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Why is Japanese age of consent so low?


Japanese age of consent is relatively low compared to other countries. In Japan, the age of consent is 13 years old, which is significantly lower than the average age of consent in other developed countries. This has led to a lot of debates and discussions around the world regarding why the Japanese age of consent is so low. In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind this phenomenon.

Cultural Factors

Japan has a unique culture that is different from other countries. In Japan, there is a strong emphasis on respecting authority and hierarchy. This can be seen in many aspects of Japanese society, including the legal system. The age of consent is no exception to this rule. In Japan, it is believed that young people should respect and obey their elders, including their sexual partners. This cultural factor may have contributed to the low age of consent in Japan.

Japanese Snack Box

Historical Factors

Another reason why the age of consent is so low in Japan may be due to historical factors. In the past, Japan had a feudal system, where young girls were often married off to older men for political or economic reasons. This practice continued even after Japan became a modernized country, with the government enacting laws that allowed young girls to be legally married at a very young age. Although these laws have been changed, some argue that they have had a lasting impact on Japanese society.

Sexualization of Children

Some critics argue that Japan’s low age of consent is due to the sexualization of children in Japanese media and culture. In Japan, there are many anime and manga series that feature sexualized images of underage girls. Some argue that this type of media promotes an unhealthy view of young girls and contributes to the normalization of sexual activity with minors.

Legal Protection for Minors

Despite having a low age of consent, Japan has strict laws against child pornography and sexual exploitation of minors. The country has also enacted laws that protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation. These laws are designed to prevent adults from taking advantage of minors who may not fully understand the implications of their actions.

Parental Consent

In Japan, parental consent is required for minors under the age of 20 to engage in sexual activity. This means that if a minor wants to have sex with an adult, they need their parent’s permission first. Some argue that this law provides additional protection for young people who may not be able to make informed decisions about their sexual activity.

Rising Age of Marriage

Although the age of consent in Japan is relatively low, the average age at which people get married has been steadily rising over the years. This suggests that young people are waiting longer before engaging in sexual activity or getting married. Some experts believe that this trend could eventually lead to an increase in the age of consent in Japan.

International Pressure

Japan has faced criticism from international organizations and other countries for its low age of consent. Some argue that this pressure could eventually lead to changes in Japanese law and policy regarding sexual activity with minors.

Age Gap Relationships

In Japan, there is a cultural acceptance of large age gap relationships between older men and younger women. This may contribute to the low age of consent by creating a culture where it is seen as acceptable for older men to have relationships with younger girls.

Religious Factors

Religion plays a significant role in Japanese society, with both Buddhism and Shintoism being widely practiced. Although these religions do not specifically address issues related to sex and sexuality, they do emphasize respect for authority and adherence to social norms.

Gender Equality

Japan has made significant progress in terms of gender equality over the years, but there is still work to be done. Some argue that the low age of consent in Japan reflects a lack of concern for women’s rights and safety.


The question of why the age of consent is so low in Japan is a complex one with many factors at play. While some argue that it reflects cultural norms or historical factors, others point to issues related to gender equality or media representation as potential explanations. Regardless of the underlying reasons, it is clear that this issue will continue to be debated and discussed both within Japan and around the world.

Why is the age of consent lower in Japan?

The Japanese gang law addresses issues surrounding sexual assault and relationships. Article 177 of these laws states that anyone who engages in sexual activity with a girl under the age of 13 will be sentenced to three years in prison.

Is the age of consent in Japan really 13?

Japan is planning to increase the age of consent from 13 to 16 in response to criticisms that current laws do not adequately protect children from sexual offenses such as rape. This legislative overhaul is scheduled to take place on February 21, 2023.

Is the age of consent in Japan really 16?

A panel from the Japanese justice ministry recently suggested increasing the age of consent from 13 to 16, as Japan currently has the lowest age of consent among G7 nations and it has not been changed for over 100 years.

At what age can you marry in Japan?

According to the Japanese Civil Code, the youngest legal age for marriage is 18 years for boys and 16 years for girls. Individuals under the age of 20 cannot legally marry in Japan without the consent of their parents. Starting in 2022, both boys and girls will need to be at least 18 years old to legally marry.

Why is the age of consent 14 in Germany?

The regulations for age of consent in Germany were established after a legal reform in 1994 following reunification. The ages of 14 and 16 have been significant since the German Empire’s Criminal Code was introduced in 1872, with sexual activities with minors under 14 being prohibited under § 176 and always have been.

Can a 30 year old date a 13 year old in Japan?

As long as there is no sexual activity involved, there is no legal issue with two individuals being together. In Japan, it is reportedly acceptable for younger teens to date older men, according to a Japanese friend in school. Therefore, a 30-year-old person can date a 13-year-old in Japan without it being considered illegal.

Public Opinion

Public opinion in Japan regarding the age of consent is divided, with some people advocating for an increase in the age of consent to better protect minors, while others argue that changing the law would be unnecessary and could infringe on personal freedoms. This debate has been ongoing for many years, with no clear consensus or resolution in sight.

International Comparisons

When compared to other developed countries, Japan’s age of consent is significantly lower. For example, in the United States, the age of consent ranges from 16 to 18 depending on the state. In Canada, the age of consent is 16. Some have argued that Japan should consider raising its age of consent to be more in line with other developed countries.

Impact on Mental Health

There are concerns that a low age of consent could have negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of minors who engage in sexual activity with adults. Research shows that underage sexual activity can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. This is particularly true when minors are coerced or forced into sexual activity.

Education and Awareness

Some argue that education and awareness programs may be more effective than changing the age of consent laws in Japan. By providing young people with information about healthy relationships and safe sexual practices, they may be better equipped to make informed decisions about their sexual activity. This approach also puts the responsibility on adults to act responsibly and avoid taking advantage of minors.

Enforcement of Laws

Another issue related to the age of consent in Japan is the enforcement of laws designed to protect minors from sexual exploitation. Despite having strict laws against child pornography and sexual exploitation, there have been cases where authorities have not taken action or have been slow to respond. Some argue that better enforcement of existing laws is necessary before any changes to the age of consent can be made.


Overall, the reasons behind Japan’s low age of consent are complex and multifaceted. While cultural and historical factors certainly play a role, there are also concerns related to gender equality, media representation, and mental health impacts to consider. As this debate continues, it will be important to take a comprehensive approach that prioritizes the safety and well-being of young people while also respecting personal freedoms and individual rights.

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