What is a 'Friendship Marriage'? Know why Youngsters in Japan are embracing union without any romance

Is 'love' the answer to a successful marriage? The obvious answer may seem to be yes, but the correct answer is 'no' according to the Japanese Youth.

Youth, Trending, Friendship-Marriages, Japan-New-Trend, Japan-new-relationship-trend, Japan-friendship-Marriages, What-is-a-friendship-marriages, Friendship-Marriage-Advantages | What is a 'Friendship Marriage'? Know why Youngsters in Japan are embracing union without any romance- True Scoop

A new trend of “friendship marriage” is on the rise in Japan. More and more Japanese youngsters are ditching the traditional marriage, instead opting for non-romantic and platonic union. These couples are legally hitched but do not engage in romantic activities. But a pertinent question arises, how does such a “marriage” even work, or more importantly, why even choose to have a friendship marriage?


As per data from Colorus, an agency that claims to be the first and foremost expert on friendship marriages, about one percent of Japan’s population of 124 million are possible candidates for the arrangement.  They include asexual individuals, homosexuals, and heterosexuals who are disillusioned with traditional marriage. Since the agency’s inception in March 2015, about 500 members have formed friendship marriage households, and some have raised children.


What is a friendship marriage?

According to numerous reports, friendship marriage is essentially a cohabilitating relationship based on shared interests and values. It is not necessarily about marrying someone you love or marrying your best friend. The partners are legally spouses but without romantic love or sexual interaction. Not only this, but couples can decide to live either together or separately. If they decide they want to have children, they may do so through artificial insemination.


It is pertinent to note that both the individuals can pursue romantic relationships outside the arrangement with a mutual agreement. Before marrying, couples usually spend hours or days agreeing on the details of their life, such as whether to eat meals together, how to split expenses, who does the laundry, and how to allocate refrigerator space.


Why is getting popular?

As mentioned above, Friendship marriages are generally popular between asexuals, homosexuals, and heterosexuals who have disillusioned with marriages. According to data by colorus, most individuals who opt for this arrangement are, on average, 32.5 years old with incomes exceeding the national average, and about 85 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher.


Many asexuals, who are unable to feel sexual desire or fall in love, still crave connection and companionship. Homosexuals may opt for friendship marriages as an alternative because same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan.  Some heterosexual young people, who dislike traditional marriage patterns or romantic relationships, but are subject to societal pressures, have also been embracing the new trend.


Why are Japanese opting for friendship marriages?

As per surveys and statistics, about 75% of Japanese in their 30s view marriage as a life goal. Friendship marriages can be an alternative for some young adults, who don’t believe in traditional norms or romantic relationships but are subjected to it because of societal pressures. It helps them present a “stable and mature” image for career advancement or to please their parents.


However, the concept of friendship marriages is not perfect because according to Colorus, these marriages also occasionally end in divorce. However, the advantages to a legally binding marriage arrangement such as this include policy benefits, companionship and “helping those who feel lost, dislike traditional marriage, or consider themselves social outcasts”.