10 very strange laws or urban myths that puzzle foreigners

May 4th, 2012By Category: Uncategorized

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The website Menjoy! asked some foreigners if they had heard about any strange Japanese laws for non-Japanese people, and whether they believed them to be true.  Here is what a few foreigners said.

1.   Women cannot refuse men’s seduction.

If there is a law that women cannot refuse a man’s seduction, that may help stop the problem of a declining birthrate  in Japan. The guy interviewed wondered if that was why all the women he had seduced did not refuse his him.

2.   If an older brother wants to marry his younger brother’s girlfriend, the younger brother has to acquiesce.

Maybe this law existed when there was patriarchy in Japan, said the interviewee.

3.   Cooking blowfish for more than 80 seconds is illegal.

Chefs who prepare the poisonous blowfish or “fugu” need to be licensed with the Ministry of Health, so it must be really dangerous if you cannot cook the fish faster than 80 seconds.

4.   Importing pictures showing genitals is illegal.

Most porn and movies in Japan still cover genitals with mosaic. There is an urban legend that anyone caught with unaltered porn magazines by customs inspectors has to use a black ink marker pen to cover up the naughty parts.

5.   Women must wear a bra in rooms when the air conditioning is on.

The interviewee surmises that this is because women’s nipples show through their tops in an air-conditioned room. He said thta in his country, it is common for some women not to wear bras, but he was surprised that most Japanese women wear bras.

6.   Several hundred years ago, Japanese people got the death penalty if they tried to leave Japan.

Maybe this had something to do with the isolation in the Edo period. Nobody knows for sure if Japanese people who tried to leave Japan were executed but records show that it was very difficult to go to other countries.

7.   Home brewed liquor with more than 1% alcohol is illegal.

This is true under the the Liquor Tax Law. If you break the law, you could be sentenced to 5 years in prison or fined 500,000 yen.

8. Birth control pill was illegal until 1999.

Condoms have long been the main method of contraception in Japan, while the pill is the preferred method for women in many Western countries. Many non-Japanese people are surprised that using a birth control pill was illegal in Japan until the end of the 20th century.

9. Child born within 6 months of a divorce is the ex-husband’s child. A woman cannot get remarry until 6 months after her divorce.

The law about the child born within 6 months after a divorce being the ex-husband’s is Article 772 of the Civil Code, while the law prohibiting a woman’s remarriage is  Article 733.

10. Pacifist constitution renounces war

Every country has a military but “war” is illegal in Japan. It is rare for a country’s constitution to relinquish military power . Nowadays, people are discussing if this law should be changed or not.

How was it? If you have heard any crazy Japanese laws or urban legends, let us know.

Source: Menjoy!


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