The pill still hard to swallow in Japan

September 16th, 2009 by Jason Jenkins

thePILL

Ten years ago this month, the pill was approved for use in Japan, yet despite its popularity overseas, very few Japanese women use it. In fact, Japan was the last UN member country to approve the pill. Of all industrialized nations, France has the highest number of pill advocates at 44%, with the U.K. at 26% and the United States at 18%.

In Japan it stands at 3%. Why?

In a country where porn is abundant, condoms are readily available and love hotels are beating the recession, it’s certainly not from a lack of interest in sex but more a lack of confidence in the pill itself. More than half of the women surveyed about the pill mentioned concern over side effects, and of the 3% of women actually taking the pill, only 30% claim it is for contraception purposes (the pill also alleviates menstrual pain in some women).

With Japan’s dismal birth rates and the problems that may cause, an aversion to the pill is not necessarily a bad thing for the nation’s future. The government is already encouraging citizens to do their part in re-populating the country, and they may have found an unusual ally in the media. As W. David Marx over at Neojaponisme has noted, the stigma of being a teenage mother has turned into a badge of honor, with many magazines and TV shows aimed at the teen demographic finding a receptive audience to what was once considered taboo:

The Japanese slang yanmama (ヤンママ) has lost its original pejorative context, no longer meaning delinquent “yankii mother” but now just “young mother” in a politically neutral tone. Yanmamas are not just heartwarming — they’re fashionable.

It’s going to take more than a few pregnant Morning Musume girls to reverse Japan’s aging trend, but leaving the pill in the packaging is a good start.

More: Read Phil Brasor’s analysis in this paper after the Japan approval in 1999

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.

RSS

Recent Posts

  • Marketers capitalize on university entrance exam time

    This week there is something weighing heavy on the minds of many students who’d like to advance to college: the National Center Test for University Admissions. It’s being held Jan. 18-19. Those with their heart set on a particular school who don’t get a good enough score may choose to spend a year, or in [...]

  • Pulsations 1.13.14

    The first batch of Pulsations in 2014 features a twist on chopstick design, a spectacular holiday illumination in Osaka and more.

  • Feelin’ lucky? The highs and lows of ‘fukubukuro’

    Whether you count fukubukuro “lucky bags” as a thank-you to shoppers, a scheme to unload less popular merchandise at the end of the year or just a way to kick off the New Year’s sales, buying a mystery pile of stuff worth [hopefully far] more than the price tag is a tempting offer to many. [...]

  • Pulsations (12.6.13)

    This collection of Pulsations brings holiday cheer in bento form, a must-see project for font-lovers, a solo stop-motion animation effort and more!

  • Joysound’s top 10 karaoke songs of 2013

    Joysound karaoke announced their top songs of 2013! However, just because they’re popular does not mean they came out this year . . .

  • Tokyo Eggs Benedict Bingo

    Eggs Benedict with awesome bacon, with a near lack of eggs, with raw tuna! Wait, raw tuna?! We sample a handful of Tokyo’s Hollandaise sauces.

  • Pulsations (11.19.13)

    Fashion, art and snacktime collide in this collection of Pulsations! Plus: Doraemon makes his 3D film debut!

  • J-blip: Tsutaya launches one-stop ‘lifestyle’ bookshop

    Bookseller Tsutaya moves into the lifestyle business and gives consumer more ways to use T-points.

  • Autumn crop of pumpkin, purple potato and pear products

    The change of season prompts a change of snack flavorings – great for those with a pumpkin craving.

  • Tokyo Designers Week 2013

    This year’s Tokyo Designers Week gets its creative juices flowing with more markets, music and a festival vibe.

Read more:
Turning the Japanese household on its head

Aya Ueto is cute, but we think Softbank's Shirato commercials are brilliant because they subvert both the notion of family...

Close