何も何も小さきものはみなうつくし – 清少納言 (Small is beautiful. – Sei Shonagon)
I read the books about eko-rabu or eko-renai (エコ恋愛) or eco-romance by Ushikubo Megumi.
Her main focus is on ojou-man (Ms. man/princess man), aka soshoku-danshi (herbivorous men). Since they’re the one changing romance in Japan. The most notable thing about eko-renai is Jitaku deeto (home-date). The word “eco” etymologically came from the Greek word “oikos (home).” Eco-nomics means “home custom.” Therefore, its essence is home-date, yes, eco-date! Home-romance is eco-romance! Eco-eros. Eco-love. Ecophilia!
Jitaku means “my home.” And, otaku originally meant “your home.” Mi casa es tu casa (Jitaku is otaku). The Japanese word taku is “home.” And by putting “o” as an honorific prefix to taku, it becomes otaku. Just like o-bento, o-nigiri, o-musubi. So, otaku is totally an eco-person. Otaku is the epitome of eco! Yes, otaku-romance is indeed eco-romance!
To summarize the characteristics of eco-romance:
1. They primarily date at home (mostly indoor activities: video games, anime, home movie).
2. Don’t have a car.
3. Aren’t really sexually active.
4. Don’t chase down and hunt girls, but wait till girls make a move.
5. Don’t drink alcohol, but eat sweets.
6. When they do go out, they go dutch.
How economical! We used to get all kinds of name-calling; cheap ass, stinge, tightwad, scrooge, jerk, etc. But we were right! Freakonomics, geekonomics, and now is the time for meekonomics!
Soshoku-kei (the meek), once seen as worthless piece of sh@t. The bubble economy was the age of debauch. Just like consuming tons of gasoline, binge drinking was rampant just to prove masculinity. But that’s the past. The soshoku boys are the post-bubble generation. And the gloomy lost decades have made the youth evolve to go green. In other words, downshifting. And that’s how they go eco on romance too. Yes, they’re practicing real economics!
Ms. Ushikubo also calls the soshoku boys “LOHAS danshi.” But to me a more accurate term is LOVOS, which is based on the book Small is beautiful by E. F. Schumacher, a West-German economist. In America, size matters; breast enlargement, penis enlargement; we are obsessed with largeness, grandiosity, i.e., megalothymia. Bigger is better. Anything big is awesome. But his book challenges that megalomaniac myth and advocates smallness.
The soshokukei lifestyle is totally about smallness. And not only boys but also girls, e.g., mori gāru (forest girls), a notable LOVOS, are going green. And now, thank God, they’re dismantling machismo piece by piece. Once peaceniks, tree-hugging, save the planet people were thought to be the lunatic fringe, but now being meek is a good thing. We’re proud to be the Meek Generation, so-called meeknik!
During the bubble, nikushoku danshi (carnivorous men), a survival of the fittest type, were driving shiny gas-guzzlers as a status of success. Capitalism has been putting enormous pressure on men to be highly combative to step up the ladder of success. But now, young men don’t even drive. They don’t even own a car. Instead they’re leading the car-free movement. America is in dire need of that movement!
Yet, America still praises combativeness/competitiveness. You fight, constantly at war, strive to win, since America is the winner-take-all society. Either win or lose. Zero-sum game. And the winner exclusively gets to fool around with all the cute-looking girls like Client 9 of Emperors Club VIP. We had enough of that! It’s time for the meek to attain freedom! We shall be the one to inherit the land of free!
Schumacher calls the meek “home-comer,” and the macho “the forward stampede.” In my school days in Japan, I belonged to Kitaku-bu (going home club). Yet, we kitakus (home-comers) were disdained since other school kids were brainwashed with social Darwinism at that time. And it was so unfortunate that girls also followed this oppressive discours hyped by the mainstream media. So, I became hikikomori, staying home to watch anime, the best indoor activity. But time has changed!
Yes, kitaku, jitaku, otaku. That is the trinity of taku! Tritaku! Going home is indeed going eco. It’s all about eco! We adhere to true economics by that. Kitakus are the true ecologists. Therefore, kitaku should be regarded to possess the highest moral standards on earth!
Schumacher translates the “Blessed are the meek” passage into “We need a gentle approach, a non-violent spirit, and small is beautiful.” Yes, meek is “gentle spirited.” A gentle spirit is petit and cute. Anything petit is all cute. Then, otakus should be cute to girls. Cute = datable, so otakus must be blessed!
Schumacher regards village as the smallest economic unit in society, but my take is that home is the smallest one. And now, home becomes one’s own cosmos. The era of metanarratives is over. Now’s the time for localized narratives, or petits récits. And the smallest localized unit is home. Yes, home narratives. Eco-narratives. We used to go out to visit museum, a place for grand universal narratives, but now each home becomes museum, the place for your own narratives. From outdoor to indoor. So yes, hail to the kitaku-club!
And who was the greatest kitaku? Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. She said, “There’s no place like home.” A stress-free environment. There’s nothing better than eco. There’s nothing better than jitaku/otaku. The meek are the best and blessed. Thus, meek is beautiful!
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. – Jesus of Nazareth