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Japanese 'herbivores' reject macho salaryman culture

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Are you a carnivore or a herbivore? The question might not mean what you think. [tip: Relee]

For years, Japanese male culture was defined by long hours at the office and late nights out drinking with co-workers — and for many, it still is. But recently, the so-called hodo-hodo zuku ("so-so folk") have been making inroads, turning down promotions in exchange for more personal time.

Now a new phrase has taken hold: so-shokukei dansei ("herbivore man"), coined by columnist Maki Fukasawa to describe young men who seem uninterested in working to acquire status symbols or develop sexual relationships with women:

In Japan, sex is translated as ‘relationship in flesh, so I named those boys ‘herbivorous boys’ since they are not interested in flesh.

Japanese interest in furry fandom has been limited. Local events TransFur and Kemocon have grown slowly, the latter attracting 220 in 2009.

But perhaps this will change with the rise of herbivores. After all, what is the lead character in Otomen ("Girly Guys") secretly passionate about? Baking, sh?jo manga . . . and crocheting clothes for his plushies. Let's just hope they don't all end up like the characters of Damekko D?butsu.

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GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Norn from London, UK, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.