Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Kenneth P. Ambrose

Second Advisor

Richard A. Garnett

Third Advisor

Frederick P. Roth


Divorce rates in Japan have increased since the mid-1960s, and even more rapidly since the 1990s. Divorce rates decreased throughout the period of industrialization, although modernization theory has argued that economic development brings pervasive cultural changes (including higher divorce rates). However, values regarding family are also influenced by the persistence of traditional values. Before WWII in Japan, a decreasing divorce rate was influenced by political ideology, which deliberately intended to change traditional ways of marriage and divorce. After WWII, however, this ideology diminished, and material affluence has led to an individualistic view that in turn has led to higher divorce rates since the 1960s. Moreover, the Japanese cultural beliefs have been transformed from a group-orientation to a more individualistic orientation, triggered by the long stagnation of the 1990s. Modernization has brought autonomy to the Japanese. Today divorce is a reflection of autonomous and rational decision to pursue individual happiness.


Divorce -- Japan.