The idea of living alone in Japan is a relatively new one. In the past, as with many countries, people tended to live with their families–either their parents or their children and spouses–for almost their entire lives. Obviously, the college years were a time for people to get out of the house, as it were, but even then, many students opted to live at home and commute to school. After all, it’s pretty hard to say “no” to a home-cooked meal, little or no rent and clean laundry.
But that trend has been steadily reversing itself as Japan becomes more and more a society of single-person households. (Can we blame them?) In fact, it is estimated that by 2035, two thirds of people over the age of 50 will be living alone.
▼Your worst enemy on Call of Battlefield: Modern Dinosaur Cyborgs will be this guy, because he’ll have nothing better to do than practice velociraptor sniping
In the recently published book What Will Japanese People Buy From Now On?, Atsushi Miura takes up this issue and makes some predictions about the future of Japanese society. Now, obviously, just because this guy says something will happen doesn’t mean it necessarily will, but his predictions are nevertheless pretty interesting and believable.
The main thrust of the book? The world’s going completely flip itself on its head.
Okay, that’s not the most scientific statement ever, but Mr. Miura believes that the elderly will act a lot younger than they do now, with middle-aged and elderly women becoming much more active. Though he also thinks they’ll spend more time online. We’re not exactly sure how to square that one. Treadmill computers?
At the same time, he expects middle-aged men to take a greater interest in their home furnishings while young men take over more domestic responsibilities and young women act more “masculine.” (We’re not entirely sure what he means by that either…)
▼This guy has the right idea!
Why? Basically, as more and more people end up living alone–by choice or otherwise–they will be taking over more responsibilities for themselves. Elderly people will have to be active to take care of themselves, as they will either be divorced or their spouses will have kicked the bucket and bought the farm. Furthermore their children will have their own lives to worry about, too. Which kind of makes me wonder what the point of having kids is…
So, what will Japanese people put their hard-earned money towards in the future? Mr. Miura thinks that people will end up buying less “stuff” and more services–in other words, “community.” Already, older men and women spend a significant amount of money on language classes, while middle-aged women are spending more time and money at sporting events.
As bleak as that may sound, the author wants us to look at this in a positive light, suggesting that this is a good time for Japan to rethink the concepts of “society” and “community.” We assume they’ll also want to think about how best to incorporate robot workers as well. They make everything better!
▼”You know, I’m just not ready to have kids yet.
Maybe when I’m old and ready to settle down in my 90s.”
Japanese netizens naturally had plenty to say on the subject.
I want to live alone!
I’ll die before that anyway.
Maybe this will be the period of elderly people wrapped up in online games.
I wonder if I’ll be watching anime alone at 50…
No matter what happens over the next 22 years, I’ll be playing PlayStation 7 [in 2035].
The more things change, the more we want to play video games…
Website Jin netizen offered this ASCII art depiction of a typical reaction to “running simulations of his future.” Things don’t seem to be looking good for some of us.
▼”Hmm… I wonder what I’ll be doing at 50…”
▼”Ah! It’s not use! No matter how many times I run the simulation, I can’t see a bright future! What the hell am I going to do?? I better hurry up and get married…”