"Herbivore Men" — as explained in this CNN piece — is a Japanese phrase. Writer Maki Fukasawa uses it to describe a younger generation changing the country's ideas about just what is — and isn't — masculine.
"In Japan, sex is translated as 'relationship in flesh,'" she said, "so I named those boys 'herbivorous boys' since they are not interested in flesh."
These guys are "not eager to find girlfriends" and "tend to be clumsy in love."
In other words, this has nothing to do with food, but attitude: Instead of being aggro, paycheck-grubbing, lusty "carnivorous" types, these guys aren't interested in money or sex.
Junichiro Hori, a self-described herbivore, says:
"Some guys still try to be manly and try to be like strong and stuff, but you know personally I'm not afraid to show my vulnerability because being vulnerable or being sensitive is not a weakness… A lot of my friends were trying to work for a big company that pays well and I wasn't interested in that. I am kind of struggling financially
At a time when Japan's economy is troubled, some worry that this new, emo, sensitive man is bad for the future of the country. An unnamed businessman tells CNN:
"You need to be carnivorous when you make decisions in your life. You should be proactive, not passive."
But aren't we constantly tearing down ideas — weak, pink-loving, demure, submissive — of what it means to be feminine? Why do some people still believe there's one way to be "manly"?
Japan's "Herbivore Men" [BoingBoing]
Japan's 'herbivore men' — less interested in sex, money [CNN]