Too many opportunities to cross the line: Up until some decades ago it was normal for Japanese men to be out of the home too frequently.
lifestyle

Is Japan’s younger generation bound to change nation’s problem with adultery?

19 Comments
By Hilary Keyes

Having a fling, cheating, an affair, stepping out, two-timing, side piece — there are plenty of different ways to talk about adultery in English. In Japan, things are simpler: there are two main terms referring to this, uwaki (浮気, cheating) and furin (不倫, extramarital affair). The first is a casual term often being used to describe a onetime drunken mistake, the fastest way of breaking off a bad relationship, or just a means of adding some spice into a sexless but otherwise functional relationship. The latter carries connotations of immorality, impropriety, and a criminal offense and has been repeatedly used in the Japanese media to bash celebrity after celebrity (remember Becky?).

But while cheating is a universal topic, one that is serious enough to change a person’s life, I can’t help but feel that it is just way too common here in Japan. There are about five taken men trolling for sex for every single man on dating apps, but you’ll also find plenty of married women there too, often with captions that mention “not after anything serious” in their profiles. Huh? Sorry but not sorry, there’s something odd here.

Adultery in Japan — a historical perspective

Historically speaking, adultery in Japan was not a topic of discussion in the past. In ancient Japan, marriage was more of an arrangement between men and women, and either party could look elsewhere without suffering the consequences. In more modern times (pre- and post-war) adultery was considered “a thing” many husbands did — the prevalent social consent was that they worked hard all day to earn money for the family and deserved an “outlet” for that stress.

The sheer amount of “pleasure quarters” to satisfy those needs — from Tokyo’s Kabukicho to Sapporo’s Susukino and everything in-between — made (and still continues to make) adultery possible at any given time. Long working hours, regular nomikai with clients and coworkers, love hotels and hostess bars being just everywhere — and the cost of getting some extra fun being never too high, all made it too easy to cross the line. Housewives, on the other hand, were never in a position to have desires like that, and if she did, she better never acted on them. To act on them would be emasculating for her husband and embarrassing her children.

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© Savvy Tokyo

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19 Comments
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Adultery? How quaint. People have sex. Sometimes outside the confines of a relationship. There can be many reasons for it. It's not necessarily "right" or "wrong", it just is.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Doubt it. Most of the Japanese young guys I work with all visit soaplands and/or make frequent use of "delivery health", all while having girlfriends. To be fair, their girlfriends are probably cut from the same cloth.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

People have sex. Sometimes outside the confines of a relationship. There can be many reasons for it. It's not necessarily "right" or "wrong", it just is.

The sex itself isn't inherently wrong, it's the betrayal of promises/expectations. People in open relationships can sleep around with others, and there isn't a problem due to the non-expectation of fidelity. But when they have made a promise, or at the very least, not explicitly discussed the idea of sleeping with others outside the relationship and agreed upon it, the sex becomes a betrayal which is when it becomes a problem.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I dunno - long experience taught me to think from the start simply, after doin' it what happens next?

Answer: feeling rotten with or without the hangover, with a suddenly overly complicated life. No joy in that.

Despite the article still needing some proof-reading, some pertinent points are there, but only for individuals to contemplate. All to easy to construe it on all of Japan.

Yeah, getting it off illicitly with another person before or after 2 in the morning (when even the ugly ones stop seeming ugly) is always a big No-No - until the available, toned, shapely one with the beautiful skin with all their attention on you comes along - try asking the same research questions then.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I remember being at a few nomikais when I worked as a teacher and seeing some teachers getting overly friendly with each other after the formal nomikai sessions even though most were already in relationships. Then again same thing happened back at office work parties in the UK, not so different.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I like to find adultery word focused to beauty of Gueisha performances than men street talking "women hunting" or women talking themselves the "confidential affairs". Well, for this young generation of otaku tendencies I only hope boys not to go spiders or mantis relationship, to be eaten.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

First of all with the title, not sure I would call it a problem, but I guess the writer is being judgmental. Japanese marriages are stifling, especially after children, when the man knows he cannot see his children again if he divorces. The story I hear from several Japanese and foreign men married to Japanese women is that sex stops after the requisite number of children. I spoke to a Japanese co-worker recently who said after his wife was pregnant with the first child they had not had sex for 3 years, until she decided she wanted another child, then they tried again. Under such a stifling marital arrangement I would say adultery is a blessing not a problem.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If the wife turns the sex tap off and fails in her duties to sexually satisfy her partner, she has no grounds for complaint if her partner gets it from another source.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

So it's all right for the plebs to do this, but when a Politician or High Profile person does it, then it becomes a scandal ? Some people really need to get their heads screwed on right... unplug CNN and look at what really goes on in the Real World and what you yourself do before becoming so damn right judgmental over others.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Doubt it. Most of the Japanese young guys I work with all visit soaplands and/or make frequent use of "delivery health", all while having girlfriends. To be fair, their girlfriends are probably cut from the same cloth.

Doubt based on the behaviour of 'most young guys I work with' or based on a biased view? [ to be fair....]

Many commenters origin from the US of A where 50 % of the marriages fail after a relative short time, adultery is a major reason among those failures.

People have sex get over it :)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I feel a heavy dose of moralisation in this article and am only reassured by how far off the mark it is!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My guess is that the author of this article is neither Italian nor French.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Housewives, on the other hand, were never in a position to have desires like that, and if she did, she better never acted on them

I was flirted with by a married woman in coffee shop at Ozone Nagoya, and had a married woman follow me back to my apartment after meeting her on a local train in Fukuoka it wasn't until she rocked up on the third day with her four yr old daughter that she admitted she was married. Japanese housewives have plenty of opportunities and they occasionally act upon those opportunities.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@ bull fighter

My guess is that the author of this article is neither Italian nor French.

Exactly. Why focus on Japan? I want to read more realistic article about this issue in the world, other nations have the problem, maybe even worse. Anyway, Japan traditionally does not have Christian Morality or guilt issues with adultery. In Samurai period, it was typical to have various lover when married. Western civilization introduced guilty complex over it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Why go behind partner when you can just separate and eat the fruits of the world? Cowardly behavior to say the least.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

One can't really look at "cheating" without also including the "sexless marriage," the low birthrate, the increasing passivity and feminization of Japanese men and Japanese women's continued reluctance to join the workforce, and a number of other related issues.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese housewives have plenty of opportunities and they occasionally act upon those opportunities.\

They do. They do.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Wallace Fred: because of kids. That makes your easy solution very difficult.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese women's continued reluctance to join the workforce

What reluctance to join the workforce?

As of the end of 2017 the labour force participation rate for Japanese women was 76.3 percent. That's higher than the US rate and is higher than the OECD average.

https://www.brookings.edu/research/lessons-from-the-rise-of-womens-labor-force-participation-in-japan/

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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