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Couple busters

thomas

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Need an excuse to get rid of your spouse? Here's a suggestion.

What's Love Got to Do With It?
Japan's 'Couple Busters' Make Breakups Their Business

"The scene: a smoky bar. The woman, Takako -- tall, 24, with all the right moves -- sees her target. She glides in for the pickup: a bump, an "accidental" spilt drink, a flirtatious comment. Soon, she recalls, she is reeling him into bed."

She is breaking up a marriage. Or maybe an affair. It is all business, she said. The man's wife or girlfriend is paying Takako to end one relationship by luring the man into a new one -- with her. Takako works for a burgeoning line of only-in-Japan businesses called "couple busters." Their brash ads promise all: Is your husband mistreating you? Want to dump your lover? Is your wife having an affair? These firms will quietly, without embarrassment, without conflict or confrontation, make the problem go away. Such discreet resolutions are valued in Japan. Here, divorce is difficult and still somewhat shameful, and aggrieved spouses hesitate to go through messy legal proceedings. And ugly arguments with screaming and tears are out of character in this reserved society. Better to pay someone else. "There are increasing numbers of people who are reluctant to deal with their personal problems themselves. They want others to solve it," said Masaru Nakamura, who runs the JRI couple-busting agency in a plain fifth-floor walk-up in Tokyo. A display case beside him holds his work tools -- electronic gadgets to eavesdrop and spy. Nakamura says his contribution to the array is a cell phone that can be left in a room and silently activated to record conversations. Many of the couple-busting companies are private detective agencies that have branched into a new line of work. "It used to be that our job ended once we collected evidence that a husband was having an affair. Now the wife wants us to break up the affair," said Kazuya Yoshii, a burly 23-year-old operative who works with Nakamura. There are now dozens of firms advertising the service -- wakaresase-ya, or "business to force breakup of a couple" in Japanese -- on the Internet and in more restricted terms in the yellow pages. Their fees are not cheap, starting at $100 an hour for the preliminary investigation. A full-scale operation typically costs $5,000 to $20,000; a complex case can run hundreds of thousands of dollars at the outfits that claim political figures and actors among their clients. Their strategies are sometimes clever and intricate. Just the right rumor planted in a neighborhood or business can frighten a wayward husband into good behavior, for example. Other strategies are tried and true: a videotape of a straying wife entering a hotel room with her lover usually is all that is needed to force a breakup of the marriage or the relationship -- whatever the client wishes, according to the owners of the firms. But increasingly, these firms employ a version of bait-and-switch. A husband who wants to dump his wife will hire a couple-busters firm to engineer an "accidental" meeting between his wife and a good-looking, attentive man who is secretly an agent. Soon, the wife is in an affair with him, and willingly grants her husband a divorce. The agent then fades away, his cell phone turned off, the address he gave her vacant, his workplace number a fake. The variations are endless. Say a wife learns her husband is cheating. She wants to stop the affair but knows he will refuse and doesn't want a messy divorce. She pays a couple-busting firm to send someone like Takako to lure the husband from his girlfriend, and then disappear. It's especially easy when the targets are men, said Takako, whose straight auburn hair frames sleepy eyes that settle on a man with practiced fascination. "They almost never say no. I'd say I succeed 85 to 90 percent. Women are more suspicious." She is a long-legged former model and sometime-actress. She thought this line of work fit well with those skills, and walked into a company that calls itself "Ladies Secret Service" to apply. Her first job was to seduce a husband at the request of a wife who wanted him gone. "We became lovers, and then I broke up with him. It went very smoothly," she said. Two years later, she has been on "dozens" of cases, making -- and breaking -- affairs with men young and old, married or otherwise involved. She lives with her parents, who think her night hours are spent working in a convenience store. "She's the perfect girl-next-door type," said her boss, Kiyoshi Hiwatashi, offering a clinical assessment. "She's not a pitcher. I'd say she's a shortstop with a good batting average." He grins. "Better than Ichiro," he said in reference to the Seattle Mariners' outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. Takako, who gives only her professional name, said she has no qualms about her work. "I feel good that the client gets what they want," she says. "That's my satisfaction." The money is good, too. But Takako acknowledged that her thrills come with the hunt -- the stalk and the capture. "What I like is the moment I meet the man. It is rare here for a woman to approach a man," she said. "I have to be forward, bold, and each time I do it with a different man. It is so different from my real life. "After I get to know them, it's routine, just like any other affair." Once, she recalled, she tried and tried to lure a target, but the man ignored her. "It really hurt my pride," she said. "Maybe I wasn't his type." She pondered for a moment, considering the unlikely prospect that "maybe he was a straight guy." Hiwatashi, who favors seersucker suits and expensive jewelry, sits in his posh office in the glitzy Ginza section of Tokyo in front of a five-inch stack of glassine files. Each is of one of his agents -- "secreters," he calls them. He flips through them "Mission: Impossible" style. Each file has a glamorous picture, a short bio with fictional names and a rundown of the kinds of cases the person handles. Some wear uniforms; posing as a flight attendant is favorite ploy. Some really are flight attendants. Some are bored housewives. Some are young men who work nights and weekends for income -- and excitement -- they don't get at their day jobs, Hiwatashi said. He said he employs ex-cops, former TV personalities and struggling actors, among others. "The rewards are good for an operative," said Koji Ozawa, 33, president of an agency called Yoi Room. "An operative can make $2,500 to $50,000 in a case. The cases usually last for three months." He said he fires operatives who fail three times out of five. "They have to succeed. They have to fall in love seriously, and then give it up like it's a business. It's like a job in the sex industry -- unless you can do it, you can't become number one." Raisuke Miyawaki, a nationally known expert on organized crime, believes the wakaresase businesses are not as legitimate as they claim. He contends many of them are willing -- or unwilling -- fronts for yakuza, Japan's counterpart to the Mafia. "The yakuza have very long antennae and good ears. They very quickly hear about business opportunities that involve profit and danger," he said. And they are familiar with the scheme: couple-busting has been a field for gangsters, who used threats and strong-arm tactics to cut spouses out of inheritance rights, he said. "This is a kind of business that involves danger, and hovers between the legal and illegal. And, it makes a profit," he said. "The yakuza wouldn't ignore that. They would either own the companies or control the people who did. "Sometimes, the good-looking young people who work there wouldn't even know it. They would only occasionally see some strange character around the office." Most of the firms, like Ladies Secret Service, insist they operate within the law. Hiwatashi, the company's founder, is sometimes credited with starting the wakaresase business. He said that in the eight years he's been in business, his agency, which operates under a variety of names, including the Japan Research Institute on Male-Female Issues, has handled nearly 15,000 couple-busting cases. He has eight offices in Japan, another in Australia that does more traditional detective work and a roster of 347 operatives, he said. Hiwatashi, 36, married for 11 years and the father of one, said he has developed a "realistic" view of life and love: "When it comes to men and women, I don't know if anybody can say they have never cheated." People who have come to his agency to end relationships include wives who are abused, husbands whose wives run up big debts, parents who don't like their daughter's boyfriend and men and women who feel they are being stalked by an ex-lover, he said. He's been approached by husbands who want to find lovers for their wives, spurned lovers who want revenge, stalkers, their prey, and by the wife of a Japanese corporate bigwig with a Hollywood starlet mistress, he said. He and some other couple-busting companies say they reject some cases they feel uncomfortable with. He is also blunt about the limits of his company's work. One of his operations is unlikely to salvage a relationship damaged by an affair, even if it is successful in breaking up the affair, he said. "I personally think the moment you decide to hire an investigator like me, that's the end. There's no trust left. Of course, I don't say that to my clients, because it's my business," he shrugged. "But I think at that point, it's better to get a divorce."

Special correspondent Sachiko Sakamaki contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18210-2002Aug30.html
 

moyashi

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hehe, such type of minuture version tv shows on tv are very popular right now.

Sounds interesting actually.
 
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Ahhh!! so that's how its done, lolol :D

Its a scandal, hehe, those poor unsuspecting people, but serve's them right for trifling during the marriage. However, still, if these ladies (tempests) are as good as they say, then its the first time man that strays away from his wife that I feel somehow sorry for, these ladies apparently know all the right moves and actions to tempt a man, it would take a man a lot of strength and restraint to say "no", I don't know about japan. Still, I hear a lot of ladies say that a stranger on a dark, cold night, with fire and passion in his eyes, could lure them into a comfortable(for the sake of a word hehe)night, a chance to be taken and later maybe regretted, who knows. Still, all humans weaken at some stage of their life, and the sad part is that they usually have that stranger they will never encounter again, or so they thought!!! lol 🙂
 

moyashi

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I'm paranoid so such a chance real or not would probaly go un-answered by me.

ouch, first time and whamooo ....
 
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Yeah me too!
we chose to spend the rest of our natural lives with this one person, and as we all know some complication will come along, but what's important to me is the fact, would I be willing to put any man in front of the lives of both my children??, do I have the right to deny them both of a full-time daddy, take a chance, and this is what the stake is, the answer is a definite "NO I DONT BELIEVE THAT ANY PARENT HAS THE RIGHT TO DENY ANY CHILD OF A FULL-TIME MOTHER OR FATHER", Part-time mum or dad, is not good enough!!!, It is so important to me that my children have a dad seen as a unit with mum and not a conflict in life!! I think this is necessary to enable them to go and have stable relationships of there own, how-ever I will contradict myself and say if a marriage has no love then it has no foundations, a loveless marriage is not a marriage but a mere existence of what once was, I would not hesitate to give up a marriage with no foundation, as that would prove more difficult in the paths our children would follow, confusion is not what our children need, stability and the willingness to stay together, (threw love)is the key to future.🙂 🙂
 

moyashi

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wow, I was just talking with a friend about this tonight. I thought the same. Children notice that if the parents aren't in love.

I too cannot and wouldn't like to a risk for a temporary pleasure and loose a lifetime of family life ....

too bad that more people don't think like this.
 
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thomas

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Wise words to which I fully agree. It takes a lot of experience and maturity however to reach such a conclusion.
 
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wow, I babbled on a bit didn't I??? :sorry:

On a lighter note, I'm sure we all personally know a person who strayed from home, I wonder if they think it was worth it? Or is it now just a memory never to be recalled ever again? or where they caught?? (hehe) I would love to be a fly on the wall when that happened lol, clap:

Would any-one here consider becoming a "couple buster"?:confused: After all, I'm sure these stray cats(hehe) have done this thing before that's why the "couple busters" are out there in the shadows, waiting on us all.

😄 😄
 
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I really really could not take up such a post, I would never allow myself to interfere in a marriage, marriage is a blessing, and its a difficult blessing at that(hehe), so moyashi "no" I couldn't do it, not even if it was (Nakata) a stranger!! lol😊
 

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Hiwatashi, 36, married for 11 years and the father of one, said he has developed a "realistic" view of life and love: "When it comes to men and women, I don't know if anybody can say they have never cheated."

85-90% of men go for it, say the other... That comfirms what I always hear about Japanese men. I knew moral, honesty, fidelity and responsabilities were not a strong point of the Japanese, but really, is there anybody who can beat that elsewhere ?
 
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Maciamo

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Wise words to which I fully agree. It takes a lot of experience and maturity however to reach such a conclusion.

It reminds me the article about Mongoloid brains that take longer to reach maturity. I think we are on the right track - keep analysing this.
 

moyashi

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I wonder if this "lack" of fidelity stems from many marriages being "arranged" or "peer pressure" meaning that many women feel that when they close in on 30 they just gotta marry so choose the best resume they can find with the best possible stock portfolio.

I also wonder if it's the way families react to each other and lack of body contact in general. Many Japanese aren't too cuddly and touchy touchy so by having an affair they can meet up with someone who will touch them and stroke them thereby providing body contact that seems to be missing in many everyday lives.
 

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I agree with moyashi, when he talks about the lack of physical contact. They are, in some way, forbidden to do so in public, so they must kinda look for it with other people, someone they (men, specially) can treat however they want. Probably makes them feel "on command", superior or something...
 

thomas

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Originally posted by Maciamo
It reminds me the article about Mongoloid brains that take longer to reach maturity. I think we are on the right track - keep analysing this.

I actually referred to individual maturity, not "racial maturity" (forgive me that horrible term).

@ lack of physical contact

I am quite sure that this is one reason for interpersonal estrangement, not only among married couples. It took a while until my wife got used to my family kissing each other. Japanese obviously don't do that at all, not even if close family members haven't met for years.
 
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@ lack of physical contact,
I must say that this factor has to be part of the problem, I am from a large family, and when-ever or where-ever we met a brother of ours, its kind of like a tradition to greet each other with a gentle kiss(on the cheek), returning from a holiday or a stretch of time away at work(over-seas) is used as a family get together, to greet and welcome home family members, nieces and nephews are all greeted in the same manner, it must teach us how to interact with people and keep a bond there, 🙂

As for the married couples, well that's strange!! How can two people in a marriage have no contact, I don't mean they have to be all lovey-dovey to have contact, I mean a simple gesture of affection, may-be when passing, touch an arm, or shoulder, even a pat on the head(I wouldn't say I like that one hehe) something to unite as a couple, I think these gestures could do a great deal for any relationship,🙂
 

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I see virtually no touching anywhere except for the young jr. high schoolers with over reactive hormones who have physical contact 36 hours a day it seems. Some how some time during high school this leans out and as many Japanese get older and older they pull their personal zone closer and closer to themselves.

My wife is still not used to all the touching and gets pissy about it at times and then calls me a woman.

Even in homes husband and wives continue with this personal zone tightly to themselves. I guess the only real place where touching happens is in bed even then I bet it's more of by accident than on purpose. Now, if you don't touch in bed either (lot's of older couples sleep seperately) you start having real problems and therefore the necessity to "let loose" with total strangers.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned somewhere else that the group is number 1 and controls how people react at times too. But if you're outside of the group you can become a complete "a_s" or "pervert" if you wish since there is no one to reprimand your bad behaviour.

I wouldn't go so far as "in command" but it's more of a probability that it is a kind of "freedom".
 

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Originally posted by moyashi
My wife is still not used to all the touching and gets pissy about it at times and then calls me a woman.

Again "same here". I haven't been called "woman" yet, but I always get scolded when I'm in a cuddly mood. I know, social & cultural relativity, blablabla, but I'm asking you, isn't it sad when phyiscal contacts are reduced to only sexual intercourse??
 

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Originally posted by moyashi
My wife is still not used to all the touching and gets pissy about it at times and then calls me a woman.

You have no idea how true this is...lol
I think that women actually have a closer bubble when it comes to being touched by others. Whereas with guys, we just don't liked to be touched by other guys, unless they are close to us.

I am a very touchy person. My wife hates that about me, but also says that it is part of my charm...I don't think I will ever understand women...LOL
 

moyashi

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Women weren't built to be made understandable by men.

lol ... Japan is really touchy place once they start drinking. It's really weird. Funny thing is that I've been here soooo long that it feels weird getting slapped on the back and what not by drinking buddies ... hmmmm

@ touchy
Jeee, then the get hufffy and puffy when you start looking at other women. Like no duh, strange but I bet men need just as much or if not even more attention than women. Maybe, men are eternal children?
 
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Hmmm, now that has shed a little more light on this subject,

So no matter if its woman to man or visa versa, even two same-sex(meant as two close friends) this contact does not take place? or if it does its founded upon? Except for alcohol intake! strange to me, but life to a lot of people,
@moyashi
Maybe, men are eternal children?
This is so true, not from a childish point but maybe from a needy point, the need to have affection and reassurance, just like a little boy needs these two aspects and many more from his Mum, hmmm now that's got me thinking!🙂

@samuraitora
I am a very touchy person
, me too! and that used to get me into too much trouble!;) Even while speaking to a cousin or brother, if they had a new girlfriend for the night(hehe)and I met them, the girlfriend accused my relative of having me as a girlfriend too! only because of a kiss on the cheek and maybe a bond that could be seen and not defined,

@
calls me a woman.
,,
I once said this to husband about 5 years before we where married, while out shopping for clothes, I was a kind of tough, individual, reluctant to show emotion and basically quite selfish, (now I've matured hehe), the reply I got was a shocker,(please don't try this at home, lol) "well if you acted like a woman then I wouldn't have too!" I was so embarrassed I threw whatever items I had in my hands at him, the shop assistant's face was a picture, and as I passed her with her mouth wide open in shock, I yelled "and what's your problem mister" (sarcastically as ever),



😊 😌 I definitely was put in my place!🙂 lol
 

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@
So no matter if its woman to man or visa versa, even two same sexs(meant as two close friends) this contact simply does not take place?

yep... it's really rare for japanese people in general, both men and women, to touch themselves, such a simple kiss on the cheek or a gentle hug (not necessarily a tight one).

in my pont of view, the japanese people hardly ever uses body expression, so i believe it's much more than just touching people as mentioned above, but gestures made during a conversation, for instance. unlike the nihon-jin, the gestures made by a gaijin have a lot of content/meaning; eg for this one, if you 'take off' his/her arms, you're gonna miss some 'share' of the dialogue, because there is so much emotion/feeling/'stuff' comprised. the japanese, on the other side, are very discreet, behaving in a totally different way.

... well, that's what i think and have seen through these years...

@
I wouldn't go so far as "in command" but it's more of a probability that it is a kind of "freedom".

yes, moyashi, i agree with you. on second thought, the 'sensation of freedom' expresses better all these things. i may have gone too far indeed.
 

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@moyashi
Even in homes husband and wives continue with this personal zone tightly to themselves. I guess the only real place where touching happens is in bed even then I bet it's more of by accident than on purpose. Now, if you don't touch in bed either (lot's of older couples sleep seperately) you start having real problems and therefore the necessity to "let loose" with total strangers.

My wife used to tell me not to kiss or show too much affection in public, but after long explanation in the Western/Latin way, she is much more open now (except for noisy kiss on the train :LOL: ). She hardly ever complains about touching at home and often take the initiative (must be her personality, as she needs more touching than the average Japanese).

We have lived in Europe before, and she has seen how Latin couple especially kisses all the time in public. In Italy, it's common seeing them lying in the parks almost making love in front of everybody. In general, French people give 1 to 4 kisses on the cheek (depending on the region) when they meet friends (even young men together) or family. Young people would cheek-kiss someone are introduced to as a greeting. You don't need being close friends. Italian, Spanish or Portuguese usually give kiss twice (not always men together though). This display of affection already contrasts with Germanic countries in Europe (including the UK). In Belgium and Switzerland where the population is divided between Latin and Germanic speakers (Flemish vs French and Swiss German vs French/Italian), we also notice the same difference. I don't know Eastern European, but they seem much more reserved and conservative than any Western European about this (except maybe Russians).

@Deborah
I must say that this factor has to be part of the problem, I am from a large family, and when-ever or where-ever we met a brother of ours, its kind of like a tradition to greet each other with a gentle kiss(on the cheek), returning from a hoilday or a stretch of time away at work(over-seas) is used as a family get together, to greet and welcome home family members, neices and nephews are all greeted in the same manner, it must teach us how to interact with people and keep a bond there.

So it seems that Celtic people are half-way between Latin and Germanic. Latin would kiss systematically every time they meet friends. At school the morning they almost line up to cheek-kiss all the people they know. Popular people might greet a hundred people a day like this. The good thing is that you can kiss the girl you fancy every day and even pretend not to remember having greeted her that day for a second kiss.:p

It's a stark contrast with Japanese society.
 

moyashi

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@ physical greetings

I ran an impromptu greeting test on my students this year.
Cross sample was all girl classes and all boy classes.

I had them say "hello, nice to meet you" with an "American" greeting.

It was great to see how the students would try to greet each other.

It was hilarious, the kids were having fun. Trying out all kinds of greetings that they've imagined or have seen on TV.

The biggest laughs came out when a pair would try the cheek kissing thing.

The target though was the typical 2 pump firm grip business greeting.

@ touching couples
I ran this type of question against my older students. Apparently across 4 generations gaps exist. It seems the youngest generations of todays 20' something had the most American attitudes and thoughts. While all the other older generations were variations of "I know my spouse loves me and that's enough" attitudes.

It was stated that most of this mentality stems back to medieval Japan and where men and women used to live in seperate worlds.
 
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