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 was too busy raising my kids and taking care of my husband to have friends. I only needed one friend, and that was my husband. I never felt the need for more.
You don't? See my post immediately before yours.
Female acquaintances, yes. Absolutely. Even close ones. But actual friendships can't really be maintained once the man and woman are married to other people. We aren't yet such an enlightened society that such relationships fail to raise ugly suspicions.
If a man claims he wants to be a woman's friend, he wants something else. If a woman claims she wants to be a man's friend, she's trying to head off something else. It doesn't quite work, does it? ;)
Not in a blue state. ;)
My counter point is #805. What do you think?
Note to the ladies: maybe this is just me talking, but that's totally lame. Please don't do that.
Just a suggestion.
Thanks :-) Big meaning taller or fat, as in anyone bigger than Paris Hilton fat and worst of all if you are a combo of both.
Well, there's a time to back off, and there's a time to jump through hoops ... :-)
Is she thin? Are you older? My sister spent a year in Japan and that's what a lot of American guys were sayin as their reasons why they like Asian girls, thin and appear smaller standing next to them.
Again, you've nailed it for me as well. Ladies, if the idea is out that "just friends" is some sort of pesistence test, the next time you say it and really mean it, you're going to get harrassed like mad because he'll assume you're just playing hard to get. It's friggin retarded, IMHO.
Perhaps so. But I take great care to NOT fall head over heels for someone. I want some objectivity on the whole thing so I don't end up infatuated by the time I realize what a mistake I have made. So she says 'no' as a test then I am not going to over ride that because I have not driving reason to. I don't 'want her enough' to over ride that because I have taken care NOT to. I have thought this out because I have been in this situation.
Usually, it's not. But sometimes ...
I don't know...Paris Hilton has a pretty fat head. ;)
hehehehe yes she does :D
I agree completely. I had enough emotional game playing with the last one. Never again. I would rather be single forever. If she is running because she wants to be chased then she better staple a 'chase me' sign to her back be cause I will be #@&* if I am going to chase just to find out if she will slap a restraining order on me or not.
Paris Hilton is ugly (Trey Parker/Matt Stone spent the last southpark ripping her and sluttiness in our culture in general, it was hilarious), I don't get the guys that want her.
Those stick-figure girls look like they'd break if a strong gust went by. That's not sexy.
Great to meet another critter woman.
And yeah, I just tried getting my oscar to eat shrimp---he spit it out, but scarfed down the pellets.
I'm 5'2" which is short. I used to think Paris was pretty but her behavior is spoiled brattish. The only man she could marry is one on her level.
You may want to stay single forever, but I don't know too many girls would be willing to stay single that way either.
I did not say I wanted to. I just am not willing to put up with a certain level of hoop jumping. Oh I think some of it is unavoidable... but no beyond a certain point.
ooo my lowsy typn is in rare form today
I took the first sentence to mean him saying "I won't do anything for you, even to get you to like me"
And the second sentence to mean "Women will do antyhing for men to get them to like them".
Which ain't always true. Often, we couldn't give a rats patooty what ya think about us. Really.
OK, maybe most of the time.
There is an old saying among Japanese women, "A good husband is healthy and absent".
There aren't too many guys shorter than you statistically speaking (IIRC), so, hey, buck up. :D
Why do you "take it" that that's a projection? In fact, it's a statistic based on a house-by-house census. Look, rather than admit that generalizations are not "necessary" (again, your word) in discussing cultural phenomena, you're willing to play word games and continually shift the argument. Doesn't make for a very fruitful discussion.
Think about the term, "mooning someone".
Well... I saw the title of this thread, and four single-guy FReepers came to mind... ;-D
Show me the census.
Look, rather than admit that generalizations are not "necessary" (again, your word) in discussing cultural phenomena, you're willing to play word games and continually shift the argument. Doesn't make for a very fruitful discussion.
Unless you take a census every year, you're going to use generalizations or not have a very involved discussion.
Really, see my earlier posts about the utility of generalizations. It's a canard to say that they are out of bounds.
Well, if you're getting a lot of spontaneous date requests..you must be very special..so take it as a compliment..you've got that "je ne sais quois" working, I guess..but tis true that guys are petrified of rejection..BTW..It's nice that you don't want to lie, even to spare their feelings..I admire that..but there is a happy medium..tell the guy that you're flattered, but you've taken a break from dating for a while...an dr emeber, a "break" can be 5 minutes, days, weeks, or 5 months.) tell them YOU'RE flattered, and ask them for their number, that maybe you'll call THEM later....it'll make them feel great...
Rosie.... I go away for a bit and you've got guys givin' you compliments (I think) in French... ;~D
Show me the census.
Fatalis, you asked me to make three statements on cultural phenomena that are not generalizations. I assumed you wanted an example of such a statement, so I gave you one. Of course the statistics (1.5%, etc.) are not real, but surely you know that many statistics are based on house-by-house censuses rather than projections.
Probably, if you and I met face to face, we could find a lot to agree on. I think we're both better than this discussion. Agreed? (Extending hand for shake.)
I'm not getting a lot, actually...which is why I fail so badly when I do have to turn people down. It's happened just a few times in my lifetime, and therefore I don't exactly have the knack!
But your advice is good, I think! ;-) Thanks!
well i am marrying a chinese woman
does that count
And that is a point that almost never gets mentioned in these threads.
Many of the Asian woman looking to marry American men are considered "unmarriageable" or have poor prospects within their own cultures for reasons that American culture does not share. Among the Asian women I know who married American guys, this is a common theme; the women marrying cross-culture are often not considered average/normal women for that culture. There are a lot of things that are considered detractors in Asian culture that are considered neutral or even attractive in American culture. Given this, it is easy to see why they might want to meet American men -- they want to sell themselves in the market where they have the most value.
Of course, this works both ways. Culture and marriage is a free market to a great extent. People naturally try to maximize their own value in that market.
The little gal in the sailor suit looks like she might be about to hit puberty!
You don't have to "chase her just to find out if she will slap a restraining order on" you ... you're taking things way further than I intended. If she's to that point, you're well beyond a determined suitor and into stalking territory. Don't go there; just move on.
But, as to jumping through hoops to win a woman's heart, including the "hoop" of facing down your own fear of rejection by maybe not taking a "just friends" putdown at face value ... yes, you will need to do that, so get used to it.
The "bridal test" theme -- the brave deeds the hero has to do to win the girl's heart -- is found all over literature. In fact, arguably, Christianity is a whole religion whose central theme is the hero (Jesus) suffering the bridal test (the Cross) to win his Bride (the Church).
I don't know much great literature off the top of my head, but I can give you three examples from the world of opera: Wagner's Meistersinger (the whole theme of the opera is a bridal test); Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung (two separate bridal tests for two couples in act I of Walkure and act III of Siegfried); and Puccini's Turandot (again, the bridal test is the whole theme of the opera, only this bride isn't just reluctant, she's positively deadly -- but finally folds under the relentless ardor of the hero).
Why is this literary motif so common? Because it's true! It's true at a level that's almost subconscious, sure, and some women (often liberal ones who are trying to deny their own nature) will deny it, but it's still true.
Look at what the women on this thread have already said. They admire Braveheart, not Caspar Milquetoast. You don't have to have 16-inch biceps or moviestar looks, you just have to show them you have the heart of a hero.
I don't care as much for Wagner (modern attention span does me in, I guess...), but Calaf is AWESOME! No wonder she finally give in!
Not to take this thread into a whole new direction and off topic...oops!
Another example is Mozart's Die Zauberflote...which I liked enough to name my cat after the prince.
I'm odd. Fun, too, I'd like to think...but odd. ;-)
That depends on whether you are hot or not....
Well, I'd like to deny it... I don't think there are many women who have their plan together well enough to put up hoops for a guy to jump through to for the sake of making a guy pass some heroic test. Not women who have reached the age of maturity.
That isn't to say that resistant hearts can't be won, sometimes they can... but I wouldn't get into the trap of thinking women, or men, have it all figured out and are playing a game for which only they know the rules, most of us are just doing the best we can do find and be good mates.