Many singles may prefer to leave it up to fate to find their significant other, but experts are saying those who elect to wait for “the one” may never make it to the altar.

“Kon-katsu” is short for “kekkon-katsudo,” a spinoff from the term “shushoku-katsudo” (job hunting), according to journalist Toko Shirakawa, who coined the word in the book “Kon-Katsu Jidai” (“Marriage Hunting Era“), published in March with coauthor Masahiro Yamada, a sociology scholar.

“We wanted to popularize the term to emphasize that you can no longer get married by simply wanting to. You have to search strategically for a partner, as you would a career,” said Shirakawa, who writes on marriage, relationships and the declining birthrate in various publications, including AERA magazine.

Among the 20-to-34 age group in Japan, 69 percent of men and 57 percent of women are unmarried, according to a report by the internal affairs ministry.

Yet marriage remains high on the agenda for many. Among singles in the 18-to-34 age bracket, about 90 percent of both males and females want to tie the knot some day, according to a survey by National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

Among the courses the agency has on offer is Doctor’s Stage, where women are introduced to single doctors and dentists.

Doctors are popular with Japanese women because they want someone they can respect, someone they feel they cannot surpass,” explained Rumi Sato, PR spokeswoman for Bridal Station. “Even though doctors are busy and may not earn as much as business executives, they provide stability.”

“If you want to go to a university, you go to a preparatory school. If you want to marry a doctor, you come here.”

“With full-time jobs no longer easily available or secure for life in recent times, some men are disinclined to marry because it would put them under financial pressure. They want their wives to work, too. But in Japan, it is still difficult for women to sustain a family and a career.” she said.

The average fertility rate has been falling since the mid-1970s and hit an all-time low of 1.26 children per woman in 2005, according to a survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Source: Japan Times

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5 thoughts on “Marriage Hunting (Kon-Katsu) in Japan

  1. This is a difficult question to ponder about. I fall into the bracket of 18-34. So I do want to tie the knot, but I ponder on the difficulty of dating, and to see the divorce rate in society is quite daunting. However, it is pretty tradition to think as a girl, when to get married.

  2. Animekritik,

    Mutual respect is understandable, but I don’t quite understand this need for insurpassibility. This just might be something the agency made up.

    – – –


    The divorce rate may be high, but it really depends on the individuals. Some people will divorce in a few months, while others will stay together a lifetime.

    1. One day, you’ll meet real life Rei 🙂

      The statistic you seem to be quoting originated from National Center for Health Statistics. However, the fact that number of divorces is about half the number of marriages annually is misleading. Extensive literature on the factors affecting success of marriage exists. Age at marriage is one of many such factors:

      Age at marriage for those who divorce in America:

      Age Women Men
      Under 20 years old 27.6% 11.7%
      20 to 24 years old 36.6% 38.8%
      25 to 29 years old 16.4% 22.3%
      30 to 34 years old 8.5% 11.6%
      35 to 39 years old 5.1% 6.5%


      Keep in mind that is is just a distribution of age rather than the divorce rate. This page has many more statistics.

      Another important factor is attitude on marriage from the very beginning. If one thinks that a marriage is unlikely to last, it might end up as a self-fulfilling prophecy…

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