The New York Times features Japan's "parasite singles"
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The New York Times has a 6-page feature story on Japan's "parasite single women", who are "shunning marriage, spending big, and still living with their parents". In their Sunday, July 1, 2001 magazine section appeared "Parasite Pret-a-porter" written by Peggy Orenstein. Orenstein is a contributing writer for the New York Times magazine and author of " Flux: Women on Sex. Work, Love, Kids and Life in a Half-Changed World". This is a very interesting article with plenty of data, voices, observation, insight and analysis ? helpful to understand some aspects of Japan's current social situation, although the article naturally includes lots of assumptions to be argued and further explored.
"Is being a parasite a revenge?"
(The New York Times, July 1, 2001)

Zipangu tries to reconstruct the story as objectively as possible mostly quoting the essences of the article. We think that Orenstein' s article is great material to stimulate discussion about the current social situations of Japan, especially Japanese women. Therefore we have opened up a web forum regarding the "Parasite Singles" in our Forum section. Please participate and send any comments on Orenstein's article, on the reported lifestyle of Japan' s Parasite Singles, etc.

The original text written by Peggy Orenstein can be found in archives of the New York Times online site (, where you can read recent articles free and can buy each article older than one week for $2.50 a piece

Go to Forum

  • What are "Parasite Singles"?
  • The origin of the term "Parasite Singles" and Orenstein' s usage of it.
  • Parasite women as big spenders: Is shopping a sign of their liberation?
  • In Japan the birthrate is dropping desperately.
  • Parasite women: a sign of decadence or a harbinger of a new revolution?
  • Why Japanese women don't want to have children?: Are there too many challenging conditions for working mothers?
  • Why American women are eager for marriage: Is it because of the social pressure of their couple culture?
  • Or is this Parasite phenomenon just a sign of the pessimism of young Japanese?
  • Conclusion: Who knows what may happen in the future?

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