Finding love in old age no simple matter


“Yoshiro Minami” (a pseudonym) lost his wife three years ago. The loss was sad, the subsequent loneliness worse. He is 67. Why not, he thought, remarry?

The notion crosses the mind of many senior citizens. A whole industry has grown up around it. Its name is “senior konkatsu,” konkatsu referring to agency-assisted matching.

Shukan Gendai (July 24) tells Minami’s story. The agency he dealt with arranged a party at a Yokohama hotel. Guests circulated, introducing themselves and chatting. Hopefully something would click, a connection be made, a spark lit. In Minami’s case – nothing. He went away disappointed.

On the train home a woman hailed him: “Oh, you were at that party!” They got talking. They lived in the same neighborhood. They shared a taste in classical music. He smiled. Suddenly “Keiko” (as Shukan Gendai calls her) seemed like an old friend.

She’s 54, 13 years younger than he. She’d married at 28, divorced at 35, and lived single ever since. Childless, she worked part-time as a supermarket cashier and cared for her 85-year-old mother, paralyzed as a result of a stroke. It was a hard, cheerless life. Minami’s was little better. Perhaps they could cheer each other up.

Finance was a problem. Keiko’s mother’s care was expensive and her salary small. Minami lived on his pension. Well, they’d manage. It would be tight, but how much does a happy couple need? If Minami turned over part of his pension to her, which he was willing enough to do, they could place the mother in a facility. She’d receive better care there, and the couple would gain a little elbow room.

Minami told his two sons. They were opposed – strongly so. Minami was shocked and disgusted. Were his own children willing to sacrifice their father’s last chance at happiness for the inheritance? It seemed so. The talk turned nasty. They parted in anger.

Never mind, Minami told himself. He had years of life still ahead of him, and he would live them his way, with the woman of his choice. It was his right as a man, and as for his obligations as a father, he had already met those and owed his children nothing further. They were on their own. So was he.

He and Keiko grew closer. They spent more and more time together. He was happy in a way he thought he’d outlived and now rediscovered.

He continued to help defray her mother’s care expenses. The mother died. Suddenly Keiko dropped a bombshell. She was leaving. She’d had enough of him. Meaning: She’d milked him for his money, such as it was, and no longer needed him. Goodbye.

Last month, Minami took a part-time job as a building janitor. Shukan Gendai’s conclusion is true but seems strangely lacking in sympathy: “Love in old age is no simple matter.”

© Japan Today

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Sad but all too common.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Love in old age my be no simple matter, but this story is no way to demonstrate it.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Better to have loved and lost than....

Or as the late great Bill Withers put it, in an incredible slice of acoustic funk

I want to spread the news

That if it feels this good getting used

You just keep on using me

Until you use me up

4 ( +5 / -1 )

... or, maybe, Smokey Robinson, who penned "First I Look at the Purse"...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think relationships in old age are less about sex and more about company and companionship. The need for love and the need for sharing. Age comes with baggage.

In my location, there are people living alone in very large family homes. Expensive to upkeep even if the mortgages have been paid off. There are many women and many men living like that in the same streets. I wonder if they could find a way to live together and share one house. Three or four women living in one house instead of four.

The gold-digger in the story is nothing more than a sad pathetic person.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

If I ever would get married again it would be clear before anything else that expenses will be split 50/50. Love a woman who can bring home the bacon.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The writing was on the wall she was married at 28 and divorced at 35 and lived single. She ran Yoshiro down after noticing him at the party. I would only think that she knew more than she let on because they lived in the same neighborhood and perhaps she knew he was lonely and she used this poor guy up just to help her get through her hard times with her mom and once the mom died she saw no more use of Yoshiro. She saw him as added income!

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Well Yoshiro did better than the NYC surgeon who found out his trophy wife was a high priced hooker who saved almost 700k dollars peddling a$$.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

An older guy should have no problems finding many available women, as long as he looks in his own age bracket.

Women live longer , so by the time a guy is in his mid to late 60s, the odds are in his favor. Most widowed women are well set financially, so are not after money like younger gold diggers tend to be. And a man has more in common with a woman his own age: tastes in music, culture, and shared memories of world events, etc.

When there is an age difference of 10 years or more, the differences become too much for anything more than a superficial codependency.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

We live in an age of crassness, of extreme self-centered selfishness and narcissism...thanks in no small part to the commercial exploitation that the so-called 'American model' promotes and that has been readily embraced by too many other nations (including Japan). I would agree that in older age, companionship and having a compatible person to share life's final years with rank at the top of the list. There is an old saying that good looks and flashy moves are fine when you're young, but you'd better hope that the woman you find as a potential mate has both a high degree of intelligence AND a strong sense of humane altruism.

That said, and speaking as an older man with an artistic temperament, I still demand good looks on my list of attributes an ideal mate should possess. There is no argument that age imposes a severe handicap on the basic human mating urge and even though it's probably politically incorrect to say this, menopause wreaks radical effects on a woman's femininity; this is borne out by medical gerontologists who tell us that after a certain point, as male and female hormone balances shift radically, men tend to become softer and more compliant, whereas women tend to become more unyielding and resolute ('hardened', if you will?). It is not a change for the better in most cases!

Furthermore, finding genuine love is a matter of both opportunity and timing. Sometimes things never 'click' and we end up living out our lives as lonely, rather pitiable individuals (who COULD have offered so much more, had fate & circumstance merely been kinder to them). To that end, sometimes we have to settle for unrequited love, but often enough that is the purest form of love anyway. Requited love often turns out to be merely a matter of mutual projections of expectation ultimately failing to match imposed realities.

Finally, 'diversity' does not really help the process along much and in most cases imposes even greater levels of both sexual and emotional dissonance that frustrate amicable pairings. In my opinion, deeply homogeneous societies (such as those found in traditional Japan, China and Korea) generally fare better than highly diverse societies such as that that is characteristic of modern America! It is therefore no wonder that America is today deeply neurotic and almost schizophrenic in its essential spirit. And it is no wonder, further, why China is headed for world hegemony. Just saying... *Aloha nui loa me ka malama pono!*** **-K2 平和と善意!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As a senior citizen, love and marriage do not have to be the same thing. Since there is no intention of raising another family, there is likely no need to marry. Why not just be close friends who do a lot of things together?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'd expect that if he married a girl 40yo younger but the age difference here isnt so big in comparison. But being single for over 20 years, that's a red flag. Heck, I'm hesitant when a girl tells me she's been single for 3 years or was divorced twice lol.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Note here that if a 67 year old and a 54 year old Japanese wanted to marry, one of them would be forced to change their surname for "family unity" and "the effect on their children". This is clearly ludicrous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Love is a very special issue between only 2 people.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Love is a very special issue between only 2 people.

I disagree. Menage a trois is just one example. Add a few more and that is an orgy of love. Open your mind and spread your %#@s and let the truth in.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hence, the burgeoning sex industry which caters to those with money…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Awful sons.

Good luck to the chap

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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