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No Sex Please, We're Japanese
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Last week was the 70th anniversary of the Café de Paris bombing. This was during the London Blitz of 1940-41. By March of the latter year most Londoners had learned to take shelter underground when the air-raid sirens went off. Among the capital’s young moneyed swells and débutantes, however, there was an element who were determined to have their fun in defiance of the Luftwaffe. These partiers headed for the Café de Paris in Picadilly, believed in any case to be relatively safe as it was in a basement twenty feet below a solid four-storey building.

There they all were on Saturday evening, March 8, 1941, the men in tux, tails, or uniform, the girls in stylish dresses. At 9:40 two German bombs fell on the roof above. By ill luck they found a ventilation shaft, fell right down to the basement, and exploded on the dance floor. Thirty-four people were killed, eighty-two badly injured. The bandleader’s head was blown clean off.

I mention this in part from a spirit of melancholy remembrance for a way of life now gone, but mainly because it came to mind as I was reading the comments on Tuesday’s most e-mailed article from the blog of the London Daily Telegraph. The article, by Ed West, was titled “Why is there no looting in Japan?” Just checking as I write here (Tuesday evening) I see that the number of comments on the article is up to 3,350. One of the threads running through those comments — well, the couple of hundred I scanned — was to the effect: “We British used to be like that.” Commenter james1 expressed the sentiment at 11:06 GMT this evening:

Yes, it is admirible [sic], but we British had something similar until our national identity was totally destroyed and trampled all over by forced multiculturism.

Well, it wasn’t that similar. It was generally known, though not reported in newspapers of the time for reasons of morale, that looters had infiltrated the Café de Paris rescue operation and stripped the upper-class corpses of considerable jewelry, and even body parts:

The worst of human nature was in evidence that night too — amid the rubble and the chaos, unscrupulous looters were seen cutting off the fingers of the dead to steal their rings.

I wouldn’t in fact deny that mass immigration and the multi-culti rackets have left the British with far less reason to like or trust each other than they had in 1941. I am only pointing out that the ethnic homogeneity of the Japanese cannot be a complete explanation of their remarkably good behavior in this recent catastrophe.

I think it is relevant to note that they are world leaders in many sociological respects. Here, for example, is a report from the Washington Post on how interest in sex seems to be declining among young Americans.

The study, released Thursday, is based on interviews of about 5,300 young people, ages 15 to 24. It shows the proportion in that age group who said they’d never had oral, vaginal or anal sex rose in the past decade from 22 percent to about 28 percent.

The decline trend seems to have been going on steadily since the late 1980s. Commentators have offered various theories to account for the phenomenon: boys are lost in their video games, girls are too fat to be attractive, everybody’s too busy, the “sexual harassment” and “date rape” rackets have taken their toll, etc.

Whatever it was, the Japanese were there first: I seem to have been reading news stories about Japanese “herbivore” males for a couple of decades now.


Japan’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR, i.e. children per woman) is down to 1.21 — ranked 220 out of the 224 nations listed in the CIA World Factbook — and the actual population has been declining since 2004. We are still some way behind that; but as Pat Buchanan noted the other day: “If demography is destiny, the sun is not only setting in the Land of the Rising Sun. The sun is setting in the West.”

Are the two things — the good behavior and the collapsing demographics — related to each other? When the Japanese were philoprogenitive they were famously beastly to the Chinese, Allied prisoners-of-war, immigrant Koreans, and even each other.

It is of course the case that older people are better behaved than younger ones everywhere, so as a nation ages there is that factor to be accounted for. Still, the city of Sendai, one of the worst affected by last week’s earthquake, is (according to Wikipedia, anyway) “one of the youngest major cities in Japan,” yet its citizens are behaving impeccably. There is something in the air and water of Japan whispering: Be nice! Don’t have sex!

Slow and subterranean are the currents of history and social change. The big, rich, civilized populations of East Asia and the West have given up reproducing and may actually be giving up sex itself. They are — contrary to their own deluded imaginings — softer, more orderly, tamer, more obedient than their parents.

Elsewhere the TFRs are far above replacement: Guatemala 3.3, Yemen 4.6, Niger 7.6. (True, most are declining; but much too slowly.) If, as Pat says, our sun is setting, then theirs must be rising; and rather fast, given the simple numerical difference between 7.6 and 1.21. There are corresponding differences in the orderly, tame, and obedient departments.

Shall we science our way out of this, somehow? With robot nurses for our swelling cohorts of centenarians and robot armies to defend us when military-age youngsters are too few? Well, the Japanese might: they are already the most robot-obsessed people in the world. We have taken a different path, opening our borders to high-TFR people-exporters. Which path is wiser, our children will find out.

(Republished from Takimag by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Japan 
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