Do you know the average annual salary of Japanese people? According to the National Tax Agency’s Survey of Private Sector Salaries and Wages, the average salary of salaried employees who worked throughout the year in the most recent fiscal year (2020) was 4.33 million yen. The average bonus was 650,000 yen. In the wake of the Covid-19 disaster, the performance of some industries and business categories took a nosedive. Many small companies, lacking in strength, managed to survive by relying on government subsidies.
In such a situation, Mr. Yamanishi (pseudonym, works at a government office in the Kanto region), a “local government employee” whose job is absolutely secure until Japan’s demise, revealed that he has come to feel that he is a “senior citizen. This is because of the response he got when he revealed his occupation at a “town party,” which was one of the reasons why he had no savings.
“Before Covid-19, I used to go to ‘machicon’ every weekend as part of my marriage activities. To be honest, I’ve never been very popular with women in my life. At least if you attend a Machikon, you can talk to someone. Anyway, I was happy to have my existence acknowledged.
Machikon is a blind date event where you pay a fee to attend. The more women gather, the more men gather, so the fee for women is usually around 500 to 1,000 yen. Men, on the other hand, pay 5,000 to 6,000 yen.
There is a similar type of business called “Aizea Izakaya,” where the woman is free and the man pays a fee to talk in an Izakaya. Mr. Yamanishi says that he feels that he can participate more casually in a Machikon.
“Aizea Izakaya is also good, but I get the impression that people at Machikon are more serious and not looking to pick up girls.
In any case, the women don’t pay the minimum fee, and the men pay for the women and the profits of the event company.
In any case, the women don’t pay the minimum fee, and the men pay for the women and the event company’s profit. “Not all of them, but when I tell them that I’m a public servant, many of their eyes light up. At work, no one takes me seriously, but here it’s different. They get excited anyway.
Mr. Yamanishi’s annual income is 4.7 million yen, and his take-home pay is about 3.7 million yen. The monthly equivalent is 300,000 yen. He lives in a one-room apartment in Tokyo, where the rent is 80,000 yen, and the minimum living expenses, including the cost of a smartphone and utilities, total 150,000 yen. If he were to live a normal life, he would be able to live well on the remaining 150,000 yen after subtracting 150,000 yen from 300,000 yen.
“I don’t know how it happened, but not only did I not have any money left over, but I had to cut back on my savings, and now I have no money left. I don’t live a luxurious life at all. I thought I was a senior citizen, but… it’s strange.
He buys his clothes at Yokado, doesn’t buy a car, doesn’t get married, and doesn’t have children, so he doesn’t do anything expensive in his daily life. However, he spends a lot of money on eating and drinking with women, and on fishing and diving, which he loves. His diving and fishing gears, which cost several hundred thousand yen each, were not rented, but purchased with revolving credit card payments. It’s practically a debt. Diving and fishing also require travel expenses.
Since I couldn’t go to a street party anymore because of Covid-19, I changed the place to meet people to a matching app, but there was no change in my expenses. He has also increased the frequency of his favorite activities, scuba diving and fishing, thinking that it is a good chance since the popular spots are now empty.
“Since I’m a government employee, I think it’s okay to have no savings for a while. I’m sure I’ll be able to accumulate some money someday. My life may change when I find someone to marry.
Ms. Yamanishi does not seem to be embarrassed by her zero savings and revolving debt. Will Ms. Yamanishi really be able to continue her current lifestyle and find a marriage partner?
To find out, the ITOMOS Research Institute conducted an online questionnaire in the “ITOMOS 10,000 People Survey: Japanese People’s Honest Opinions” (conducted between November 1 and 10, 2021).
In the survey, the following categories were selected by annual income: “Monthly income of less than 100,000 yen (labeled “no income” in the graph for convenience),” “Monthly income of 100,000 to 200,000 yen (labeled “annual income of 1.8 million yen” in the graph for convenience),” “Monthly income of 200,000 to 300,000 yen (labeled “annual income of 3 million yen” in the graph for convenience),” “Monthly income of 300,000 to Respondents with a monthly income of 300,000 yen to less than 400,000 yen (labeled “annual income of 4.2 million yen” in the graph for convenience),” and “monthly income of 400,000 yen (labeled “annual income of 4.8 million yen or more” in the graph for convenience). No hobbies! Solid small business employee” and “No savings! We asked each respondent to choose whether they wanted to marry a “solid small business employee” or a “wasteful local government employee.
The results showed a marked tendency for the “spendthrift local government employee” not to be chosen across all income levels. It is clear that people are more attracted to “stable tastes and thoughts” than to “stable jobs.
When I told Mr. Yamanishi about these results later, he said, “I was surprised that the data was so clear. Is it really better to be an employee of a small company that may go under at any time than a local government employee? …… It’s true that the atmosphere is good when you first meet someone or go out with them a few times, but once you start talking about your life together, things tend to go wrong,” he reflected.
I hope that Ms. Yamanishi will change her self-awareness and attitude towards life, and find her ideal partner soon.
Reporting and writing： Kenichi Ogura
ITOMOS Research Institute