Something is happening in Japan. An aging▼ husband may want to return to his family's traditional home to start farming. _(1)_ It's not divorce, however. This is sotsukon, or "graduation from marriage."
Sotsukon comes from the blending▼ of two Japanese words: sotsugy?, meaning graduation, and kekkon, meaning marriage. It describes a new practice of aging couples that pursue their individual interests alone. It is like a graduation in that it is the next level of a married couple's relationship. _(2)_ The majority of these "graduates" remain in constant contact and visit each other frequently, even though they are living apart.
_(3)_ This means that the man brings home the bacon, and the woman stays home to care for the children. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Japanese women, who often live well into their 80s, want to go out and pursue their own dreams after their children have grown up and moved out. _(4)_
Husbands are getting into the idea, too. One such husband, Yoshihide Ito, said, "I think men who deny their wife sotsukon have been living a self-centered▼ existence." _(5)_ Comedian Akira Shimizu has a graduated marriage with his wife, and they wrote a book on sotsukon. Despite increasing attention in the news, however, it is still not common for aging Japanese couples to graduate from marriage. As society changes, however, sotsukon seems to be a good option for elderly couples to have all the benefits of both marriage and single life.
(A) The divorce rate in Japan is growing, with one in three Japanese marriages ending in divorce.
(B) In Japan, many households still follow traditional gender roles.
(C) In a recent survey of 200 women aged between 30 and 65, more than 56% were interested in sotsukon.
(D) Or a wife may open her own business in a far-away city.
(E) Even celebrities are getting on board.
(F) In most cases, these couples are still very much in love and may even grow to appreciate each other more.