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
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.
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.