noticeably smaller than the second-grade class that just advanced.
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Shenl742



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:26 pm Reply with quote
A remember a story posted here about a year or so ago about certain colors of a certain brand of pencils frequently used by story-boarders was becoming very difficult to find. This was because the target buyers for those pencils were pre-schoolers, and with less and less new students coming in each year, there's been less demand to manufacture a lot of them.

Edit: Found it


Last edited by Shenl742 on Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re:SOUL



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:27 pm Reply with quote
It's a pity because Japanese women are very very beautiful and their bust size is steadily increasing. You'd think the otaku men would be all over this. Of course I'm being flippant. What we may end up seeing in a few generations time is the Japanese mixing with more foreigners should they start migrating into the country.
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NormanS



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:31 pm Reply with quote
Love live, Non Non Biyori and to an extent Nagi no asukara (the sea village) are animes where student population cannot fill their schools. Love live's school was closing because theres of the declining student applications force the schools closure. Non Non Biyori's is basically 5 students of each grade in one class room, and Nagi no asukara's sea village's school closed so the students (of 4) have to attend school on the surface. Im sure theres more, but i can't remember any more. But Non Non Biyori is a great example considering that there are actual schools in the country side where there a handful of children of different grades in a school.

There are other things in play too that are not mentioned. Apparently Japan's labor laws makes it very difficult to layoff/fire employees. You have to do something criminal or go to court in order to get fired, companies layoff/fire employees by wearing down by giving them meaningless task, or endlessly sending them to interviews/HR or incentivise the employee to voluntarily leave, meaning that employers are wary hiring new people. And because Japan is big on seniority I've also read stories where the new employees get overworked, or pick up the slack caused by its senior employees whilst getting low/starter wages, and that by the time they reach the seniority ladder, or at the point they have enough income saved for a family the actual prospects of having a family are very slim due to their age. Then you have the treatment of women where if they take the time off to have children, they will lose out on the promotions in the company, so women and wives don't have children so they can get better wages (and even then Japan has a high expectation that new mothers should stay at home to care for the family). Japan in general needs to implement an all round approach to increasing childbirth (Social and Economic incentives and changes for example). Then you have the NEETs/Hikikomoris where no doubt there are some that may have been prevented but because of Japanese workaholic culture, high stress amongst other things have made them the way they are (not including the ones who are suffering from mental anguish such as depression or other mental illnesses like autism, which is also highly shunned i think). Oh and dont forget Japan's strict immigration laws, and the rural-to-urban migration (and lack of Urban-to-Rural) as well as the expensive (and limited) housing including high living standard in Japan's city area.

Really id like to think that Japan in general has all the right conditions for this to happen.

Interesting article once again.


Last edited by NormanS on Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:47 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Aphasial
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:33 pm Reply with quote
2.1 children per woman.

That's the replacement birth rate for any modern first world civilization (the 0.1 covers early deaths). A society that doesn't reach that will eventually see its population fall.

If it's gradual enough, the society might be able to absorb the effects of it relatively OK. The effects will be gradual -- pyramid scheme wealth transfers (like social security in the US) have to be adjusted because there are fewer kids paying for more elderly -- and it leads towards more automation. If it's just the native population that's lowered its birth rate, the country can increase immigration. That works well in countries like the US where there's a high historic rate of successful cultural assimilation; it works less well when there's less history of that, or you're importing people in such large quantities that assimilation can't easily happen. This is the European problem at the moment.

Japan's birth rate has dropped down to 1.2 at times in the past 15 years, which has prompted Mark Steyn to infamously refer to as being in a demographic "death spiral" at times (cf. http://www.steynonline.com/6320/alone-again-naturally).

Given that famously-xenophobic Japan probably won't be changing culturally in that regard any time soon, the only plausible solution is a strong push (no pun intended) by all parties to encourage citizens to be fruitful and multiple. "And one to grow on" indeed. Even if every NEET and and young 20-something were to get into a relationships immediately and have four kids, it would still be decades before Japan gets back into a healthy place with adult population, but nothing short of drastic action to encourage raising a family will help.

In some ways, this is a subtle warning to other developed countries as well. NEETs 15 years ago are in some ways today's child-delaying Millennials. We're much more likely to survive, of course, but the parallel cultural and socio-political effects of both failing to launch and settle down are easily identifiable.
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Satoshi Batista



Joined: 17 Oct 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:34 pm Reply with quote
I'd read an interesting essay on this that a Japanese student at our university wrote. One of the things she suggested was that a lot of modern women are increasingly rejecting the traditional gender roles that were prized by Japan in the past, seeing them as a burden. A lot of women now want to get into the work force for themselves and don't want to be raising kids and cleaning the house all day.

An interesting additional factor that she'd mentioned also pertains to the LGBT population of Japan. In the past, if you were gay or a lesbian (or even a bisexual who just wasn't interested in having kids), you were expected to hide that part of your identity, marry someone of the opposite gender, and start a family with them. Even if it wasn't what you wanted, that was pretty much your only option. Now, as the country's attitudes towards gay people have started loosening up to some degree, and with an increased awareness of LGBT people in general, more and more people who once would have been forced to marry an opposite-sex partner and have kids with them because of societal pressure no longer feel the obligation to do so. And even if they aren't comfortable being "out", a lot of them just refuse to marry in general and then come up with an excuse about there not being any suitable partners.


Last edited by Satoshi Batista on Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Blatch



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:38 pm Reply with quote
I remember that Sakura Trick also had the school closing down, though I don't think an explicit reason was ever given for it.
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lys



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:39 pm Reply with quote
Sometimes when I notice (or imagine) a trend of anime and manga centered on raising children, I wonder if that too might be part of an intentional plan to influence culture and persuade people to have families. I've never done a proper comparative study of, like, how many or what ration of stories around this theme (kids/family) are being created compared to some decades back, but I can think of numerous recent/current titles about high school babysitters or siblings who take care of their kid bro/sis (Gakuen Babysitters, Love So Life, and Tadaima no Uta off the top of my head, all from one publisher), and of course there's Yotsuba, Barakamon, Usagi Drop, etc dealing with adults interacting with kids... (I'm sure plenty more too that are not as high-profile.) And it seems like every other shoujo heroine I come across who reaches the "I'm graduating! What will my career be?!" conclusion decides to be a daycare/kindergarten teacher. Even though many of the series portray some of the difficulties of family life and child rearing, I think they often have an optimistic tone.

Last edited by lys on Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:40 pm Reply with quote
Seitokai Yakuindomo is another show where an all girls school had to turn co-ed due to the birth rate.

Re:SOUL wrote:
It's a pity because Japanese women are very very beautiful and their bust size is steadily increasing. You'd think the otaku men would be all over this.


It's not that otaku men aren't interested in 3D women, it's that 3D women aren't interested in otaku men. That's why we turn to our 2D waifus who will comfort us no matter what. We wouldn't want a women that would force us give up the hobby we love either.

I see all kinds of hentai manga with the premise of "Japanese government legalizes rape to combat declining birth rate" and such. A window into the future, perhaps?

Obviously not.
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Megiddo



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:44 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Isn't that the whole premise behind Love Live!?

Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight was the first show I've seen that used diminished school-age population as an important part of the plot, but I've also seen it in Tari Tari and Girls und Panzer in more recent years.
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angelmcazares



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:46 pm Reply with quote
Jake (the person asking the question) wrote:
I honestly cannot recall a single school anime that has shown a grade school shutting down or consolidating due to lack of students.

Non Non Biyori

Answerman wrote:
The last five years have seen an epoch-making shift in how much revenue comes in from places like Crunchyroll and Chinese streaming platforms, versus Japanese fans. I haven't seen recent numbers, but it's generally thought that overseas sales are now as important to a show's bottom line as domestic fans -- perhaps moreso.

Once again, I remain very skeptic about this being a reality. If U.S. and Chinese money is that important why haven't we seen much anime aimed American and Chinese sensibilities. Dimension W is the only example I can think of.

I am willing to buy that BD sales in Japan might not be as important to generate revenue anymore, but anime shows with low disc sales generally don't get sequels. I agree that it s important to diversify revenue sources for the anime industry, but I doubt that we (N.A. fans and companies) are making that big of an economic impact.

And if I am absolutely wrong and say 35-40% of the anime industry in Japan is being funded by Crunchyroll, Funimation and other N.A. companies, they should tell Japan to stop with all their shenanigans that force us fans to wait months and even years for domestic, affordable anime BD's.
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Kirkdawg



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:48 pm Reply with quote
And how will the government address this problem? Decreasing the barriers to child-rearing? Of course not! Fan the flames of nationalism and rise to glory once again. That'll fix everything.
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Aphasial
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:50 pm Reply with quote
Megiddo wrote:
Quote:
Isn't that the whole premise behind Love Live!?

Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight was the first show I've seen that used diminished school-age population as an important part of the plot, but I've also seen it in Tari Tari and Girls und Panzer in more recent years.



I've got to imagine the overarching themes of Humanity Has Declined was influenced by the situation in Japan, too. The main character was part of the last graduating class at her school.
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yuna49



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:50 pm Reply with quote
The decline in the size of the school-aged population sure isn't mirrored in most anime set in high school. There every classroom seems to have 25 or more students. Perhaps that's true in the urban areas where most anime takes place, but certainly not in rural Japan. Here's a story from The Guardian about declining school enrollments which mentions an elementary school in Aone whose enrollment has fallen from 254 at the end of World War II to just six students today.

The Ministry of Education tries to close schools and consolidate their students but local officials and parents often pressure them to keep the schools open.

The recent show Kumamiko portrays such a village, but anime like this are rare indeed.


Last edited by yuna49 on Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MarshalBanana



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:50 pm Reply with quote
So their government should be trying to entourage people to be getting married and having kids, a good way to do that would be to add many benefits to; free child care, working parents tax breaks etc. As well as creating more jobs in the childcare profession.

If it can work, then in 30 years time you could have a scenario where there are more young workers and a lot less older people.
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