I liked the idea of exploring actual court cases in Japan with the theme of love and marital discord, but would the details of the cases be too graphic?
Luckily my fear was unfounded.
Mark D. West’s Lovesick in Japan doesn’t focus on disgusting details. I mean, some of the cases are mentally and emotionally disturbing, but no mention of sacred male parts being cut off and fed to the dogs. And definitely no pictures from the crime scenes.
This nonfiction title focusing on the cultural distinctions of the theme of love, sex and marriage in Japan, as opposed to the author’s native U.S. soil. And particularly how these subjects colour the judgments of Japanese judges.
There are a chock-load of cases divided into the three broad subjects, but a lot of it also is intertwined. For instance, sex can be part of love/extramarital affairs but marriages and divorce cases as well.
It wasn’t a terrible read. A little dry sometimes with law jargon, but the author offers a lot of breaks with plenty case material and that kept me awake. Considering I had very little expectations going in, other then I expected to learn more about the Japanese law system and philosophies about concupiscence, marriage and divorce, as well as child-rearing and family structures.
I got a sense of that. Maybe not an entire picture, but enough of a taste to want to further develop this with complementary texts on similar subjects.
One thing I would have liked is an updated version of this title, even though it was published recently enough in 2011. The problem was Mark West stretched to find cases. He used a lot of older cases; sometimes 20-30 years ago, sometimes even longer (the oldest being sometime during WWII after West and East clashed in a big way).
If you’re a neophyte on the topic of Japanese courts and the theme of a “Japanese-styled love, sex, and marriage”, then pick up Lovesick Japan.