“I’ll tell you something really terrible: every relationship I’ve ever had with a woman, at some point very early on, I’d bring them to Yasuda in New York, and I would watch how they would eat. If they talked too much, didn’t understand how to eat sushi, if they did not eat the uni - we will never have a relationship. That’s it. It’s the end.”
Iwase Yoshiyuki's photo-essay of Ama Divers - girls and women who harvested seaweed, oysters, and abalone in coastal Japan.
"Ama divers went out three times a day, requiring extensive eating and warming at the fireside between runs. A good harvest required long, cold dives, up to four minutes of hard underwater work on a single lungful of air. As such, ama divers were paid enormous salaries, often making more a few week season than the men of the village made in a year. When Yoshiyuki began shooting in the late 1920s, there were several hundred ama divers active in the seven harbours of the Iwawada coast… By the late 1960’s this 2000 year old way of life had disappeared. Yoshiyuki’s images are the most comprehensive document of ama divers ever produced and a stunning visual testament to these fascinating iconic women.”
"Japan’s under-40s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships. Millions aren’t even dating, and increasing numbers can’t be bothered with sex. For their government, ‘celibacy syndrome’ is part of a looming national catastrophe. Japan already has one of the world’s lowest birth rates."
"Both men and women say to me they don’t see the point of love. They don’t believe it can lead anywhere."
"[A]n astonishing 90% of young women believe that staying single is ‘preferable to what they imagine marriage to be like’".
"I often get asked out by married men in the office who want an affair as I am single. But I can’t be bothered."
"Is Japan providing a glimpse of all our futures? Many of the shifts there are occurring in other advanced nations, too. Across urban Asia, Europe and America, people are marrying later or not at all, birth rates are falling, single-occupant households are on the rise and, in countries where economic recession is worst, young people are living at home.”
"Of the estimated 13 million unmarried people in Japan who currently live with their parents, around three million are over the age of 35.”
"Gradually but relentlessly, Japan is evolving into a type of society whose contours and workings have only been contemplated in science fiction."
“In Japan, where palm reading remains one of the most popular means of fortune-telling, some people have figured out a way to change their fate. It’s a simple idea: change your palm, change the reading, and change your future. All you need is a competent plastic surgeon with an electric scalpel who has a basic knowledge of palmistry. Or you can draw the lines on your hand with a marker and let him work the magic you want. …
Even in Japan, where odd surgery requests are not unknown—like the man who had his penis removed and served it as a special dinner—Takaaki Matsuoka, a plastic surgeon… was taken aback.”