there have been a slew of stories on this topic, and i gotta say it’s bugged me that american media has latched onto this. i can’t put it better than what this yw forum poster said:
Not gonna bother to repost the content here, you can go and waste 5 minutes of your life reading them if you want. Basically a bunch of articles about how Japanese men are all weirdo virgins who go on dates with anime dolls. All these stories smell of Japanese public relations firms planting stories in the Japanese-language media to promote someone’s latest male-advice book about “草食系男子” (grass-eating men), and then the American press picking up the story in translation and running completely out of context with it because it serves their own agenda.
One blogger analysed the “2-D men” story below and found that the statistics Katayama used (like 25% of Japanese men being virgins) are in fact fraudulent:
Love in 2-D (about guys who allegedly “date” anime characters), by Lisa Katayama
Huge numbers of examples of this genre …
Japan’s ‘herbivore’ men shun corporate life, sex, by Yumi Otagaki
The Herbivore’s Dilemma: Japan panics about the rise of “grass-eating men,” who shun sex, don’t spend money, and like taking walks., by Tom Miller
In Japan, it’s the men who want to be skinny and cute, by Kaori Shoji
There’s even a Wikipedia article about this alleged “草食系男子” phenomenon, which conveniently lists a large number of books on the topic at the bottom.
Again this closely resembles the whole “yellow cab” panic from two decades ago (about how all Japanese women working overseas were allegedly sleeping with every foreigner they met): a load of bullshit designed to be controversial in order to sell someone’s dumbass book.