Avoiding marriage in Japan

by Kaori Isobe

About a half of century ago, arranged marriages were very common in Japan. Before World War 2, most people got married through arranged marriages. However, after WW2, Western culture came into Japanese society and made the society change. Nowadays, it is very common that people often got married with someone who they really love. Arranged marriage in Japan is almost gone.

However, in recent years, there are a lot of sites about dating, and many people try to find new wife/husband. Also a town provides opportunities to set up machi-kon. Machi-Kon is what the town or city set up and give opportunities to single participants to get know each other. This is like Japanese arranged marriage, called omiai. Omiai is known as arranged marriage, the traditional system of formal introductions through family connections or third parties with a view to arranged marriage (The Japan times, Feb.21, 2010).  What is the difference from original omiai is that participants can meet many single people in one event. But machi-kon still has the principle of omiai, such as participants can meet someone like their favorite type of persons. Omiai sounds old-fashioned. However, as society changes, omiai system has been changing.

If the number of marriage opportunities increases, the number of marriages also increases. The number of marriage increases, the birth rate also increases. Then, the number of children increases, the number of employer will increases, then these processes and influence would make Japanese economy grow.

However, there is reality issue facing us, and making us avoid getting married. About 50% of thirties men who work as regular employees have a girlfriend or wife. However, on the other hand, in thirties men who work as contract employees, only about 20 % of them have a girlfriend or wife. This shows that work condition is very important for marriage. Some women do not get married because their boyfriends’ salary is very low. It’s very hard for men to get married if they are contract employees or something like it. First of all, the government should haves to change this Japanese employment structure, so that employees can live in a society which respects each employment. The government is working on welfare facilities but also basic, really needed condition such as employment condition.

In a conclusion, marriage is very important for life. Many scientists say that if the number of children will be decreasing much faster, Japanese economy will fall. To increase the number of marriages, first of all, the government has to fix this society such as over working, contractual and regular work system and so on. From omiai to the government, every single issue is related each other. Omiai would be one actor that will help Japanese society change to a good way.


NHK解説委員室 http://www.nhk.or.jp/kaisetsu-blog/400/124874.html

The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/9206205/Arranged-marriages-make-comeback-in-Japan.html

The Japan Times http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20100221x2.html

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