First off, I was definitely disturbed by what I saw in Ryan Duffy’s The Japanese Love Industry video. The contents were bizarre and eye opening for sure, but I think the video also needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Japan’s culture is very different than ours. The host clubs, cuddle cafes, and other bizarre activities shown in The Japanese Love Industry are very unique, and I find it very unlikely that they will become as mainstream in the US in the future as they are in Japan today. I’m no expert on Japanese culture, but I think their go-go-go society where no one seems to have time for a significant other or meaningful relationships fosters the strange behavior Duffy unveils.
One think that does concern me moving forward is the average American’s increasing reliance on technology to maintain relationships. The downside I see with being “always connected”, is that you can spread yourself too thin, and not have any really meaningful relationships. Texting, Facebook, and other social media are great tools for keeping in contact with old friends. I’ve definitely utilized these resources more and more as high school becomes an increasingly distant memory. However, in my opinion nothing is better than a face to face interaction. I love hanging out with an old friend, or a family member, who I haven’t seen in a long time. As we grow older and our schedules become more busy, it is easy to use technology as a crutch to keep old relationships alive. But communicating over text or Facebook is not the same as communicating in person.
The value of a face to face interaction cannot be overstated when one is searching for meaningful relationships. Technology is great for keeping in touch, but it should be a means to an end, and not the end game itself. In Japan, it seems like people don’t think they have time to sit down and have lunch with a friend or family member. No wonder they don’t want significant others. From the video, I got the impression that there is more emotional detachment in Japan. Technology can promote emotional detachment, which again brings about the importance of seeing someone in person. I really enjoy taking a break from my busy schedule to spend time with a person I’m close with. I think that goes a long way towards maintaining a close relationship.
In the big picture, fostering meaningful relationships is important for our society to avoid the empty, fake, and bizarre interactions that Ryan Duffy discovers in The Japanese Love Industry. An over reliance on technology is not the sole or primary cause of this, but it certainly is a contributing factor and not something to be taken lightly.