Japan's 2-D Lovers: Falling In Love with a Body Pillow

Illustration for article titled Japans 2-D Lovers: Falling In Love with a Body Pillow

Lisa Katayama of TokyoMango has a story in this week's NYT Magazine about otaku in Japan who are in love with anime pillowcases. Yes, they are "dating" body pillows with cartoon prepubescent girls on them. What's going on in Japan?

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It's both a sad and a disturbing trend, this "2-D love" thing. It seems like a natural step from the hikikomori phenomenon, where thousands of boys afraid of the outside world shut themselves in their bedrooms for years on end.

What's driving Japanese men to these extremes of isolation and anti-social behavior? Lisa quotes stats that say that a full quarter of people in the country between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins, while half of them have no friends of the opposite sex.

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It's clearly not the only place with lonely people with social disorders, but there's something in the way their society operates that is pushing these awkward, introverted boys and men to unhealthy places. [NYT Magazine]

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DISCUSSION

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King Antonius

First off, I'm too lazy to read the hundred plus comments already posted so if I sound like a broken record from someone elses comment, I apologize.

I can somewhat understand why this is happening. People think it is hard here in the states but it's so much harder in Japan. If you don't have roughly a B average, then when it comes time to get a job you are more or less screwed as far as anything decent. Employers don't just want to know if you graduated, they look at all the details of your schooling. Also, school isn't totally publicly funded out there. When it comes time to take an exam to go to the next grade or school, you have to pay for it. It's not cheap and that puts a lot of pressure on people to pass the first time around. A lot of people go to a "Cram School" which also costs quite a bit of money. Spending more money equals more stress. With how much stress if put on education (Not saying a good education is unnecessary) It only makes sense that a lot of people snap under the pressure and go into isolation or develop weird fetishes/habits.