This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book explores a particular vision of love, sex, and marriage in Japan based on 2,700 publicly available court opinions. The opinions are from diverse areas such as family law, criminal law, torts, contracts, immigration, and trusts and estates. Taken as a whole, these opinions describe a Lovesick Japan. The term “lovesick” here is used to describe a society in which a complex set of chronic and evolving problems is revealed in the ways people conceptualize and discuss love and the related components of sex and marriage. In the court opinions, lovesickness most often appears as a presupposed absence of physical and emotional intimacy, affection, and interconnectedness in personal relationships, an absence that stands in stark contrast with courts' clear recognition of the value and significance of other emotions. The book shows that the influence of law in Japan is pervasive in a very important arena: Japanese judges, who have significant discretion, play a surprisingly direct role as arbiters of emotions in intimate relationships.
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