For over 20 years, Japanese man Otoru refused to speak to his wife as he was “sulking”. To him, the relationship is at a stage of no return.
Despite not speaking to his wife, Otoru continues to live with his wife and their 3 children. He speaks normally to his children. The couple’s 18-year-old son, Yoshiki never heard his parents speak. He had written to a TV show to request for help to reunite his parents. According to him, his father “doesn’t talk to [his] mother but [his] mother talks normally to him. It’s a one way chat.” Otoru would only nod or grunt when his wife spoke to him.
When pressed for the reason behind his silence, Otoru said he was “jealous” by the attention given to his children by his wife. He felt that he did not receive sufficient attention from his wife.
Otoru said on the show: “When the kids were born my wife was very involved and busy in raising the kids. I was kind of … jealous. I was sulking about it. There’s no going back now I guess.”
The producers of the Japanese show, after hearing the story, arranged a meeting between Otoru and his wife at Nara park where they went for their first date. After struggling for words initially, Otoru managed to say a few words to his wife while they sat together on a bench.
Otoru said to his wife: “Somehow it’s been a while since we talked. You were so concerned about the kids. Yumi up until now, you have endured a lot of hardship. I want you to know I’m grateful for everything.”
See: Antonia Paget, “Stubborn man refused to speak to his wife for 20 YEARS because he was ‘sulking’”, Mirror
From a Singapore divorce lawyer’s point of view, Yumi (Otoru’s wife) could have possibly filed for divorce based on the reason for separation for 4 years or the unreasonable behaviour of her spouse.
Informal separation in Singapore
What constitutes informal separation in Singapore?
Even though they are living under the same roof, they were effectively leading separate lives with no communication with each other. Under the law, Yumi may qualify to file for divorce on the basis that they have been separated for 4 years or longer.
Despite the fact that they never formally separated, what happened would have constituted informal separation in Singapore.
Further, Otoru’s silent treatment constitutes unreasonable behaviour which is likely to be intolerable to many wives.
See: Section 95 of Women’s Charter (Singapore)
Nonetheless, all’s well now that Otoru had broken his silence. Hopefully, the couple never stops talking to each other ever again from now!
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