In Japan, stock prices for hugs went up $10 yesterday…


When, I started playing the Vice video, my roommate way dropping by to say hi and missed the first minute. He then asked me to replay it, so we watched it together. A variety of very confused looks, bursts of laughter which were more or less nervous and the statement “this was one of the most messed up things I’ve seen in my life” followed.

Even though I believe the video was made to elicit an emotional response from western viewers by explicitly focusing on the practices that are most different in Japan, observing a different perspective on this issue was interesting. It also made me question how many of the things we take for granted as actually product of a continuously evolving culture.

We can see how culture changes just by studying some of the cultural phenomena in our day to day lives. Dating and courting in today’s culture is different, much less emphasized than what it used to be in previous generations. These changes however, even if they appear self-contained, are a product of much broader societal changes. The video we’ve seen even alluded to the fact that the way intimacy and relationships have become impersonal in Japan can be somewhat attributed to less necessity for courtship due to women becoming much more independent but also due to the very powerful work culture. Commodification and other fundamental societal values can have wide-ranging impacts on the way every behavior functions in that society. It can be argued that the recent spur in “hookup culture” and dating apps are an effect of similar societal changes in the United States. However, each country (and really, each individual) will evolve a different way of interacting based on their unique cultural makeup.

Another major theme of this week’s blog post was technology, and how we can use it to constantly be connected to friends and how, perhaps, the same technology is making us feel lonely by making relationships shallow. I believe that technology in and of itself does not influence the way relationships evolve. Rather, it enables us to act on values that are already present. For example, a month ago Tinder just turned, according to Wikipedia, two years old.  The app itself is certainly not a testament to technological innovation. The capability to design apps like Tinder was there many years before. However,  it was the demand created by changing cultural norms that ushered in Tinder’s success.

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “In Japan, stock prices for hugs went up $10 yesterday…”

  1. Although I agree with you in saying that technology, “enables us to act on values that are already present” do you think the design of such apps as Tinder change the users’ values. Tinder seems to be very looks based as compared to other dating websites like Match.com which pair user based on criteria that are much less physically based. Are these users’ values different or could a Match.com user’s values be influenced by the norms established by a popularized physically based relationship technology like Tinder? Moreover, could the popularization of either medium influence what society deems to be the true relationship criteria for a “match.”

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    1. Hi Joe! I definitely believe that different ways of interacting, be it Tinder or Match.com are created to satisfy different kinds of needs and values. I think the creation of Tinder was a result of an already existing desire for a less-involvement, more physical-based way of interacting. Its popularity though certainly now has an impact on what deems to be true relationship criteria, perhaps “educating” us and the younger generations into accepting that looks is more so a valid criteria than others.

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  2. The big key in your opinion to me is the com-modification portion of this topic. What behavior do you think is being modified: sex or the attributes of a relationship? Do you think the practices in Japan are really different than what is transpiring in the United States or is it just not as open?

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    1. I can see changes in both types of behaviors. I’m thinking that changes in sex are a result of how the broader concept of relationship changes, therefore going hand-in-hand. The Japanese take and U.S. take on relationship certainly have the aspect of convenience and less involvement in common. Liz’s blog post had a very interesting point about how in the U.S., sexuality is considered a much more private affair while in Japan it is acceptable to be public about it, creating the opportunity for commodification that is not present here in the U.S.

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  3. I too wonder if Tinder and what it stands for is changing the values of its users. I agree that the app is not a “testament to technological innovation”, but do you think the entity of tinder itself is an example of a technology that is changing relationships in our culture for the worse?

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    1. The fact that Tinder is “a thing” and has become very popular in a relatively short amount of time does speak to the changing cultural landscape regarding relationships.
      Is it for the worse…I don’t really know. I can see advantages in the more “traditional” way of dating and in the more modern ways. I do feel the more traditional way of dating encourages more depth, but the sheer convenience of Tinder and other apps makes it possible to meet people that you otherwise wouldn’t have encountered, creating a potential for connection there.

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    1. I’ve heard different opinions regarding Tinder: some people are raving about how great it is while other people say they can’t take it seriously. But the fact that so many people are or have used it I think shows a certain degree of acceptance to this future of relationships and hooking up, which even if it was present in the past, was not as openly accepted.

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  4. Technology is by no doubt the most significant addition to younger generations. You mention that technology, “enables us to act on values that are already present,” which I do agree with. However, I feel as if users have a different perspective on the values they want to act on after they use these apps and technology. Do you think technology is allowing us to truly act on present values, or do you think it is also a bad influence and changing younger generation’s values?

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    1. I agree that specific implementations of technology, such as apps, can act as a socializing agent. Although I’m definitely not excluding our generation from its influences, I think the younger you are, the more potential for impact there is as you simply grow up in an environment where certain values are the norm.

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  5. I would have to say that technology definitely has the ability to change younger generations values. Especially in media,today’s advertisements, and TV shows. I think that these three things have created a negative image for certain parts of relationships like they are based off looks and sex. This takes away from some of the most important attributes of relationships like common moral values and interests.

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    1. I certainly agree that advertisements and TV shows have a great influence on how our generation’s view on relationships and sex is shaped. A TV show or advertisement can shape values in many different ways, depending on what content is promoted. That’s why I argue that technology itself isn’t the change factor, but the cultural values that we transmit through that technology. For example, a TV show detailing less meaningful relationships will have a different impact than one which promotes more “traditional dating”.

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  6. As Morgan points out, certainly the media does play a large part. But I don’t necessarily think that “common moral values and interests” are seen as a weakness to the average working man and women when considering relationships. It makes me think of the question: Are relationships seen as ‘uncool’? Or are they seen as inconvenient?

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    1. That question is something I’m also interested in. I can see how larger societal forces would shape the way we pursue relationships (e.g. demand for more time to succeed in a career). One idea I’m considering though is that perhaps the relationship preferences are not static, but change in time as a person goes from a life stage to another. (e.g. the way a student approaches relationships might significantly change after he graduates and/or finds a job)

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  7. It definitely had a big shock journalism aspect at minute 12 which led me to almost not use it, but the first ten minutes were so relevant, and Matt seemed to have his heart set on it.

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