We are perhaps too harsh on the Japanese. We are constantly mocking their mannerisms, their 'out there' tastes and their 'exotic' customs. The Japanese, however, are a people blessed with an extremely active imagination, a people able to find original, innovative solutions to major problems which have long troubled the rest of us.
Japanese society, as a result, is suffering from a growing problem: half of men aged between 30 and 45 are still single. The culture of a job for life has gone up in smoke and with it the idea that one marries for life. What's more, the economic stability of the old days no longer compensates for physical disadvantage (read ugliness) as it had down for centuries. The economic crisis has brought down average annual incomes considerably.
In other words, there is now no way viable way for woman to judge men based on a long term vision. As a result they focus on the ones that take their fancy at first sight. They even claim to prefer good-looking guys to ugly ones (surely this can't be true), but also to favour money over beauty? The traitors.
The solution is quite simple: limit the rate of spinsterhood in order to slow down a falling birth rate and, at the same time, finance the support of retired people.
A Japanese economist, Takuro Morinaga, claims to have found a solution to the crisis: tax the good lookers. The idea would be to categorise Japanese gentlemen into four groups: the good looking, the average looking, the fairly ugly and the ugly. Those in the first category would see their rate of tax increase by 100%. Those who are considered to be fairly ugly would receive a 10% reduction on their taxes, while the unfortunate buggers seen as ugly would benefit from a reduction of 20%.
According to Mr. Morinaga: "Taxing the good looking, and in particular those with high incomes, would help to weaken their position and increase the chances of the ugly. The ugly, who, up to now, have not had access to the marriage market, will become more confident as a result of the increase in their revenues that the tax reduction brings. A young, good-looking rich man would hand over 90% of his income to the tax man. If the incomes of the good-looking are lower than those of the ugly, women would come to reevaluate their choice of criteria." Brilliant.
And best of luck to the committee who'll be in charge of determining who is beautiful and who isn't. Above and beyond the disappointments or even traumatisms (no matter if the surprise is good or bad) that such a decision would generate, one would suspect that no gentleman would look anything but his worst on the day of judgement. In fact it would be a game in trying to make oneself look as hideous as possible in order to avoid the expense. Should we expect to see the rise of ugly institutes? The auditions promise to be great viewing and some would surely consider televising them in the form of a new type of reality show.
And then, who knows, the tables can turn in an instant. The ugly, fortified by a rising purchase power and happy to have found their other half, would feel naturally inclined to improve his appearance through the purchase of clothes and flashy cars and why not a bit of surgery. Who knows, they may even turn out good-looking. Then, bam, before you know it they're back in front of the jury, having to hand over double the amount of tax after having been considered beautiful! They then become impoverished, obliged to hand over their house, car, wardrobe etc and in all probability will lose their charm, fine figure and shining smile. In other words, in perfect condition to reappear in front of the jury and get a tax reduction for being ugly!
We do mock the Japanese a fair bit, but they're asking for it really.
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