The Phenomenon of “Kakkou no Iinazuke”: A Cultural Insight into Japanese Marriage Arrangements


Marriage is a significant milestone in many cultures around the world, and Japan is no exception. However, the Japanese approach to marriage has its unique characteristics, one of which is the concept of “kakkou no iinazuke.” In this article, we will explore the meaning and implications of “kakkou no iinazuke,” its historical context, and its relevance in modern Japanese society. We will also discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of this practice, supported by relevant examples, case studies, and statistics.

Understanding “Kakkou no Iinazuke”

“Kakkou no iinazuke” translates to “engagement by appearance” in English. It refers to a traditional Japanese practice where parents or matchmakers arrange marriages based primarily on the physical appearance of the prospective partners. This concept emphasizes the importance of physical attractiveness as a foundation for a successful marriage.

Historically, “kakkou no iinazuke” was prevalent in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). During this time, arranged marriages were the norm, and families sought to secure alliances, maintain social status, and ensure economic stability through strategic marital unions. Physical appearance played a crucial role in these arrangements, as it was believed to reflect the potential for producing attractive and healthy offspring.

The Role of Physical Appearance in Japanese Society

Physical appearance holds significant importance in Japanese society, extending beyond the realm of marriage. The concept of “kawaii” (cuteness) is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and influences various aspects of daily life, including fashion, entertainment, and even business. The emphasis on physical attractiveness is evident in the popularity of beauty products, cosmetic surgeries, and the prevalence of strict beauty standards.

Moreover, physical appearance is often associated with social status and success in Japan. Studies have shown that individuals who conform to societal beauty standards are more likely to receive favorable treatment in various domains, such as employment opportunities, promotions, and social interactions. This societal pressure to conform to beauty ideals can contribute to the perpetuation of “kakkou no iinazuke” as a prevalent practice.

The Modern Context: “Kakkou no Iinazuke” in Contemporary Japan

While the practice of “kakkou no iinazuke” has its roots in historical traditions, its relevance in modern Japanese society has evolved. In contemporary Japan, arranged marriages are less common, and individuals have more agency in choosing their partners. However, the influence of physical appearance remains significant, albeit in a different context.

Many Japanese individuals still prioritize physical attractiveness when seeking a partner, often relying on dating apps and matchmaking services that emphasize appearance-based matching algorithms. These platforms allow users to filter potential partners based on specific physical attributes, perpetuating the importance of physical appearance in the selection process.

Furthermore, the media plays a crucial role in shaping societal perceptions of beauty and influencing individuals’ preferences. Japanese popular culture, including manga, anime, and idol groups, often portrays characters with idealized physical features, reinforcing the notion that attractiveness is a desirable trait in a partner.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of “Kakkou no Iinazuke”

Like any cultural practice, “kakkou no iinazuke” has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore some of the benefits and drawbacks associated with this concept:


  • Physical attraction can contribute to initial chemistry and attraction between partners.
  • Matching physical appearances may lead to increased self-confidence and satisfaction in the relationship.
  • Perceived physical attractiveness can positively influence social interactions and provide a sense of validation.


  • Overemphasis on physical appearance may overshadow other important qualities, such as compatibility, shared values, and emotional connection.
  • Beauty standards perpetuated by “kakkou no iinazuke” can lead to body image issues and low self-esteem, particularly for individuals who do not conform to societal ideals.
  • Physical attractiveness alone does not guarantee a successful and fulfilling marriage, as other factors like communication, trust, and shared goals are equally important.


1. Is “kakkou no iinazuke” still widely practiced in Japan?

While arranged marriages based solely on physical appearance are less common in modern Japan, the influence of physical attractiveness in partner selection remains significant. Many individuals still prioritize physical appearance when seeking a partner, and dating apps and matchmaking services often emphasize appearance-based matching algorithms.

2. How do Japanese beauty standards impact the practice of “kakkou no iinazuke”?

Japanese beauty standards, perpetuated by the media and popular culture, play a significant role in shaping the importance of physical appearance in partner selection. The idealization of specific physical features can influence individuals’ preferences and contribute to the perpetuation of “kakkou no iinazuke” as a prevalent practice.

3. Are there any efforts to challenge or change the practice of “kakkou no iinazuke” in Japan?

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the potential drawbacks of solely prioritizing physical appearance in partner selection. Some individuals and organizations in Japan are advocating for a more holistic approach to relationships, emphasizing the importance of compatibility, shared values, and emotional connection. However, changing deeply ingrained cultural practices takes time, and the influence of “kakkou no iinazuke” remains prevalent.

4. How does “kakkou no iinazuke” compare to arranged marriages in other cultures?

While arranged marriages exist in various cultures worldwide, the specific emphasis on physical appearance in “kakkou no iinazuke” sets it apart. In some cultures, arranged marriages focus more on factors like family background, social status, and economic stability. However, it is essential to recognize that cultural practices can vary significantly, and generalizations should be avoided.

5. Can “kakkou no iinazuke” lead to successful and fulfilling marriages?

While physical attraction is undoubtedly an important aspect of romantic relationships, it alone does not guarantee a successful and fulfilling marriage. Factors like communication, trust, shared goals, and emotional connection are equally crucial. “Kakkou no iinazuke” may contribute to initial chemistry, but a lasting and satisfying marriage requires a deeper understanding and compatibility between partners.


The concept of “kakkou no iinazuke” provides valuable insights into the cultural nuances of Japanese marriage arrangements. While the practice has evolved in contemporary Japan, physical appearance continues to play a significant


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