Clock ticks for women in Japan seeking love at work

Clock ticks for women in Japan seeking love at work

Clock ticks for women in Japan seeking love at work

As much as I hate to spoil the whole 春の陽気 (haru no yōki, springtime cheer) thing, I have some bad news about Japanese love relationships, specifically 社内恋愛 (shanai-renai, intra-company love affairs).

Despite our 超高齢化社会 (chō-kōreika-shakai, super-aging society), an increasing awareness of alternative lifestyles and the ever-growing number of women in the workforce, some things remain stubbornly the same. It’s hard for women over 30 to find a partner within the workplace circle, and the odds are stacked higher against her with each passing year. This means that if the fresh-faced 新卒 女子 (shinsotsu joshi, newly graduated young woman) in the ubiquitous black リクルートスーツ (rikurūto sūtsu, “recruit suit”) wishes to find a marriage partner in her 会社 (kaisha, company), she has less than eight years before her chances get drastically reduced.

Apparently, 30 is the cut-off point — 婚活 (konkatsu, partner hunting) agencies point out that only 23 percent of Japanese women get married between the ages of 30 and 34, and that rate gets whittled down to 11 percent between the ages of 35 and 40. No wonder a lot of the young women I talk to these days say more or less the same thing: 学生時代の彼氏をキープしとかないと後がつらい (Gakusei-jidai no kareshi o kiipu shi to kanai to ato ga tsurai, “It’s better to keep your college boyfriend close at hand, because hard times may be ahead”).

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