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Japan’s birth rate has been dropping for decades now, and while it’s possible the demographic shift is a result of couples just getting that much better at using contraceptives, you have to allow for the possibility that fewer babies is due to fewer couples doing the deed.

Lending further credibility to this explanation is the fact that the proportion of Japanese men in their 30s who still have their virginity has gotten so high that society has coined a new slang term to describe them: yaramiso.

According to a survey done in 2012 by Japan’s National Institute of Population and Security Research, almost 25 percent of men between the ages of 30 and 34 have never had sex. A separate set of data, compiled by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, and Tourism, showed that as recently as 1995 only 10 percent of the men in this age set were virgins.

▼ You can always count on the Japanese government to think up impressively long organizational names while carefully tracking national boning patterns.

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With nearly one in four men in their early 30s having never gone all the way, the number of the group’s members has grown so large that a new term has sprung up to describe them, yaramiso.

As part of our continuing quest to impart our readers with all the PG-13-rated Japanese vocabulary your textbooks won’t teach you, let’s talk about the origins of the word.

First, there’s the word suru. Suru is a useful word to know, since it means “do” and is one of the most commonly used verbs in Japanese. Suru has a rougher-sounding cousin, though, yaru, which also means “do,” but has a bit of a harsher, aggressive tone to it.

The conventions of Japanese mean you don’t always have to use a grammatical object. For example, yomu means both “read,” and “read it.” And so, just saying yaru can mean “do it”, as in “do it.” And we don’t mean your taxes, unless you have some very peculiar fetishes.

“Hey baby, I was thinking, since it’s our anniversary, we could get freaky and try something other than the standard deduction.”

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If we tweak the suffix of yaru just a bit, we get yarazu, meaning “not doing (it).”

Moving right along, the normal way to say “30 years old” is sanjuusai. Unfortunately, the Japanese language is a little like a sullen teenager in that it flip flops on whether it wants to be understood or just frustrate you until you give up trying to communicate entirely, and so of course there’s also a less common, more archaic way to say “30 years old,” misoji.

We suppose you could just insert the first word into the second and get yarazu misoji, but who has time for a whole six syllables when you could shorten it down to the hipper yaramiso, or a person who hasn’t done it in his 30 years.

▼ 30 birthday cakes, no adult sleepovers

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Some have pointed out that the sudden surge in the use of yaramiso comes roughly ten years after the first time they heard people call someone yarahata, an abbreviated form of yarazu hatachi or “virgin in his 20s.”

With an eye to the future, some are already proposing yarashiso for those who get past the 40-year mark without getting it on. Time will tell if it catches on, since there’s always the chance that all those late-blooming 30-year-olds will find their special someone in the next 10 years. For now, here’s what Japanese Internet commentators are saying about yaramiso.

“Can’t you just call them men who’re virgins?”
“So does this make them miso boys (in reference to “cherry boy,” a slang term for a young male virgin)?”
“I think they’re all satisfied just with watching porn.”
“Just leave me alone, already.”
“They’re better than guys who sleep around, so I think we should stop with the cheap-shot name-calling.”
“Guys who have their first time with a prostitute are the really pathetic ones.”

Our personal favorite comment about the term, though, was this quip:

“It sounds like the name of a Pokémon.”

We have to agree, although having been created in 1996, Pikachu still has 12 more years until he evolves into a yaramiso.

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Source: Hachima Kiko
Top image: Ameba
Insert images: FC2, Investopedia, Cakes by Chell, Wikia