A restaurant in Tokyo is crowded with customers, but on the menu isn’t raw fish, but raw meat – chicken, pork, beef and even horse meat.
About half the customers at “Niku Sushi” (Japanese for “raw meat”) are women like Aya Kanazawa, who comes three times a week and proudly calls herself “a carnivore girl.” It’s not just her culinary tastes she’s talking about. In an odd way, the battle between meat and fish parallels the battle of the sexes and Japan’s moribund economy.
Girls like Kanazawa are in contrast to Japan’s so-called "herbivore boys," the generation of Japanese youths who are less interested in sex. Borne out of 20 years of national economic stagnation, herbivore boys eschew traditional macho notions of masculinity and employment, choosing not to fulfill the salarimen role of their fathers.
For a country with one of the world’s lowest birthrates – and one of the fastest aging populations – the "herbivore boys" embody the nation’s societal fears.
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