Photo: Pakutaso
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Most of Japan’s new adults hope to fall in love and get married, according to recent survey

19 Comments
By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

Japan is facing a number of societal problems, at the forefront of which is the declining birth rate and aging population. With fewer and fewer babies and generations of young people less interested in marriage, the country is soon going to have a hard time sustaining its rapidly growing elderly population, leading to even more problems.

But it’s not all bad. A recent survey conducted by marriage-minded matchmaking company O-net revealed that most Japanese young people just coming of age are still planning to get married and have children. 618 people born between April 2, 2001, and April 1, 2002, who are all either already 20 or turning 20 this spring (which is the legal age of adulthood), were surveyed in O-net’s annual Survey of Awareness of Love and Marriage, which they’ve been conducting for 26 years. The survey is used to view how new adults approach relationships and marriage, and to see how their approaches might be affected by current economic factors, social movements, and other conditions, and whether they’ve changed over time.

This year’s survey shows a general increase in positive attitudes toward dating, marriage, and children compared to last year’s. However, last year’s participants were surveyed during the height of the pandemic, so the climate of social distancing and staying home may have affected many participants’ answers. When asked “Have you ever been in a relationship?” This year, 61.4 percent of all respondents said yes, which is the highest percentage in three years. Last year only 53.6 percent of respondents answered “Yes”. Interestingly, more women than men answered “Yes” (64 percent for women, compared to 58.8 for men).

▼ Responses for “Have you ever been in a relationship before?” from all respondents (left group), men (center group) and women (right group). Columns from left to right show figures by year from 2017 to 2022.

marriage-survey2.jpg

However, just because they had experience doesn’t mean they’re currently seeing anyone, as only 29.3 percent of respondents answered “Yes” to the question “Are you dating anyone of the opposite sex right now?” 29.3 percent may seem like quite a low number, but it’s quite high compared to the last 10 years. The highest number of participants who said they had a partner was 50 percent in 1996, a number that steadily declined for 15 years until hitting its lowest point in 2011. Many suspect this is because of the increase of “herbivore men” during this period, and young people’s general lack of interest in sex. Starting in 2011, however, the number of participants who said they had a partner at the time of the survey rebounded slightly and has remained relatively stable over the last six years, excluding the drop in 2021.

▼ Percentage of “I’m currently dating someone of the opposite sex” answers from 1996 to 2022

marriage-survey13.jpg

Of the 181 people who had a partner at the time of the survey, the largest percentages met their partner at school.

How did you meet your current opposite-sex partner?

● At school (preschool-high school): 30.4 percent of respondents

● At school (university, graduate school, trade school): 26 percent

● Online (social media, apps): 14.4 percent

● At my part-time job: 8.8 percent

● Outside of school (club activities, hobbies, etc): 7.7 percent

● Introduced by a friend:4.4 percent

● Someone at full-time work or related to my work: 3.3 percent

● Mixer party: 0.6 percent

● Other: 4.4 percent

Surprisingly, the third most popular answer was “I met them online (social media/apps),” which beat out last year’s number-three answer, “I met them at work”, by 6 percentage points. Experts estimate that this number increased due to the social distancing measures required during the height of the pandemic.

In fact, quite a few young people are receptive to finding love online. 48.5 percent of respondents answered yes to the question, “Do you think you could fall in love with a person of the opposite sex you met online?” This number hasn’t really changed in the last two years, though it saw a big increase between 2017 and 2019. In particular, more men seem receptive to the idea, as 50.2 percent of male respondents answered “Yes”, which is the highest number in five years. This year also marks the first time a greater ratio of men than women would be receptive to an online relationship.

▼ “Do you think you could fall in love with a person of the opposite sex you met online?” (Gray for all, blue for men, and red for women)

marriage-survey6.jpg

After concluding the section on relationships, participants were then asked about marriage. The first question was, “Do you want to get married in the future?”. 79 percent of respondents picked either “I want to get married soon” or “I want to get married eventually”, an increase from last year, though this percentage is similar to the results from two years ago, right before the pandemic got started in Japan. Interestingly, almost the exact same percentage of men (79 percent) and women (78.9 percent) selected one of these two answers, though more women than men wanted to get married soon (24.9 percent of women compared to 17.5 percent of men).

Unsurprisingly, the number of respondents who want to get married has been in a zigzagging but overall decline since 1997, when 89.5 percent of young adults wanted to get married. The popularity of marriage appears to have had peaks and valleys since then, bouncing between the mid-70s to the mid-80s for 25 years. The lowest percentage of those wanting to get married (73.8 percent) occurred last year, perhaps because participants didn’t hear that the divorce rate dropped during quarantine.

▼ Percentage of new adults who want to get married (1996-2022)

marriage-survey8.jpg

When asked, “Why do you want to get married?” the top answers were, “Because I want to be with the person I love,” “I think I’ll be happy if I have a family, and “I want children.” These were the top three answers last year, as well.

Why do you want to get married?

● I want to be with the person I love: 63.9 percent of respondents

● I think I’ll be happy if I have a family: 52.5 percent

● I want children: 49.8 percent

● I want my parents to have peace of mind: 21.7 percent

● I want financial/emotional security: 16 percent

● I want to live independently from my parents: 11.7 percent

● Getting married someday just seems obvious: 5.5

● I want to watch over the household as a housewife/househusband: 2.7 percent

● Other: 1.4 percent

DF-22.jpg
Photo: Pakutaso

The 488 people who responded that they would like to get married, either sooner or later, were then asked “At what age do you want to get married?” 25 was the most-picked answer, from 21.1 percent of the respondents. This was comparable to previous years, so it seems the ideal age for marriage hasn’t changed much recently. Overall, getting married between the age of 25 and 30 was ideal for most people, as 77 percent of respondents answered one of those ages. Women tended to pick younger ages than men; more women selected age 26 or under, while more men chose 27 and older, so it seems men are less concerned with age than women are.

Perhaps that’s because women are concerned about birthing children since it’s widely believed that the older you are, the more likely you are to have a complicated pregnancy or birth. Overall, 65.2 percent of respondents answered “Yes” when asked, “Do you want children after getting married?” These numbers didn’t vary so much between the genders: 62.5 percent of men and 68 percent of women answered “Yes.” These numbers are higher than last year but otherwise are the lowest percentages since 2017. Furthermore, 22.5 percent of respondents answered “I don’t know”, indicating that a lot of young people just aren’t certain enough about the future to be sure children are something they want.

Overall, the data indicates a long-term decrease in the number of young people who want to get married and have children, which are numbers the Japanese government needs to watch if they want to keep their country afloat in the next few decades. However, the numbers aren’t as bad as it sometimes feels, as they seem to be stabilizing the last few years (with the exception of the uncertainties of the pandemic) so hopefully, there can be a turnaround soon!

Regardless, whether you want to get married or not, have an interest in relationships or not, or are thinking about kids or not, either way, it’s A-OK! Live the life you want. Just remember, though: if you want to get married, you have to let the other person know first. Because marriage is an agreement between two consenting adults. Okay? Okay.

Source: O-net via University Journal Online via Otacom

Insert images: O-net

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Survey says more than 70 percent of Japanese people think gender inequality exists in Japan

-- Should people in Japan be allowed to keep their surnames after getting married, survey asks

-- Rich and bald or handsome and poor? Survey asks Japanese women who’d they’d rather marry

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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LOL I want to get married an live independently from my family and then become a housewife and much off my salary man husband!!! Ok I get it!

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

29.3 percent may seem like quite a low number,

It is

but it’s quite high compared to the last 10 years.

So what? If 10 years ago the number was 2% and this year its at 6% one can say that the numbers have tripled, but it doesn't make it good.

29.3% is abysmally low.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

O-net’s annual Survey of Awareness of Love and Marriage, which they’ve been conducting for 26 years.

“Are you dating anyone of the opposite sex right now?”

How did you meet your current opposite-sex partner?

Hopefully O-net will get with the times soon and include questions that don't specifically refer to 'the opposite sex'. Love, happiness, marriage, and family are all possible with same sex partners too.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Maybe these people should read yesterdays article about being single

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Except I think they feel like they have to get married and not that they want to get married. When I've asked some of the youths here in Japan what they want to do in the future, they'd say, "after getting a job, I'm going to get married" with no change in enthusiasm. Also, notice how they said they're going to get married, not they want to get married. It's like it's nothing more than another chore or duty for them, and this will probably result in a lot of unfulfilled and unhappy marriages.

I'd say only tie the knot if you're 110% sure you love your partner to the moon and back and marriage is something you both want because it'll make your lives better than it was before.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

In the age of mass-automation and AI in which 50% of current jobs will have been made obsolete within the next 25 years, fewer people on an archipelago roughly the size of California is prudent. That 61% bodes well for Japan's future as Japanese families will continue to have children, just not an unsustainable number of them.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Finding a life partner is what most people want, no matter where they live, but the fact that around 50% of those surveyed think that you can actually fall in love with someone you meet online is a bit of a worry. Personally, I don’t believe that’s a great foundation for a lasting relationship.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I feel really sorry for young people in Japan. Their futures are being absolutely strangled by boomer oyajis keeping salaries at a poverty level and forcing people to work every waking hour. And what little money people are able to save is bled from them through countless fees in every aspect of life here.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Much profit to be made pushing escapist fantasies.

To expect that another person will complete your life by meshing as a soul mate is naive and ends in disappointment.

A person is far better off pursuing selfish self centered hedonism before any consideration over anyone else.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Surveying those who are still 20 is irrelevant in my opinion. Should start with 23 when they have about a year of shakaijin experience in them before asking if they want to marry. They will realize that their pay is way too low and they have no free time to look for dates.

On the bright side, many people around me in their late 20s are getting married so it isn't all too bad.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

but the fact that around 50% of those surveyed think that you can actually fall in love with someone you meet online is a bit of a worry. Personally, I don’t believe that’s a great foundation for a lasting relationship."

Personally dont see much difference ..whether you meet someone online because you like their profile or walk up to someone at a uni cafeteria / bar/ friends party or whatever because you find them attractive. First you gotta feel some chemistry and then you meet the person , talk and get to know them & take it from there. Pretty much the same.

 Their futures are being absolutely strangled by boomer oyajis keeping salaries at a poverty level and forcing people to work every waking hour. And what little money people are able to save is bled from them through countless fees in every aspect of life here."

True true.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

if only there are more decent paying permanent jobs out there for the young... supporting a family with temp jobs is just too much...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

VrethToday  10:31 am JST

I feel really sorry for young people in Japan. Their futures are being absolutely strangled by boomer oyajis keeping salaries at a poverty level and forcing people to work every waking hour. And what little money people are able to save is bled from them through countless fees in every aspect of life here.

What I would say is that at least graduates here have a decent chance of actually getting a job. Please tell me of your utopia where much of what you have said isn't the case.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This is the absolute solution for cold, distant societies like Japan, or pretty much anywhere else.

Find someone, get married, have children while you're still young.

The society would be a much better place. Happy people, happy families = less mean lonely people lurking in the streets/workplace and making everyone's life difficult.

Besides there is no such a blessing and humbling experience that is to have newborn at home.

All the sudden nothing else matters and the only goal in your life is to see your baby's smile.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Except I think they feel like they have to get married and not that they want to get married.

This is a really key point, a lot of this is people thinking they have to follow that lifescript. I definitely know people, and not just in Japan, who got married because they felt obligated to. Or, even worse, had kids because they were "supposed to".

It should go without saying, but neither are required or should be expected from anyone; being childfree and/or unmarried are perfectly reasonable. Especially given the prohibitive costs of weddings here, unless you have massive amounts of disposable income if you ARE going to get married just sign the paperwork and be done with it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

DanielsanToday  10:35 am JST

To expect that another person will complete your life by meshing as a soul mate is naive and ends in disappointment.

A person is far better off pursuing selfish self centered hedonism before any consideration over anyone else.

I kind of agree with you there. Funnily enough pursuing my selfish hedonism in a carefree way is exactly how I ended up meeting my soul mate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Kniknaknokkaer

 Please tell me of your utopia where much of what you have said isn't the case.

Every country has its problems but I don't think I have to tell you about all the overwork that goes on here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You don’t have to be married to have children. If you find the person you want to be with for the rest of your life it isn’t an absolute given that you have to get married (though it might have tax advantages).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You don't have to get married to be happy/fulfilled/find a soul mate/have children. But a well paid job is a must

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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