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Cross-Dressing Couple Marry in Century-Old Harvest Festival (Japan in Photos)

Children carrying pine torches escort a couple in a traditional mujina no mukasari harvest ritual in Murayama, Yamagata Prefecture, on November 12, 2017. Dating back more than 100 years, the ceremony sees the bride and groom swap places in a mock wedding to ensure the success of crops and bring prosperity in the year to come. The cross-dressing nuptials are centered on the mujina, or badger, w…
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Calls for Marriage Equality at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017 (Japan in Photos)

A woman holds a placard saying “I want to get married” (結婚したい; kekkon shitai) as she marches in the closing parade for Tokyo Rainbow Pride in Shibuya on May 7, 2017. Some 6,000 LGBT people and supporters took part in the parade—a record number—calling variously for tolerance of diversity and marriage equality in Japan. (© Jiji Press Photo)  
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Survey Finds Record Number of “Sexless” Married Couples in Japan

A 2016 survey by the Japan Family Planning Association found that the percentage of “sexless” married people, who have not had sexual intercourse for at least a month, reached its highest level, at 47.2%. This is a 2.6-point increase over the previous survey, conducted in 2014, and 15.3 points higher than the first such survey, carried out in 2004.
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“Miai”: Meetings to Arrange Marriages

Until the postwar period, most Japanese weddings were arranged through miai, formal meetings set up by a matchmaker. The practice continues today on a smaller scale, although the meetings are now typically arranged by specialist businesses.
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Japan to Raise Marriageable Age for Women From 16 to 18 (News)

Tokyo, Jan. 21 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government will set the legal age for marriage at 18 for both men and women, informed sources said Saturday. Currently, the minimum allowable marriage age in Japan is 18 for men and 16 for women under the Civil Code. The lower age is set for women because their physical development is faster than men. But the difference has drawn criticism from intern…
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People in Twenties Less Marriage-Minded in Japan (News)

Tokyo, Nov. 2 (Jiji Press)—The shares of people in their twenties who hope to marry and have a child have declined, according to a recent National Institution for Youth Education survey. “The issues of economic disparity and poverty seem to dampen” young people's interest in making new families, said Yoichi Akashi, director of the institution's Research Center for Youth Education. The instituti…
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High Court Decisions Augur Long Road to EqualityMuta Kazue

On December 16 last year, the Supreme Court delivered a ruling on a closely watched case regarding the right of spouses to maintain separate surnames after marriage. The plaintiffs in the case challenged the constitutionality of article 750 of the Civil Code, which requires one of the spouses to adopt the surname of the other. They held that the provision violated the couple’s rights, and also tha…
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Japanese Women Face Tough Reality in Work and MarriageKawaguchi Akira

Despite much-trumpeted policies aiming to encourage female participation in the workforce, Japanese women must contend with both an economic gender gap and the gap between their aspirations and the reality for careers and marriage. Gender studies specialist Kawaguchi Akira assembles a range of data to analyze the situation for women in Japan today.
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Weddings in Japan

Traditional Japanese weddings were secular and held in the home, but today they usually involve some kind of religious-style ceremony, based on a traditional Shintō or Christian theme.
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Shibuya Pioneers with Partnership Certificates for Same-Sex Couples

On March 31 the municipal assembly of Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward approved a statute under which the ward will recognize cohabiting same-sex couples as being in a relationship “equivalent to marriage” and will issue documents certifying such relationships. Although same-sex marriages and civil partnerships conferring comparable legal status are becoming available in a growing number of countries aroun…
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