Sent Away Empty

Christ's teaching on riches explains the social decay in Japan

The demise of a nation at the hand of its enemy is comprehensible. The demise of a nation by the aggregated poor choices of its own prosperous people is strange indeed.

Christ warns of the pitfalls of wealth, of hearts set on money and not God. He says, in the story of the Rich Young Man (Matt. 19:23), that “it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” His Mother, in her Magnificat, says that Almighty God sends the rich “away empty” (Luke 1:53). These truths play out all the time, for all to see.

Witness the withering of Japan, high on wealth and atheism. In an article titled “To live (alone) and die (alone) in Japan” (Catholic World Report, Feb. 14) Austin Ruse comments on a London Times report on the millions of empty “witch-houses” that dot Japanese towns and neighborhoods. The Times calls these houses “mysterious tokens of social decay in one of the wealthiest societies in the world.” How the houses came to be empty is not such a mystery to anyone who values children and the blessings of large-family life.

Ruse’s article, linked below, contains some interesting points:

  • There are around 8.5 million “witch-houses” — abandoned houses with no hope of either sale or teardown — across Japan, “and estimates are this number will increase to one-third of all Japanese houses by 2038.” That’s in 15 years.
  • “Japan set a record more than 25 years ago: it became the first country in the world — the first country in history — to have more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 15.”
  • Japan’s “lifetime unmarried rate stands at 26 percent for men and 16 percent for women.”
  • Ruse writes, “By 2048 it is expected the population will drop below 100 million. Forty million people gone, poof.”
  • “There is now an entire industry dedicated to cleaning up after Japanese elderly die alone. The smell is the tell that someone died alone.”

While the old are left to die alone, what are the young doing? Well, they’re not having babies. Ruse says that while “a diminution of sexual interest” among young Japanese has been noted, “what’s not widely reported is the incidence of open pornography use.” He reports that “men openly consume pornography on public transportation,” which indicates how far gone they are. Social-science data tell us that “heavy porn use results in a diminished sex drive and a lack of interest in human connection.” This and other forms of excessive consumption fuel the death spiral.

Ruse connects Japan’s population implosion to global population-control messaging via schools, media, “government ministries, the UN and EU, and billionaires.” While anti-family messaging explains part of the implosion, surely Christ’s teaching on riches explains it more. Absent authentic faith in God, most people are deceived — by their wealth — into thinking they have more important or more interesting things to do than follow God’s plan for marriage and family life. A demographic death-spiral commences when too many of a nation’s young people are deceived in this way.

Japan may only be the first among many wealthy nations to go this route. Immigration has masked or delayed the depopulation problem elsewhere in the rich world.


The link:


Barbara E. Rose is Web Editor of the NOR.

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