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Are Japanese allowed to marry foreigners?


Marriage is a significant event in one’s life, and an individual has the right to choose their partner regardless of nationality. However, certain countries have specific laws and regulations that must be followed when marrying a foreigner. In this article, we will discuss whether Japanese citizens are allowed to marry foreigners and the legal requirements for such a marriage.

Japanese Marriage Laws

In Japan, marriage laws are governed by the Civil Code, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. However, there are no restrictions on marrying someone of a different nationality. Japanese citizens can marry anyone they choose as long as they meet the legal requirements.

Japanese Snack Box

Legal Requirements for Marrying a Foreigner

If a Japanese citizen decides to marry a foreigner, they must meet specific legal requirements. Both parties must be at least 18 years old and legally eligible to marry under their respective country’s laws. They must also provide proof of identity, such as a passport or birth certificate.

Visa Requirements for Foreign Spouses

If a foreigner marries a Japanese citizen, they will need a visa to stay in Japan legally. The most common visa for spouses is the Spouse Visa, which allows the foreign spouse to live and work in Japan for up to five years. They must also renew their visa periodically and meet specific requirements to maintain their status.

Family Registration System

In Japan, all citizens are required to register their family relationships with the government through the Family Registration System. If a Japanese citizen marries a foreigner, they must update their family registration to include their spouse’s information.

International Marriage Trends in Japan

The number of international marriages in Japan has been increasing over the past few decades. In 2019, there were over 23,000 marriages between Japanese citizens and foreigners, accounting for 4% of all marriages in Japan. The most common nationalities for foreign spouses were Chinese, Korean, and Filipino.

Cultural Differences in International Marriages

International marriages often face cultural differences that can lead to challenges in the relationship. For instance, differences in language, values, and traditions can cause misunderstandings and conflicts. However, many couples find ways to overcome these challenges and build successful relationships.

Challenges of Obtaining Visas for Foreign Spouses

Obtaining visas for foreign spouses can be challenging due to strict immigration policies and regulations. Many couples must go through lengthy application processes and provide extensive documentation to prove their eligibility. Some couples may also face language barriers or cultural biases during the application process.

Benefits of International Marriages

Despite the challenges, international marriages offer many benefits, such as cultural exchange and diversity. Couples can learn from each other’s cultures and broaden their perspectives. Additionally, many international marriages result in multicultural families who can pass down their unique customs and traditions to their children.

Discrimination Against International Marriages

Despite being legal under Japanese law, international marriages still face discrimination from some parts of society. Some people view such marriages as threats to traditional Japanese culture and values or as opportunities for foreigners to gain citizenship or residency in Japan illegally.


In conclusion, Japanese citizens are allowed to marry foreigners under Japanese law as long as they meet specific legal requirements. While international marriages may face challenges such as obtaining visas and cultural differences, they offer numerous benefits such as cultural exchange and diversity. It is essential to promote acceptance and understanding of international marriages to create a more inclusive society.


What happens if I marry a Japanese?

Foreigners who have married Japanese citizens are eligible for naturalization even if they do not have a job and do not have an income. This means that even if you become a full-time homemaker after marrying a Japanese citizen, you are still eligible to apply for naturalization.

Can I become a Japanese citizen if I marry a Japanese?

To become a citizen through marriage in Japan, certain criteria must be met, including residency requirements where the spouse must have lived in Japan for at least five years on a long-term visa, and language proficiency requirements where the spouse must demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the Japanese language. The deadline for meeting these requirements is January 31, 2023.

Can I move to Japan if I marry a Japanese woman?

To live in Japan with your Japanese spouse, you must obtain a visa for a Spouse or Child of a Japanese National. It is crucial that your marriage is recognized as legal in Japan, which involves registering your marriage at a local municipality office where you live.

Do Japanese love American culture?

Over time, Japanese society has grown more interested in American culture, with a focus on popular brands, snacks, and attractions. This fascination with American culture originally stemmed from Hollywood, as Western movies offer a window into what daily life might be like in the United States.

Do foreigners become US citizens if I marry them?

It is not automatic for an immigrant who marries a U.S. citizen to become a citizen themselves. They must first apply for a green card, which involves a lengthy process and requires the completion of several forms and documents.

Can you live in Japan if you’re American?

North American expats can enjoy a high standard of living in Japan with its stable economy, government, and robust social services. It’s important to note that Less than 30% of the population speaks English, and only 2–8% can speak English fluently.

Legal Issues with International Marriages

International marriages may face legal issues, particularly in cases of divorce or child custody. In Japan, the law regarding international marriage and divorce can be complex, particularly when it comes to child custody. For example, in cases where a Japanese national divorces a foreign spouse and the child is taken out of Japan by the foreign parent, Japanese courts may not have jurisdiction over the case. This can make it difficult for the Japanese parent to regain custody of their child.

Support for International Couples

International couples may face unique challenges that require support and resources. In Japan, there are organizations such as the Association of International Marriages and Families that offer counseling and support services to international couples. Additionally, some local governments offer resources and information on visas, family registration, and other legal requirements for international marriages.

The Future of International Marriages in Japan

The number of international marriages in Japan is likely to continue to increase as globalization and increased mobility make it easier for people to meet and form relationships with those from other countries. However, cultural differences and legal issues may continue to pose challenges for international couples in the future. It is essential to promote acceptance and understanding of different cultures and lifestyles to create a more inclusive society for all.

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