TCJS Seminar Series | Marriage-hunting and gendered governance in contemporary Japan

February 26, 2024


Type Lecture
Intended for General public / Enrolled students / Applying students / International students / Alumni / Companies / University students / Academic and Administrative Staff
Date(s) March 15, 2024 12:15 — 13:00
Location Online
Capacity 100 people
Entrance Fee No charge
Registration Method Advance registration required (Please register from this link)
Registration Period February 26, 2024 — March 15, 2024
TCJS Early-Career Scholar Forum

Marriage-hunting and gendered governance in contemporary Japan

Anna Woźny
Joint postdoctoral fellow at Tokyo College and Princeton University

Director of TCJS

Commercial dating services known as marriage-hunting (konkatsu) constitute a multi-billion-yen industry and are an increasingly popular means of finding a romantic partner in Japan. In this talk I explore how the marriage-hunting market attracts clients by promising self-betterment, self-actualization, and partnership at a time when marriage has ostensibly become optional. Drawing on my ethnographic study of marriage-hunting services and nearly 130 interviews with market professionals and clients, I demonstrate that these discourses target primarily young women, a population increasingly likely to eschew marriage and childbearing. By linking these commercial discourses to various projects of social management through family and gender relations by the Japanese state, I argue that marriage-hunting represents a new mode of gendered governance in which marketized intimacy becomes one of the many hands of the state.

<About the speaker>
Anna Woźny is a joint postdoctoral fellow at Tokyo College and Princeton University. She received her doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan in 2023.
Her research focuses on contemporary Japanese society and analyzes how changes in the political economy shape and are shaped by the shifting conceptions of gender and family.
Her research on marriage-hunting was supported by the ACLS/Mellon Foundation and the Japan Foundation.
An article based on this research was published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled Marriage-hunting: Markets, Morals and Marriageability in Contemporary Japan.

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