How many wives can you have in Japan?

Japan has a reputation as being a very family-oriented society.

In the past, It was typical for men to have more than one wife to improve their social standing in history. Today, monogamy is the norm, and families are no longer obligated to have multiple wives just to impress others.

According to historical tales, men have been known for having multiple wives, but they’re rare in actual practice. In most cases, men only have one wife.

Is Polygamy allowed in Japan?

If you’re wondering whether multiple wives are legal, then the answer is no! In Japan, it is against the law to have multiple wives. Only one wife is allowed in the marriage.

There’s no way you can have multiple wives because having more than one wife is illegal. It’s known as polygyny and was banned a very long time ago. Though there were exceptions at different times in history, it has become rare today.

In fact, there are no regions in Japan where you could have multiple wives. In the past, some areas allowed it but later on banned it.

Why is Polygamy illegal?

Polygamy is illegal because it violates human rights. This is known as polygyny when a man has more than one wife. It’s also called plural marriage or bigamy.

The Japanese consider monogamy the best form of marriage because it creates peace and order in society. A man is responsible for caring for one wife and children in a stable environment.

If a man had more than one wife, he couldn’t adequately provide for them or do his job. He would also divide his love between multiple women, with none being satisfied.

It’s also considered an abuse of power when a man has several wives. In Japan, marriages are equal partnerships between men and women.

Wives in Japan are not considered property.

Though there’s a high value for women in Japan, wives are not considered property. Women have a lot of rights, and they should be respected as individual beings. A man cannot own another woman or dominate their life.

If you’re thinking of having more than one wife, it’s essential to consider the consequences. A man’s love for his first wife is divided between the other wives. Because of this, none of them receive enough affection and will be dissatisfied with their lives.

The couple may also become poor because the man’s income is spread between several families. While they’ll always have food to eat, it may be much more difficult to provide other necessities like shelter and clothing.

Marriage in Japan

Two types of marriages are permitted in Japan: regular and official. 

Traditional marriage is performed at a city office or town hall with a public official and two witnesses. The couple must then register their marriage at the local government office. After that, they are free to hold any wedding ceremony to celebrate their marriage.

Official marriage is basically the same as regular marriage but involves religious elements. It takes place in a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple, with officials from the shrine/temple and two witnesses. Afterward, the couple must visit the city hall and register their marriage. 

Religious weddings may take place at any time after the official registration of a marriage, whereas traditional weddings can only be held on specific days of the year.

There are three benefits to having an official marriage: additional insurance coverage, a lower income tax rate, and your spouse can receive your pension after you die.

What About divorce in Japan?

In Japan, it is only possible to obtain a divorce on the grounds of adultery or if at least one spouse has their parental rights revoked. 

Divorce by mutual consent is also allowed, but both spouses must agree on each condition. If there are disagreements, they’ll have to file for divorce on their own individual terms through the courts.

Some couples also choose to live separately without filing for a divorce. These unofficial marriages are typically formed after one spouse has passed away.

If the couple has children under 20 years old, both parents must agree on custody arrangements. If both parents can’t approve, the court will step in and decide for them.

It is common for divorced women to keep their maiden name and their ex-husband’s family name in Japan. Women who remarry are not allowed to do this; they automatically gain their new husband’s family name.

Divorce can be expensive and take a long time, depending on how many issues must be resolved before the judge. However, some couples choose to live together without filing official papers for long periods.

Can relatives marry in Japan?

The short answer is “No.” Article 750 of the Japanese civil code forbids marriages between relatives by blood. However, there are some loopholes to this rule.

Adopted relatives

In Japan, a family is defined by its house. Someone who moves to another place, especially after obtaining a legal adult identity at 20 years of age, is not legally considered a new house member.

Therefore, even if you divorce and remarry again, you can’t marry your divorced husband or wife because your ex-spouse has become a member of your ex-in-laws house.

However, if you adopt someone, they will legally become a member of your family and thus your relative. You can marry an adopted child or parent or grandparent even if it would be otherwise illegal to do so because the person has not actually been born into this new “house.”

For example, in Japan, you can’t marry your sibling (brother or sister) because he or she is automatically considered a member of the family into which he or she was born.

However, if I adopt my brother and move him to my new house, even if we were full biological siblings previously, we are only legally adoptive relatives.

It is relatively easy to conclude that marrying one’s sister is illegal in Japan under current law. However, there was a time when things were different.

What About Cousins?

As you can see from this article, you may still marry your cousin in Japan.

According to Japanese law, if your parents are cousins, you are not considered siblings.

Originally posted on February 22, 2022 @ 6:00 pm

Website | + posts

As a lifelong traveler and founder of, I, Alex Deidda, have always been driven by my passion for exploring new places and cultures.

Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity to live in various countries, each offering unique perspectives and experiences.

My love for traveling led me to create, a website and blog dedicated to helping people plan their trips.

Leave a Comment