Skip to comments.What Japanese Women Want: A Western Husband
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
I got lots of Issues.
Especially around the wrong kind of woman.
Many are, some aren't, and more aren't now than ever before, at a time when there are more such men in America right now than in anyu other country, ever.
while women may have enough to fill a bass boat, most guys could sink the Titanic
Ah, see? You do blame American men.
Yes, and also because too many American women believe it.
Laura Bush is a woman. I am a woman. We do not dress like that. If that is your idea of how women really dress....you don't get out much, do you?
Gotta earn it first.
"Close enough to conservative ?"
Yes. But I think its more than just how a person votes or what kind of chores/money one can contribute. I think its more about how a person thinks about life and their character.
That's because Asian men are rumored to have tiny wees.
You hit the nail on the head of why I refuse to get married again (done it twice, both croaked, won't do it again).
I don't like not being appreciated. I didn't like being the workhorse and never hearing a kind word. I won't go into the world of TMI, but marriage was so bad, it is something I don't want to do again.
Anyhow, I have discovered that dating is a lot more fun. I can dress up, be all girlie, go out, have fun...make a friend, have delightful conversation etc. If he is a jerk, I can pick up the tab, trot home, put on my sweats, eat Godiva Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream in my messy, but all mine home while hogging the remote.
Tell it like it is, workerbee! All men need to do is show a bit of appreciation once in a while and they'd be surprised how friendly their wives can be!
"Especially around the wrong kind of woman."
I guess I'm the "wrong kind" of woman for you. I've always been one to think that the need of being controlled is a rather negative one. But hey, whatever works for you and yours... Being "controlled" just ain't my cup of tea. Do you have lots of growth in your relationships with the women you "control"?
Conservative women also think for themselves. We don't need our husbands to give us our opinions. Some around here think that "conservative woman'= parrot's husbands thoughts.
I exist :-)
I MIGHT get married again if: He lives 5 days a week in another place and ONLY comes to see me on the weekends.
He looks like Kevin Sorbo, has the brains of Steven Hawkins, and the sensuality of erm, ah....well, I know what I want.
He just accepts my life as my life, doesn't want to change it and doesn't want to 'fix' stuff that isn't his to fix.
He doesn't have to love me, but he really, REALLY has to like me as much as I like him.
And ideally, he can fix things (s'ok if not, I usually figure it out).
Relating figures of American "spinsterhood" is smoke and mirrors. There are nearly 2 to 1 more women than men. Further, and this won't sit well, some American women, when given the choice between marrying American Godlike Men and remaining single, have CHOSEN to remain single. Easier on the nerves. Easier on the wallet. And you don't have to wash those nasty stains out of someone else's underwear. AND you can, conceivably, get laid whenever you want. WHAT is the downside?