Hey all, I have lurked here from time to time, but this is my first thread here.
I'm working towards a career as an English teacher in Japan, and part of that effort involves studying Japanese culture. I was talking to my friend in Kyushu the other day when somehow we got on the topic of tanshinfunin（単身赴任）. She told me about it, and later I did some more research to get more information about it. She says that it's common for husbands in Japan (and sometimes wives) to work away from home for long periods of time. I told her that it's pretty rare in the US, and that many American couples would probably consider being separated for 5, 10, or 15 years to be a little unusual.
Anyway, I want to learn more about it from the gaijin perspective. I know that in the US, members of the military and certain high-level executives might work away from home for multiple years, but they are exceptions. From what I've found, they have whole support networks for, blogs written by, and entire マンション dedicated just for guys working away from home. They even have vocaloid music videos on Youtube about it:
So my question is, what is your opinion on this bit of Japanese corporate culture? Objectively speaking, it seems like an inefficient practice. Why take a husband from his family, subjecting him to the loneliness of 一人暮らし, instead of hiring someone close to the location that will remain close to home and (presumably) happy with the situation? Subjectively speaking, to an American such as myself, a marriage in which the intervals between physical contact with your spouse are measured in months or years doesn't seems like a real marriage to me. However, I don't have any experience to speak from.
I hope this is the right place for this kind of thread. I wasn't sure if the Offtopic forum was appropriate for this topic.