Heartbreak for Hire: Japan’s Wakaresaseya, the “Splitter Uppers”

Image courtesy Corey Holms, via CC.

In Japan, there are people who specialize in the unravelling of relationships. Known as the wakaresase-ya, this name roughly translates to the “splitter-uppers.”

Here’s the business model in a nutshell. Say you want to divorce your significant other. In order to be on the positive end of the divorce (money, custody), you need to have some evidence of the other’s wrongdoing. By hiring the wakaresase-ya, you create a false situation that sexually entraps your significant other – the outcome of which provides you with photographic and DNA evidence of the affair.

The function of the wakaresase-ya is the direct opposite of a dating agency: with great ingenuity, and the right fee, they will prise apart human relationships. Do you have a troublesome ex-boyfriend who won’t leave you alone? A beloved son who is getting engaged to an unsuitable girl? A dead-loss employee who refuses to take the hint and retire? All of these difficult situations can be resolved by the splitter-uppers.

The description of what happened to Rika Suzuki is both devious and fascinating to read. Oftentimes, targets are set up weeks in advance. Weeks! The scenarios are incredibly well orchestrated and timed, oftentimes including a group of people who are working as a team. It’s a bit like a moral sting operation, intended to

For more of an overview of the business, check out this article from the Times Online. The world of the wakaresase-ya came into the spotlight last February, when an employee of the company fell in love with the target of a job, and ended in murder.

Other articles to check out: Calling in the Split Man (Christian Science Monitor) and Breakups Are Their Business (Los Angeles Times).

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Very much related: I can’t believe I totally forgot about the fantastic documentary about Japan’s Host Clubs, called The Great Happiness Space. This was a fascinating film, and definitely worth your time. And hey, it’s on Netflix and available for instant streaming, if you’ve got that service.

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