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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: Fatalis

Obviously, it is a generalization. Your generalization encompasses a much greater slice of the female population than college girls and Oprah listeners. Hence, your use of the "on the whole". That means the majority, doesn't it?

As to your "name me a time when women were more ungrateful than today", that's just silly. I don't think they ask that question during census taking so there aren't any stats to prove or disprove the point.

You feel that woman are more ungrateful now than ever before. Fine. You are entitled to your opinion, just as I am entitle to mine, which is, you hang around with the wrong women.


241 posted on 12/06/2004 10:58:08 AM PST by dmz
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To: JenB
You're in denial. There can't possibly be something wrong with your perceptions, can there?

Let's test me:

I percieve that American men are generally more sensitive to women's concerns than any other group of men anywhere, anytime before. We aren't perfect, but we help more around the house, change more diapers, are more involved with our kids, are more accomodating of our wives' careers, and a slew of other measures, than our fathers were.

Is there something wrong with that perception?

Where or when has it been better?

242 posted on 12/06/2004 10:58:11 AM PST by Fatalis
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To: pbrown
The only man I obeyed was my father.

I wish I had you for a daughter. Wife, daughter, they all ignore me. LOL

Had a neighbor who was blond. She used to baby sit for us. She had never had a date...for good reason. She was not pretty. She met an Iranian who went bonkers over her. All his friends started to call and tried to date her. Iranians love blond hair. I always thought she was nuts to like the guy. But when a person gets tossed aside and then finds out she has something going for her, it's hard to tell her, she's not very pretty.

243 posted on 12/06/2004 10:58:25 AM PST by fritzz (Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers)
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To: MississippiMasterpiece
L8R



244 posted on 12/06/2004 10:58:38 AM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat)
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To: Fatalis
Many American men are too afraid to 'marry up'. They don't want to marry women who are better off financially or educationally than they are.

It works both ways.

245 posted on 12/06/2004 10:58:39 AM PST by Bella_Bru (You're about as funny as a case sensitive search engine.)
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To: Semper Paratus
I've read a lot of crap so far about why American men want Japanese wives and vise versa. I was married to an American woman and have dated many others; the woman I'm married to now is Japanese.

First of all, American women are a pain in the ass. Sure, there's an occasional gem to be found, but many aren't worth the time you waste on them. Various psychoses, 'me-culture' vanity, general screwed-uppedness, etc. I'm sure that men are the same way, but I'm not in the market for a man.

For example,my first wife left me because, in her words, "being married wasn't fun anymore." I'm sure that my Navy career had something to do with it; besides bitter complaints that I didn't make enough money, there were the deployments--known in the Navy as the "you're not here, but (insert name) is" syndrome. Hey, at least we didn't have any kids.

American women I dated weren't much better. Even fat, ugly, bitchy women expect to marry doctors and lawyers because they are so special. Sailors and schoolteachers don't make the cut, unless there's an emergency.

Fortunately, I got stationed in Japan. After my divorce, I was a complete misogynist; I didn't go to Japan to find a woman, I went to get away from the ones I already knew. Turns out that I met lots of wonderful women who weren't neurotic/narcissitic, didn't weigh 300 lbs., and didn't give me the 'tude.

My wife is hardly a pushover or a doormat, like most American women would claim. She's nice, fun to talk to and go out with, doesn't mind when I got to do 'man stuff' (grr! Me fix!), puts up with my bizarre habits ("Why do you read so much? Are you taking apart the computer again?"), and doesn't mind handling household tasks--does that make her a 'good little maid'? I put up with shopping, visiting mom, and all the other stuff that goes with having a girl in the house. =)

She's not looking for a Green Card, as others would snidely suggest; hers is expired, and we aren't looking to move back to the states anytime soon. For those of you who have never been out of the country--yes, America is a great place to live, but there are other places that are just as good or better, Japan being one of them. And (gasp!) some people like where they live, and don't want to go to America. Imagine that!

The only things she misses about the states is the big oven for baking. The only thing I miss is being able to go to a bookstore. Other than that, my foreign bride and I are happy where we are. I'll leave the American women to the rest of you.

246 posted on 12/06/2004 10:58:56 AM PST by Alien Gunfighter (Draw!)
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To: Lazamataz
I was gonna say that way back on my first post but I didn't. I should have. You are right.

I can't really blame the Asian women for wanting the same thing American women want. A mate with a lot of assets. lol

247 posted on 12/06/2004 10:59:00 AM PST by processing please hold (Islam and Christianity do not mix ----9-11 taught us that)
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To: Fatalis
Ah, see? You do blame American men.

No darlin', I am an old geezerette who has had a lot of dates, husbands and friends... I am just stating a behavioral trend (like you have been) that I have observed first hand, repeatedly, even up until today (really, TODAY!).

248 posted on 12/06/2004 10:59:21 AM PST by najida (Aunt to Miss Emily Ann- Cutest Baby in the World.)
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To: najida
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

I hereby nominate you as Freeperette of the Year!!! Happy, secure, carefree, armed with a life & a remote!!

Kudos to you! :)

249 posted on 12/06/2004 10:59:27 AM PST by JoeSixPack1
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To: marajade
When they reach say around 15 years of marriage... I'd be interested to see if they are still married.

See my post 129.
Married almost 22 years, 2 kids.

250 posted on 12/06/2004 11:00:04 AM PST by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Centurion2000

I'll roll the dice on that one.....


251 posted on 12/06/2004 11:00:48 AM PST by Hi Heels (Proud to be a Pajamarazzi.)
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To: AmericanInTokyo
It is hard to talk about things without making a lot of generalizations.

We make generalizations because they are useful, so long as we understand that they aren't universally applicable.

252 posted on 12/06/2004 11:00:59 AM PST by Fatalis
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To: HairOfTheDog
You're right, the 'domineering jerks looking for women who ain't uppity' would be nothing without the American green cards that make them bearable.... for a while.

So, are American men who take foreign brides all domineering jerks?

253 posted on 12/06/2004 11:02:00 AM PST by Fatalis
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To: Fatalis

You also percieve that all American females are hags, shrews, and no doubt want to marry a man just to ruin his life. That's the wrong perception I'm referring to.

I'm not going to bash men just to make things equal here, but I certainly hope you're not married, if your opinion of women is so low.


254 posted on 12/06/2004 11:02:08 AM PST by JenB (I will not turn into a snake. It doesn't help.)
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To: Bella_Bru

Marry up and don't like women bigger than they are.. or at least what they perceive to be bigger.


255 posted on 12/06/2004 11:02:49 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

I didn't know marriage was about control.


256 posted on 12/06/2004 11:02:59 AM PST by StoneColdGOP (She calls me *Mini-Merc*)
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To: Fatalis

Please forward notarized picture of YOU changing a diaper....


257 posted on 12/06/2004 11:03:29 AM PST by Hi Heels (Proud to be a Pajamarazzi.)
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To: Bella_Bru
Many American men are too afraid to 'marry up'. They don't want to marry women who are better off financially or educationally than they are.

>>>SOB<< It is a curse!
A CURSE I TELL YOU!
To be a smart, financially stable woman in today's world! '''sniffle'''
~~sigh~~ oh for the days I was poor and stupid ;)

258 posted on 12/06/2004 11:03:36 AM PST by najida (Aunt to Miss Emily Ann- Cutest Baby in the World.)
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To: Just another Joe

That's great. Although I would think its rare though.


259 posted on 12/06/2004 11:03:40 AM PST by sabe@q.com
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To: MississippiMasterpiece

I'm a 29 year old man happily married to a conservative woman. We don't have any children yet, but I told her that I would be willing to adopt a 25 year old asian girl. She would get a loving home, and all she'd have to do is wear a cheerleader outfit and make me coffee.


260 posted on 12/06/2004 11:03:41 AM PST by exile (Exile - Helen Thomas tried to lure me into her Gingerbread House.)
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