Wakaresase-Ya: The Splitter-Uppers 

Is this story mildly amusing or deeply depressing? Either way, the tales of the wakaresase-ya in Japan are at least fascinating.

The function of the wakaresase-ya is the direct opposite of a dating agency: with great ingenuity, and the right fee, they will prize 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.

What does someone who does this for a living think about it?

“Life consulting — that’s what this job is,” Mr. Tomiya says. “When people have no one to listen to their problems, then they end up committing suicide or resorting to murder. But by paying a certain amount to have their problems solved — well, that’s good for everyone. That’s why I’m proud of my job.”

This high-minded rhetoric comes from someone who was hired by a man’s mistress, to seduce that man’s wife. This seduction will then give the husband grounds for divorce, leaving the entrapped wife with no career and no means of support. That’ll be good for her, somehow, I’m sure.

Also worth noting is that Mr. Tomiya is married himself, and his wife works in the business with him. Classy.