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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Co-authored book chapter by Nora Kottmann examines Japanese singles and solo-life

© Routledge

The average age of first marriage in Japan has steadily increased over the last century, as has the likelihood of never marrying, for both women and men. In conjunction with the decline in average length of marriage, these trends indicate that Japanese people are spending more of their lives singles, in the sense of being legally unmarried. Against this background, the chapter “Japanese Singles and Solo-Life”, co-authored by Laura Dales and former DIJ researcher Nora Kottmann discusses the implications of singlehood and the ways that being single and solo activities (sorokatsu) have been framed and re-framed in the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The authors explore the possibilities for belonging, as well as marginality, in singlehood at a time when intimate and relational practices are shaped by the proscription of the ‘3 Cs’ (closed spaces, crowds, and close-contact situations). The chapter was published in Singular Selves: An Introduction to Singles Studies (Routledge India 2024), edited by Ketaki Chowkhani and Craig Wynne.