Japanese husbands may want to cry “entrapment” over the practices of a company that hires professional seducers to help unhappy wives get rid of their husbands.
In most U.S. states, you can just say sayonara to husbands who are belligerent, boorish or belching bores. But In Japan, where women’s rights are not highly valued, wives now see the value in fetching divorces by using fetching women to lure their husbands, thus giving them the necessary grounds for divorce.
The Times of London ran an excerpt from Lesley Downer’s new book, The Last Concubine, which reports the blow by blow — pardon the expression — of several of these stings. Here’s one:
“3.30 pm. Mr. A is outside a bank in a busy part of Ikebukuro, a faintly seedy area of Tokyo, waiting for his date. He beams as she teeters across the road on high heels. Kyoko, 20, is half his age. She has a mane of black hair, sloe eyes, a fetching smile and a cute giggle. Her blouse is open to reveal her cleavage and she has on a short skirt and sheer black tights. Mr. A is a bald 40-year-old salesman in a crumpled gray suit and glasses.
“Mr. A doesn’t know that a team of private investigators is recording his every move. The boss, the ebullient Mr. Tomiya, lurks behind a lamppost on the other side of the road and takes photographs as Kyoko meets Mr. A. Tomiya’s equipment includes a packet of cigarettes and a pen, both of which are actually cameras. Shimizu, a heavy-set man with a bullet head and cropped hair, carries a black bag. It contains a camera with which he films continuously through a tiny hole in the bag. A third man acts as a lookout. …
“When presented with the evidence, the embarrassed husband not only agrees to the divorce but agrees to favorable terms for the wife.”
Now, obviously we don’t approve of deception. What we do approve of is laws that are fair to both divorcing men and women so that they don’t have to resort to crazy schemes.
Before there were more reasonable divorce laws, Americans in the 1920s and 30s engaged in equally questionable schemes.
In the 1930s, one couldn’t get a divorce without proving infidelity. A couple might agree that a marriage was kaput, but they had to prove infidelity.
Because a woman’s reputation could be permanently tarnished by an implication of infidelity and a man’s reputation would be not so negatively affected, it was the man who would have to be caught in flagrante delicto.
A woman — somehow it always seemed to be a blonde — would be hired to go to a hotel room, jump into the bed with the guy. They would look startled, and pull the covers up to their chins, when a photographer would, boom, “surprise” them and snap the evidence.
The “other” woman would have to testify in court as the co-respondent, and, with the photo evidence, the divorce would be granted. It was either that, or the wife had to go to Reno for six weeks.
In 1934, The New York Mirror wrote about an "unknown blonde" who had been the co-respondent in more than 100 divorce cases. Not surprisingly, it turned out that her daytime job was legal secretary.
At least now, in the 21st century, the laws in most states in the U.S. have improved, though seductresses still exist.
And we hope the only divorce ring you know about is that honking big emerald you bought yourself.