Beyond the “Parasite Single”

Authored by: Lynne Nakano

The Routledge Companion to Gender and Japanese Culture

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138895201
eBook ISBN: 9781315179582
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter shows that the negative stereotypes of single women that commonly appear in the Japanese media such as “parasite singles” or “loser dogs” contradict the reality that many single women wish to marry but find the path to marriage and children to be narrow and difficult to navigate. Moreover, recent studies find that single women in Japan are highly diverse and should not be discussed as a single homogeneous category. Single women’s experiences differ according to region, educational level, and generation. Studies of single women find that most single women hope to marry and care for families. At the same time, many women do not feel that they need to force themselves to marry if the timing and partner are not appropriate. The chapter provides a case study of a single woman to demonstrate how some single women may hold conventional ideas about marriage yet indefinitely delay marriage in the absence of an appropriate partner.

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