"Marriage-hunting": Markets, Morals, and Marriageability in Contemporary Japan


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project examines the entanglement of moral and market values in the commercial heterosexual dating services in Japan known as “marriage-hunting.” Given that marriage is widely regarded as a necessary condition of reproduction in Japan, the Japanese government has endorsed this industry to counteract ongoing population decline. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, and documentary evidence, this dissertation shows why and how the marriage-hunting market emerged following structural transformations, documents heterogeneous marriage-hunting practices, and analyzes how individuals negotiate oft-contradictory gendered logics underlying the field. By moving between market and state discourses and everyday experiences, it illuminates how modern intimacy is shaped “from without” and reveals the gendered consequences of marketization of intimacy.