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Do Japanese people marry family?


Japanese culture is known for its unique traditions and customs, and one of the most intriguing topics is marriage. The question that arises is whether Japanese people marry within their family or not. This article aims to explore this topic in detail and provide comprehensive information on the subject matter.

History of Marriage in Japan

The history of marriage in Japan goes back to the 8th century when it was a simple practice to bring two families together. However, over the years, the practice has evolved, and marriage has become a more complex process. In medieval Japan, marriages were arranged by parents, and the bride and groom had no say in the matter. But with the arrival of western influence, love marriages became more common.

Japanese Snack Box

Types of Marriages in Japan

In Japan, there are three primary types of marriages: arranged marriages, love marriages, and “konkatsu” marriages. Arranged marriages involve parents finding a suitable partner for their children based on factors such as social status and financial standing. Love marriages occur when two individuals fall in love and decide to get married. Konkatsu marriages are arranged through matchmaking agencies that help single individuals find a suitable partner.

Marriage Customs in Japan

Japanese marriage customs are unique and steeped in tradition. One of the most well-known customs is the “san-san-kudo” ceremony where the bride and groom sip sake three times from three different cups, symbolizing their union. Other customs include exchanging rings, signing a marriage certificate, and giving gifts to each other’s families.

Marriage Laws in Japan

In Japan, the legal age for marriage is 18 years for both men and women. However, with parental consent, individuals can marry at 16 years of age. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan, but there is a growing movement to change this.

Marriage and Family in Japan

Japanese culture places a strong emphasis on family, and marriage is seen as a way to strengthen family ties. However, there is no tradition of marrying within the family. In fact, marriages between close relatives are illegal in Japan.

Marriage and Social Status in Japan

In Japan, social status plays a significant role in the marriage process. It is common for families to seek partners of similar social standing to maintain their status. However, this trend is changing with younger generations placing less emphasis on social status when choosing a partner.

Marriage and Gender Roles in Japan

Gender roles in Japan have traditionally been rigid, with men as breadwinners and women as homemakers. However, this is changing, and women are increasingly taking on more prominent roles in society. This shift is also reflected in the changing dynamics of marriage where both partners share responsibilities.

Challenges Facing Marriage in Japan

Japan’s declining birth rate is one of the biggest challenges facing marriage in the country. Factors such as rising living costs, long working hours, and changing attitudes towards marriage have contributed to fewer marriages and lower birth rates.

Future of Marriage in Japan

The future of marriage in Japan is uncertain, but there are signs that it is evolving. Younger generations are placing less emphasis on traditional customs and practices, and more couples are choosing to live together without getting married. Despite these changes, marriage remains an essential institution in Japanese society.


In conclusion, Japanese people do not marry within their family. The practice of arranged marriages still exists but is declining in popularity. Japanese marriage customs are unique and steeped in tradition, but they are also evolving with changing attitudes towards gender roles and social status. The future of marriage in Japan is uncertain, but it will undoubtedly continue to be an essential institution in Japanese society.

Do Japanese people marry their relatives?

In Japan, it is permitted to marry one’s first cousin, although the rate of such marriages has decreased in recent times.

Which cultures marry their cousins?

Marriage between cousins is a more frequent occurrence among individuals of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Middle Eastern heritage, as well as certain Indian groups, Irish travellers, and specific refugee populations. Such unions are often customary, albeit to varying degrees.

What is Japan’s marriage culture?

Marriage in Japan is not only a legal but also a social institution that plays a significant role in the family unit. Once couples have updated their family registration paperwork, they are considered legally married, even if they have not had a ceremony.

Is it OK to marry your cousin in Japan?

In Japan, marrying a first cousin is legal but less common nowadays. China banned first-cousin marriage in 1981, despite cross-cousin marriage being a common practice in rural areas of the country in the past.

What is the age of consent in Japan?

A committee within Japan’s justice ministry suggested increasing the age at which an individual can legally consent to sexual activity from 13 to 16. It is important to note that Japan currently has the lowest age of consent among the G7 nations, and this law has not been revised for over a hundred years. This proposal was made on February 22, 2023.

Is it OK to marry your cousin in USA?

In the United States, it is legal for second cousins to marry in all states, but only about half of the states permit first cousins to marry. The decision to marry a cousin or half-sibling will depend on both the laws of the state and the individual’s personal or cultural beliefs.

One of the factors contributing to the changing attitudes towards marriage in Japan is the growing trend of individualism. Younger generations are more focused on personal fulfillment and career advancement than traditional notions of family and marriage. This shift in values has led to a decline in the number of marriages as individuals prioritize their personal goals over starting a family.

Another challenge facing marriage in Japan is the aging population. With a significant portion of the population over 65 years old, there are fewer young people available for marriage. This demographic shift has contributed to a decline in the number of marriages and an increase in the number of single-person households.

Despite these challenges, there are efforts to revitalize marriage in Japan. The government has implemented policies to support couples, such as providing financial incentives for those who have children and offering marriage counseling services. There is also a growing movement to change traditional gender roles and promote greater equality within marriages.

In conclusion, while Japanese people do not marry within their family, marriage in Japan is evolving with changing attitudes towards tradition, gender roles, and social status. The declining birth rate and aging population present significant challenges, but efforts are being made to revitalize marriage in Japan. As Japan continues to navigate these changes, it is likely that the institution of marriage will continue to play a vital role in Japanese society.

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