Professional Wakaresaseya (splitter-uppers) are a special brand of private detectives unique to Japan. Although they perform a variety of functions, their primary purpose is to end all kinds of sticky relationships. They thrive in this land where confrontation is to be avoided at all costs.
Many wakaresaseya companies advertise boldly on the internet, using monikers like Lady’s Secret Service and Office Shadow. The industry is unregulated and relies upon the power of shame. Being attractive and personable are the main criteria for the people who work for these companies, as their success is measured by how well they first trail and then seduce their quarry.
A man named Mr. Isohata commissioned the services of a wakaresaseya operation. His knew his wife was unhappy and bored with their relationship and he arranged for an encounter with Kuwabara, a charming single man who seemed like a dream come true.
But like all things that seem too good to be true, it wasn’t. The affair ended in betrayal and murder. The couple was photographed entering a “love hotel” where rooms are rented by the hour and the husband used this as evidence to divorce his wife in 2007. By this time, Kuwabara and Mrs. Isohata were hopelessly in love.
In April, 2009, the couple had a terrible fight and Kuwabara strangled his new love with a piece of string.
“At the beginning, I thought of it as just a job, but I came to really love her. I told lie after lie out of fear that she would hate me. I was driven into a corner. I still love her,” Kuwabara told the court.
The “splitter uppers” are into all kinds of entrapment and this murder case is raising many questions about the ethics and legality of their operations. There seems little question that their actions are shady but they do fill a real need in Japan and are widely used. Cost is a relative term in these matters as all depends on the time involved.
“I can never forgive a business that toys with the emotions of human beings. For the rest of my life, I will never forgive the defendant, or my daughter’s ex-husband who hired him, or the wakaresaseya business itself. This has devastated not just my daughter’s life, but those of my grandchildren and me,” the father of the murdered woman told the press.
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