This chapter examines the perceived meanings of friendship in the lives of unmarried and married Japanese. While the meaning of categories such as "married" and "unmarried" may shift according to the context, the practical implications of singlehood seem to retain salience across all social contexts. Work may represent an alternative path to fulfillment and social recognition for unmarried men in stable regular employment. The chapter suggests some gendered differences in notions of friendship as ideal and practice, and the role of friendship in the creation of happiness, belonging and meaning for unmarried and married individuals by using the four case studies that reveal perceptions of friendship and marriage. Belonging may be activated through marriage: the legal and social conjoining of individuals into a single unit, which also enables membership in the socially sanctioned group of "married" individuals.