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
Woody Allen is that you?
Or maybe they are happy with their lives just as they are. Like, they don't need a man to have a life. Yaknowaddamean, jellybean?
How much appreciating did you do? How many kind words did you give? Unasked? Unexpected? Out-of-the-blue? Many? Never? I don't know.
I do know that you wrote three short paragraphs above, and used the word "I", "me", "my", or "mine" 11 times.
I've been married to the same wonderful lady for 16 years, and have been with her for 21. Marriage is about self-sacrifice. It's about getting up everyday and sleepily asking yourself, "What can I do to make my mate's day better, easier, and happier?" It's about loving until it hurts, then until it really hurts, and sometimes beyond.
In short, for a Christian spouse ... marriage is fun, happy, fulfilling, warm, and wonderful ... but it's also going to Calvary and being tacked up on the Cross to die.
I try everyday to please my wife in a thousand little ways, but I'm ultimately not here to please her, nor she to please me. I'm here to make a better person and help her get to heaven ... and she's here to do the same for me. She'll never do that by feeding my selfishness, but by teaching me to die to myself and to live for the sake of loving others.
Possibly. I think a lot of it is the way we were raised. Neither of us believe in divorce, both wanted a limited number of children, both weren't afraid to speak our minds, both willing to be talked into things if one could persuade the other it was better, etc.
The Navy DID try to dissuade us.
The last try was a statistic that 95% of American/Philippina marriages end in divorce in the first 5 years.
I do know a good number of other American/Philippina couples that have been married 7+ years that are still together.
A couple where the wife is DEFINITELY the boss. LOL
My bad.....Her good.......makes me willing to hand wash some delicates....
All my life growing up I only wanted to be a Mother. Not a Doctor or Lawyer or anything else. Just a mother. I got what I wanted. My dream came true.
My daughters on the other hand have to work outside the home and take care of their kids. With their husbands help I might add.
"Neither of us believe in divorce..."
I don't either... but sometimes it just doesn't work out no matter how hard you work at it...
LOL, I rest my case.
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.
That sounds familiar !
"Woody Allen is that you?"
Gadzooks No! That's just a joke I have with my wife. She laughs at it now, but my head still hurts when it rains.
OK,I'll take that for a no!
I think that changes as time and age advances. At least it has for me. If I were single It would be different. I would want to know their name first.....just kidding..maybe.LOL.
Ive told my wife something similar. She gave be the go ahead contingent on making my first million (her first million).
One can meet Japanese women at the tops of their careers in law, banking, journalism, in a Christian church in Tokyo or perhaps on PhD work at Harvard or Princeton, or one could go to the Club Alliance disco at Yokosuka US Naval Base on a Friday night and see heavily made-up Japanese women in miniskirts who are drop-outs from high school, from broken homes, who go to a hotel with an American GI within 30 minutes of meeting him, only to bed down with a different GI the following weekend.
There are many different types of Japanese women, no different than the varieties of American women. One can marry into a life of love and warmth and intellectual excitement, or one can marry into a life of regrets and heartaches.
"... men give love for sex."
That's not entirely true. The food's not bad either.
Shh, we don't want to get stoned for bein' uppity, ungrateful wimmin here.
Then we agree. I like my role as wife and mother. It's a role I chose. And according to my hubby and kids...I'm good at it.
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