The rate of increase in Japan's population has been in steady decline since the 1980s. The birthrate per mother is the lowest in the world at 1.29 children, and the numbers of young people are falling every year. Over-65s now account for almost 21% of the population, compared to just under 14% for under-15 year olds.
In January 2007, then Health Minister, Hakuo Yanagisawa, created a furore when, in addressing the problem of the falling birthrate, he referred to the nation's women of childbearing age as "baby-making machines" and "baby making devices."
But it seems that not only politicians are concerned about the future of the population. Here in a neighborhood of Tokyo's Nakano ward is no less than a hairdressing salon that urges passersby to "BREED"!
But is it politically motivated? There is, to be sure, quite an intimate element in the act of giving and getting a haircut, but Tokyo has plenty of other places that cater to overtly carnal needs, for breeders or non-breeders.
No, it's probably just that with the thousands of hairdressers that dot the urban landscape - as much a feature of it as convenience stores and police boxes - finding a unique name must become something of a challenge: one that this salon rose to without pulling any punches!
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008
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