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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
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To: marajade
Control? Sounds to me like you have an issue.

I got lots of Issues.

Especially around the wrong kind of woman.

221 posted on 12/06/2004 10:49:52 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: najida
Ungrateful? We are very grateful for kind, supportive, respectful men who see us as a friend and partner

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.

222 posted on 12/06/2004 10:49:59 AM PST by Fatalis
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To: cyborg
American women have a very bad reputation thanks to what the American MSM puts out every day.

Yes, and also because too many American women believe it.

223 posted on 12/06/2004 10:50:56 AM PST by Fatalis
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To: oyez
First of all, Halloween is over.

Laura Bush is a woman. I am a woman. We do not dress like that. If that is your idea of how women really don't get out much, do you?

224 posted on 12/06/2004 10:51:21 AM PST by processing please hold (Islam and Christianity do not mix ----9-11 taught us that)
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To: najida
We are very grateful for kind, supportive, respectful men who see us as a friend and partner

Gotta earn it first.

225 posted on 12/06/2004 10:51:27 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: Centurion2000

"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.

226 posted on 12/06/2004 10:51:49 AM PST by
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To: MississippiMasterpiece
What Japanese Women Want: A Western Husband

That's because Asian men are rumored to have tiny wees.

227 posted on 12/06/2004 10:51:59 AM PST by Lazamataz ("Stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown" -- harpseal)
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To: workerbee
The problem is the definition of "appreciation".

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.

228 posted on 12/06/2004 10:52:16 AM PST by najida (Aunt to Miss Emily Ann- Cutest Baby in the World.)
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To: Centurion2000
There are great conservative women out there, you haven't met them, so, they don't exist?


229 posted on 12/06/2004 10:52:21 AM PST by Hi Heels (Proud to be a Pajamarazzi.)
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To: untenured
I met my wife while attending the University of Washington during the 1970's on a military scholarship. She was a friend of a fellow military student's wife and had attended the same college with her in Japan. They were both from middle class Japanese families and had observed close-up the roles and relationships between men and women in "traditional" marriages. Both had been completely soured on the idea of marrying a Japanese man exactly for the reasons stated in the article.

However, it's hard to see how Japan's society and Japanese men could change quickly enough to meet the complaints of these women. It has taken the West a couple hundred years and the process is still not finished. (Plenty of Neanderthals still out there.)

FWIW, it was my second marriage, so I was a bit more realistic about my shortcomings and more reasonable in my expectations. I think it also helped that she had had the opportunity to work, to live an independent life and to see the world in the time between college and marrying. This has helped her be a much more interesting partner in our years together. (27 in the Spring.)
230 posted on 12/06/2004 10:53:38 AM PST by Captain Rhino ("If you will just abandon logic, these things will make a lot more sense to you!")
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To: MississippiMasterpiece
Oh baby, marry me!

231 posted on 12/06/2004 10:53:59 AM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: Kirkwood
Do you need a butler for the trip? I know a single well educated veterinarian that knows a little Japanese language that would be willing to accompany you for the fringe benefits. I lived in Japan between 1958-1963.
232 posted on 12/06/2004 10:55:07 AM PST by vetvetdoug (In memory of T/Sgt. Secundino "Dean" Baldonado, Jarales, NM-KIA Bien Hoa AFB, RVN 1965)
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To: ladyjane
That's just an ugly rumor. But, to quote Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles (opposite context) "it's twue! it's twue!".
233 posted on 12/06/2004 10:55:14 AM PST by katana
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To: workerbee

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!

234 posted on 12/06/2004 10:55:16 AM PST by derllak
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To: Age of Reason

"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"?

235 posted on 12/06/2004 10:55:47 AM PST by
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To: Centurion2000

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.

236 posted on 12/06/2004 10:56:23 AM PST by Bella_Bru (You're about as funny as a case sensitive search engine.)
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To: Hi Heels; Centurion2000

I exist :-)

237 posted on 12/06/2004 10:56:58 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
You wouldn't marry an American again?

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).

238 posted on 12/06/2004 10:57:19 AM PST by najida (Aunt to Miss Emily Ann- Cutest Baby in the World.)
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To: Fatalis
LOL Sorry. 13 brothers and sisters. Three married foreign. Two successfully (sisters), one unsuccessfully (brother). Painting with a broad brush never works.

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?

239 posted on 12/06/2004 10:57:59 AM PST by Hi Heels (Proud to be a Pajamarazzi.)
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To: Lazamataz
Taksan chesai is what Japanese women say about the Japanese male genitalia.
240 posted on 12/06/2004 10:58:01 AM PST by vetvetdoug (In memory of T/Sgt. Secundino "Dean" Baldonado, Jarales, NM-KIA Bien Hoa AFB, RVN 1965)
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