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Mating And Marriage

The typical ways in which marriage partners first meet are at work, through introduction by friends and siblings, and through marriage arrangement agencies. Since 1965, there have been more marriages based on love than arranged marriages. Women consider personality, economic stability, and occupation important characteristics in a potential mate. Men seek good personality, physical attractiveness, and shared hobbies.

Many people pay large amounts of money to have luxurious wedding ceremonies. The cost can range from 3,000,000 to 10,000,000 yen (US $30,000–$100,000). Typically, 100 to 200 guests will be invited to hotel ballrooms. Both Shinto-style weddings and more Western-style ceremonies are popular. A Shinto-style wedding is held in a shrine with traditional Japanese wedding costumes; a Western-style ceremony is held in a church, and the bride typically wears a white wedding dress, but wears both a traditional Japanese kimono and Western-style dress for the party after the ceremony. Most hotels in Japan have facilities for both. Newly married couples often honeymoon in Europe or North America, paying 1,500,000 yen (US $15,000) for a week or so.

According to research by the National Institute for Population and Social Welfare (1998), premarital sexual relations are increasing among the younger generation. The research shows that 80 percent of people, especially in urban areas, think it acceptable to have sex outside of marriage, if the partners love each other. The rate of premarital sex for women in 1987 was 30.2 percent; in 1992, 38.2 percent; and in 1997, 50.5 percent. The rate for men in 1987 was 53.0 percent; in 1992, 54.9 percent; and in 1997, 60.1 percent. Reports by the popular media suggest that young people get married when the woman gets pregnant, although there is no concrete research on this issue.

Legal marriage accounts for more than 85 percent of adult relationships. Jijitsukon, defined as a situation in which the partners live together for A Japanese bride and groom hold champagne glasses during a traditional Shinto wedding ceremony. JERRY COOKE/CORBIS more than a few months essentially as a married couple but without a formal marriage procedure, is not common. If the couple lives this way for two years or more, they are given the same rights as if they were legally married. Ninety-five percent of women take their husbands' family name upon marriage and are registered under the men's family name and lineage under the koseki system. More and more women, however, are keeping their maiden family names to continue their careers. The use of different family names among married couples is practiced in daily life, but legal registration still only permits the same family name for a married couple.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsJapan - Mating And Marriage, Gender Roles, Masculinity And Men's Suicide, Decreasing Number Of Children - Leave for Working Parents, Conclusion