33% of Japanese think marriage is pointless: survey

33% of Japanese think marriage is pointless: survey

TOKYO —

Go to college, get a job, meet a guy or girl, and…don’t get married?

A recent survey suggests that almost one-third of Japanese people just can’t see the point in tying the knot and settling down. And after you see what some of them have to say about marriage, you might understand why.

Marriage has long been a staple of Japanese society, with enormous industries dedicated weddings and “omiai” (matchmaking). However, recent decades have seen a shift in social standards and the number of people staying single is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.

With this mind, the magazine Joshi Spa! conducted a survey inspired by a June event extolling the virtues of not getting married. The magazine revealed that 33.5% of the 37,610 respondents said they didn’t see any merit in marriage.

Here’s one person’s thoughts on marriage: “I’ve hated kids for forever and I never thought that I wanted any, so I kind of feel like there’s not point to it.”

Another respondent said, “If you’re single, you can use your money exactly as you like, and no matter how much you spend on your hobbies or interests, no one will complain, and you can live at your own pace. But if you get married, all of that disappears, so I really want to ask, honestly, is there any merit to getting married?”

Joshi Spa! helpfully broke the results down by age group as well, showing that the largest group of people who had no interest in marriage was in their 30s, with 40.5% of them saying “no!” to exchanging vows. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 38% of those still in their teens teens shrugged the idea of marriage off, while 39.1% of 20-somethings, and 35.9% of people in their 40s were also uninterested in matrimonial bliss.

As may be expected, the older groups were more likely to find value in marriage. However, it’s hard to say if this is a sign of a permanent change in thinking or if the “youngesters” are still just having too much fun to settle down.

Shockingly enough, Internet commenters had a lot to say about this.

—Being broke, there’s more demerit than merit for me.

—It’s probably better not to marry someone who thinks about merits and demerits. Unless you don’t mind just being an ATM.

—The merits are just keeping up appearances and being socially responsible. The need for marriage like in the past is going to just keep getting less and less.

—I’m married, but, honestly, I think it’s better not to. Except for the kids… I like my kids.

—Everyone around me in me in their 30s, 40s, and 50s is getting divorced, and I hear nothing but rumors about affairs–it’s all just stupid. Aside from working together to raise kids, I can’t see any point to marriage.

—It’s great if you marry someone you really like. But going so far as to trying omiai or going out marriage hunting, I don’t see the need.

—Marriage is close to the image of getting a parasite and having it endlessly sucking the essence out of you. Seriously, won’t someone take my pig wife away??

Geez, wouldn’t want to be that last guy’s wife.

Sources: Shunkan News, Itai News

Read more stories from RocketNews24.
An Increasing Number of Japanese Men Opting for Bachelorhood
What Japanese Women Really think About Money and Marriage
Japan’s Singletons List the Kinds of People They’d Hate to Marry

RocketNews24

  • 9

    Kakurenbo

    Marriage is close to the image of getting a parasite and having it endlessly sucking the essence out of you. Seriously, won’t someone take my pig wife away??

    That's a mixed metaphor. Perhaps failed marriages start with feeble literary skill.

  • 3

    bfg4987

    I;d hardly say this is a problem unique to Japan. The average age for first marriage has moved back by about 8 years in the last 5 decades for the U.S. I'm nowhere close to getting married, and none of my friends are. Few of my high school graduating class is married 8 years after graduation, though there are several single mothers.

    Basically, there is a worldwide problem of educated people in the current young generation not breeding.

  • 10

    Mirai Hayashi

    Marriage is close to the image of getting a parasite and having it endlessly sucking the essence out of you. Seriously, won’t someone take my pig wife away??

    Hah...that's a great quote. People (especially women in Japan) like the idea of "getting married" (ie the wedding, wedding dress, ceromony, etc...like one big party.), but when it comes to the substance of what a marriage REALLY is, most can't hack it.

  • 1

    Tessa

    Marriage is close to the image of getting a parasite and having it endlessly sucking the essence out of you. Seriously, won’t someone take my pig wife away??

    Ha ha, that made me laugh! And I do know a lot of Japanese housewives like that.

  • 8

    hereforever

    Marriage I believe is overrated. Been there done that. Most women I know get married so they can live off their overworked husband and enjoy their life. And being a mother is not as bad as they make it out to be. I know a salaryman turned house husband and he is loving it! Kids out to school by 8, takes an our to do house chores, has the test of the day off till 3 when he shops for dinner. Dinner at 6, kitchen cleaned by 7, kids do homework, bath, etc till 10, then kids to bed. Wife home by 10-11 she eats dinner while he's getting his bath for bed. There are many other things like PTA and banks and so on but not a daily thing. So, housewives, stop pretending its difficult to raise children. The gig is up.

  • 22

    Tamarama

    I never thought marriage was 'pointless', I just had a strong suspicion it wasn't for me. Until I met the woman who would become my wife at 30. At that point, I was forced to reconsider all of my preconceptions and we have been very happily married since.

    You just can't rush it, or force it. You have to make that decision carefully. And I have no doubt that for a certain portion of the population it's better they don't marry.

  • 0

    Crazedinjapan

    Interesting article, this may be a relatively new problem ( only the government or old people view it this way ) in Japan but back in NA living common law suffices . Part of the issue may be due to the parameters surrounding marriage. Many believe that once they are married the woman should stay home and many women think they should ( mind you there is the opposite to that and men think their wives should ) Why shouldn't both parties share the responsibilities of the household ? Too much emphasis on having children as well. Not everyone is cut out for having children.

  • 4

    gaijintraveller

    There could be a good explanation here. http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/condom-maker-reveals-results-of-national-survey-on-sex. If there is so little sex after marriage, there does not seem to be much point in getting married.

  • 5

    sourpuss

    Marriage doesn't ruin lives; people do.

  • 5

    Viclovesdrama

    It's certainly pointless if you don't meet the right person. Some people will, some never will. Whatever works best.

  • 8

    cracaphat

    Anything can be pointless if you look at the negative side of things,including this article.

  • 12

    Cricky

    A friend of mine is married, he loves it. Even more than the two times before.

  • 1

    Ranger_Miffy2

    Aren't there any tax advantages to marriage? At least that?

  • 5

    John Occupythemoon Daly

    25 and single, and I've mentioned on this site before, I have no intention of getting married anytime soon. Marriage is great for people who are ready and who want it, but putting societal pressure to force young people to pick someone in their early 20s to spend the rest of their life with is bonkers. Take my pig wife away. Classic.

  • 4

    glidingneedles

    If their parents had the same view, they wouldn't be alive making such comments. It seems like their primary concern is MONEY and how they want ALL of it for themselves, i.e. no sharing with spouse and children. What a selfish generation we have become. But then again, over-population is a problem so maybe it's not such a bad idea to let them have their way and die alone/ childless and have their genes eliminated.

  • 5

    BurakuminDes

    I suspect a significant portion of that 33.5% fall into the category of "undateable" - let alone marriage material! Anyway, good luck to them. No-one should be forced into marriage because of societal / family pressure.

  • 2

    zurcronium

    More single ladies . . . is not Japan just the greatest country?

  • 6

    Tessa

    So, housewives, stop pretending its difficult to raise children. The gig is up.

    Yes, this. Back in the days before all the labour-saving devices such as washing/drying machines, microwave ovens, and vacuum cleaners, housewifery/mothering really was a full-time job. But now? Everything gets done at the touch of a button - laundry, cooking, heck even heating up the bath water. Not to mention that most families are now limited to one or two children. There is NO justification for any modern-day SAHM to complain about her lot in life.

  • 4

    StormR

    Marraige can be fantastic I am told by about 2% of people who have ever tried it. The rest all seem to be in some kind of night marish grind constantly striving to please the other person or to avoid conflict.

    Prior to marriage I think too many people have the misconception marriage will all be hearts and flowers like some story from disneyland, but the reality is totally different, it takes alot of patience , tolerance, understanding and tongue biting just to get through one day. Try doin that for 20 or 30 years and it will take it's toll, people soon grow to resent their partner and and being taken for granted.

    The 33% have the right idea stay single enjoy YOUR life but do not become mislead with society when it trys to make your think marriage is the norm. Play the field !

  • -3

    Mocheake

    "I only care about me"

  • -5

    Yubaru

    Joshi Spa! helpfully broke the results down by age group as well, showing that the largest group of people who had no interest in marriage was in their 30s, with 40.5% of them saying “no!” to exchanging vows.

    The translator of this article must not be aware that Japanese don't "exchange vows" when they get married, not in the western sense.

  • 2

    Jimizo

    I'm married because it made it easier for my partner to get a visa. Otherwise, we wouldn't have bothered after nearly 10 years living together. I felt no different after receiving a document from the registry office, just a few quid poorer. Many of my coworkers are in unhappy marriages, feeling unable to get out by going through a divorce. Marriage as an institution is on the slide in many developed countries and on the whole it's probably a good thing.

  • 2

    pizzatime

    Meeting ladies around is fun.. I have many friends who are married. Most of them are miserable or they really regret it. When we go our drinking.... they truly regret it.

  • 8

    cleo

    In my early twenties I thought marriage was not for me, never imagined I would ever want to get married. Then I met Mr cleo and everything changed. Even then we may have just lived together if I hadn't needed the visa, but looking back I see getting married as the second-best thing that ever happened to me (Having kids is the first, though it came after)

    being a mother is not as bad as they make it out to be

    Back in the days before all the labour-saving devices such as washing/drying machines, microwave ovens, and vacuum cleaners, housewifery/mothering really was a full-time job.

    Being a mother isn't bad at all, it's wonderful. Let's not confuse housewifery with being a mother; anyone can push a vacuum cleaner about, or pay someone else to push it, the results are the same. No amount of labour-saving devices can take the place of a hug and a kiss and gentle guidance when a child needs it.

  • 1

    Roten

    Seriously, won’t someone take my pig wife away??

    I thought that tonsai (pig wife) was an archaic term. Surprised to see someone using it in a comment in this day and age. I sometimes use the word as an example of picturesque Japanese of a bygone era, along with tonji (pig son).

  • 5

    ben4short

    @Yubaru

    The translator of this article must not be aware that Japanese don't "exchange vows" when they get married, not in the western sense.

    Jeez, dude, you certainly seem to spend a lot of time nitpicking articles and comments for something to complain about.

    Ever hear of a metaphor? The translator used "exchange vows" metaphorically, NOT literally; e.g., *with 40.5% of them saying “no!” to MARRIAGE. . *

    Lighten up, Yu, or drive yourself crazy by complaining.

  • 6

    Saxon Salute

    A lot of women, particularly Japanese women, metamorphose into some kind of dementor once they have had kids. They have no interest in the husband and view him as an ATM. He views her as a "pig wife", but she is incapable of understanding that this is how she is viewed. Either that, or she is too busy with voluntary work, hula and mama-ranchi to care what he thinks. Japanese men never stick up for themselves, so their scary wives treat them increasingly badly as time goes by. No wonder Japanese men don't want the marriage anymore.

    "—Marriage is close to the image of getting a parasite and having it endlessly sucking the essence out of you. Seriously, won’t someone take my pig wife away??

    Geez, wouldn’t want to be that last guy’s wife."

    Yeah, geez, I wouldn't want to be married to that guy's wife, but half the country is.

  • -1

    Stephen Jez

    33% of Japanese are lonely herbivores who can't get a date.

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    While 'marriage', in the legal sense, may well be considered pointless by many, I would say relationships are NOT pointless. You needn't necessarily sign some city hall contract to dictate you love and should live and even procreate with the other person, but saying a relationship is out of the question because down the road it'll be inconvenient is actually quite near-sighted.

  • 4

    Serrano

    “I’ve hated kids for forever"

    This comment is disturbing.

    "Marriage is close to the image of getting a parasite and having it endlessly sucking the essence out of you. Seriously, won’t someone take my pig wife away??"

    Oh for crying out loud, if you hate your wife that much, get divorced already. Sheesh.

  • 3

    yyj72

    All of this speaks of the dire need for a better balancing of home and work roles between men and women in Japan. The current system of co-dependency and constrained options is killing people's happiness and causing them to misplace their priorities to the long-term detriment of the society. Marriage may not be for everyone, but it should not be seen as a potential prison sentence either.

  • 6

    CrazyJoe

    Romantic love is one of the most important thing in this universe.

  • 1

    kibousha

    If I could replay my life, I would pay a woman to bear my child and stay single all the way.

  • 2

    Jimizo

    @Smith I agree that relationships are not pointless. I think the point is that many Japanese don't want to enter into a marriage, and living together, let alone having kids outside marriage, still isn't accepted by the majority here. The quotes above show a perception of marriage as a life-sentence of restriction, loss of financial independence, lowered standard of living and I can certainly sympathize with the feelings of someone non to pleased about the idea of a parasitic partner ( I know I wouldn't play Santa ).Relationships can turn sour in or outside marriage and I regard people who are cautious of this fact as practical and far-sighted. Relationships need not be a ball and chain, but marriage which is still regarded by most in Japan as a prerequisite to living together and having kids, does give it that image.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    The men can whinge all they want about their wives taking their money but until they 1) stop wanting the women to give up their jobs and stay at home 2) are content to work in companies where women don't get afforded the same opportunities for promotions and real careers and 3) are content to work in companies that grind you down to the bone so that there's nothing left to give your kids pretty much ensuring one spouse has to stay home, that's the way it goes. One of them works outside the home and the one who doesn't is dependent on the working spouse for money. If the money-making spouse really thinks the other is spending too much money then for heaven's sake, sit down, work out a budget and stick to it. There are solutions to most problems if you're not too lazy, stupid or full of self-pity to work them out.

  • 5

    warewarenihonjin

    I do not know any man who is happy with his Japanese wife. All time, the wife is complaining, or moody, or silent.

    Of course, after baby comes, no making love is expected- change of clothes to mama-san's wear. Apron and long gloves in a summer time. Where is sey style your man wanted? Gone. All in a group with other mamas, all a same wear. All a same nonsense.

    "I must do volunteer, so too busy for working" What is VOLUNTEER mean? Please check a dictionary.

    Even if husband comes home after work - not in a bar, not in a hostess - wife doesn't even say hello, or show some happiness her man is home. Too tired from daily house jobs. But never too tired for hula club, or mama-lanch.

    Only rude. You don't work, you know? All your thing is come from husband. Please show your appreciate.

    I know many husbands want divorce, but care too much for their child. It is not selfish way. It is not weak way. Wife is too rude, but may find big surprise when husband is die - oops No more money!

  • 1

    Jimizo

    @warewarenihonjin That captured the complaints of my coworkers after a few beers absolutely perfectly. I could smell the beer, smoke and yakitori just by reading that. Brilliant post.

  • 2

    gogogo

    There is no "love" in Japan but these strange marriages that seem more like company mergers than a family.

  • 1

    Farmboy

    Seriously, won’t someone take my pig wife away??

    With that attitude, don't worry. Someone will. Before then, learn to cook.

  • 2

    cleo

    The translator of this article must not be aware that Japanese don't "exchange vows" when they get married, not in the western sense.

    If they have a traditional Shinto or Buddhist wedding perhaps, but I've been to a few 'Christian' weddings (with Engrish teacher priest) and a few more real Christian weddings (with genuine priest) in the past couple of years and all the couples did do the exchanging vows thing.

    • Moderator

      Readers, please do not get fixated on one expression. That is not what the story is about.

  • 2

    GW

    As I have said many times in the past that I think Japans already low birth rate is set to nose dive, this blurb seems to say it may well do so.

    Happy marriage......not really fair to bring down to a sound bite or two. Having said that as many here know work balance is a very severe problem, add that men/women(mostly the latter) change after marriage when kid(s) arrive on the scene. Unless you know in advance that the Mrs WILL almost always radically change once a kid arrives in Japan its a major shock for hubbies, especially non-Japanese who just didn't see it coming(& to you guys who aren't married PAY attention because this is the BIG change almost guaranteed to happen!!)

    The Mrs & I certainly aren't pefect, that don't exist, but we mostly do quite well, the biggest reason why is simple, NO KIDS! If we did have'em.......well I don't want to think about it honestly.

    If I could go back in time knowing what I know now & stayed in Japan I likely would NOT marry, not because I don't love my wife, but the sad pathetic reality in JAPAN is that we would both likely be a little happier.

    I think the biggest problem in Japan is simply the environment we all live in, lets face it, the vast majority in Japan, ESPEICALLY in urban/city areas SUCKS big time.

    Unless Japan re-invents itself head to toe, the rot will only continue

  • 1

    ambrosia

    GW: Unless you know in advance that the Mrs WILL almost always radically change once a kid arrives in Japan its a major shock for hubbies, especially non-Japanese who just didn't see it coming(& to you guys who aren't married PAY attention because this is the BIG change almost guaranteed to happen!!)

    As I asked in another post on a similar topic, why is it always a shock to the non-Japanese guys when every non-Japanese woman I know understands that there are going to be major changes once you get married to a Japanese woman, not getting much sex after the kids are born, being one of them. How is it that we all seem to know this about relationships here and the guys don't? I'm asking honestly because I didn't get an answer the last time I posed this question. Seriously, do you guys not talk to your married friends about this? Do you not discuss things with your non-Japanese female friends? Do you all really think your woman is "different" or that you're going to be the one to change her? I'm fine with being thumbed down for this but I just find it hard to understand why time after time, I hear my non-Japanese male friends making the exact same complaints as if they couldn't possibly have imagined it would happen to them. Especially when you marry someone from another culture, find out as much as can about relationship expectations. Don't make assumptions (even if you're from the same culture) and understand that everyone puts on a bit of a mask when you're dating, yes, even you men but the signs of what the person is really like are there if you're paying attention to more than how cute she is.

  • 1

    billyshears

    There doesn't seem to be anything new in those reasons for not getting married. Maybe what is relevantly different nowadays is the plethora of free online porn and the overall demise of job security.

  • 1

    lonebeagle

    Another "Only in Japan story". Or another story from The Onion--this is really incredible. It should be rather obvious why people marry. Finding a mate and having children is the one of the basic things of life. No need for discussion unless you live in Japan apparently.

    I guess the Japanese are becoming a dysfunctional society in just about every conceivable way--they can't date, find marriage partners, have kids, make functional homes, happy homes, normal successful lives, etc.

    Life in Japan appears to be a sham or fake or something. Quite amazing and disturbing. Not a place one would want to live or visit. These news stories just get more unbelievable.....

  • 0

    Gaijin Desi

    I am sure most of the 33% of Japanese are Men. In our group there are lots of Japanese single girls who are interested in marrying a Japanese Men, but Men seems not interested as they are not ready to take more responsibilities. in fact most of these single Men don't even want to be in-relation with this quet girls, take months only to think. I think its there inability to take RISK.. ummmmm and Japan's population is decreasing day by day.

  • 2

    ambrosia

    lonebeagle: Another "Only in Japan story" ..... Finding a mate and having children is the one of the basic things of life. No need for discussion unless you live in Japan apparently.

    First, this is hardly an "only in Japan story" (see below). Second, I don't know if anyone's told you this but you don't have to get married to have children. You can still be good parents, committed to your children and to your relationship without being married. It may not be what you want but it is definitely possible. Not being married doesn't mean a couple or society is dysfunctional.

    Heading into 2012, trend watchers note that barely half of all adults in the United States are married, and the median age at the time of a first marriage has never been higher - slightly more than 26 years old for women and nearly 29 for men.

    In countries in northern Europe, marriage rates are even lower and cohabitation rates are even higher than in the U.S. Sweden has one of the lowest rates of marriage in the world, and three times as many couples cohabit there as in America.

    Latest figures from Statistics Korea show the number of people who got married in March was around 23-thousand people down 16 percent from the same month last year. This is the fifth straight month the number has declined and the lowest it's been since 2008. Data also shows the number of babies born in March fell 10.2 percent from the same month a year earlier. to just under 39-thousand ---- the lowest level in 32 years

    A check of United Nations statistics on marriage trends shows that 87 percent of the world's population lives in countries with marriage rates that have fallen since the 1980s.

    The Office for National Statistics released provisional figures yesterday suggesting that marriage rates were at their lowest level since records began. The number of marriages registered in England and Wales in 2007 was 231,450, a 3.3 per cent drop on the previous year, and only three quarters of the number recorded in 1991.

  • 0

    gogogo

    Problem has been pointed out here my other posters, get married wife has all the power, if she wants to she can take the children away never to be seen again, they use this against their husbands to get to do whatever they want.

  • 7

    Saxon Salute

    Gaijin Desi, I'm sure plenty of this 33% are men, but that's because many of the girls want to marry so that they can stop working, have one baby, and access to a walking ATM husband they never see, who is expected to hand over his entire salary every month. In return she makes his bentos and gives him tiny amounts of pocket money. What a deal for the man eh. Better to stay single unless you really want kids. Yep, no wonder the population is decreasing.

  • -3

    Jaime-Victoria Matsuo

    husband is the head of the family , the wife must obey her husband ,what ever he command .

  • 3

    gokai_wo_maneku

    Most of the marriage age people in Japan grew up never knowing their fathers, who were always at work. So they don't understand marriage anyway.

  • 0

    ambrosia

    saxon salute: What a deal for the man eh.

    Then why don't the men have mature discussions with their wives as to how they - both - want the finances to work and how they can make that happen? If a married man, who is presumably an adult, is working, handing over his paycheck to his wife and unhappy with the financial situation it would behove him to act like a man and do something about it. Discussing things like adults is a good way to start solving problems.

    gogogo: get married wife has all the power, if she wants to she can take the children away never to be seen again, they use this against their husbands to get to do whatever they want.

    The wife only has that power if they have kids, they have kids who are not of majority and the husband cares that he doesn't see the kids again. She has little to no power if she wants to support those kids and has been a stay-at-home-mom raising them because re-entry into the workplace is going to be extremely difficult and there will be no consequences for the husband if he doesn't pay child support.

    According to the OECD Family Database the poverty rate of single parents in Japan is 58.7%, which is the highest among OECD countries. Most single-parent family households are female-headed, and 84.5% of these single mothers work outside home. The average annual income of single-mother households was 2,130,000 yen (about $25,700) in 2006, which is 40% less than that of the average income of 'ordinary' household. One reason to describe this difference is gender gap in wages. The wage of full-time female workers and part-time female workers in 2008 was 69% and 48.5%, respectively, of those of full-time male workers. Many single mothers are part-time workers.

    Most single mothers are divorcees. It is important to note that only 19% of divorced, single mothers receive child support from their children's fathers. Japanese family law allows divorce by mutual consent in which a married couple with a child can submit the divorce form to the public office with mere the name of the sole custodian, no judicial intervention are necessary. Over 90% of divorcing couples choose this type of divorce procedure, which prevents any intervention from the state. In case of divorce, it is not necessary for a couple to arrange distribution of marital property, contact and child support. In fact, only 39% of all divorcing couples agree on child support arrangements, and half of the mothers do not actually receive the child support in spite of the agreement. Although the child support can be enforced by a law suit, bringing a father to court for child support is not always the best option because the legal costs of doing so are often higher than the child support to be received (Ibid, at 47). It should be noted that there is no public system to secure child support in Japan.

    That doesn't seem to powerful to me.

    Jaime Victoria Matsuo: husband is the head of the family , the wife must obey her husband, what ever he command

    Wow! I didn't realize they had computers in the Dark Ages!

  • 1

    lonebeagle

    Let's just say then that Japan is leading the way to oblivion amongst developed nations. Nations that fail to reproduce shall disappear, simple. Northern Europe has had a ticking time bomb for decades and their citizens have been oblivious to the obvious.

    Lounging around enjoying life while not doing the mandatory things will lead to a miserable future as in NO ONE TO TAKE OF ALL OF THE OLD FOLKS!

    Unfortunately for the Japanese and Northern Europeans, no one seems to like having children or acting like adults--it's too much work.

  • -5

    Alex80

    I hate marriage. People are free to think and do whatever they want, to me it's a cancer. I'll never marry. :P

  • 0

    ambrosia

    lonebeagle: Relax. There are 7,000,000,000+ people on this planet. People will redistribute themselves to places where they can find food and water, make a living and raise a family, if that's what they want to do. We're not in any immediate danger of dying out. And if it's people from other places that end up making Japan home and changing the look of the place, so what? That's life. That's history. To paraphrase the lead character in World War Z: Staying in place is death.

  • 4

    kaiser90

    @ambrosia

    Then why don't the men have mature discussions with their wives as to how they - both - want the finances to work and how they can make that happen? If a married man, who is presumably an adult, is working, handing over his paycheck to his wife and unhappy with the financial situation it would behove him to act like a man and do something about it. Discussing things like adults is a good way to start solving problems.

    Many Japanese women do not even accept discussion. They say that they do not want to work no matter what. That's why men do not want to marry them.

  • 8

    Thunderbird2

    Most of the comments here seem fixated on women transforming after marriage... how about the slobs they marry? You know, the guys who only want kids, or the guys who can't be arsed doing anything for themselves so expect a wife to replace their mothers... or the guys who turn into aggressive monsters, hitting their wives or giving them verbal abuse because the little doll they married has started to grow older. It's not one-sided.

  • 6

    Tamarama

    I asked my wife about this - I put the gist of this thread to her to see what she thinks, she being a Japanese woman.

    She thinks it's probably true - that many marriages in Japan are not really happy marriages. She thinks this is because marriage in Japan is the norm, it's what most people who can, do, because it's a social standard. She thinks that most Japanese people rush marriage, that they might experience a bit of the excitement of initial romance and base their decision on that. As a result, they don't really know their partner well, and as the pressures and reality of what marriage is sinks in, they realise they aren't all that compatible. She also mentioned that she feels as though it's almost like a business arrangement as much as anything. Romance and love aren't really a feature of it in the same way they are for the round eyes.

    But, a couple of my friends are married to Japanese women and they are all very happily married. I had a few beers with one such couple last night, and they are happy as can be - 10 years into their union. All this fear mongering by people around here that say it's impossible to have a happy marriage with a japanese person are talking rubbish.

    But I say again, don't rush to the alter. Be smart, get to know the person over 3 or 4 years to make sure they are right for you. And unless you are just plain stupid and can't read the play, you'll have a much better chance of success.

  • -2

    MASSWIPE

    "I see getting married as the second-best thing that ever happened to me (Having kids is the first, though it came after)"

    Cleo, you are as predictable as the sunrise with comments like this one. So how do you feel about people who say that getting DIVORCED is the best thing that ever happened to them? And please, do not tell us that you pity such people and feel sorry for them. I admire and respect anybody who screws up badly but then recovers and makes the right decision.

    The institution of marriage in Japan has had a tough time evolving to keep up with changing individual preferences. It still largely revolves around the quid pro quo in which men never do any housework in exchange for having a wife who never works outside the home. Women in Japan still routinely quit their jobs upon getting married, as if being a married woman and working at the same time is a violation of the time-space continuum. And the attitudes of many men regarding domestic household responsibilities need updating too.

  • 4

    Serrano

    "I do not know of any man who is happy with his Japanese wife"

    Then you don't know very many men who are married to Japanese women.

  • 2

    StormR

    And I guess you know why divorce is so expensive ?

  • 2

    trinklets2

    Iam conservative and still believes in marriage but with what I've been through, I'd go for it only if I'd feel I couldn't live without him. And that doesn't mean he'll have to feed me. I can feed myself.

  • -1

    cleo

    how do you feel about people who say that getting DIVORCED is the best thing that ever happened to them? And please, do not tell us that you pity such people and feel sorry for them. I admire and respect anybody who screws up badly but then recovers and makes the right decision.

    I feel, as you say, that they screwed up badly, and that they made at least one bad choice. If they had kids, they screwed up really badly, and I feel sorry for the kids. If they manage to bounce back stronger than before, good for them; but how many divorcees do you think would choose do go through the same thing again in order to come out stronger? I imagine most would prefer to pass on the heartache and aggro.

    men never do any housework

    Older men. Younger men who do nothing around the house either can't get anyone to marry them, or don't stay married for long. Younger pig-wives won't put up with useless, demanding slobs like a lot of their older sisters felt they had to.

    a wife who never works outside the home

    Between 65 to 75+% of women aged 20 to 60 have jobs. I imagine quite a few of them are married.

  • 1

    rranta

    Wow, I haven't seen one mention of " Love". Without affection for another person, what exactly is your purpose in living? To grow, nurture and give life mean a whole lot more than just feeling like ones an ATM machine. Taking responsibility for your life and helping another with their responsibility seems more realistic to me.

  • -1

    Offwithyourarrogance

    The other one third thinks 'if only I could divorce' and the last third thinks ' I wish my darling was a foreigner'

  • 0

    japanisation

    marriage in Japan means sex...men basically buy their wife`s you hardly see real feelings between the two!!

  • 5

    Zybster

    This poll was conducted among the readers of a magazine, not on a national scale. The magazine serves the mostly female audience, not a general population. The main content of the magazine is gossip, so the audience is, naturally, interested in gossip and other topics that are larger than life.

    The results of this "survey" conducted among this audience tell you absolutely nothing about the attitudes that the "Japanese people" have regarding the marriage, just about the attitudes that gossip-liking women have regarding marriage. And I can't help feeling that for many of them their "opinion" is just a way of justifying to themselves why they are still single, and to others, why they feel that their own marriage is not the story of a prince and a princess.

  • 3

    goldensany

    So it seems that a lot of japanese wives just take their husband as an ATM, are rude and don't even talk to their husband, are too tired for sex or any affective attention..

    I am wondering why even after getting everything they wanted (quit job, have kids, control husband's money, meet friends everyday, ...) lots of those wives seem still have no other way to behave than being rude to the person who provides them everything they have. Something else missing?

  • 0

    yyj72

    The sex life going south after having kids is hardly unique to Japan. In fact, I would wager that it's universal to one degree or another. There's certainly no shortage of discussion about it in the Anglophone media.

    Also, divorce is not something to take pity on another for having gone through. On the contrary, it should viewed as a majorly positive development - it's way better for everyone's happiness, including for those around the couple, if they get out of their bad relationship rather than grind it out to the (very) bitter end. Just ask Louis CK: http://vimeo.com/45396737 For example, a good friend just got divorced from a J-girl who was a candidate for the most selfish, uncouth female on the island (thanks IMHO to slipshod parenting from an uninvolved father and doting timid mother). To borrow a phrase: she ain't pretty, she just looks that way. He was bummed at first, but now is thoroughly relieved he no longer has to pull aside his son from witnessing her petty tirades at customer service workers. You get the idea.

  • 2

    nightvision

    Blame it on romanticism, drama and false expectations..

    Marriage is for mature people, not selfish brats who want the whole world to themselves.

  • 2

    ChibaChick

    Cleo - 60-75%? Really? Not saying its not true, just that I find it very hard to believe as among the women I knew probably no more than 5% were working. Where did that info come from? Im really interested to know.

    On the subject of marriage - I think a lot of people, and not just in Japan, have an unrealistic view of what marriage is all about. I dont regret getting married, but I would certainly not describe it as easy. It is all about having to compromise and to consider another persons feelings and wishes in everything you do, and yes, sometimes sacrifice your own needs for them. For me the upside is worth it. Two heads are definitely better than one, but if you are not prepared for the other side of the coin, you are probably best staying single.

    And as for having kids - ask me again after the ridiculously long US Summer holidays are over......!

  • 1

    yyj72

    Thoughts on factors as to why so many marriages in Japan don't succeed:

    • married due to social pressure
    • married out of fear of loneliness
    • married mainly because of physical attraction
    • addiction (e.g. to porn, commercial sex, alcohol, tobacco, work, gambling, golf, shopping, cosmetics, dining)
    • rapid societal changes re marriage with little discussion between partners on their expectations for married life ("you wanted a dog and careeer instead of kids?!)
    • sheer laziness ("mendokusai", "taihen", "mukatsuku", etc.)
  • 0

    Kevosnow

    Great article. I also agree with the people blaming it partly on it being the "norm," and to stop rushing it or looking for marriage specifically - look for a person, not a marriage.

  • 1

    cleo

    Chiba, the 'M=graph' is a well-known statistic issued by the j-gov. (Link is from Nikkei).

    http://wol.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/trend/20110622/111293/?SS=zoom&FD=770209378

    Numbers are in the high sixties during the 30's (presumably when kids are little), climb into the 70+% range in the 40-50s when education bills are being paid, then drop off rapidly as women hit their 60s, kids leave uni and couples reach retirement age. That still leaves over a quarter of all women not working of course, but a quarter is not all women; the average woman in Japan works. I think people see the quarter enjoying lunch/cakes and shopping with friends and assume what they see is all there is to see. If a woman is working, she's not out eating cakes and shopping with her friends.

    divorce is not something to take pity on another for having gone through. On the contrary, it should viewed as a majorly positive development - it's way better for everyone's happiness

    It's not the divorce that's the screwup, it's the the situation leading up to the divorce. Divorce can be a way to more happiness for all concerned, but only after they've gone through the hell that led them to consider divorce in the first place.

  • 1

    GW

    Ambrosia,

    I arrived here before mobile phones & the internet so info wasn't as prevalent as it is now. That when you add hormones(very powerful drugs they are!), you feel YOUR situation will be different/better............jump ahead a number of years & you will get your answer haha!

    The Mrs & I get along great, not always a picnic but much better than most & I have ideas for making life better that I am working on.

    But if I was young & in Japan NOW I likely would avoid getting married here but truthfully I would also avoid living here long term, 2yrs MAX, the future is just not happening on these isles sadly, but until the locals give a damn not much will be getting better

  • -1

    realdoll

    Very few married people will admit failure so make comments like "it's what you make out of it" or "you have to work at it" etc.. all mean that it is difficult to get along and they are talking about coping with a sucky situation.

  • 0

    Gaijin Desi

    If you get all you need freely or at affordable price and easily without taking any extra burden or responsibility then yes its possible anywhere in the world not only in Japan.

  • -1

    Neo_Rio

    "it's what you make out of it" Meaning that it's intrinsically pointless

    "you have to work at it" Meaning that it's no fun.

  • 1

    GW

    she ain't pretty, she just looks that way

    Lots of truth in that one, goes both ways!

    Always like The Northern Pikes!!!

  • 0

    ambrosia

    GW: I arrived here before mobile phones & the internet so info wasn't as prevalent as it is now.

    So did I and we exchanged information the old fashioned way - by talking! What, guys didn't talk back in the olden days?

  • 0

    tmarie

    Gossip mags or not, you have a very large chunk of people who have zero interesting in getting married. Frankly, with the way the locals behave when married, I don't blame either the men nor the women. Men get treated like cash machines who "slave" away at the company for longer hours than need be only to come home and be treated like crap. Women here have to put up with some pretty nasty crap from some men. However, rather than be independent, many would rather put up with the crap than get a divorce.

    Blah blah blah about the supposedly high numbers of women who work. PT work get counted in those figures so a women with a hobby job of 10 hours a week is included in those numbers. Why not look at how many women actually have their own pension/health care rather than rely on their husband to provide for such things? There is a reason Japan is 101 on the index and it isn't due to the health care they get.

    And funny, I was just told last week that men moaning about their wives was all to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    As for WHY foreign men don't "know" about this all, Ambrosia, you hit the nail on the head when you suggested it was arrogance. I have no idea how many foreign men made comments like "No, my girl is different and she won't be one of THOSE women" only to listen to them a year later complain about how horrible married life is. More so if they've had a kid.

    Frankly from where I sit, the happiest couples I know are J male/foreign female. Should be noted that most of the women I know have FT jobs - kids or not - so I can't help but wonder if the men are nicer because they are less stressed and the women refuse to play little miss homemaker and let hubby get away with no picking up his underpants off the floor so they're also less stressed.

    At the end of the day here, regardless of it being 2013, many men DO want a woman who will mother then and have their kids while the women see marriage as financial security with the added (for some) bonus of kids. Many are so immature when it comes to the realities of marriage that I can't help but laugh when women tell me they will finally be happy when they get married. If you weren't happy before, you certainly won't be happy after but that seems to fall on deaf ears. Too much pressure here with the fairytale wedding and expectations to actually think what the daily life of marriage may entail it seems. Lot's of unhappy people here so perhaps them not marry is better?

  • 3

    Ali Khan

    marriage is a honorable institution, which is essential for the existence and development of the human race. There is some internal and external pressure on the marriage, but this to the couple how they manage these pressures. in a marriage couple needs to accept the rights of each other, to love each other and sacrifice for each other and of course for their children. Marriage creates a couple, couple creates children, parents and children creates family, family creates society, society creates nations and nations creates humanity. so marriage is a basic unit for family and humanity.

    now those who say marriage is pointless,what is the other solution for the existence of the human race, even these people are in the world because of their parents/a married couple. individualism and scattered families have already created chaos in this society.

  • 2

    HonestDictator

    One of my co-workers is married but she's the only breadwinner in the family until her husband can hopefully find a job. She just got off her maternity leave for her 2nd child. Saying only the wife is a blood sucking leech is not quite true. My 2nd co-worker is also female has 1 child and both her and her husband work and support each other. Sure they have their ups and downs but at least they don't feel like their leeching off each other.

  • 1

    GW

    So did I and we exchanged information the old fashioned way - by talking! What, guys didn't talk back in the olden days?

    ambrosia,

    I wasn't a teacher or someone who worked with other non-Japanese, I landed & got a job & was the only foreigner, & a few years later started working on my own so I never had the chance to hang with non-Japanese much who live in Japan, I meet tons who are passing thru for work but just not many living here so 95% of my contact typically is with locals.

    Any I stand by my post I had a few excuses, besides the Mrs & I are ALL GOOD 20+yrs on so I only know what I hear happening to others thankfully!!

    And like I said the MAIN problem is the environment of ALL of Japan, it sucks for BOTH sexes most of the time, period!

  • 1

    dcog9065

    Definitely a trend that is becoming more apparent in mature economies throughout the world, particularly considering further growth of individualism. In the end it depends on the person obviously, but few can doubt that marriage has nothing like the same meaning it did 50 years ago.

  • 6

    Tessa

    Blah blah blah about the supposedly high numbers of women who work. PT work get counted in those figures so a women with a hobby job of 10 hours a week is included in those numbers.

    Yes! I've mentioned before about how sick and tired I am of dealing with dilettante housewives who come and work in our office three days a week, and then quit in a matter of months complaining about the hours interfering with their hula lessons or bon-bon time, or whatever. One of them, it has to be admitted, begged to work for with us when her husband was made redundant (she all the while fuming and threatening divorce) and then ditched the job as soon as hubbie found another position. Women like that are the reason we no longer hire housewives.

  • 3

    tmarie

    Women like that are the reason we no longer hire housewives.

    Women like that are the reason why many companies don't take females employees seriously at all. And frankly, while unfair, I 100% understand it and would probably feel the same if I was in a position to hire people.

    **and of course for their children. Marriage creates a couple, couple creates children, parents and children creates family, family creates society, society creates nations and nations creates humanity. so marriage is a basic unit for family and humanity. **

    And of course children? Wrong. Plenty of men and women out there that can't have kids. Couples don't create kids, sex does. People need to wake up to this notion that sex doesn't equal love and having kids doesn't equal having a family. Perhaps in a perfect world that would be the case but we don't live in a perfect world.

  • -3

    cleo

    Blah blah blah about the supposedly high numbers of women who work. PT work get counted in those figures so a women with a hobby job of 10 hours a week is included in those numbers.

    Government report on working women - http://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/koyoukintou/josei-jitsujo/dl/11gaiyou.pdf

    Lookit Fig. 13 ('bout a third of the way down) - women working less than 35 hours a week, 26.5%~46.8%: women working longer hours ie full time no matter which way you look at it, 52.4%~75.1%. That's not including women in agricultural families and excluding Tohoku. (By comparison, it should be noted that men working less than 35 hrs a week account for 8%~10.8%)

    Fig 8 is also interesting: 'Ideal lifestyle after marriage' - full-time housewife F 19.7%, M 10.9%: return to work after raising kids F 35.2%, M 39.1%: have kids but carry on working, F 30.6%, M32.7%: DINKs, F 3.3% M 2.6%: don't marry, carry on working F 4.9%, M 3.7%.

    Couples don't create kids, sex does.

    Ouch. Not if you watch what you're doing, it doesn't. Hopefully.

    how sick and tired I am of dealing with dilettante housewives who come and work in our office three days a week, and then quit in a matter of months complaining about the hours interfering with their hula lessons or bon-bon time, or whatever.

    You mean you weren't able to provide a working environment or other motivation that trumped the hula lessons and bon-bons? Maybe you need to talk with your HR department.

  • 2

    Nessie

    You mean you weren't able to provide a working environment or other motivation that trumped the hula lessons and bon-bons? Maybe you need to talk with your HR department.

    HR says they have no paid openings for cafe lunches and long afternoons at Mitsukoshi.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Cleo, if you would like to believe Japan and their stats, by all means go ahead but I for one do not trust government stats here because the numbers are seriously played with. More so when articles like this are written. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2013/03/03/people/japanese-women-strive-to-empower-themselves/#.UdqKIG3hdWY

    or this...

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/04/21/commentary/saving-japan-promoting-womens-role-in-the-workforce-would-help/#.UdqK523hdWY

    or heck, this - which was an interesting read... http://www.econ.hokudai.ac.jp/~abe/workingP/WageGap_200608.pdf

    And more so when even Abe is going on about how women are the future and to get them working - if that many actually DID work, I don't think the government would be saying such things.

    And Cleo, you might want to look at the number of "shot gun" marriages - many of whom aren't "couples" who were having sex. Add in all the wonderful new technology in which folks don't even have to have sex these days to conceive...

    Things ARE getting better but they are only getting because more women "have" to work these days. The thing is, until they stop quitting, they won't be paid the same - and nor should they if they aren't doing the same kind of work.

    Nessie, great comment. Some folks seem very out of touch when it comes to this issue.

  • 2

    Tessa

    You mean you weren't able to provide a working environment or other motivation that trumped the hula lessons and bon-bons? Maybe you need to talk with your HR department.

    I am seriously gobsmacked by this statement. You mean the average working male would rather be popping bon-bons and wearing a grass skirt? First I've heard of it. Most men work because they have no choice in the matter.

    HR says they have no paid openings for cafe lunches and long afternoons at Mitsukoshi.

    Nice one, Nessie!

    Some folks seem very out of touch when it comes to this issue.

    Agreed.

  • 0

    cleo

    You mean the average working male would rather be popping bon-bons and wearing a grass skirt?

    Maybe not grass shirts as such, but I'm sure there are things they'd rather be doing.

    Most men work because they have no choice in the matter.

    Exactly. And the ladies you berate so much apparently do have a choice. So basically they're no different from the men...... You employ people who have no choice.

  • 4

    mlg4035

    It's simple: marriage is for full-grown ADULTS who know how to communicate with the other gender. The majority of Japanese are children who have no business being in a relationship in the first place...LOL!

  • 0

    Magnet

    I'd say about the same percentage of people are unsuitable for parenthood, but that doesn't seem to stop them.

  • 0

    Mark Bradley

    30-40% of the population not wanting to get married is GREAT. Hopefully, the sentiment is on the rise to 50-60%.

    Read else where that 80-85% of women want to have children, but apparently only 60% want to get married.

  • 1

    gelendestrasse

    Marriage is like anything else, the harder you work at it the better the rewards. It requires a different skill set than going to work and earning a living though. Maybe that's the problem.

  • 0

    spiddygy

    The essence of marriage is losing it's meaning all together. Most people don't wed out of love but instead do it for convenience, infatuation, money etc. Life is about sharing it with someone. Regardless of good or bad times. A lot of people want to live their lives like they see it on the TVs. And the greatest challenge of these days is that people don't learn to share and serve others anymore. It's all about what one can get out of something. Two selfish people definitely can't be together.

Login to leave a comment

OR
  • Reservations and Operations Executive

    Reservations and Operations Executive
    Destination Asia Japan、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥2.0M ~ ¥3.0M / Year
  • Marketing & Communications

    Marketing & Communications
    East West Consulting (イーストウエストコンサルティング株式会社)、Tokyo
    Salary: Salary negotiable
  • Country Manager

    Country Manager
    Gallo Japan KK、Tokyo
    Salary: Salary negotiable
  • Business Development Leader

    Business Development Leader
    GPlus Media K.K. / 株式会社ジープラス・メディア、Tokyo
    Salary: Salary negotiable Commission Based Depending on Experience
  • IT Operations Manager

    IT Operations Manager
    Temple University, Japan Campus - テンプル大学ジャパンキャンパス、Tokyo
    Salary: Commensurate with experience plus transportation from/to TUJ

More in National

View all

View all