Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, August 27, 2012

Who Needs Fiction:Japanese Love Hotels and Justice

A friend sent me this article, which is a review of a book, Lovesick Japan: Sex, Marriage, Romance, Law. By Mark West. An excerpt is below. The full article may be read here.

Waltzing into bedrooms and brothels

A new book on love and the law in Japan

Lovesick Japan: Sex, Marriage, Romance, Law. By Mark West. Cornell University Press; 259 pages; $29.95 and £19.95. Buy from 

ON FEBRUARY 19th 2006 Kimiko and her married lover Tetsuo checked into an Osaka love-hotel, swallowed sedatives and slit their wrists. When they awoke at midnight and realised their suicides had failed, Tetsuo strangled Kimiko at her request, then tried to hang himself and cut his wrists again. 

Unsuccessful, he called the police. At the trial, where an American court would consider questions of intent, the Japanese court based its ruling on whether Kimiko was in love. If she was, the court reasoned, she may have consented to her murder and Tetsuo would receive a lighter sentence.

Many facets of Japan seem mysterious to outsiders. Courts are sometimes obliged to seek answers to questions about love that may well be unanswerable. Yet in cases where love might indeed have a bearing, such as divorce, judges usually ignore the emotion entirely. Teasing out the mysteries of Japanese society by way of its statutes is the speciality of Mark West, a professor at Michigan Law School.

In “Lovesick Japan” he trolls through 2,700 court opinions to paint a picture of a country that treats marriage more as an economic contract than an emotional bond. As seen by the judiciary, a little adultery should not trump marriage as an institution. “Japanese courts have no problem waltzing into bedrooms and brothels in ways that are not essential to deciding the case at hand,” he writes. “What they find there rarely seems to please them.”


The Strongest Karate said...

I read the whole article. "Shocking" is the only publicly appropriate word the comes to mind.

To think that as early as the 90's "love" would be a defense for rape.......Wow. There is so much that is F-ed up about that that I dont know how to begin.

I also suspect that excuses such as "love" or "not putting up enough of a fight" and the like may also be accepted as a viable defense simply because their justice system is still apparently steeped in brutal patriarchy.

Rick Matz said...

Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

is specifically about the Yakuza, but sheds a lot of like on the Japanese justice system and the society's attitude regarding violence against women.

Rick Matz said...

The Japan Subculture Research Center also makes for some interesting reading.

Paul said...

The Japanese do have a peculiar attitude towards carnal love, passion and death. Issei Sagawa who ate his Dutch lady friend was sentenced indefinitely to a mental hospital in France. After he was extradited to Japan, there he was found to be sane, but THAT was merely his sexual perversion, which to many Japanese, a subject of intense (passinate?) interest, rather than condemnation. And IS became a minor celebrity and a free man.

PS: Western feminist ideal doesn't seem to have exhausted the subject matter as far as the Japanese (men and women) are concerned.

Compass Strategist said...

but sheds a lot of like on the Japanese justice system and the society's attitude regarding violence against women. ???

Rick Matz said...

In this regard, they are despicable.