Not so long ago, Japanese women who remained unmarried after the age of 25 were referred to as “Christmas cake,” a slur comparing them to old holiday pastries that cannot be sold after Dec. 25.
Today, such outright insults have faded as a growing number of Japanese women are postponing or forgoing marriage, rejecting the traditional path that leads to what many now regard as a life of domestic drudgery. Here’s why women in Japan today have made these choices – and what they’re doing instead.
“One reason to get married for a woman is to have a stable financial life. I don’t have any worries about being alone with myself or any financial worries. So I did not have to chase myself into a corner and choose marriage for financial reasons.”–Miki Matsui, age 49, director at a Tokyo publishing house