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
My daughter won a "goldfish" at a fair. I tried to give it to two kids on the way out. She started to wail. I once had 150 gal, 40 gal, 20 gal, 10 gal and a 5 gal feeder tank. Consider myself "cured" of aquariums.
We brought it home, and I put it in a glass figuring it'll be dead tomorrow. It wasn't. A week. No luck. Daughter whining... get my fish a bowl. We did. Figured it would certainly die now. Nope. We named it "Flush". Finally bought some food after another week or so. She got a 5 gallon aquarium as a gift with Pebbles and Bambam on the bottom. I figured NOW it'll die. No luck. So, we bought some more goldfish for "company" for Flush. They died. Took some water down to the fish store for analysis and bought proper chemicals. Went home and dumped the water. Filled it back up. Added chemicals. Out from under the rock comes Flush. hmmmm.... Bought neons. They died. Water out. Water in. Chemicals. Flush appears. Started getting suspicious. This time I bought a siamese fighting fish and a newt. They died. Big hunks out of the newt. Siamese fighting fish's fins in shreds. Took a good look at Flush the Goldfish. Went online. Ever hear of a Demon Fish? Earth Eater?
We fed him worms and the yearly Christmas goldfish.... Flush lived to a ripe old 5 years old all alone in the aquarium. I figured if I ever got mad at anyone and killed them, I had only to stuff the body into the aquarium.... Flush would take care of the rest. Guess what happened to Flush the Fish.
Dude... I am not in the market for asian women.
It makes for good literature, though.
Like good ol' father-in-law Elrond...you must conquer the worst bad guy the world has ever known and reclaim your kingship...then I'll kinda sorta think about letting you have my daughter, but it may take me awhile to think about it, and oh by the way, I'm gonna live forever, so if it takes me toooooo long, you won't have a chance with her, will ya?
Though that's a rather extreme example.
Oh, but you're misunderstanding me. I'm not at all saying that it's a game that people play consciously or intentionally. Something that's so deeply rooted in the human psyche that it's all over literature isn't a mere "game" that people deliberately "play". It's much deeper than that.
And I'm not saying that everyone "plays" it at all, so you may be an exception to the rule. Or not.
And the reason it makes for good literature is precisely that it strikes a chord deep within the human heart ... or deep within many hearts, at any rate.
Oh, come on now, Hair! That one is pretty cute in a breastless sort of twiggy kind of way! The hubby won't mind! hhehehhheee.....
Expect Bertha's kin to depend on you for handouts, but it could be worse....they could all descend on you and expect to live with you.
It happened to someone we know, married one of those Ukrainian
mail order brides and now he has a houseful of Ukrainians.
They're her family! And he's supporting the whole bunch.
Even Adam had to give up a rib! ;-)
Someone whose music I really enjoy said something to the effect that there is only one tune in the music of Ireland and Scotland...but luckily it's a really, really good tune. To an extent, there are a limited number of stories...but they are ones that really touch us deeply! It's very interesting, I think.
OK, good one....
Demon fish! Girl, you were cruisin' for trouble.
I have way too many tanks too, but it is an addiction, what can I say......Right now, I am force feeding a Pacu and fretting over the oscar. And they are my least favorites.
To me, that is the most deadly thing that can happen. Any game playing, any manipulation, anything that is the least bit not honest and the relationship is doomed. Ok, maybe just for me, but believing in fairy tales is what got me into this mess ;)
Everyone has that perspective in the abstract. They try and find the best mate they can obtain given a laundry list of criteria and priorities under the circumstances they find themselves in. Most people do not think about it explicitly like this, but subconsciously it is how we choose mates, and we are wired to have little difficulty "falling in love" when we do find a reasonable match.
Not that long ago, marriage explicitly had relatively little to do with the modern notion of romantic love and more to do with finding a good match as determined by society to a great extent and to a lesser extent personal preference, the notion being that love would come later if the match was reasonable without too much effort. Nothing has changed, but modern culture has increasingly developed this nouveau modern fairytale conception of what marriage is that almost completely ignores the underlying themes of the ages that were a part of marriage for a reason. The problem is not with love per se, but with the shallow understanding of its relationship to marriage.
When you look for a mate in a market where you will have more value, it generally follows that the mate you find will value you more. It is more complicated than just "falling in love" -- more the symptom than the "disease" -- people need to feel and be valued in a relationship for it to work. This inevitably leads to what are effectively "markets" in the search for marriage. I don't think many people view it literally in this way (including myself), but it is the dynamic of the system.
Ok, a question on the male "just be friends" bit. Isn't it possible that a girl could like and respect someone, and not see him as a marriage partner? I have a number of male acquantainces that I like and respect and enjoy spending time with, but wouldn't marry because they don't share my values. If one of them asked me on a date, how am I supposed to say "I value your company but there's no chance of 'us'" without kicking him in the junk?
I can't possibly see making a guy jump through hoops. Unless I explicitly state the hoops. "Want to marry me? Well... you're going to have to get Daddy's permission first... *bat my eyelashes innocently*". But that's a different matter, I think...
Yeah, that was more or less what I was getting at, but you stated it better. (As usual!)
I don't always wear my faith on my sleeve - I don't hide it or anything, but people that I don't know through church or through something like this don't necessarily know my beliefs and values. And if someone who I know doesn't share any of the same beliefs and values asks me if I'd like to go out...and I know it's not gonna go anywhere...isn't it kinder to say something in the general vein of the "just be friends" line than it would be to lead him on?
Ugh...that makes me sound like such a snob, but hopefully makes sense.
She sort of reminds me of that "Go-Go" chick from the movie "Kill Bill."
Be afraid... Be very afraid!!!
Just a lot more expensive, and they take a lot longer to house-train!
I've got a 'thing' for her. It's very wrong. I'll bet she talks dirty--through that crooked smile....
Well said, and I'm sure you want to leave it at that.
This has nothing to do with a green card.
We already had a thread on that a couple years ago and it went up to thousands of posts, I think.
of = or
Oh, OK, so you lied. LOL
Most cultural stats aren't gathered by a census, but I'll concede you found an exception to my generalization that most cultural information is going to come to us in the form of generalizations.
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.)
But that really only works for someone who has some concept of how important religion is. If they don't care, it seems like an excuse... bah. This stuff is too complicated.
If they think it is an excuse you are no worse off than before. You are not responsible for their reaction as long as you were level with them.
Yeah, but then they'll come on FreeRepublic and whine about how evil and cruel American women are!
Sigh. I thought I had things all figured out when I was fifteen, but then it got really complicated and I haven't met a nice guy, in real life, who wasn't already married/dating/otherwise ineligible since. Which hasn't been that long, I admit, but it's not like college was an alternative to early marriage, for me.
Can I dress you up like "Ami" from "The Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi Cartoon"?
I've definitely got a 'thing' for the Japanese 'Elegant Gothic Lolita' fashion trend.
The Japanese are such gastronomic and sexual perverts--I applaud them.
But that really only works for someone who has some concept of how important religion is. If they don't care, it seems like an excuse
That's not your problem, though. You've told them your reason, and it's a sincere one. If he knows you at all, he knows your faith really is important to you.
As far as a guy is concerned, that beats the heck out of "I don't feel that way about you and just want to be friends" leaving him to wonder ... is it that mole on his chin ... does he have bad breath ... did you overhear him belch after lunch ... are you really sincere or just making him put in some effort to prove he's for real ... or is it ... or maybe ... then again, it could be ...
I could picture her with Donald Trump --- they wouldn't have much time for each other because they have to spend a lot of time on their silly shows.
You laugh, but (Catholic theologian) Scott Hahn makes the (admittedly controversial) argument that the narrative of the Fall is essentially one of a bridal test ... which Adam failed, essentially by not telling Satan to butt out and leave Eve alone. Adam, Hahn's argument goes, was afraid of death (since preternatural immortality consisted of the possibility of not dying, not the impossibility of dying) and failed to support his bride against the threat.
Hence the need for the true hero to come along, pass the bridal test on Calvary, and conquer death by rising on Easter morning.
Maybe it's wrong, but it's still intriguing. :-)
My 2 cents for the guys...
If you see a girl you are interested in then go and tell her that. In whatever manner is best for you. "Hey I really find you atrractive and would like to get to know you better." to "you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and I just had to come over and talk to you."
Be engaging, show a real interest in her, tell her what you think of her, tell her how she makes you feel, "just wanted to say thanks for brightening up my day."
Ask her a thousand questions. What's your favorite food or drink or flower or vacation destination or play of movie or band...etc.
My goodness man go and talk to her. Just the simple act of talking to her shows that you are interested and you can tell rather quickly how she feels about your interest in her.
Don't be afraid to say exactly what you are thinking as long as it makes her feel good about herself. Tell her she is beautiful or smart or funny or charming. Tell her why it is you decided you just had to come over and talk to her.
The thing is that the world is getting more and more mixed -- I live in Brighton, south of England and the odds are that a couple is of mixed ethnicity -- same ethnic background couples are the odd ones out!
well, not exactly -- and those generalisations don't work either way. The thing is that guys still want to marry a Lady -- and that doesn't mean she should stay at home and not have a job or anthing, it's just that in demeanour, in manner etc. she should be a lady. If one wanted to be with a person who'd burp and scratch, one could hang around with the boys, but a lady is different. Again, there are many successful career women who are still very feminine (and again, I'm not talking just beauty here)
Gotta agree to some extent -- I really disagree with the entire free-love, live-in, quickie-divorce-if-you-have-one-argument kind of life. But then again, I'm not married and seem to spend most of my life en transit, so can't really say how difficult it could be!
*sigh* Which is what I ended up doing, after he called back all het up and asking for the real reason. And then he got upset with me for being "judgemental" - took it personally. But I think I did the best I could.
To be honest, because I won't date someone who isn't a potential marriage partner (and I try to be fairly open minded there...), I don't date much. And therefore...I almost think this guy thought I'd jump at the chance to go out with anyone - though it was just that no one had noticed me and I was probably desperate for a date.
Annnnnyway...didn't mean to go on so much about this! Ya know...sometimes it amazes me that men and wimmin are able to get along at all. ;-)
Yes, it is!
Was that in a book of Hahn's? I've read a little of his writing, but not a lot.