Japan, pioneer of one-person economy

Published (HKT): 2020.08.29 09:29

With the aging population and the increasing tendency to have fewer children, a one-person economy has gradually emerged in China. In Japan, where the proportion of singles is higher, the one-person economy has long become a mature industry expressed in a variety of forms.

Japanese economist Kenichi Ohmae’s book “One Person Economy: A Big Gold Mine in Mature Markets” mentioned that “the biggest consumerism in a person’s life is to buy what he or she likes even if it is not cheap. Among young people, most of them buy a way of life.”

The rise in one-person households drives one-person consumption. In Japan, there are many courses for singles to take during their spare time, including the making of buckwheat noodles and one-person sports activities such as tennis where a machine can shoot 60 to 70 balls within four minutes, costing 300 yen (US$3).

Even monasteries have participated in the one-person economy, offering scripture writing and meditation services. There is a service for copying the “Heart Sutra’' in Tokyo Honju-in, which takes about two hours and costs 1,000 yen, after which the monks in the monastery will read the scripture aloud. Single women who do not want to get married can hire the service of one-person wedding photoshoots. There are also love hotels where singles go to experience the luxurious, romantic, but lonely atmosphere as an alternative way to reward themselves.

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