‘Parasite singles’: why young Japanese aren’t getting married

9 December, 2019 12:00 AM printer

‘Parasite singles’: why young Japanese aren’t getting married

A sharply dressed crowd of Japanese singletons shuffle awkwardly around conference-room tables, exchanging small-talk and CVs in an attempt to find a marriage partner—all of them accompanied by their parents, reports AFP.

One 38-year-old woman, who declined to give her name, said she “didn’t have the courage” to find a spouse and move away from her mother, who had come with her to the match-making party. “I didn’t have many good opportunities to meet someone,” she explained, adding: “My workplace has lots of women but not many men.” Roughly a quarter of Japanese people between 20 and 49 are single, according to government data.

And while people of this age routinely express a wish to get married, outdated social attitudes and increasing economic pressure is making tying the knot more and more difficult, experts say.

Sociology professor Masahiro Yamada from Tokyo’s Chuo University told AFP that the norm of single people living with their parents until marriage means there is less immediate pressure to find a partner.

“They think it’s a waste of time to have a relationship with someone who does not meet their conditions” and can afford to wait for a better catch, he said, dubbing these people “parasite singles.”


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