Having had my own personal experience with the Japanese concept of “marriage”, finding that other parents (both males and females) had virtually identical experiences with their Japanese spouses, and having spent many long hours in talks with Japanese business associates that seemed to all have a similar form of martial woes – had led me down a path of thought.
Below are some articles adding numbers and statements which seem to support my own anecdotal experiences:
- “Record 61% of unmarried Japanese men 18-34 have no girlfriend”
- “The percentage of unmarried women with no boyfriend in the same age group also hit a record high of 49.5 percent, up 4.8 percentage points”
- “13.5 percent of men and 11.6 percent of women aged between 25 and 34 said they do not know how to be in a relationship“
- “11.9 percent of men and 7.0 percent of women aged between 18 and 24 gave the same answer“
- In 2005, Durex, the world’s largest condom maker, conducted a Global Sex Survey (see www.durex.com/en-jp/sexualwellbeingsurvey/documents/gss2005result.pdf) involving 317,000 respondents in 41 countries.
- The survey found that Japanese had the least sex in the world, at 45 times a year — far less than second-from-bottom Singapore (73 times a year), and even farther from the world average (103 times a year, meaning twice a week)
- Moreover, less than a quarter (24 percent) of Japanese surveyed said they were “happy” with their sex lives, significantly lower than the global average of 44 percent.
- Durex’s more recent Sexual Wellbeing Survey, involving 26,000 interviews from 26 countries, found Japan at the bottom again with even lower results (15 percent satisfied).
- The survey polled 1,077 men, 17.8% of whom say they’ve suffered some form of abuse—physical, psychological or sexual—at the hands of their wives.
- One husband in a thousand, the survey found, has felt his wife was ready to kill him
—— My Analysis ——
The Japanese “traditional” view of clear separation of wife and husband duties, essentially cause them to lead largely separate and independent lives. Over time, instead of growing together, they grow apart. To the point where the wife resents the husband’s presence and any attempt by the husband to participate in the home life (especially if children are present in the marriage).
The Japanese children of yesterday grew up in this environment, leaving them ill-equipped to participate in healthy relationships themselves. This problem is continuing to perpetuate itself at ever increasing rates. This problem has been compounded by the modern, technological world.
When you add to that that fact the Japanese legal system is structured in such a way that divorce with children means the complete destruction of the parental relationship between the child and one parent AND that the court uses abduction to determine custody, instead of more meaningful factors that would actually looks at which parent might be healthier for the child, you are a downward spiral that is only going to continue to get worse.
So what is the benefit of marriage in Japan?
- You enter into a relationship of “apartness”
- There exist no laws to ensure parental rights
- A failed marriage means the abduction and abuse of any children
- There is no social structure to encourage that couple act maturely to resolve issues; for example, couples in trouble seeking marriage counseling is viewed negatively.
So, again, what is the benefit of marriage in Japan?
Japan continues to lament its social issues, but uses tatemae to allow itself to not look inward; to not be introspective regarding the need for value changes in its society. Japan repeatedly denies the need to create laws to protect even basic human-rights.
As noted in a UN PRESS RELEASE 2008 – HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE CONSIDERS REPORT OF JAPAN:
- “…it was repeatedly regretted that observations from several earlier country reviews of Japan had not had any effect and that Experts were making the same recommendations again. Sometimes, [discussing human rights with Japan] seemed to be a dialogue of the deaf.”
- “There was no use in simply telling the Committee in what way they were doing things and then going back to their country and continuing to do things as before instead of discussing the implementation of the provisions of the Covenant.”
- “An Expert was concerned about a lack of understanding of the Covenant by the Japanese delegation…. It was all about justifying the national legislation.”
Basically, the UN Experts questioned whether Japan even had an understanding of what “human rights” actually were.
According to the UN, in the ten years since the previous human rights review, Japan had done little meaningful to address any of the human-rights issues discussed in the past.
I have personally lived, worked and traveled to over 15 countries. Japan seemed to have *the* most fundamentally flawed sense of what a healthy marriage should be. Other countries, the US included, struggle to achieve the ideal… but Japan is stuck still trying to figure out what that ideal is — too mired in the blind belief of the “uniqueness of Japan” to be willing to take a closer look at their values; Psychology having long since determined that heathy marriages involve togetherness, maturity and compromise — which seems to be the opposite of the day to day reality in Japan.