In a country that eschews confrontation and frowns upon public display of passion, bold entrepreneurs eager to take up the burden of ending a romantic relationship on a client’s behalf can make a fortune.
The Wakaresaseya, literally “breaker-uppers”, are professional agents that specialize in destroying relationships, be they marriages or affairs, for a fee. After taking on a contract these unlicensed operatives stop at nothing to achieve their goal, which includes extreme measures like entrapment, financial burdening and lying. Wakaresaseya are viewed by some in Japanese society as immoral, but they have been around for decades and their services are more popular than ever.
Wakaresaseya services, many of which are tied to private detective agencies, are often advertised online and cater to both married people seeking a reason to leave their spouse, and married individuals who know about their partner’s infidelity and want to end it without getting involved. Prices reportedly vary from a couple of hundred dollars for simple cases, to upwards of $150,000 for high-profile cases where discretion if of the upmost importance.
Many wakaresaseya agencies boast a success rate of 95%, and while few, if any, can actually prove their effectiveness, the agents’ persistence in reaching their goals is legendary. From stalking their targets and studying their daily routines to better increase their chances of success, to the pressure they sometimes put on difficult marks, wakaresaseya do whatever it takes to complete their mission.
While many consider these professional breaker-uppers immoral, wakaresaseya agencies claim they never take a case without first interviewing the client thoroughly and finding out their motivation. Why do they want to end their marriage, how long have they known about their spouse’s affair for, why did their partner take a mistress? They go as far as to interview the client’s neighbors to see how serious they are before destroying people’s lives and relationships.
Once a case is accepted, depending on the target, wakaresaseya agents will approach them somewhere public, like a grocery store and try to spark up a combination. All they need is a moment of weakness that is usually captured by a hidden camera, but if seduction doesn’t work, they have other strategies as well. Targets can be lured into fake business deals, burdened with financial debt and even visited by fake mob guys about the said debt. Threatening to start a career-ending scandal works wonders too, apparently. They basically do all it takes to get the job done.
Men can always be seduced if the woman operative is reasonably good-looking,” Kiyoshi Hiwatashi, managing director of a wakaresaseya agency, told the Los Angeles Times.
When a client wants their husband’s affair to end, wakaresaseya operatives start by targeting the mistress. They sometimes impersonate rich, successful entrepreneurs and simply steal them away from their client’s partner, but they have other tactics as well. Sometimes a female agent will befriend the mistress, find out her ideal type of man and introduce her to a suitable candidate, making her leave the target herself.
For an extra fee, some wakaresaseya agencies even offer “after-care” services to ensure that their clients don’t come knocking again. This includes offering counseling on how to make themselves more attractive to their spouses, how to act around them, or more devious work like spreading rumors around the block that a neighbor finds the wife attractive, thus rekindling her husband’s interest in her.