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Dolly Baby Boom

Ian Hunter on the Vanishing Children of Men

It was the headline that caught my eye: “Dolls Replacing Children in Ever Aging, Childless Japan.” Sometimes one imagines one has become inured to pathos; surely what Wordsworth called “the still sad music of humanity” has lost at least some of its power to tug at the heartstrings. But, no. This particular headline subdued me utterly.

The news story explained:

As Japan produces fewer children and more retirees, toymakers are designing new dolls designed not for the young but for the lonely and elderly—companions who can sleep next to them. . . . The Yumel doll, which looks like a baby boy . . .

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Ian Hunter is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of biographies of Robert Burns, Hesketh Pearson, and Malcolm Muggeridge.

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