View Full Version : The truth about marriage with a Japanese woman?
2002-12-10, 05:49 AM
I have a Japanese girlfriend, whom I would like to marry to one day in the future. Although I do want to raise a family, my main purpose of marrying my girlfriend will be because I love her more than anything in this world.
One thing which I wonder about though, is this concept of the Japanese marriage which seems to be evoked in a lot of posts that once married, the husband of a Japanese woman is simply expected to become the bread earner for his wife and their children, and all the love etc. which seemed to have built the relationship in the first place disappears completely (i.e. romance, even sex etc.).
While I do not want to stereotype and I am conscious that this happens in any relationship/marriage around the globe, I hear it more about Japanese marriages.
How true do you think this is? Am I a fool to even think about these issues? Anyone has had any experience on the topic?
2002-12-10, 08:05 AM
This world weary broadcaster is no misogynist but ALL WOMEN ARE AGENTS OF SATAN ASSUMING HUMAN FORM AS THEY WALK AMONG US ensnaring those of us who are dashing, debonair and suave with their beguiling charms.
Seriously though, your fears are well grounded. Marriage is a sh__tty institution. Kent has first hand experience from the jaws of hell itself. And I`ve seen it in many relationships. Many women want The Security Thing.
Of course if you love each other that much you can make it work. Just tell her all the stuff you typed in your post. She might just lie through her teeth to you and tell you what she thinks you want to hear but at least she`ll know your fears...
"One sausage in your hand is better than ten on the roof"
2002-12-12, 11:30 AM
some people do have genuine fears and worries in this world. So DO Shut up!
To the original post: Chris, you hear more about the Japanese marriage here because most people on this site who live in Japan and they experience the Japanese "lifestyle". If you go to any other site in the relationship section you will see postings about troubled marriage all around the world. So I do not think it's about the Japanese.
I am from Europe and I do work in Tokyo in a bank.( Yes! Mr Brockman I am a banker-W*nker). On average I do work about 12-14 hours a day but have done days where I go home just to have a shower and go back to work. For the time being I am single and have no kids but in the future if I want a family and want to spend some time with them I have to options 1) go back home to London-UK where we work less hours 2) If I stay here I have to find a less demanding career-imposible in Japan. BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY I CAN KEEP UP WITH MY MALE COLLEAGUES OF WORKING STUPID HOURS. I have notice this is the case more or less in Japan with Japanese women in executive positions. That's from what I can see happening in my own working environment.
Also, if you want to marry you should be prepared for any situation: Even if your partner makes enough money, there is always the posibility that she can lose her job. Do not depend on anyone and be ready to support a family if things go wrong. And that goes for both partners. That's what marriage is all about. Care and understanding.
Do talk to her and talk about what she thinks she sees herself doing in the future. If she starts talking about kids, house, coffee mornings and Louis Vuitton bags...then you have been warned. Best of luck and talk to her. Just do not marry thinking everything will be alright cause chances are, it won't. Been there, done that.
P.S. Mr Brockman, I am not a hippy-just eccentric. I suppose compare to you-I am just simple.
2002-12-12, 01:10 PM
Wait, wait wait, I was being serious! My advice was serious. IT WAS GOOD ADVICE. Without wishing to unduly wind you up, the subject of the thread is "The truth about marriage with a Japanese woman"? And you`re a... European woman? Kent Brockman has been married to a Japanese woman since roughly the DAWN OF TIME ITSELF. Not that that makes me any sort of authority. Women will always be an indecipherable riddle to this Loathsome Lothario.
2002-12-12, 02:26 PM
Ok, let me get this straight! What is the problem with me being a European? I do live in Japan and I do have Japanese girlfriends. I do see how difficult it is here for a woman to have a semi-decent career with the working hours they do here. Hence alot of them do not work after marriage and kids. I don't believe that all Japanese women all they want to do is stay at home, go shopping ad refuse sex just because they are married now. It's not as easy to work here as it is in Europe or US (cause I have worked there too!). I am not an expert but from I have gathered here in Gaijinpot threads is that "the Japanese woman tries to find a man to keep her in designer gear for the rest of her life". Well, in my humble opinion that is not always the case.
Are you still married Brockman or should I say Mr Gaspanic debaucher? By the way you don't look very old to have been married since the dawn of time!
2002-12-12, 02:44 PM
HOLY CRAP, you`re not serious about that terrifying photo are you? You don`t think that`s really me do you? That whole thread was joke! I`m 33 not 23.
I have no problem at all with you being a European woman. You told me to "SHUT UP" yet you have no experience being married to a Japanese woman? So how is your advice superior to what I posted?
"I am not an expert but from I have gathered here in Gaijinpot threads is that "the Japanese woman tries to find a man to keep her in designer gear for the rest of her life". Well, in my humble opinion that is not always the case".
-I agree! My long-suffering wife is a case in point.
too many posts... must shut... down compu___
2002-12-12, 03:01 PM
We said no swearing!
I was joking when I said you don't look old. You seem to take the ____ out of everyone. But I believe what I said before. That not all women are the same. No I haven't been married to a Japanese woman but I don't think my Japanese girlfriends are lying to me or my myopia is going through the roof than I can not see what is going on around me in my working enviroment.
Keep up the good work, I enjoy your threads. And by the way, I am very well brought up and extremely well educated so I do not swear and I do not tell people to shut up. Just for the record. Have to do some work.
About your thread Chris-
I'm working on a hypothesis about the intercultural marriage (or more specificaly Japan-American). There are legitimate cultural challenges that come up,but these can be eaisly overcome if you're serious. Perhaps the real danger lies in what we choose to be a problem. For example, if you settle in Japan, the environment is such that there will be more chances to cheat on your wife. But this is also because of other factors, i.e. no friends, no language, culture shock, transient gaijin crowd, etc. I think it kind of hyper-accelaerates issues that you have to face in yourself that you would normaly have a generous amount of time to deal with back home. A lot of marriages back home, and intercultural marriages, go belly up for 'standard' reasons -intercultural marriages just give you alot more things to blame it on. My $0.02
2002-12-12, 08:52 PM
"A man is only as faithful as his options" (Chris Rock)
Thought it was stupid when I first heard it. Now I`m a believer.
2002-12-12, 09:54 PM
Many of the asian-western intercultural marriages go belly-up as once the sex has stopped, there is nothing in common. Depending where the couple settle, one party usually fails to integrate into the local area, and when the tension rises, they have no outlets for it. Have seen 25 years of this since post-Vietnam era with Thais and Filipinas, to more modern times with Japanese and Chinese, to mention but a few.
When you add on language and communication, differences in education, social mores, culture, upbringing, extended family expectations and pressures, work and bureaucratic issues, diet, hygiene, housing, children: it is amazing that some relationships last as long as they do. Often it is one party who sacrifices themself for the sake of the relationship.
2002-12-14, 01:25 AM
Best of luck mate, whatever you decide. I think there is a particular truth to any stereotype, but it is never general. But some of the above comments do ring true--Chris Rock's keen observation for sure. Regardless of charm or looks, a western male has far more temptations in Japan--especially teachers sitting in little boxes with a hot young ladies. How often do high school girls show up on your doorstep in the west, or invite themselves over--in Japan any bloke can be Dicaprio. Then again, how many high school girls are prostituting themselves in the west. With so little to engage a young man, in terms of substance, what else is he to do but let his mind wander, and where the mind and imagination wander, so do the loins. That is perfectly natural--in such extreme circumstances. As with all cheating, it's all in the situations you put yourself in. In Japan that's the difficulty, locating yourself in a somewhat natural setting, where you're not loved or loathed simply for your visa stamp or skin color.
I'm a western male, married to a Japanese woman for one year this month. Since our marriage we have lived for 6 mo's in Japan, and now 6 mo's in my home country. I second the opinion above that stacks the deck against a successful intercultural marriage within Japan--the idea that the odds of success are far greater, for many of the reasons mentioned. I do feel that if you attempt to make a solid effort to integrate yourself in the society, learning the language and avoiding the typical gaijin crowds you will do ok, but that all depends on the girl. And we all know that a foreigner being truly accepted in Japan is a myth--it can never be. Individuals, my lovely in-laws, yes, but as a society, it will take decades more. My wife (we also dated for 2 & a half years pre marriage) has her own ambitions, so her becoming a housewife with no identity independent of her children or breadwinning hubby is never a risk. But this is especially true in a western country where such a woman's role is expected. Men of my generation may be temporarily enamored with a woman whose primary purpose is domestic upkeep, looking good, and being there for a little raburabu, but I think that ultimately loses its appeal. I personally can't respect the "Happy Day's" Mom--our cultural lens obsures our appreciation of any other society--objectivity is impossible.
As for marriage as an institution being invalid--I can respect that point of view. If my wife could have moved here without the marriage we might have opted against the step.
2002-12-16, 12:31 PM
Just interested in knowing what sex `Ophelia` is. In my humble opinion somebody with that name, even if only a nickname, is a female. So please tell us where you are coming from?
You mentioned you have had and have a Japanese girlfriend. Why would a man have such a pen-name? You`re a woman, aren`t you? So are you a gay woman irritated at men`s comments on this topic or a straight woman pretending to be a man to have an argument with some of the posters? Or do you swing both ways?
I don`t think Ophelia is a man. If you are a woman who has that kind of experience with Japanese women then maybe this is the wrong thread. It`s about marriage between men and women!
2002-12-16, 02:16 PM
Not wanting to answer for Ophelia, but when i read her comments, i got the impression that she has conversations with her japanese female friends, and they talk about their marriages and relationships, and that her understanding of what her friends say is different to the general feeling you get from reading the threads in here, where the men either glory in how easy it is to get a girlfriend and how much easier they are to get along with (as opposed to foreign women) and then on the other hand complain about how (or in other cases seek to understand why) their girlfriend/wife now wont have sex with them and just sees them as the financial provider for their shopping lifestyle. The original poster is looking for more information and trying to avoid stereotypes, and as a foreign woman working with and talking with japanese women, she surely gets different information to what a foreign man generally gets. I think she was trying to show that the women she knows generally dont confirm the stereotype. And Chris asked for anyone's experience....
My foreign male friends (3 of them) who have married Japanese women have not experienced the kind of problems that Chris described, but two of them have had problems with their wives becoming extremely jealous of anything/anyone outside the marriage, and consequently trying to limit their activities with other people. I have lost those two guys as friends now, because their wives refuse to accept that i, and all of their other friends male and female, are not a threat to their marriage. Im not sure how to deal with this. The thing is, it happens with my japanese male friends too.
Anyone else had this experience?
2002-12-16, 03:58 PM
Perhaps Ophelia has been watching those extraordinary American talk shows on which women with (randomly?) punctuated forenames exchange insults and sometimes, excitingly, blows. Sometimes female audience members will call female guests 'girlfriend' in their shouted comments from the floor. Below is an example of how this might happen.
[Guest] Sha'nua: "If he wuz ma husben, aah'd tell him to haul his sorry ___. I telled ma man: you beat, you cheat, you hit the street".
Amply proportioned member of studio audience: "You go, girlfriend!"
Unless I've wildly misread the dynamic of these exchanges this is an expression of support, and of female solidarity, and implies no (existing or hoped for) lesbian relationship between the two parties.
2002-12-16, 07:12 PM
EXCUSE ME? Now, honestly are you serious? You think that I have the opinions I have because you think I am gay? Or just for the reasons of female solidarity? I was just stating the facts that I know! The facts that I have to deal with on everyday basis. I do not know many women in Japan except my female friends so I cannot say that what I know represents the opinion of the entire female Japanese population. It's just obvious to women on- at least-my profession that having a career and a family it's not possible. Most of them stop work when they have kids. I do not think you can work 12-14 hours a day and raise a kid at the same time, now do you?
Another question: If Japanese women are that bad and devious and two-faced until you marry them, so why do you continue coming here in Japan, chasing after them non-stop and then marrying them? Why don't you pick a western woman with opinions and plans to continue work after marriage and having kids? We are not all tall and fat and ugly and badly dressed! Now, tell me.
2002-12-16, 07:55 PM
Sweet Ophelia, i think you might have to read Osakan's post again in a calmer state of mind...
Leave her alone folks, we've stressed her out!
Definately agree that a careerminded woman is going to have a hard time of it here, and if she wants to have a family too... damn near impossible! Even you guys should be able to see that. So if your girlfriend is thinking/assuming that shes gonna give up working once you get hitched, or at least once the kids come along, that would surely be a reasonable and fair assumption, given the cultural conditions. And cultural expectations are hard to change. She may never have really thought about working after marrying as a reality....
2002-12-16, 08:03 PM
Thank you Jotty!
you know what I mean!
Also, I am not stressed out, Mr Brockman can vouch for that!
I did read the email of Mr Osakan again and he did imply something about lesbian relationship...etc. Jerry Spinger, etc...
As I have said before that is my opinion.
2002-12-16, 08:16 PM
I'm sorry if I unwittingly upset you. As Jotty suggested, please re-read my post. I did NOT imply that you were a lesbian. If anything, I did the contrary: I gave the confused Raymond Fennell an example of how a woman can these days refer to another woman as [her] girlfriend without this implying any sexual relationship between them.
There is of course nothing wrong with being a lesbian (though I wouldn't want a child of mine to marry one).
2002-12-16, 09:12 PM
OK, to all the people I have offended today. I am sorry! Osakan while I was scrolling down I did miss the Fennell bloke email and went straight to yours.
Jotty, you ABSOLUTELY UNDERSTOOD MY POINT! I was telling Chris that not everything is black and white. I just gave him an opinion from the "other" side.
Mr Fennell and indeed what a funny name! I am a female. I am English of Italian origins. Ophelia is my REAL name. It's from Shakespear's Hamlet and my parents thought it was a cool name. I am currently working and living in Japan. I do not find the need to have a nickname or assume false identity. Also, I am not a lesbian (and considering males like you. I wish I was!) or swing both ways. I am just lucky that I have been accepted and have Japanese friends that share their thoughts, worries and hapiness with me.
If ther is anything wrong with that well... there is so much I can do!
2002-12-18, 05:39 AM
Why dont you make your own Ophelia's rant page? It seems that you always manage to spam a thread with yourself, always about you Ophelia isn't it? (BTW it is a cool name) Cheers from Auckland ___ Hats!
2002-12-18, 01:37 PM
Hello to you too JAFA-Auckland ___ Hats.
Unfortunately, I do not feel the need to start my own rant thread but when people are question me, well I have to answer back! It's the Italian in me.
Regards and have a good day!
2003-01-01, 02:03 AM
Ophelia why not drop me a mail and let's talk. Osakan you're a riot dude.
Re the thread theme, I think marriage is a gamble to begin with. But the greater the number of differences, the tougher the struggle to make it work. If we had our choice, maybe we would custom design our spouse with fewer linguistic and cultural differences, but we can't so we marry people with whom we may have less in common, but for whom we think we feel greater love. I guess we gamble that our greater love will outweigh the greater challenge in making things work. Time tells us if we win or lose the bet.
We live in hope, but I think the downside we take on if a marriage fails is huge, not least for any kids, and perhaps not something we evaluate fully when we are starry-eyed and coo-cooing. And yeah, watch out for the "ok we're married so now I'm going to give up work and spend your money" syndrome.
Good luck to all
Italian women and Japanese women are very much alike....
One gets married has kids stays at home and never has sex
The other gets married stuffs her face full of pasta and grows a uni-brow...
2003-01-14, 10:58 PM
Jon, that was frikkin funny. I almost chucked my dinner after reading that.
2003-01-15, 07:30 PM
How does she grow a uni-brow, when she's already got one?!?
2003-01-15, 11:05 PM
I am wearing a leg of my trouser rolled up to my knee becase i am a bad muther.
2003-01-15, 11:34 PM
It should be pointed out that unibrow's come in all thicknesses. A pencil unibrow can certainly be grown into a Brezhnev-style 'dead caterpillar' unibrow over time. This dastardly trick is allegedly practiced by Italian chicks...
2003-01-15, 11:53 PM
Kent`s Kantankerous Kountenance Krinkles then Krumbles... he is konfused. Could one of you "ELT" types please distinguish "unibrow" from "monobrow". Without such a delineation this thread may never move closer to resolving "the truth about marriage with a Japanese woman".
Technically I am not on the internet and this post never happened.
2003-01-16, 03:13 PM
Welcome back, "Shadow Kent" ... while we mourn the loss of the real Kent Brockman, we can certainly do with some light cheer from his alter ego :)
2003-01-17, 06:39 PM
Hello everyone and have a good new year!
Just for the record.
I don`t believe Japanese women and Italian women are the same. Usually due to genetics Italian women have bigger breast and backsides. Also, Italians are more aware of their sexuality than Japanese are. Italians don`t do "cute" like Japanese do. I am of Italian origins but I was born and bred in UK. My monobrow is carefully plucked to oblivion while I stear clear of pasta in case I lose my supermodel looks.
I did read finance in a top university in UK, followed by a masters degree in an Ivy League university in US hence my overpaid good job and luxury flat in Tokyo. I have no intention of giving up my job because first of all, it gives me the oportunity to feed my habits of designer shoes and handbags that no male in this world would be able to do afford.
Mr Brockman, I was so upset that you had left that I though there was no point continuing here. But you are back!
2003-01-17, 07:23 PM
i think you are a little full of yourself ophelia
2003-01-17, 08:32 PM
It`s a shame people can`t see the joke in my answer really!
2003-01-17, 08:43 PM
an idle back to the middle part of this thread might persuade you that point-missing is a forgivable fault, no?
2003-01-17, 09:55 PM
John Morgan said "Women are the Germans of humour". Who is John Morgan? I do not know. Ophelia, ignore John Morgan and Dr Nic Riviera. English is not the good Doctor`s native tongue therefore your satirical post cleared his head with an alarming amount of daylight to spare.
Coin-Operated-Clown? Osakan, welcome back to THE LAST REFUGE OF THE DAMNED. I`m making concerted hernia-inducing efforts to get away from this sticky world web web. You see if I don`t! GUYUUHUUHAAAAAAAAAAA.
2003-01-18, 04:45 PM
Gee, how long did the new year's resolution of your's last: five, maybe six days? Classic. Did anyone out there really believe this clown has anything better to do with his time than constantly, inanely post dribble day in and out? World is a free place though and good luck with your ... whatever you want to call it.
2003-01-25, 03:12 AM
Forget the New Years resolution. Take care of your business and then stay up later, if you have to, because your witty and intelligent posts are most welcome.
2003-01-28, 01:58 AM
Unibrow vs monobrow - the debate continues!
2003-01-28, 11:14 PM
It would be not entirely untrue to say that Kent Brockman has savoured the local fruit. And to you I say this- THE FRUIT IS POISON. STAY AWAY FROM THE FRUIT.
They may glisten in the sun, moist and shiny with the fragrance of... of.. fragrant little... shiny... shapely thingies. Their eyelashes may flutter and billow like the fresh and gay fields of wheat billowing under the golden Chiba sun... But after marriage behind the closed doors of the Asian balsa wood hovel abodes they morph into their true form... INSECT OVERLORDS.
Well, for the continuation of our species we must welcome our new insect overlords. And it shall become my civic duty to help them select the more sturdy, thimble-minded among us (you, you) to get to work on their underground sugar caves.
2003-02-01, 09:00 PM
The key to any marriage is communication. It is needed much more in an intercultural relationship. Make sure beyond any doubt that both of you know how the other feels, not just about getting married, but about so many other things. Right now, the puppy love and/or hormones are probably stronger than the desires to look at all of the details of a long-term complex relationship such as yours.
Kids. Do you both want them? How many? How soon? How will they be disciplined? What language(s) will they speak? What eventual citizenship with they have? What will their religious upbringing be? Will they have non-Japanese first names? How will they speak to each grandparent set (English/Japanese)?
Careers. Will you both have them? If she wants to quit, will she want to return to one? How do you feel about being the sole breadwinner? Does she know this? What can you afford to pay for while she's at home (hobbies, that is)? Do you want to work in Japan or your home country? How will you handle finances? Pension plans? IRAs? Children's education costs?
Home. Do you both want to live in Japan or your home country? Is a house on the horizon, or will you be satisfied with an apartment? What about living with her parents? What about taking care of her parents when they become too feeble? What type of furnishings do you both want, both short-term and long-term?
Relationship. How do you both deal with conflicts? Is she really telling you everything she feels, or is she still at that stage where she keeps it inside, like most Japanese, for fear of losing you? How are you both going to deal with life in Japan when you work a million hours a week and hardly see her (and the kids)? What alternatives do you have? How much of each other's language are you going to feel comfortable learning? Have you discussed naturalization to become a citizen of each other's country?
I suggest reading Intercultural Marriage. Promises and Pitfalls, by Dugan Romano (Intercultural Press). There's so much more to marriage than losing sex a short time after the vows are spoken.
2003-02-20, 11:29 AM
Be very specific and up front about EVERYTHING.After only 8 months I have a big problem.Although I love my wife very much I have become second string to everything.Work,friends,fun,family,free time etc.all take precedence over me ALL the time.I want her to have all of the above in her life and I most definetely do not want to be possessive or controling but I want to be No.1 for only 5 minutes a day.Romance,communication,sex has all but disappeared.I constantly try to start conversations in the hope of creating an interesting or romantic emvironment only to be ignored.Sex is secondary--I will make the most of it if it comes but I never,ever push it.
Am now considering divorce but it breaks my heart to think of it.
I seek advice from female friends and even ex girlfriends and try all the tender techniques they suggest but it is all to no avail.Am I alone?Is mine a special case or is this common.
I sincerely wish you all the best and I hope you are as happy as I hope(d)to be.
P.S.Maybe you could show your girlfriend this message.
2003-02-20, 07:47 PM
I felt very much like you described in your message.
I am not in your shoes, and I hope you can solve the issue in a positive way (with a positive outcome).
In my case after a few months it happened something similar and things began to get sour. I almost left the country first, but things got a little better.
Eventually after little over 2 years... pang!!!
I decided to part ways... there was no way that either of us would compromise.
And I don't have to be deprived from sex for the rest of my life JUST BECAUSE anymore... People make choices and I had to make one.
It has been a very painful time... very painful, but I think I will experience a romantic rebirth.
As I said: this was my case.
I wish you good luck... and you are not alone.
2003-02-20, 08:48 PM
good posts in the main, and yes, lots of what has been said is pretty accurate.
but, is it really the J factor, or is it the normal fall out that is causing this. Seriously, how many of yopu would have been thru this in your own country, but would have put a different spin on the reasons.... i would probably put myslef in the other side - as in it is because my wife is Japanese that we survived. I very much doubt a non J would have put up with me long enough to get to a point where we are happy.
just my two cents worth, but I would be very interested in hearing the (serious) replies...
2003-02-20, 08:59 PM
You made the crucial point that ....is it japan or would it have happaned at home ? So hard to speculate. Certainly there is a stereotypical sex-pat male all over Asia who came here because he head that men wear the trousers in the marriages ' no more of that liberated western woman crap for me'......And why not ? Maybe some women want to dote on their husbands and cook and clean for them , put up with their rubbish.
Divorce is on the rise everywhere, possibly because of our desire for freedom and our refusal as over-indulged human beings to compromise or Gamman...marriaga takes alot of work and is not a given anymore. How many people harbour awkward doubts when they say "Till death us do part" at the altar I wonder ? By the same token, I think Internat. marriages are even harder because of "言葉の壁”.
Some of my Japanese colleagues over here in lovely London, who have witnessed their compatriots go through bitter divorces with their English spouses, say that some Japanese women feel marriage with a Gwailo is the yardstick of having 'made it', arriving in the International age. They then discover that they are not compatible, and regretably give up. Just one point of view. All marriages have the possibility to work as i am sure some of you reading Gaijinpot will testify.
2003-02-21, 03:26 AM
I think there is a big factor involved and that is the A-factor, or rather the filial peity (spelling?) factor... I was aware of this from an academic point of view and how the children of parents will take care of them when they get older and so on and so forth. but I never really begun to understand it till now. I am in a relationship with a Japanese woman and have not decided to become more serious yet. From what Ive read here and how she sometimes behaves, I can see that if I were to marry here some time in the future I would end up in a similar situation to what some of you have or are experiencing.
She feels so totally obligated to her family, her friends, her job, her children (should she have any) that the close realtionship that I think should exist between a husband and wife just isnt in her grand scheme of things, and she cannot understand this bone of contention, for her its the natural order of things.
I have seen this is in another girlfriends from Taiwan, she was so caught up in filial peity that she was essentially living her parents life through her!
from what 'guys' said about her taking a lot of @!#$ from him, I can see that being possible because to her, he isint Number 1 in her life, she can afford to take it because he is fufilling an important role (meat in clothes)... this is just sepculation and I know that it must be possible to find someone you can connect with.
Lets continue this, there are some really interesting observations here, its almost like this thread is a battered male gaijin support group =) I wonder how gaijin women in realtionships with Japanese men fair?
2003-02-21, 04:11 AM
You are right about Filial Piety - there is an expression in Japanese
「スープーが冷めない距離に住む」 meaning, as you can all see, living within distance that the soup doesn't cool down - so really just around the corner from your old folks. Some are perhaps more concerned about it than others of course - the eldest son has to take charge (I think thats right ? ) so if you are going out with the youngest daughter / son you are OK because the onus is not on them to take responsibility.
But, isn;t it great that we, as foreigners interested in Japan, can avoid conflict and argument and ultimatley disillusionment with partners by being empathetic, trying to see things as they are without injecting cultural prejudices. I would stake a months wages ( about &pound;400 then) that there is a Japanese fourm going on in cyberspace right now where Japanese women living in London / L.A/ Stockholm / La Paz or wherever, begging advice from mates back home about how to handle their new spouse. There will be issues equally as confusing and detrimental to their respective relationships as this 親孝行 can be to us Gwailo in Japan. My partner is Japanese and we are happy in the UK, but partner's parents are soon reaching retirement and the inevitable crawl towards the end...so If we stay together we will have to go to Japan -partner is the eldest sibling. ....empathy can save the world my friends.
2003-02-21, 10:20 AM
I'm not sure about filial piety being a factor here. When a Japanese woman marries, she is supposed to leave her own family and join her husband's family. It's really not comparable to other Asian countries like Taiwan, where women keep their maiden names and remain close to their own families.
Poor Reggie's wife is putting not just family but work, friends, fun, and free time ahead of him. So I think we need to go a bit beyond the stale information we learned in our Asian Studies classes when we analyze his situation.
2003-02-21, 01:28 PM
Smallworld I think that what you learnt and what I did might be a little different... filial peity on the face of it would seem to point to, as you say the parents... however it is also linked to other Bhuddist (or is that Confucionist?) tenents of respect for the Emperor (of govenment), your father, your mother, your husband (if your female) and then your children are supposed to repect you. It includes your boss and other people... so you see that respect for your husband comes in a little way down the list on this.
Filial peity might not be the entire root here smallworld but I think your understanding of it might be a little limited (as is mine)....
Also, another note is that there seems to be an undercurrent of negative feelings towards japanese men. Women complain that they are more in love with their jobs than their family.. perhaps not having so much time to be a family, has caused the minds of young women to feel that it isnt worth the energy to make an effort on what they may think is a lost cause.
I think what a lot of these guys are wanting from their gf's and wives is to be treated as Number 1, as they probably would be treated in their own country, (or they would in New Zealand), but their wives are just on a totally different wavelength... Nam A'mono said that their needs to be some empathy happening, but it may need to come from both sides.. I think that if a foriegn guy can make it really apparent that he is devoted to taking care of her family (be she the oldest or youngest) then perhaps it may alleviate some of the stress on the other side?
Why do these spouses have such a change in behaviour? What is the common linking factor? Its proabably the $64,000 question.
2003-02-21, 05:48 PM
'Smallworld I think that what you learnt and what I did might be a little different..'
Sorry, I was being a bit facetious there. I haven't actually done Asian Studies, but it's often easy to spot people who have :)
'filial peity on the face of it would seem to point to, as you say the parents... however it is also linked to other Bhuddist (or is that Confucionist?) tenents of respect for the Emperor (of govenment), your father, your mother, your husband (if your female) and then your children are supposed to repect you. It includes your boss and other people... so you see that respect for your husband comes in a little way down the list on this.'
I don't think so. A married woman is suposed hold her husband and his family above everything and everyone else (until kids come along, then they're up there too). Old ideas like respecting the emperor or the husband's boss etc. above one's own family have pretty much died out (and may never have had much following anyway), but many brides continue to leave their real families behind and join their new husbands' families, especially in the country and especially when marrying a chonan. Sure, some younger couples don't bother with this, and there is the odd 'Masao' who joins his wife's family and takes her name, but brides leaving their families is still the rule.
So at least in Reggies case, filial piety is not a factor.
'Also, another note is that there seems to be an undercurrent of negative feelings towards japanese men.'
Do you mean amoung Japanese women? I'm not sure how that relates to Reggie.
2003-02-24, 08:32 AM
Yes it is!!! Be Afraid,BE VERY AFRAID!!!!1
2003-04-08, 12:28 AM
I never did Asian studies but can easily spot people who have - Smallworld can you confirm that this is what you meant to say ?
Don't have that course in UK universities. Has something on filial piety does it ?
2003-06-15, 02:38 AM
Man. I used to joke about threads going awry to my 'new to the web' mates!
Hope this one hasn't died yet.
(PS I'm here because I want to learn about the bl**dy thread title! Being new to Japan)
You need to know that post marital semicelibacy is universal: all women are like that. Once the vows are taken the sex flies out the window. It's the same the world over. Turn toward religion and give up this pursuit of meaningless sensuality.
...or get a girlfriend (or 10)
2003-07-09, 07:24 AM
In my humble opinion: I have experienced as much cultural clash in a marriage with someone from a neighboring country (one I grew up in nonetheless), than with boyfriends from the other side of the world.
Though I've never been actually married to someone from a COMPLETELY different culture, somewhat paradoxically I have found more mutual tolerance in relationships with people from another continent, precisely because we were both mentally PREPARED for cultural differences and therefore more ready to accept them: not the case with someone who grew up in the same town and you expect to be culturally akin to....
Jon, you've obviously never been to Italy, my mother is Italian and when I was in my teens, people (Brits, Americans...) were still asking if she was my big sister, and she's 26 years older than me....