草食男子[soushoku danshi]

April 25, 2009 at 2:34 am (BL, general)

Love Theory of Soushoku Danshi

Love Theory of Soushoku Danshi

 It seems like I have been introducing such trendy word as アラフォー[aro-four] rather than anime-related words lately. Boring? I am sorry. As I doubted, perhaps I have started to care about my not-so-far future. Most otakish words do not seem to have clear origins as to who actually came up with them. Before we know it, those words have already made it to the mainstream. Don’t you think so? そう思いませんか?Unlike those otakish words, some of the trendy words coined by the irresponsible press so far have clear origins. But meanwhile, it doesn’t take that much for people to forget.

   At any rate, I was quite disappointed to hear this word for the first time because I thought there was another word that should have come before this, 草食男子[soushoku danshi]. I will explain it later, as I shall now introduce this new word first. 草食[soushoku] means herbivorous. Yes, it is supposed to categorize animals by the kind of food they eat. If they eat grass, they are classified as 草食動物[soushoku doubutsu]or herbivore. If they eat flesh, they are 肉食動物[nikushoku doubutsu] or flesh eater. If they eat whatever, they are 雑食動物[zasshoku doubutsu] or omnivora.

 So why is this used to categorize men? We men don’t eat grass (neither do women). No no no, that’s not so. A herbivore like a goat is very quiet, not wild, aren’t they? What if this goes for men? The answer is, yes, a man who is gentle, quiet, and soft. Such a guy is what’s called 草食男子[soushoku danshi] or 草食系男子[soushoku-kei danshi]. Wait, hold on a bit. What exactly does that mean? Just because it means such a “softie,” the word 草食 is not even necessarily required here. You have caught on, haven’t you? You’re right. It also means a stoic guy who is not crazy about sex, or a guy who is not aggressive in love. If that’s the case, 肉食男子[nikushoku danshi] means such a “stud,” ? Then could 雑食男子 be bisexual? 両方OKってこと?

 In 2007, a book entitled 平成男子図鑑[Heisei danshi zukan] was published, and the author Maki Fukasawa[深澤真紀] named this tnew ype of guy. The following year, when the monthly magazine for women, non-no interviewed her, it started to become famous. Let’s see what are the characterstics of 草食男子, then.

a. Not proactive nor aggressive in love although he can get a girlfriend if they want.

b. He tends to value women as a human being, not as a sexual object.

c. He prefers to stay at home rather go out.

d. Very sensitive.

e. He would travel with a woman, but wouldn’t do anything to her. Even if he stays overnight with her, he wouldn’t do anything.

f. He would prefer to spend money for his hobby or clothes rather than for girls.

g. He would be counted as just a nice person[ただのいい人] by women.

h. He likes to cook, and loves confectionery. 

i.

 Remember I said I was disappointed to hear this word? That is because I really really wondered why the author didn’t use オトメン[otomen] when she coined the term 草食男子. If she had done it, オトメン must have become in the mainstream. I dare to say the era of otomen might have come…yes, my era! See above? Most of the items go for otomen, especially d and h. Darn it!

 Putting it aside, why did this word get popular? For one thing, it is said that men are no longer more powerful than women. Like I said  in アラフォー, women work as well as men. So men called 草食男子 seem to accept the fact. Rather, if they are as wild as before, it might become sexual harassment. Besides, it is no exaggeration to say that the terrible recession is one of the reasons. Men are too mentally and physically tired to…do it. Come to think of it, I’ve heard even married couples are sexless lately. That is to say, most men are getting 草食

kusanagi1

 Speaking of 草食男子, most Japanese people might think of 草なぎ 剛[Tsuyoshi Kusanagi] who is a member of the most popular idol group, SMAP. He is so gentle and good-hearted that he is counted as a 草食男子. Coincidentally, there is a kanji [kusa] in his surname. But it was until a few days ago. He got too drunk and showed his naked in public. Even when the police came to him, he didn’t stop yelling. He got arrested and won’t be able to come out for a while…Well, he was too drunk to remember, I am sure he regrets what he did. But there is a time when even 草食男子 want to be 肉食男子. だって…男だもん。I mean, the more people say he is 草食男子, the more he has to act like that. That could be stressful for him. When things get to the point, he might break down.   

Are we 草食男子?

Are we 草食男子?

 Me? I am an otomen. Otomen will never do such a thing. くっくっくっ…but I am dark-hearted. You have no idea how evil I am. 俺って結構腹黒いから気を付けた方がいいかもよ(呪笑) だって反逆を企む王子様だから^^

karesen

karesen

 Wait, as I learned this word, something came to my mind. Yes, that’s カレセン[karesen]! Are those characteristics vey similar to karesen? The different point is that karesen is old, that’s it. So my assumption is,

 草食男子 + old = カレセン.

 Oh no, then I would definitely be カレセン too if I get older.

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30 Comments

  1. kesenaitsumi89 said,

    Haha. Otomen+old = カレセン too ^^

  2. Shii said,

    Hahaaha, this describes me really well. It’s a constant concern on my mind.

  3. bangin said,

    kesenaitsumi: I don’t mind if I am going to be.

    Shii: Then you’re going to be karesen, too.^^

  4. goodyfun said,

    As a vegetarian bisexual, the last line of your third paragraph made me laugh for the irony. (´∀`)

    Don’t worry… Someday your time will come!

  5. bangin said,

    I wish it could come before I become a karesen.

  6. jaredinnakano said,

    Nothing wrong with becoming a karasen. Maybe that will be your time!

  7. bangin said,

    Wahahaha…then my time goes on forever♪

  8. goodyfun said,

    Hell, it’s your time whenever you want it to be!

  9. Marie said,

    I’ve also heard about that incident with Tsuyoshi.
    It was a bit of shock when you consider his image on tv. He seems so reserve compares to his other members -___-;;

    Speaking of soushoku doubutsu, it reminds me of Hiba x Tsuna’s relationship from Reborn ^^!

  10. bangin said,

    Poor Tsuyoshi, but like Goro’s case I am sure he will be back someday. Anyone makes a mistake. He is a human, too.

  11. w said,

    Why on earth would this be a bad thing?! This is pretty much as close as it gets to my ideal type of guy (and I don’t even care about ※!)

    …oh, right, that’s why it’s a bad thing: and it’s no coincidence I’m not quite on the top of the Hierarchy of Awesomeness.

    But really, whatever the situation, b. in your list up there is so important I’d rank it above everything else, honestly.
    I feel kinda sorry for Tsuyoshi being batted around by everyone – I’m sure he was just stressed out and wanted to have a more normal life. And he’s right, 裸になって何が悪い?! There’s way bigger concerns than that out there right now. Also I think his surname is written 草彅, as opposed to being related to Motoko. What a funny kanji, no wonder most people write it as 草なぎ. It won’t show up on my IME unless I write it in.

  12. bangin said,

    OMG, I think I wrote it wrong, I was wondering why most people write it as 草なぎ. I corrected. Stupid me.

    As I told, most of the items go for otomen. That means you appericiate not only soushoku danshi, but otomen and karesen. ^^

  13. Soshokukei: Men are now “Herbivores” « Jared’s in Nakano said,

    [...] does a great job contrasting the two terms in this recent post, and attributing soshokukei to the recently disgraced SMAP member  Kusanagi Tsuyoshi who got drunk [...]

  14. mariusmink said,

    This is my favorite post thus far. Great job!

  15. bangin said,

    Thank you.^^

  16. Ben said,

    Don’t you think that these people include the great mass of gay japanese who just can’t come out in such an inhibitive society?

  17. bangin said,

    I don’t know…just because they don’t come out, it doesn’t mean they are 草食男子.

  18. Japanese Women Have the Baby Blues: L’Express Report « Sinologistical Violoncellist said,

    [...] without libido: Journalist Maki Kukasawa invented the term three years ago.  Soushoku danshi [草食男子], literally, “men who eat [...]

  19. adamcathcart said,

    Thanks very much for this in-depth post; I found it very helpful and linked to it on a recent translation I did of a French article about how Japanese women respond to 草食男子:

    http://adamcathcart.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/japanese-women-have-the-baby-blues-lexpress-report/

    • bangin said,

      You are welcome.^^

  20. Grass-eaters… « Haikugirl’s Japan said,

    [...] come from?  Well, apparently it comes from the Japanese “soushoku danshi”.  See here for another interesting article on this subject, which explains the Japanese term.  [...]

  21. 影門鳴海 said,

    I just found your blog. すごく面白かったです。I just spent the last 3 hours reading about otaku and it was simply fascinating.

    One of my favorite 芸能人, Sakimoto Hiromi (I know he’s not the greatest since he is on ‘Hexagon II’, but I love his さわやかなappearance–he’s such a 萌えぇぇ in my mind and I don’t know why), is going to be in the movie about 草食系男子. Now I’m living abroad I don’t really have access to Japanese movies until they come out on DVD, but I was wondering if you were planning to see the movie and maybe possibly write a follow up post on it so I can see the movie vicariously through your eyes? *begs on her knees*

    Well, there’s really no need for you to spend money to see his movie, but I thought I’d at least ask to see if there was a remote chance. Anyway, great blog, I really enjoy reading about otaku from an otomen perspective. Keep up the good work!

    • bangin said,

      I am not a good reviewer, but if I had better watch the movie to update this post, I will.
      And please come again, and feel free to speak to me.^^

  22. MicinVey1 said,

    Fascinating piece of writing. Thank you for sharing

  23. k said,

    My recent Japanese test had an article on 草食男子 for comprehensio. I was immediately reminded of this post. :)

    • bangin said,

      草食男子 is not even such a trendy word, but a common word. That the test had an article about this sure proves it.

  24. Blog Fundacji Sakura » TRAWOŻERNI said,

    [...] Soushoku Danshi [...]

  25. Arianna said,

    you know what?
    Today I had an exam of translation from Japanese and….the article I translated was about 草食男子 ….such a hard time trying to understand what an “herbivorous boy” stood for…
    Thanks for the post, I think I got the sense of that word.
    (a bit too late for my exam, but still useful)

    • bangin said,

      Oh really, so then soushoku danshi is a trendy word even out of Japan. What a surprise!

  26. MeNoRikeyPunnani said,

    Japanese men have been becoming more and more effeminate, such that most seem outright androgynous nowadays.

    Whether it be animé, film, video games, cosplay… nihon-jin guys really have taken to being ‘girly men!’

    Hardly surprising though, given centuries of oppressive ‘bushido’ mentality and the absolute dichotomy between the sexes there.

    Scary part is, Japan’s birth rate wasn’t great to begin with, even before soushoku danshi… =/

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