Shichi-Go-San – Dog Blessed

Written by on December 6, 2023

Shichi-Go-San – Dog Blessed – by Liam Sweeny.

A disturbing story out of Japan. It’s not the one where Godzilla went on strike; that was last week, and talks are ongoing. This story, oddly enough, is about blessings at a shrine for children ages three, five, and seven – as the ritual’s name, Shichi-Go-San, translates to ‘Three-Five-Seven.’ The disturbing part isn’t that children are being blessed, it’s that they are not being blessed. Not as much. Dogs and cats and other assorted pets are getting blessed instead.

Why is this disturbing? Because Japan’s birthrate is plummeting, while the death rate is climbing (that last thing does have to do with Godzilla.) So since fewer people are having kids, more people are letting their pets take the place of kids.

I love my cat. She’s super chill, hella loving. And I have no particular interest in having kids unless I win the lottery or marry above my station. So even though I’m not a younger person deciding not to procreate, which is the case here, I get it. And true also is the fact that the world is a dog’s breakfast right now, and I don’t know if I want to subject my child to the end of our species.

I know, I know, I’m full of it. It’s really the avocado toast, the iPhones and the Starbucks triple-pumps. Kids are just lazy, says the parents who raised them or the parents who raised their parents. They’d rather bless dogs and cats than give birth, end up with a twenty-two-thousand dollar hospital bill and a looming quarter of a mill to raise the kid to eighteen, not even talking about college. It’s expensive to raise kids, prohibitively so when you’re stretched.

And I know there are a lot of people who have kids, and are like “I did it, what’s your problem?” Their problem is they got hit by a bus, and that same bus blew a tire at the depot, which is why it didn’t hit you the next day. Luck. I read like 60% of our lives is chance. So what does that mean for a whole generation?

Who knows? I just clean the bathrooms here.


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