The “Romantic Love” of Young Adults in Japan

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Room: 511
Misa OMORI , Ochanomizu University, Tokyo, Japan
Since the 1980s, the late marriage and non-marriage action has become remarkable and decrease-in-the-birthrate problem has started gaining people’s attention in Japan. In these social backgrounds, the importance of research on "romantic love" before marriage was also started recognizing. However, the study accumulations of “romantic love” are still not enough in the area of family sociology. This study aims to consider how young adults in Japan meaning their “romantic love” by focusing on their rhetoric and gender perspective. The research data are based on 4 group discussions and 4 semi-structured interviews with heterosexual single men and woman, born in 1983 to in 1993. Each group is divided by social positions such as students, company employees and gender. Using these data, I found that Japanese young adults tie the construal relationship by declaration and whether they are dating officially or not is quite important to have sex because it can be the permission, which shows their sexual relationships are right socially. Moreover, the analysis proves that there are not big differences about sexual behavior by gender; however, it shows that there are some differences in awareness of the marriage and “romantic love” by gender. Especially, women group members tend to set the time limit to 30 years old to get marriage and to think that they should date one who is the right for marriage otherwise they feel they are wasting time. However, from the narratives of survey respondents, it suggests conditions required for marriage and conditions required for romantic love are ambivalence. In Japan where a modern family ideology and a love marriage ideology are left firmly, it could make not only marriage but also “romantic love” difficult.