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Separation Marriage in Japan

Japan separation marriage

Separation Marriage in Japan

What is a Separation Marriage?

People in Japan choose Separation marriage for positive reasons.

The key to calling it a “separation marriage” is that “both parties agree to it”.

Separation Marriage is a form of marriage in which a couple is legally married but live separately. Unlike when couples live separately because they do not get along, there are many positive reasons for separation, such as seeking a better lifestyle while respecting each other’s lives and values. A weekend marriage, in which the couples live in one of their homes on weekends, is also included in a separate marriage, although they may live in completely separate residences.

In a separate marriage, the couple lives within a distance that allows them to see each other by mutual decision.

Article 752 of the Japanese Civil Code clearly states that “husband and wife shall live together and cooperate and support each other,” thus establishing the obligation of husband and wife to live together.
However, this law states that temporary and unavoidable separation, such as moving to a distant location alone because of the job or returning home for childbirth, does not violate this provision.

For the time being, no legal problems are expected to arise in the case of a separation marriage, since there will be no problem of one party making a unilateral decision and the other disagreeing with it.

Forms of Separated Marriage

What are the forms of a separation marriage?

The couple lives in the same apartment building and spends time together frequently.

For example, the couple may rent separate rooms in the same apartment building or live nearby. A couple may live close to each other and have dinners and or spend the weekends and holidays together.

The couple spend only weekends together.

In this style, the couple basically lives separately on weekdays and together only on weekends. This is also called a “weekend marriage.”

Reasons for choosing a separation marriage

Because they are worried about living together from the beginning.

For example, if they get married only a short time after they have known each other and the couple is not sure if they will be able to get along well if they live together, they may choose a separation marriage. In such a case they may choose to have a weekend marriage first, and then move on to live together later. In some cases, the couple may live separately for a set period of time and then move in together, while in other cases, they may continue to live separately for a long period of time.

Advantages of  Separation Marriage

You can cherish your own time.

A major advantage of a separated marriage is that you can cherish your time alone without worrying about the rhythm of your partner’s life. An increasing number of couples are choosing to live apart because they want to devote more time to their work.

You are less likely to feel differences in values.

No matter how much you love each other, differences in values are bound to occur. Especially when living together, you may feel uncomfortable with small differences in lifestyle. When married, it is easy to find minor differences in values in each other’s lives. However, in a separation marriage, by not living together, it is difficult to feel small differences in values.

In Japan, many people have a negative image when they hear the word “separation. ” When they hear that a couple is living separately, they may think: “Isn’t that a sign that they’re on the verge of divorce?” or “Maybe the couple isn’t really getting along…” The fact that a couple is living apart from each other may give rise to unwarranted speculation.


Separation marriages are marriages in which the spouses live in separate residences and continue their married life together. More and more couples are intentionally living separately in order to maintain good marital relations, not with the intention of getting a divorce, but with mutual consent.
Some people may say, “If they are married, why go to the trouble of having a separate marriage?  However, couples who intentionally choose to live apart from their spouses say that they are able to deepen their bond and respect their own lives because of their “separation marriages.”

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