In a survey conducted by Japanese magazine Nikkan Spa, 200 married male office workers aged between 20-40 were asked whether they had ever considered divorcing their spouse. As part of our recent love and relationships series, we’ve translated the results below for your delectation. Get ready for some seriously blunt answers and eye-opening reading.

Here are Nikkan Spa‘s findings in full:

“Have you ever thought about divorcing your wife?”

An astounding 65.5% answered “yes”. When considering why this figure might be so high, I’m sure many would imagine the cause to be a lack of compatibility or clashing personalities. However upon elaborating further, 35% of the 65.5% who answered yes to the above question pointed the finger of blame firmly at their partner.

“The problem lies with the wife”

It seems that a considerable number of married men believe that the cause of their matrimonial dissatisfaction lies solely with the other half. Not one to take such a flippant remark on face value, Nikkan Spa went ahead and posed perhaps the most important question of all:

“What would make you feel the urge to divorce the person who is supposed to be your long life partner?”

As brutal as it may sound, the most overwhelming common response was “problems with [her] personality”:

“Whether it be related to my job or the role I play around the house, demands from the wife are endless. Not having her say until the bitter end means that she’s not satisfied. The nagging and whining here and there have become a daily ritual. For example, when I’ve got a lot on at the office and arrive home a little late I’m met with a roar of abuse. It’s really difficult to live with such an intense personality.” (32, sales).

A comment from another interviewee was as follows:

“Not only does she no longer listen to a single word I have to say, she even goes so far as to belittle me in front of the children. It starts with the words “Hey!! Wake up” , then immediately afterwards I feel her kicking me in my face as she attempts to rouse me. I constantly find myself asking ‘Just what is her idea of marriage?’” (36, trade).

These are just a couple of voices of anguish from those who took part in the survey. You’d be inclined to think that these little ‘blips’ would become apparent prior to marriage and in many cases be the deciding factor in whether to part in sweet sorrow or go ahead and tie the knot. However in most cases, these disagreements raise their ugly head after the marriage papers are signed, with reports suggesting that the other half undergoes a “sudden transformation” for the worse:

“Since giving birth to our child, my wife has absolutely no interest in sex whatsoever. Even if she gives in after a considerable session of pleading, it’s like keeping company with a lifeless fish. Her interest in sex is zero! Well, if I mention to the misses ‘If I can’t get it here, I’ll go elsewhere’, she blows her top. To be frank about it all, I’ve got no outlet for my sex drive” (41, trade).

“My wife always wears dirty underwear, which leaves me completely dejected.” (35, advertising).

It is believed that this type of scenario, where the male loses interest in his partner sexually for some reason or another, often compounds the wife’s disinterest in her own physical appearance.

One comment specifically relating to the wife’s appearance was:

“Compared to when we first our exchanged our vowels, the wife has put on 15 kg [33 lbs]. Her stomach’s all soft and flabby. She has no shame in flaunting around like this and strikes me as no more than a middle age mess.” (38, civil worker)

See? We told you this was pretty brutal! Some me even suggest a dissatisfaction with the household duties:

“No effort goes into the cleaning of the house. Whether it be dirty laundry or a floor ridden with dust, she doesn’t show even the slightest bit of concern. Consequently, I end up thinking ‘this can’t be helped’ and end up doing it myself. Thinking about though, as a housewife, it leaves me with great doubt as to whether she’s fulfilling her role.” (37, transport).

“The rooms of the house get in a mess quickly, but pointing this out to my wife creates serious problems. I try to appeal to her in a genuinely concerned tone of voice: ‘Think of the kids, living in such a pigsty has got to have an effect on their health.’ But after this, the carnage from the wife’s rage knows no bounds ” (44, accounting)

Hmm, we’re not sure labeling your home “a pigsty” is going to encourage your wife to clean up, sir…


Reading these comments, what is most striking is the idea that expectations between the sexes are so at odds: I cannot help but think that had these couples discussed more openly what they hope to get from marital life, a lot of disappointment and unhappiness on both sides could have been avoided.

Hearing these accounts of marital woe will surely leave many readers sympathizing in with one side or the other. Statistics suggest, however, that divorce is not something that is achieved without a great deal of time and effort in Japan, and for this reason the men out there traversing the rocky road to divorce are in the minority. To be precise, a mere 7 % of men actually go ahead and sever their ties with their wives. The main reasons for this were given as follows:

“I’ve got the welfare of my child to think about. What’s more, by going through with a divorce I’d bring an awful lot of disappointment to my parents. I can also foresee my wife being awarded parental rights and taking my child away, which I couldn’t bear! Considering all of these factors, putting up with any amount of dissatisfaction seems to be the safest option.” (42, foreign capital)

“I have taken a loan out on the house. Selling it and splitting all assets with her would be too much of a hassle. (35, trade)

It would seem that this is the type of ‘no resolve’ reality in which many married men are living.

For any readers out there determined not to be trapped in an unhappy marriage and who are pushing for a divorce, the Nikkan Spa is also running a feature in its latest issue titled “This year is the year I’ll go through with the divorce for sure!” It may be worth a look!

We’ll leave you now with the raw data collected by the magazine during this survey. It’s not the most uplifting reading ever, but it’ll definitely be of interest to many!

Q1 “Have you ever thought about divorcing the wife?”

Yes: “65.5%”
No: “34.5%”

Q2 “Is the wife to blame?”

We’re both equally at fault: 59%
Yes, it’s completely her fault: 34%
No, I’m to blame: 7%

Q3 The thing about your wife that you dislike the most.

Personality is too intense : 42%
Sex is rough: 41%
Deterioration in her figure: 39%
Sloppy or incompetent housework: 37%
Our financial values are different: 35%
Our views on the methods of bringing up kids differ: 30%
She’s cheating on me: 20%
She doesn’t work: 16%
She is violent: 9%
Her cooking is disgusting: 8%
Her mind’s slow: 5%

Q4 If you’re thinking about divorce, have you made any preparations?

In reality, even if I wanted to it would be hard to actually carry out: 48%
I haven’t done anything as of yet: 45%
I’m actively making preparations: 7%

Q5 What is the reason behind not being able to divorce even if you wanted to?

The presence of the children: 70%
I’ve bought a house: 68%
The problem of mutual family relations: 44%
Being looked upon negatively at the workplace and in other public spheres: 30%
It would be financially difficult: 25%

Source: Nikkan Spa
Header image: sharo.k-gyosei.jp
Inset image: nikkan-spa.jp