Like many of my peers, I was shocked by some of what I saw in the video. I continually thought back to our discussions of truth/journalism/art and considered how prevalent this “love industry” really is in Japan. The video made it seem as if everyone in Japan prefers being single over being in any sort of relationship. It also made it seem as if you could find some sort of sex store, hostess club or “cuddle café” (which, much like Ryan in the film, I found to be quite strange and hilarious) on every street corner. Putting that aside, the Japanese lifestyle portrayed in the video was unlike anything I had ever seen. Had someone asked me what I knew about the lifestyle in Japan before seeing this video, all I would have known was that it is a very technologically advanced country. However, as depicted throughout the video, the technological advancement and overall lifestyle, which includes the steepest population decline in the world, are not unrelated. While the United States hasn’t been overcome by the lack of human interaction and relationships in the same way Japan has, the trend is still evident and I, for one, don’t think it’s a good thing.
In one of the video’s interviews it was mentioned by Mayo, a host club regular, that, “when Japanese marry and have kids, as soon as the kids grow up, their love fades.” The lack of relationships and human interaction has become so prevalent in Japan that many people are no longer even attempting to find a relationship or get married. In the U.S., according to the NYU Medical Center, the frequency of family meals has declined by 33% over the last 20 years. Similarly, according to a 2011 report by the Census Bureau, the divorce rate has increased steadily decade by decade and is now approximately 50%. Daily Infographic also reports that the number one reason for divorce is a lack of communication.
I could go on and on finding facts about how the American way of life has changed over time. Personally, I feel as if technology is a main contributor to this breakdown of communication and relationships between people and families. At any given moment you can look around and see how technology has changed our culture. People are constantly looking down at their phones when walking. Laptops have become prevalent in coffee shops and on airplanes. These norms are taking the place of real face-to-face interactions and have significantly impacted our communication skills.
While I don’t believe the U.S. will ever quite have a “love industry,” like the one found in Japan, I do think our lack of human interaction will continue to decline. Divorce rates will continue to rise, families will continue to spend less and less time with one another and the number of single adolescents will grow. When does it become a serious problem? Has it already become one? What can we do to improve this situation? These are all questions that I ask myself. I would hope that at some point, people will take a step back, ask themselves what they truly value, and understand the importance of human interaction and healthy relationships.