Recent study suggests that Japanese males are significantly less interested in getting wasted as they used to be.
Japan has long been a sort of paradise for lovers of alcohol. Beer and a wide range of other hard drinks are easily available from vending machines and at fairly reasonable prices. Drinking often or in public is pretty tolerated and contrary to popular belief in other countries, heavy drinking can help you get ahead in corporate Japan.
However, these things may all become history if current trends continue. According to sales tax figures, the consumption of booze is down to about 89 percent of its heyday in 1996. Although it’s not a catastrophic drop, that’s enough to put a significant dent in the bottom line of those in the industry.
So, to help shed light on this trend, wine website WineBazaar conducted a survey of 6,638 men and women between the ages of 20 and 70, asking “How often do you drink?”
They focused on two categories of results: “Drinkers” were people that responded “every day” or “two or three times a week” and “non-drinkers” were made up of “almost never” and “never” responses.
▼ Overall results: Never (light blue), Almost Never (green), Once a Month (dark blue), Two or Three Times a Month (yellow), Once a Week (grey), Two or Three Times a Week (orange), Every Day (blue)
When comparing gender, 45.1 percent of men were “drinkers” while only 27.3 percent of women would call themselves that. For “non-drinkers”, the results were nearly reversed, comprising 30.1 percent of men and 47.6 percent of women.
▼ Frequencies broken down between Men (top) and Women (bottom)
However, things get interesting when factoring in age as well. Women stay roughly the same, with “non-drinkers” making up 40 to 50 percent of them regardless of age. For men over 60, only 25 percent are classified as “non-drinkers” but that number rises significantly to 39.8 percent when asking men in their 20s.
▼ Frequencies divided among genders and age groups
The survey didn’t mention reasons but perhaps the younger generation of Japanese men are more health conscious than their elders, or perhaps employers are learning that pressuring staff into getting wasted several times a week is actually bad for productivity.
A lot of reader comments appear to be from young Japanese men and help shed some light on the subject.
“So, what’s the problem?”
“That’s a good thing isn’t it?”
“It’s because all males in their 20s are poor.”
“Because there is no reason to drink.”
“I’m afraid of becoming an alcoholic, so I stay away from the stuff.”
“I’ll start drinking when I’m sick of my life.”
“Alcohol is the cause of thousands of problems.”
Among these comments there were a lot referring to money and suggesting that Japanese men had “better things” to spend their money on than something that would cause them to act embarrassingly and could later give them a headache, diarrhea, and/or vomiting.
I don’t know though; maybe I’m just old fashioned but I always felt that getting black-out drunk and then waking up in a strange place with genitalia drawn all over one’s face in permanent black ink is something every young man should go through in his 20s.
Yup, kids these days… Next thing you know they’re not going to want to fill their lungs with tar, eat food loaded with steroids and fat, or pour endless amounts of money into a bunch of jazzed-up pinball machines either.