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Lovesick JapanSex * Marriage * Romance * Law$
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Mark D. West

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449475

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449475.001.0001

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(p.68) 3 Coupling
Lovesick Japan

Mark D. West

Cornell University Press

This chapter first examines how partnerships are made in Japan. The methods for choosing companions are often awkward and dangerous, and, at least in the vision set forth by courts, many people making those choices seem to disregard love, intimacy, and emotional compatibility in favor of more calculated matching criteria. The discussion then turns to marriages. While loveless marriages happen everywhere, in Japanese court opinions, loveless marriage often is an expectation—not sad, and certainly not a tragedy. Japanese judges sometimes hold up love as an ideal in some mythical perfect state of marital bliss, but they do not view it as a necessary component of actual marriages. Given the conception of love as an uncontrollable, disturbing, and confusing emotion, the separation of love and marriage seems perversely necessary and imminently practical, for marriage seems unlikely to survive long-term turmoil.

Keywords:   Japanese couples, coupling, loveless marriage, Japanese court opinions, Japanese judges, love

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