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What Japanese Women Want: A Western Husband
The Christian Science Monitor ^ | December 6, 2004 | Bennett Richardson

Posted on 12/06/2004 9:12:18 AM PST by MississippiMasterpiece

TOKYO – The Japanese government wants women like Taeko Mizuguchi to get married and start doing something about the nation's plunging birthrate. But she's not interested.

At least, not if her prospective husband is Japanese.

A growing number of Japanese women are giving up on their male counterparts, and taking a gamble that looking abroad for love will bring them the qualities in a partner that seem rare at home. Mr. Right, as the hope goes, is often an American or European, a man appreciative of a wife's career and more of a partner in daily tasks.

"They treat you like equals, and they don't hesitate to express mutual feelings of respect - I think Western men are more adept [at such things] than Japanese men," says the 36-year-old Ms. Mizuguchi, who works at a top trading firm. "They don't act like women are maids - I think they view women as individuals."

Underscoring that Japanese women are losing hope with the local boys, dating agencies to help snag a Western husband have sprung up in Tokyo, some with branches in the US and Europe. Such companies rigorously vet their clients, screening for education, family background, occupation, and life goals.

The kind of women who sign up for such services include doctors, lawyers, and other professionals - women who have delayed marriage to concentrate on careers and who aren't keen to give up hard won gains to become a housewife, as many Japanese men expect.

Japanese women have come to consider traditional marriage roles as "disadvantageous in terms of time resources - they have to carry the burden of domestic chores as well as lose their free time," says Chizuko Ueno, a professor of sociology at Tokyo University.

Normally, married Japanese women have not only to look after their own parents during old age, but also to care for their parents-in-law. When it comes to raising kids, "they can't expect much cooperation from their partner" because of the long work hours required at many Japanese corporations and because of established gender roles that assume that the woman does the child-rearing, Ms. Ueno adds.

A generation of women who are now entering their 30s don't want to give up single life unless prospective partners are willing to break from traditional gender roles.

Government polls conducted to find out why women have put off marriage until well after 25 years of age - known as a woman's " 'best before' date" - show that economic independence is key to the change. As most Japanese women have their own income, marriage is no longer a financial necessity and women want to find companionship in a husband.

That is where Japanese men have come up short. There is "a wide gap in men's and women's attitudes and expectations toward marriage" vis-à-vis traditional gender roles, says Sumiko Iwao, professor of social psychology at Musashi Institute of Technology in Yokohama. For instance, coming home later than your Japanese husband is a no-no.

Having ruled out an old-fashioned Japanese husband, many women here think the solution is a Western man. Indeed, some seem so enthralled with the idea that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars to inspect the wares personally. Of the more than 2,000 women on the books at one large matchmaking agency, about 200 travel to the US or Europe each month to meet prospects.

Sentimental projections have recently been extended to Korean men also, due to romantic Korean soap operas.

In 2003, Japanese women marrying American or British men outnumbered Japanese men marrying American or British women by 8 to 1. The total proportion of Japanese marrying foreigners each year has crept up from around 3.5 percent in 1995 to just over 5 percent. Japanese men are actually more than three times as likely as the women to take a foreign spouse, but this is mostly rural men marrying less well-off Chinese and Filipino women. "Such cases are elderly farmers not popular among young Japanese women," says Yuriko Hashimoto, a local government employee in the remote northern prefecture of Iwate.

To be fair, not all the blame for female angst here can be laid on Japanese men. The government has been slow to enforce equal opportunity laws, and both pay and the glass ceiling in most Japanese corporations remain low for women. Recession has hampered longer maternity leave and other family-friendly policies.

As Japan's fertility rate drops to new lows - at last count it was 1.29, well below levels required for population replacement - the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is anxiously drawing up plans to make it easier for young couples to raise children, through such measures as the provision of cheap public housing.

Mixed marriages in Japan

Japanese men marry:
Chinese 10,242 Filipinos 7,794 Koreans 2,235 Americans 156 British 65

Japanese women marry:
Koreans 5,318 Americans 1,529 Chinese 890 British 334 Filipinos 117

Source: 2003 Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Japan; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
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To: Hi Heels
Bottom line, it takes effort to be married to an American woman. Why? Because we are worth it

With all due respect to you as a fellow Freeper and citizen, no, they are not. There are some great conservative women out there, I never met them.

201 posted on 12/06/2004 10:41:04 AM PST by Centurion2000 (Truth, Justice and the Texan Way)
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To: Dan from Michigan

"If I was home right now, I'd crack open a beer, pop some popcorn, sit back and watch the thread. :D"

That's your contribution to this thread?


202 posted on 12/06/2004 10:41:15 AM PST by sabe@q.com
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To: Chieftain

LOL


203 posted on 12/06/2004 10:41:24 AM PST by cyborg ( Hy verkwik my siel; Hy lei my in die spore van geregtigheid, om sy Naam ontwil.)
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To: Sam Cree
Ohhhh, so some women should be slaves, and some independent?

You take the slaves, I'll take the independent.

204 posted on 12/06/2004 10:41:39 AM PST by processing please hold (Islam and Christianity do not mix ----9-11 taught us that)
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To: Hi Heels
What YOU don't want to hear is the REASON foreign-born women want to marry American men. It's called legal citizenship. k?

I've got a few friends who married foreign ladies and have had kids with them. The marriages are more than two years old and none of them are divorced. It's not all about green cards.


Bottom line, it takes effort to be married to an American woman. Why? Because we are worth it.

LOL! Some are, some aren't, but surely your words will console them as the population of American spinsters increases. You're really doing them a great favor.

205 posted on 12/06/2004 10:41:53 AM PST by Fatalis
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To: marajade; Dan from Michigan

Because this thread has big entertainment possibilities.


206 posted on 12/06/2004 10:42:16 AM PST by cyborg ( Hy verkwik my siel; Hy lei my in die spore van geregtigheid, om sy Naam ontwil.)
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To: Age of Reason

Marriage is about control?

I don't remember that part of the Christian marriage ceremony. You know, the one I took part in.


207 posted on 12/06/2004 10:42:29 AM PST by dmz
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To: pbrown

Spare me. I've seen enough over in this country.

208 posted on 12/06/2004 10:44:34 AM PST by oyez (¡Qué viva la revolución de Reagan!)
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To: MississippiMasterpiece

"They don't act like women are maids



She obviously hasn't been stateside.


209 posted on 12/06/2004 10:44:41 AM PST by LoudRepublicangirl (loudrepublicangirl)
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To: dmz
We had love, honor and cherish in our vows. Not love honor and obey.

The only man I obeyed was my father.

210 posted on 12/06/2004 10:45:11 AM PST by processing please hold (Islam and Christianity do not mix ----9-11 taught us that)
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To: najida

You wouldn't marry an American again?


211 posted on 12/06/2004 10:45:22 AM PST by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: Centurion2000

"There are some great conservative women out there, I never met them."

I think you and I have different meanings for the word "conservative."


212 posted on 12/06/2004 10:45:25 AM PST by sabe@q.com
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To: Hi Heels
They will marry you for citizenship. Any illusions you have of women idolizing you is just that....illusion.

Well, you do not know the whole story, so I can excuse your ignorance ma'am.

213 posted on 12/06/2004 10:45:29 AM PST by Centurion2000 (Truth, Justice and the Texan Way)
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To: Bella_Bru
For you there can be nothing in general wrong with American men. You seem to have a hang-up about women going to college. Why?

Wrong and wrong again. I've stipulated that there are American jerks, but that's far from the whole story. The demand of foreign brides for American men should indicate that to you.

Nor do I have a problem with women going to college, I'm merely pointing out that a 57% to 43% disparity in favor of females in college enrollement, combined with the very common unwillingness of women to marry below them either economically or educationally, is going to leave a great many American women without husbands.

214 posted on 12/06/2004 10:46:20 AM PST by Fatalis
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To: cyborg; Dan from Michigan

I forgot to add: "chicken."


215 posted on 12/06/2004 10:46:21 AM PST by sabe@q.com
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To: marajade
I think you and I have different meanings for the word "conservative."

Conservative : votes Republican, LIKES being a woman, like being feminine, not afraid to help with the housework. If she stays home, will pick up the majority of it. Emotionally supports her man. Hates communism

I can cook and and do yardwork myself thanks.

Close enough to conservative ?

216 posted on 12/06/2004 10:47:31 AM PST by Centurion2000 (Truth, Justice and the Texan Way)
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To: dmz

minor non-sequiter:

The Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony is long and drawn own. One of the non-religious based old wives tales for the ceremony is if the woman steps on the man's foot during the ceremony she will rule in the house, if the man can avoid this he will rule. Just a goofy superstition but it is a funny point during the wedding.



217 posted on 12/06/2004 10:47:36 AM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: Fatalis; Hi Heels

"The marriages are more than two years old and none of them are divorced."

When they reach say around 15 years of marriage... I'd be interested to see if they are still married.


218 posted on 12/06/2004 10:47:56 AM PST by sabe@q.com
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To: Fatalis
If you disagree, name a time in the past when, on the whole, American women were more ungrateful than they are right now.

This "lack of gratitude' thing isn't part of my life, or my husband's, but it seems to be a big thing for you, so please explain... Exactly what do you offer that all women are increasingly ungrateful for?

219 posted on 12/06/2004 10:48:32 AM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Semper Paratus

That was my choice.


220 posted on 12/06/2004 10:49:06 AM PST by elfman2
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