Japan Data

International Marriage in Japan: Trends in Nationality of Spouses


When it comes to international marriages, Japanese men tend to choose brides from Asian countries, particularly China and the Philippines. Japanese women, on the other hand, are more varied in selecting a foreign partner.

According to a demographic study by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, in 2016 a total of 14,851 Japanese men married foreign brides and 6,329 Japanese women took foreign husbands.

Looking by nationality, Chinese accounted for the largest number of foreign-born wives at 37.2%, or 5,526 marriages, followed by Filipinas at 22.7%, or 3,371 unions. Korean nationals were third at 13.6% (2,031), Thai fourth at 6.5% (970), and Americans rounded out the top five at 1.7% (246). While fewer Japanese men are taking brides from China and the Philippines, women from these and other nations in Asia still account for the majority of cross-country nuptials involving Japanese grooms, a trend that will likely continue.

Compared to their male counterparts, Japanese women showed greater geographic diversity in choosing foreign husbands. Korean nationals accounted for the largest percentage of grooms at 25.7% (1,627) followed by Americans at 16.7% (1,059). Chinese men were third at 12.4% (790), Brazilians fourth at 5% (315), and Britons fifth at 3.9% (248).

International marriages have been on the decline since 2006 following revisions to immigration laws enacted in 2005 and increased efforts by the government to crack down on fake marriages.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Fast&Slow/Pixta)

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