The Japanese concept of adoption (yôshi) is very broad. It establishes a new legal relationship but does not necessarily presume the beginnings of a new family life. Indeed, the scope of adoption in Japan is so wide that although the meaning of the word yôshi is rooted in the care of a growing child it denotes relationships between adults as well. The gap between adult and child has been narrowed to a fine distinction between younger and older individuals through the legal nicety that although the adoptee can be any age, the adopter must be older and an adult (Civil Code, Articles 792, 793). It does not matter how much older the adopter of an adult ‘child’ is, an age gap of one day is perfectly acceptable (Takenoshita 1997: 9). When adoptions take place between adults, this age requirement becomes meaningless; it is no more than a curious vestigial reminder of how such adoptions have evolved out of the placement of children. Sometimes, officials make a mistake – or turn a blind eye – and accept adoption applications from ‘parents’ who are younger than the ‘child’ (Nishioka 1991: 232-4).