About 300 of these agencies offer their services on the internet. Most of the clients are husbands or wives who want to save their marriage and seek to end their spouse’s extramarital relationship. But the end can be tragic.
In 2010, Takeshi Kuwabara was convicted of the murder of his lover, Rie Isohata.
What most captivated the public was not the tragedy, but the fact that Kuwabara was a “wakaresaseya”, a professional who had been hired by Isohata’s husband to end marriage.
Kuwabara, who was also married with children, managed to meet Isohata in a supermarket. The man struck up a casual conversation with the woman and claimed to be a computer engineer.
Over time, the two began a romantic relationship that ended up being more genuine than the agent expected.
Another fellow Kuwabara agent photographed the couple at a motel, and Isohata’s husband used the images as evidence in a divorce trial. That type of proof is required in Japan if the divorce is contested.
When Isohata learned of the deception, she wanted to end the relationship with Kuwabara, but Kuwabara refused to let her go and ended up strangling her with a piece of rope. The following year, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
After the assassination of Isohata the industry of the wakaresaseya was reformed. For example, a requirement that all private detective agencies obtain licenses was introduced.
Yusuke Mochizuki, a professional from one of those agencies, pointed out that internet advertisements for wakerasaseyas services were also limited and public distrust of that sector increased.
But a decade after Rie Isohata’s murder, internet advertising has returned and the wakerasaseya business is flourishing.
The appeal of the wakaresaseya
This industry offers services to a niche market. A study revealed that about 270 wakaresaseyas agencies publish digital ads. Many of these agencies are part of larger private detective companies.
“The services of a wakaresaseya cost a lot of money,” Mochizuki noted, and therefore clients are often in good financial standing.
Mochizuki is a former musician who decided to transform his longstanding interest in private investigation into a profession.
This agent claimed that he charges about 400,000 yen (about US $ 3,900) for a “hassle-free” job, in which there is a lot of information available about his victim. If the person is a hermit the price is higher.
Fees can reach 20 million yen (about US $ 190,000) if the client is a politician or a celandbrity and a high degree of discretion is required. (Mochizuki assures that her company is successful, but a consultancy that specializes in this industry advises potential clients that they must be skeptical and be prepared for possible failure.)
British writer Stephanie Scott, who lives in London, relied on Isohata’s case for her new novel “What’s Left of Me is Yours” (What’s Left of Me Is Yours). Scott investigated the case so thoroughly that she was invited to join the Anglo Nippon Legal Association.
The writer assures that hiring a wakaresaseya “helps avoid a confrontation. It is a way to solve difficult situations in the short term and without conflict“.
“And your wife is much more likely to agree to a divorce if she is in love with someone else.”
But most of Mochizuki’s clients are not married people who want a divorce. Conversely, clients are usually husbands or wives who want to save its marriage and looking for ending your spouse’s extramarital affair.
The dynamics of these cases is complicated, so Mochizuki explains it with an example.
Suppose a woman named Aya suspects that her husband Bungo has a mistress. Aya then hires the services of a wakaresaseya named Chikahide.
Chikahide then begins to investigate, examining any material Aya has given her about her husband. You will also study Bungo’s daily routine and her profile and interactions on the internet.
Bungo hails from Kagoshima City and faithfully attends the gym. Chikahide then sends another male agent named Daisuke, with a typical Kagoshima accent, to make contact with Bungo.
Daisuke starts going to the same gym as Bungo and strikes up a conversation with him. Since he already has a lot of information about Bungo, it is easy to talk about topics that interest him and soon the two become friends. Soon after, Bungo tells him that despite being married, he has a girlfriend named Emi.
Daisuke then brings in a female agent, Fumika, to make friends with Emi.
Some time later, Fumika invites Emi to a dinner with several male agents, including one named Goro.
Fumika has already informed Goro about all of Emi’s interests so that he can conquer her. Goro seduces Emi (although Mochizuki warns that the agents do not have sex with their “targets” to avoid breaking the law on prostitution).
Emi is now in love with Goro and ends her relationship with Bungo. The case is a “success”.
Before long, Goro manages to get out of Emi’s life and never reveals that he was an agent.
The entire operation required the participation of four agents and took about four months.
“You have to know Japanese laws well,” said Mochizuki.
Understanding the legal rules related to marriage and divorce is critical to knowing what boundaries should not be crossed (eg, making threats).
The relationship market
While some characteristics of the wakaresaseya industry are unique to Japan, Scott says similar services are offered in other parts of the world, perhaps within the framework of private detective agencies.
The writer warns that “in the West it is common to see this industry sensationalistically.”
“Everything that happens in Japan is often seen as something exotic“.
It is difficult to fully understand the impact of the wakaresaseya industry, because “people, especially victims, do not want to be associated with this activity.”
Japanese radio and TV producer Mai Nishiyama claims that “there is a market for everything in Japan.”
You can, for example, “rent relatives” for an event or hire wakaresaseya agencies to help in a reconciliation, or for your son or daughter to leave a partner who does not seem appropriate to you.
It is also possible to hire agents to obtain evidence that allows a spouse to collect “comfort money,” monetary compensation for the dissolution of a marital bond.
While the Yamagami International Law Office has not worked with wakaresaseyas, one of its members, Shogo Yamagami, noted that some clients personally hire private detectives to obtain evidence of adultery.
The “consolation payment” system means that hiring the services of a wakaresaseya can have not only emotional, but also monetary benefits.
The mere existence of the wakaresaseya industry indicates that money and deception is it so more present in the fabric of human relationships than many recognize.
Divorce laws or aversion to facing difficult relationships are unlikely to change radically in the short term, so the services of professionals like Mochizuki will continue to be required.
“It’s a very interesting job,” he says.
The agent feels that his work has given him a great understanding of how people exaggerate, lie, speak or interpret things.
“It’s very interesting to see what people are made of.”
You can read the original article in English here.
May Nishiyama and Rie Amano contributed their research to this article.
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