I don't know whether to be impressed or horrified.
TOKYO -- It's an industry that thrives because Japan is still a nation that can't say no. For the right price, operatives will dump your girlfriend for you, lose your husband, drive away that mistress or fire that longtime employee.
Wakaresaseya -- literally "breaker-uppers" -- are specialists in destroying relationships. In a nation that eschews confrontation and shuns public displays of passion, these terminators extricate clients from close encounters of the emotional kind.
While Western psychiatrists, investigators and attorneys abet those in the throes of separation, wakaresaseya take a far more active role, and the result isn't always pretty. The agents, who are unlicensed, do whatever it takes, including entrapment, betrayal or worse, to get the job done.
"If this wasn't my business, I'd consider a lot of what we do immoral," says Hiroshi Ito, a handsome 33-year-old wakaresaseya with Tokyo-based Office Shadow.
There are few statistics on the dodgy field, but Tokyo-based Daiko Research Office estimates that a dozen firms like itself, mainly here and in Osaka, pull in tens of millions of dollars a year handling hundreds of cases. This compares with just two companies a few years ago.
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After a down payment is received, the wakaresaseya launch an investigation, beginning with the client: Why did your husband take a mistress, what prompted your wife to sleep with her boss, why do you want to dump your boyfriend? Further afield, interviews with neighbors and colleagues, printed records and tailing fill out the details of the target's preferences, lifestyle, favorite golf course or department store, and commute.
With the bead drawn, wakaresaseya devise a "scenario" to entrap the target and ultimately convince or pressure him or her into ending the relationship. Wakaresaseya deny breaking the law and insist that no one in their profession has been arrested in the course of work.