The Vice Guide to the Japanese love industry revealed Japan as a country where both time using electronics and time spent furthering one’s career has begun to trump time spent on human relationships, and where people are willing to commoditize absolutely anything. The combination of these two traits leads to a culture where it is plausible to have a thriving industry of recreational love and affection. Do I think these types of relationships are better than relationships of the past? Personally, no, but at the same time how can one deny the influences mass consumers.
While the idea of paying for affection strikes me as both desperate and uncomfortable, clearly there is a large enough subset of the population in the world, or at least in Japan, that disagrees with me. Convenience is the word that seems to be defining our world more and more these days; for example we see this with the continued success of unhealthy fast food companies based solely on the convenience of their product. Our generation has now brought about the demand for convenient online hook-ups and sex with apps like Tinder, Tingle, ect.
Do I see the current U.S. view on convenient and emotionless hook-ups leading to a culture like Japan with cuddle cafes and prostitution rings? Not anytime soon. I feel that although there has definitely been a shift in gender roles and a severe appreciation for conveniency in the United States as well, there are still vast cultural differences between the US and Japan. However, even though I don’t expect a cuddle cafe to pop up in New York City anytime soon, I do expect the online-dating culture to continue to grow in the United States. More and more teenagers and young adults are using social media and applications to meet potential significant others or hook-ups and the more and more we become attached to online communication the less and less people will want to go out and find a partner the good old-fashioned way.