The historical roots of Japan's approach to marriage can be clearly traced. According to Jennifer Robertson, Professor of Anthropology and the History of Art at the University of Michigan, "monogamy was introduced in the first modern Constitution/Civil Code of 1890 after the fall of the feudal shogunate in 1868 and the formation of a constitutional monarchy thereafter."Until the penning of the nation's postwar Constitution of 1946, adultery was solely defined as a crime committed by married women. "In addition to giving free reign to men's sexual desires, this one-sided, punitive definition of adultery was rationalized as a way to prevent confusion about the paternity of a married woman's child," Robertson said.That's neither fair nor a recipe for romance. But in Japan, Robertson says, romance "is not at all the main motive for the legal institution of marriage, which brings two extended families into alliance, enables the marriage partners to achieve 'social adulthood' and is the only sanctioned context for reproduction, which in turn ensures the continuity of the household lineage."This intensely practical attitude towards marriage often confounds the Western media. From coverage of the "herbivore men" trend to the BBC's documentary No Sex Please, We're Japanese, a widespread meme suggests Japanese have all but stopped doing the deed and are content to sit back and watch their population implode.
"Japan actually has a healthy appetite for sex. They just go about it in a really dichotomous kind of way and make it hard for themselves."
A whopping 84 percent of Japanese women and 61 percent of Japanese men considered their extramarital liaisons beneficial to their marriages.