Foreign media mocks sexless married Japanese men for turning to silicone sex dolls

Every few months along comes another one: a sensationalist English-language news wire article about Japanese sex dolls that appears everywhere, eager for clicks and comments.

This time it’s an article with the very sensitively headline “Silicone Sally: Japanese men find true love with sex dolls”. It comes courtesy of AFP, about physiotherapist Masayuki Ozaki turning to a silicone sex doll, Mayu, when romance in his marriage dried up.

Lonely guy buys sex doll. Hardly news. Goodness knows how AFP found this story or if it’s even true. We are naturally somewhat suspicious of someone who would agree to be included and even photographed half-naked with his doll.

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We guess what makes the story unusual this time is how Ozaki lives openly with Mayu under the same roof as his wife and teenage daughter in Tokyo.

“After my wife gave birth we stopped having sex and I felt a deep sense of loneliness,” the 45-year-old physiotherapist told AFP in an interview.

“But the moment I saw Mayu in the showroom, it was love at first sight,” blushed Ozaki, who takes his doll on dates in a wheelchair and dresses her in wigs, sexy clothes and jewelry.

“My wife was furious when I first brought Mayu home. These days she puts up with it, reluctantly,” he added. “When my daughter realised it wasn’t a giant Barbie doll, she freaked out and said it was gross — but now she’s old enough to share Mayu’s clothes.”

Ozaki is one of an increasing number of Japanese men turning to rubber romance in a country that’s lost its mojo.

He also admits to being turned off by human relationships.

“Japanese women are cold-hearted,” he said while on a seaside stroll with his silicone squeeze.

“They’re very selfish. Men want someone to listen to them without grumbling when they get home from work,” Ozaki added. “Whatever problems I have, Mayu is always there waiting for me. I love her to bits and want to be with her forever. I can’t imagine going back to a human being. I want to be buried with her and take her to heaven.”

So the true story here is about a loveless marriage — neatly feeding into another trope that the Western media is obsessed with: sexless Japan.

AFP even made a video showing Ozaki and Mayu out on a date.

Of course, many readers will have already guessed that Mayu is a doll from the amazing lineup of Orient Industry, which, the article says, sells around 2,000 dolls per year.

The article then rather casually links the falling birthrate in Japan with a “growing” number of “herbivore” men not interested in sex or women. But how many is “growing”? Is this really a problem or mainly a media construct? 2,000 dolls is an interesting niche market, but it hardly spells the end of the entire population.

japan sex doll orient industry sexless

japan sex doll orient industry sexless

We welcome articles about sex dolls in Japan, especially when they provide insights into the users and owners. But we want them to be sincere. We think that Orient Industry dolls are incredible in their own right and should not be indirectly blamed for any wider social problems.

There is a host of other problems feeding into the birthrate issue, not least declining incomes and economic instability as well as a lack of infrastructure for young parents.

These kinds of articles and the accompanying photos convince the world that Japan is a nation of weird men walking around Tokyo with their sex dolls.

Such men exist but so does so much here. That’s why we love writing about adult themes, because there is such a rich canvas. But it’s not this black-and-white tale of lonely middle-aged men and herbivores. We think such a sniggering interpretation does a disservice to the men, the doll designers and the Japanese people in general.

At the least, the article needs a neutral voice from a scholar or pundit toning down the clickbait.

The article is particularly disingenuous when it talks about Yoshitaka Hyodo like he is just another regular sex doll owner with a “military sex doll fetish”. As we have written about before, Hyodo is much more than that: he is a collector who has converted his home into a private museum. Hardly a typical example! None of this important context is mentioned.

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