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Rising Trend of ‘Friendship Marriages’ Among Young Japanese Couples



The evolving landscape of romantic relationships in Japan is witnessing a new wave of partnerships termed ‘friendship marriages’ among young couples. The concept, highlighted in a recent report by the South China Morning Post, sheds light on a unique trend that challenges traditional notions of love and intimacy.

Referred to as ‘friendship marriages,’ these unions are founded on shared values and interests rather than romantic or sexual bonds. Individuals opting for this unconventional form of relationship seek companionship without the constraints of traditional marriage dynamics.

The term ‘friendship marriage’ encapsulates a cohabitating arrangement where couples can legally marry but are not required to be romantically involved. This offers a novel approach to building partnerships based on mutual understanding and compatibility.

According to Colours, a pioneering agency facilitating friendship marriages in Japan, over 500 couples have embraced this trend since its inception in 2015. The agency serves as a platform for individuals seeking alternative paths to companionship and family life.

One prominent aspect of friendship marriages is the emphasis on shared interests and values. Couples engaging in this form of partnership often prioritize compatibility in daily activities and decision-making processes.

Many participants in friendship marriages view the arrangement as akin to finding a compatible roommate with whom they can share experiences and create meaningful connections. Discussions prior to entering into these unions often revolve around practical matters such as household responsibilities and financial planning.

The appeal of friendship marriages extends beyond personal preferences to address broader societal challenges. With marriage still considered a significant life milestone for a majority of Japanese individuals, this trend caters to those who seek an alternative to conventional romantic relationships.

The trend is particularly popular among individuals in their thirties, with a significant number having attained higher education qualifications and stable incomes. Couples from diverse backgrounds, including asexual and homosexual individuals, find solace in friendship marriages as a viable option for companionship and family expansion.

As Japan grapples with demographic shifts and evolving social norms, friendship marriages offer a unique perspective on modern relationships and the changing landscape of matrimony in the country. Despite occasional challenges, these unions provide a platform for individuals to navigate personal and societal expectations in a nuanced manner.

Rachel Adams

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