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Why do Japanese not get circumcised?


Japanese culture and traditions have always been fascinating to people around the world. One of the things that stand out when it comes to the male population is the fact that circumcision is not a common practice in Japan. This article aims to explore the reasons behind this cultural difference and shed light on some of the beliefs and values that shape Japanese attitudes towards circumcision.

The history of circumcision in Japan

Circumcision has a long history and has been practiced by many cultures around the world for various reasons. However, in Japan, circumcision was not a traditional practice, and it was only introduced during the Meiji period (1868-1912) as a way to modernize the country and adopt Western medical practices. Despite its introduction, circumcision never gained widespread popularity among the Japanese population.

Japanese Snack Box

The role of religion

Religion plays an essential role in shaping cultural practices, including circumcision. In Japan, Buddhism and Shintoism are the two main religions, neither of which promotes circumcision as a necessary religious practice. Therefore, there is no religious obligation or pressure for Japanese males to undergo circumcision.

The influence of American culture

The United States has one of the highest rates of circumcision in the world, with over half of all newborn males being circumcised. The influence of American culture on Japanese society may have played a role in promoting circumcision as a desirable medical procedure. However, despite this influence, circumcision never became a mainstream practice in Japan.

Cultural attitudes towards genitalia

In Japan, there is a cultural attitude towards genitalia that differs from Western societies. In Japanese culture, modesty and privacy are highly valued, and genitalia are considered private parts that should not be publicly exposed or altered unless medically necessary. Therefore, altering or removing any part of the body without a compelling reason is not common.

The lack of medical benefits

One of the primary reasons for circumcision in Western societies is its perceived medical benefits, such as reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections or preventing certain diseases. However, there is no evidence to suggest that circumcision provides any significant medical benefits that outweigh the risks associated with the procedure. In Japan, where there is no cultural pressure or perceived medical benefits, there is no reason for Japanese males to undergo circumcision.

The potential risks and complications

Circumcision is a surgical procedure that carries potential risks and complications such as bleeding, infection, and damage to surrounding tissue. In Japan, where there is no cultural pressure or perceived medical benefits, many people may see these risks as unnecessary and opt-out of circumcision.

The role of personal choice

In Japan, personal choice and autonomy are highly valued. Circumcision is seen as an elective procedure that should be left up to personal choice rather than cultural or societal pressure. Therefore, many Japanese men choose not to undergo circumcision simply because they do not feel it is necessary or desirable for themselves.

The perception of aesthetics

In some cultures, circumcision is seen as an aesthetic preference rather than a medical necessity. However, in Japan, the perception of aesthetics concerning genitalia differs from Western societies. Many Japanese people view uncircumcised genitalia as natural and aesthetically pleasing.

The cost-benefit analysis

In Japan’s healthcare system, medical procedures are evaluated based on their cost-effectiveness ratio. Circumcision may be seen as an unnecessary expense since it does not provide any significant medical benefits. Therefore, many Japanese hospitals do not offer circumcision as a standard medical procedure.

The potential impact on sexual pleasure

One concern that some people have regarding circumcision is its potential impact on sexual pleasure. There are conflicting studies about whether circumcision affects sexual pleasure or sensitivity negatively or positively. However, in Japan’s culture where modesty and privacy are highly valued, altering any part of the body without a compelling reason may be seen as unnecessary.

The future of circumcision in Japan

As Japan continues to modernize and adopt more Western practices and attitudes towards healthcare, it’s possible that more Japanese men may choose to undergo circumcision. However, for now, there are no indications that this trend will change anytime soon.


In conclusion, while circumcision is a common practice in many cultures around the world for various reasons such as religious obligations or perceived medical benefits, it has never gained widespread popularity in Japan due to cultural attitudes towards genitalia, lack of perceived medical benefits or religious obligations promoting it. As such it remains largely an elective procedure left up to individual choice rather than societal or cultural pressure.

What nationality does not circumcise?

Approximately 80% of the global population does not practice circumcision and has never done so. Countries that do not practice circumcision include Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, the U.S.S.R., China, and Japan.

Is it normal for Asians to be circumcised?

Circumcision is common in certain Muslim-majority countries in southeast Asia like Indonesia and Malaysia, but according to the World Health Organization, there is little non-religious circumcision in Asia except in the Republic of Korea and the Philippines.

Do Chinese get circumcised?

Male circumcision (MC) is not a common practice among the Chinese population. Although the global prevalence of MC is around 30%, only 5% of Chinese males undergo this procedure. This information was reported on January 12, 2012.

Are Korean men circumcised?

In South Korea, circumcision is not primarily performed on newborns and has been shaped by American customs. The age for circumcision has decreased over time, and currently, boys are typically circumcised at around 12 years of age.

Are most Arabs circumcised?

It is uncommon for Muslims to be uncircumcised, as circumcision rates in Muslim countries range from 90 to 100 percent, including Christian populations in some Arab states. Studies show that circumcision rates in the USA fall between 58 and 70 percent.

Why do Americans circumcise?

For a long time, the medical field in the United States has advocated for male circumcision as a way to prevent various health problems, such as a decreased likelihood of developing penile cancer, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and even reduced risk of cervical cancer among sexual partners.

It’s worth noting that Japan is not the only country where circumcision is not a common practice. In fact, many European countries also have low rates of circumcision, with some countries like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden having rates as low as 1%. This may be due to similar cultural attitudes towards genitalia and the lack of perceived medical benefits.

While there may be debates about whether circumcision is necessary or desirable, it’s important to respect personal choice and autonomy when it comes to decisions about one’s own body. In Japan, the emphasis on personal choice and privacy is a reflection of their cultural values, and it’s essential to understand and respect these values.

It’s also worth noting that there are alternative ways to promote sexual health and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections without resorting to circumcision. For example, practicing safe sex, getting regular STI screening, and using condoms can all be effective ways to reduce the risk of infection.

In conclusion, the reasons why circumcision is not a common practice in Japan are multifaceted and reflect cultural attitudes towards genitalia, personal choice, and lack of perceived medical benefits. While there may be debates about whether circumcision is necessary or desirable, it’s essential to respect personal autonomy and understand the cultural values that shape attitudes towards this practice.

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