I’ve been doing a bit of checking on Japanese marriage customs in order to get a better sense of how the Japanese audience for Gojira would have perceived the romance plot. I’ve gotten the impression that the relationship between Emiko Yamane and Hideto Ogata would have seemed quite modern, perhaps daringly so. And the form of arrangement between Emiko Yamane and Daisuke Serizawa might well have seemed particularly traditional. The situation seems complex.
The most prevalent form of arranged marriage involves a third party consultation who finds suitable young adults and arranges a meeting. Such a go-between may be retained by someone who wishes to get married or by parents seeking a spouse for their child. It’s hard to tell, but this doesn’t seem to have been the case with Emiko Yamane and Daisuke Serizawa; that arrangement seems to have been made when Emiko, at least, was still a child.
In any event, some form of arranged marriage prevailed up through World War II. A recent (2012) news article in The Telegraph begins:
Until 1945 [arranged marriages] were almost universal. They started to decline during the post war American occupation, but as late as 1960 it is estimated that 70 per cent of weddings were arranged.Westernisation and the increasing independence of women led to a marked decline. By 1990 the proportion of arranged marriages is thought to have fallen to around 30 per cent of the total.
The article goes on to assert that arranged marriages are “up to 40 percent.”
At 1996 book, Unmasking Japan Today: The Impact of Traditional Values on Modern Japanese by Fumie Kumagai, asserts (p. 22):
During the war period, for example, approximately 70 percent of all marriages in Japan were arranged by the parents. Today, on the other hand, marriage is based on mutual consent, and the couple’s wishes are given priority over those of the parents. Love marriages now constitute as many as 83 percent of all marriages in Japan and are especially pronounced in urban areas.
I don’t know what to make of that, for it is entirely possible that the couple’s wishes will be given priority in an arrangement. An arrangement, or possibly several, will be made by a third party at the parents behest, but once an initial meeting has been held, the couple’s wishes may prevail, though those wishes may not necessarily be decided on a romantic basis.
So, things are subtle and complex. And to that we must add the conventions of fictional representation, which aren’t necessarily congruent with “on the ground” practice. How do the arrangements in Gojira read against other fictional relationships? I don’t know. How usual is it, for example, to depict a young woman as being in the private office of a man she is dating just after he’s gotten out of the shower? That’s what we saw in the very first scene between Emiko Yamane and Hideto Ogata.
So, this quick look at Japanese marriage practice is not at all conclusive. There IS an issue there, but I don’t really know how to calibrate it.
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Addendum: Here's a good article on marriage in Japan. It's consistent with what I reported above, but has more historical information and more recent statistics.