Is adultery allowed in Japan (if with a prostitute)?

The YouTuber Takashii, who provided the interesting video we reposted recently about Japanese women and their attraction toward foreign men (or non-attraction, as the case may be), has produced a couple more videos with interviews about the old saw: adultery.

His latest provocative topic is on adultery in Japan, especially cheating on a partner with sex workers.

He asks some women for their opinions and some men.

They give a range of responses, but the general gist is that the women don’t seem to mind if their men cheat on them with fuzoku (sex workers/services). In fact, this doesn’t “count” as adultery since money is involved and, presumably, the men have no emotional connection to the women (or men) involved, even less than they would with a one-night stand.

Both videos have English subtitles.

Here is the shorter one with the young women. (A longer video is possibly coming soon.)

And here is the longer video with men.

Short clips of these interviews with the women have circulated a lot on social media recently, especially Twitter, even though the original videos are not so recently, sparking fierce debate.

It is important to remember, though, that like all vox populi interviews, these are very edited: the interviewees are cherry-picked, as are the responses.

There are also various contextual points we would like to raise as caveats before everyone starts assuming that Japan is some paradise for adulterers.

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Yes, adultery is common here (as it is elsewhere). On the other hand, divorce rates are lower than many other major industrial nations (though are rising). Make of that what you will.

Adultery can result in a lawsuit: the aggrieved spouse may sue both their spouse and the lover of their partner for damages. As such, adultery is risky not only for the spouse, who may end up divorced and forced to pay a settlement (though in Japan, we believe alimony isn’t legally enforced), but for their lover too.

There are exceptions, such as if you can prove you didn’t know the other person was married.

Obviously, this is easier for a sex worker to do. As such, visiting a sex worker is much more convenient and financially safer than having an affair.

Is is morally permissible? Or at least, more so than in Western countries? That’s tricky to answer, but quite possibly. We suspect that most local guys would feel that it’s less repugnant in a strictly moral sense and might even see it as the best way to fulfill certain fantasies. That said, we reckon most guys would prefer not to pay for sex, since it’s better for your ego if you know the woman is definitely attracted to you. On the other hand, many woman may be attracted to you in ways that are ultimately not so far removed from directly receiving money for sexual transactions, such as the fact that you are affluent, take her own on expensive dates, buy her fancy gifts, and so on.

Another key point to remember, and which is missing from the interviews perhaps, is that fuzoku is a catch-all term for various kinds of sex work and services, many of which do not provide full service. So these women may be professing not to mind if their man “cheats” on them in the Bill Clinton sense of the word, but they might have a different opinion if you reframed the question to specify that the session with the sex worker would involve penetrative sex.

On the other hand, there are (like elsewhere) plenty of apps and services for finding people to have an affair with, and where both sides know that there are already spouses in the picture. In other words, the true situation is pretty complicated and can’t really be summed up in bitesized snippets like this, as much as we enjoy watching them.

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1 Comment

  • KT October 26, 2023

    I love your stuff and your articles man. Keep up the great work.

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