How Come Japanese Drink Alcohol Everyday Yet Healthy and Live Long?





Do you like alcohol? What do you usually drink?

Japanese like drinking alcohol and some drink almost everyday. But they cannot drink a lot.

In this article I’m going to discuss why Japanese drink alcohol everyday.



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Drinking Alcohol: Fact and Stat

If you had worked in a Japanese company, you must have been surprised how often people go drink.

Some businesspersons go drink almost everyday.

They usually have some drinks with colleagues or friends.


Others don’t go everyday but go sometimes during week or on weekend.


According to survey conducted in 2013, the number of Japanese who think drinking alcohol is morally acceptable is the greatest among other countries.

This survey was conducted around the world including Asia, North America, Europe and Africa.


91% of Japanese consider alcohol is morally acceptable, while 88% of Canadians consider alcohol is morally acceptable.

In US, 78% of people think alcohol is morally acceptable, whereas in China, 49% of people think alcohol is morally acceptable.


In some countries, the number of people consider drinking alcohol is morally wrong is greater than the number of people who accept alcohol: those countries include Lebanon, India, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan (with 94%).


As you can see, drinking alcohol is perceived in a different way depending on religious and countries.




How and Why People Get Drunk?

Now we know that Japanese love drinking. However, they usually cannot drink a lot like foreigners.


This is because they don’t have active ALDH2 (aldehyde dehydrogenese) enough. ALDH2 is consists of two forms of protein to break alcohol when taking into the body.


About half of Japanese and East Asians don’t have one of the proteins, mitochondorial isozyme, while most Caucasians have it.


Lack of this protein causes nausea, hangover and drowsiness. Hence some Japanese and East Asians turn their face red when drinking and they cannot drink alcohol as much as Caucasians can.



Weak vs. Strong 



When Japanese talk about alcohol, they describe those who can drink a lot as “strong to alcohol” and those who cannot drink a lot as “weak to alcohol.”

It’s said that about half Japanese are weak to alcohol. Some of them drink even though they cannot drink a lot. Others don’t drink at all.

It’s genetic so even though one drinks everyday, she or he cannot change the basic capacity.


When Japanese talk about “strong to alcohol,” they don’t necessarily relate to heavy drinkers.




Means of Social Connection

One of the reasons why Japanese like drinking alcohol is that they have been using alcohol as a way of communicating at social setting.


During Edo period, for instance, Samurai would gather and drink to meet other samurai.


Some people are shy and don’t talk a lot while sober but once they drink, they become talkative.

Alcohol is used for any sort of social setting including cooperate entertainment, party, events etc…


Alcohol makes people relaxed and reduces tense so that people can enjoy friendly atmosphere.


Another reason why Japanese like drinking is religion.

Most Japanese are not religious thus they don’t see drinking alcohol as a bad habit. Hinduism and Islam, for example, restrain or restrict drinking alcohol.





To sum up, Japanese are healthy because they don’t drink the excessive amount of alcohol. Some can but others cannot take a lot.


Japanese generally love drinking alcohol. Alcohol makes people happy and relaxed if taken proper amount.

In my opinion, Japanese must remind themselves that they are not “strong” thus they have to control the amount they drink.

It’s really nice to have some drinks with pleasant people. No one likes crazy drunk people!



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 - Leisure

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