If Mari Takada has her way, women in Japan will one day be free from judgment in choosing whether or not to marry, raise children or give birth out of wedlock.

In a society where marriage and motherhood traditionally go hand in hand, Takada is one of a number of "single mothers by choice" gaining media and public attention.

"Women's lifestyles in Japan are becoming diverse, and while support groups for single mothers exist, there aren't any specifically for single mothers by choice," said the 47-year-old Takada, representative of a group whose activities include operating the SMC (Single Mother by Choice) network.