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Married but Divorced? Japanese 'Sotsukon' Practice a Growing Trend

05-04-2016
Japan Wedding
Japan Wedding

A growing number of couples in Japan are "divorcing" in a sense but they are still technically together. Sound confusing? 

It's a practice called "sotsukon" and is for couples who are still in love but who decide to live separately in order to fulfill their individual lifelong dreams.

According to a CNN article, the term "sotsukon" was coined in 2004 by Japanese author Yumiko Sugiyama in her book Sotsukon no Susume -- Recommending the Graduation from Marriage.

For example, one couple reportedly chose sotsukon so that the wife could continue her career as a fashion stylist while the husband returned to his boyhood home to become a rice farmer, something they believe they could not do while together.

"He visits me once a month. I visit him for a week at a time, too," the wife said.

Reportedly, wives in Japan request sotsukon more than husbands. What does this mean for the country's already dwindling population?

CBN News' George Thomas recently traveled to Japan for a story about the country's shrinking population.

He reported that Japan's latest census confirmed the population is shrinking and more people are dying than being born.

The country's population stood at 127.1 million last fall, down 0.7 percent from 128.1 million in 2010, according to the results of the 2015 census.

And a recent study shows that the Japanese aren't interested in sex or marriage. A record 50 percent of married couples said they've stopped having sex.

Twenty-one percent of men said they were too tired after work and 23 percent of women said sex was "bothersome."

With that being said, what does the Bible says about marriage?

Genesis 2:23-24 says, "The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called "woman," for she was taken out of man.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

God created man and then made woman to complement him. Marriage is God's "fix" for the fact that "it is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18).

Ephesians 5:22-31 highlights holy matrimony even more.

"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

"Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  

"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

Meanwhile, couples practicing sotsukon say being able to do what they've always wanted to do even before they were married doesn't mean they don't love each other and still want to be a couple.

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