Shotgun weddings (dekichatta kekkon) in contemporary Japan
Date of Issue2015-02-23
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
The accelerated greying of its population along with birth rates plummeting below replacement levels synergise into one of the most acute social issues in contemporary Japan. Although singleness, childlessness, delayed marriage and late-in-life-childbirth have become endemic, official records nevertheless reveal an increase in childbirth among women aged 15–19 in 2013. Furthermore, official statistics for 2010 show that 50% of Japanese women aged 25 or younger who married were expecting a baby. This paper focuses on 17 Japanese mothers who had a ‘shotgun wedding’ (dekichatta kekkon) – a ceremony organised due to an unplanned pregnancy. Aged between 29 and 35 years, the mothers came from Tokyo and Kanagawa and were interviewed for the purposes of exploring their experiences with and viewpoints on unplanned childbirth, contraception and marriage. Grounded in a symbolic interactionist perspective, the analysis of interviews suggested that shotgun weddings largely stem from contraception issues, the will to get pregnant in order to keep a partner and homosocial pressure to prevent the termination of the unexpected pregnancy.
Culture, Health & Sexuality
© 2015 Taylor & Francis. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Culture, Health & Sexuality, Taylor & Francis. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2014.1000378].