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Lovesick Japan

Overview

In Lovesick Japan, Mark D. West explores an official vision of love, sex, and marriage in contemporary Japan. A comprehensive body of evidence—2,700 court opinions—describes a society characterized by a presupposed absence of physical and emotional intimacy, affection, and personal connections. In compelling, poignant, and sometimes horrifying court cases, West finds that Japanese judges frequently opine on whether a person is in love, what other emotions a person is feeling, ...

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Lovesick Japan: Sex * Marriage * Romance * Law

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Overview

In Lovesick Japan, Mark D. West explores an official vision of love, sex, and marriage in contemporary Japan. A comprehensive body of evidence—2,700 court opinions—describes a society characterized by a presupposed absence of physical and emotional intimacy, affection, and personal connections. In compelling, poignant, and sometimes horrifying court cases, West finds that Japanese judges frequently opine on whether a person is in love, what other emotions a person is feeling, and whether those emotions are appropriate for the situation.

Sometimes judges' views about love, sex, and marriage emerge from their presentation of the facts of cases. Among the recurring elements are abortions forced by men, compensated dating, late-life divorces, termination fees to end affairs, sexless couples, Valentine's Day heartbreak, "soapland" bath-brothels, and home-wrecking hostesses.

Sometimes the judges' analysis, decisions, and commentary are as revealing as the facts. Sex in the cases is a choice among private "normal" sex, which is male-dominated, conservative, dispassionate, or nonexistent; commercial sex, which caters to every fetish but is said to lead to rape, murder, and general social depravity; and a hybrid of the two, which commodifies private sexual relationships. Marriage is contractual; judges express the ideal of love in marriage and proclaim its importance, but virtually no one in the court cases achieves it. Love usually appears as a tragic, overwhelming emotion associated with jealousy, suffering, heartache, and death.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Nobody else explores the law in Japan quite like Mark West, bringing it to life and close to home. Lovesick Japan is an entertaining and insightful examination of the courts, pulling eye-popping gems from judges' opinions that speak volumes about their proclivity for peeping, prodding, moralizing and otherwise creeping into the bedroom in adjudicating marriage, divorce, rape, stalking and pornography. . . . But there is much more to Lovesick Japan than a series of absurd rulings; here we are shown how sermonizing judges try to shape society in their own image. . . . Often they go well beyond the law to decide cases based on nonfactual, subjective elements, sometimes with unfortunate consequences."—Jeff Kingston, Japan Times (8 January 2012)

"Tranquil, according to Mark D. West, Japanese love is not. Happy it is not. And comforting it is not. . . . A prolific and brilliant legal scholar, West draws these conclusions from Japanese court opinions. Some of them concern criminal prosecutions for rape or murder. Others involve civil suits for divorce or damages. West carefully and thoughtfully combs these opinions for discussions of love, sex, marriage, and romance, teasing out what judges think about it all. . . . West reads these court opinions with care and intelligence (with, frankly, extraordinary care and intelligence)."— J. Mark Ramseyer, Monumenta Nipponica (Vol. 66, No. 2, 2011)

"Love hurts, but it hurts far differently in Japan, as Mark West reveals in this fascinating book. Anyone interested in the incredibly varied ways that sex and marriage can go wrong will devour every alarming detail."—Laura Kipnis, Northwestern University, author of Against Love and How to Become a Scandal

"In Lovesick Japan, Mark D. West ingeniously bridges the public-private divide to examine how judicial opinions describe and shape the intimate life of a nation. The portrait that emerges is darkly unsettling. In unearthing it, West again displays the care and creativity that have made him an indispensable commentator on Japanese law and society."—Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law

"Never dull, painfully revealing, and always entertaining, Lovesick Japan gives us a sexy, swaggering account of how the courtroom and the bedroom 'hook up' in Japan. Judicial opinions that read like salacious romance novels offer a telling portrait of a nation in which love invites misery, sex lacks intimacy, and loveless, sexess marriage is the norm. For those who thought love and law were odd bedfellows, think again. Here is the proof that the logic of the law and the passion of human sexuality are forever coupled."—Eric A. Feldman, Deputy Dean for International Affairs, University of Pennsylvania Law School

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801449475
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 4/14/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,454,969
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Judging
2. Love
3. Coupling
4. Private Sex
5. Commodified Sex
6. Divorce
Conclusion

Notes
Index

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