The issue in Japan isn't a 'love-gap', but an 'income gap'.
The Japan Family Planning Association interviewed 3,000 subjects about their sex lives (both men and women).
The study revealed that nearly 50 per cent of those quizzed didn’t have sex in the month previous to the interview.
‘Herbivore’, or ‘grass eating men’ (soushoku danshi), in this instance, refers to a heterosexual male in no rush whatsoever to put down roots or form physical relationships.
Commonly considered asexual, the herbivore is simply unconcerned with women outside of those in his family.
Expert Alan Pate notes that temple records refer to the making of a grass doll to be blessed and thrown into the river at Ise Shrine in 3 BC; the custom was probably even more ancient, but it is at the root of the modern doll festival or Hinamatsuri.
In the early eleventh century, around the peak of the Heian period, several types of dolls had already been defined, as known from Lady Murasaki's novel "The Tale of Genji".
48.3 per cent of men had not had sex for a month (an increase in 5 per cent from 2012). Much has been written about the dwindling birthrates in Japan (according to this piece in the New York Times, one school system on the outskirts of Tokyo taught over 1,000 school children in 2007, a figure which had dropped to just 37 by 2012).
Most startling of all, however, was that 20 per cent of men aged between 25 and 29 – the period of a man’s life usually dedicated to the spreading of wild oats – expressed little interest in sex at all. There's no denying the situation is dire – to the extent that absurd solutions are offered without a shred of irony.
But with these dolls, it's just a matter of a click of the mouse.