Are Most Adoptions in Japan Really Adult Males?

About 98% of adoptions in Japan are of males who are 25-30 years old. In 2008, for example, an estimated 90,000 adult males were adopted in Japan. The high percentage of adult male adoptions in Japan typically is the result of family-owned businesses wanting to have heirs to whom the companies can be passed down. Known as mukoyosh, it is considered to be a high honor in Japanese culture to be chosen. Family-owned businesses tend to not perform as well as other companies in most countries, but Japan is an exception. This is thought to be because blood heirs often are afraid of being replaced by adopted heirs.

More about adoption:

  • The international adoption rate worldwide declined by 50% from 2004 to 2013.
  • The highest adoption rate in history was in South Korea in 1985, with 1.3% of all children in the country being adopted by parents in other countries. More than 90% of all adopted children from South Korea are female, according to 2010 estimates.
  • More than half of all adoptive mothers are age 40-44, while less than 30% of non-adoptive mothers are in that age range.
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