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> a wife (there are women hired in administrative roles who are of a different category of employee than the full knowledge worker who are expected to marry a male employee and leave the company within some handful of years)

Where can I read more about this? How wide-spread is this practice?

Search for "Ippanshoku" or "Ippan Shoku". The Japanese characters are 一般職.

The more oldschool the company culture and the farther away from major cities (esp. Tokyo/Osaka) you get, the more common it will be. It is very common throughout the Toyota Group where I used to work (which is coincidentally the same geographic area as where patio11 worked).

It's actually a fairly effective social arrangement, though it is understandably very odd from a Western perspective (I was initially appalled, having grown up in SV).

Patrick McKenzie touches on it a bit in his blog: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2014/11/07/doing-business-in-japan/. Search for the part where it says "Don't have a wife?"

>Don’t have a wife? You might quite reasonably think “I don’t have time to even think about that.” Don’t worry — the company will fix your social calendar for you. It is socially mandatory that your boss, in fulfillment of his duties to you, sees that you are set up with a young lady appropriate to your station. He is likely to attempt to do this first by matching you with a young lady in your office.

I can attest to this, having this very situation in action first hand.

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