Background: Homogamy for body height has been repeatedly documented in Western societies. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanism is unclear and the reasons for its apparent absence in non-Western societies remain unexplained.Aim: This study investigates spousal correlation and mate preference for height in the Japanese population.Subjects and methods: This study analyses self-reported data on the height of individuals, their parents and their ideal marriage partners, collected by a series of questionnaires on university students.Results: In contrast to a previous study, this study found a significant positive correlation between the heights of Japanese spouses, after controlling for age. It also found a positive correlation between the heights of subjects and of their ideal partners, suggesting that an individual's self-referent preference may contribute to the observed homogamy for height. However, a subject's preference is also influenced by the height of his/her opposite-sexbut not same-sexparent, where this effect is more prominent in male subjects.Conclusion: This study shows that homogamy for body height is present in the current Japanese population and that it may in part result from an individual's preference. It also indicates a possible role of a sexual imprinting-like mechanism in human mate choice.
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