entertainment

Mika Mifune reflects on life with an older man

34 Comments

Actress Mika Mifune was the special guest at a preview screening for the British coming-of-age film, "An Education," in Tokyo on Wednesday night.

The story deals with a girl, about to turn 17, who starts a relationship with a much older man. It is based on an autobiography by journalist Lynn Barber. Mifune, 27, who married her musician husband Joji Takahashi, 51, when she was 16, was predictably asked her views on the subject by reporters.

"Being with an older man, you don't get treated like a child even at the age of 16, so I had to try my best to grow up," she said. "When we were dating, we always went out together with my mother. But the first time just the two of us had a date, Joji turned to me at Shibuya crossing and just out of nowhere said, 'Hey, why don't we get married?'

"When we married, people were saying 'You're too young, it's not going to work. It's just going to end in divorce.' So I thought I needed to grow up quickly, to become an adult. Of course, there was a big gap between my ideal of an adult woman and myself at that age."

Mifune said she could identify with the film's lead character of the schoolgirl Jenny (Carey Mulligan). "She became a very realistic, honest woman, and I feel like I really understand her. At that age, major events have a huge impact on your life. After meeting Joji, I learned to really respect people older than me, because they know more about the world than I do. Joji taught me that it's very important to cherish every moment."

Asked her impression of the movie, Mifune said, "At first, I thought it was going to be a cute movie, but it's actually very serious. It makes you think. I thought Carey would be a very pure, innocent type of girl. She reminded of what Audrey Hepburn must have been like at that age."

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34 Comments
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I walked past her the other day when she was filming... so I might be on TV (again) soon.

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I may be old fashioned, but somehow the idea of a 16 years old getting married with a 40 years old sounds uneasy to me. but that's their business and they seem to have a happy marriage, so all the best

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The story deals with a girl, about to turn 17, who starts a relationship with a much older man.

The Japanese title: Living the Dream... ;)

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If my daughter wanted to marry a 40 year old when she turns 16 I'd bounce him around the living room.........but when i'm 40 the thought of a 16 year old well umm....(sorry folks the poster has fallen into a trance with a smile on his face)!!!!

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Typical age difference for society where women can not climb social ladder in working environment or they are just lazy to work….

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Sorry, but regardless of how happy they are now this couple's story always sickens me. It's one thing to be attracted to a 16 year-old girl at the age of 40, but to act on it and pursue a relationship/marriage? That's absolutely NOT okay and is rather sickening if I'm being completely honest.

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If timeon is old fashioned, then I must be ancient fashioned. Plenty of our great-grandmas got married at 16. These two have been married for 11 years, more than most marriages make it these days. Great-grandma, Mika Mifune and the 300 pound gorilla in the room are tapping on your shoulder trying to tell you something.

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Well, the fact that people are staying together for 11 years doesn’t automatically means this couple is happy

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marushka, you mean like having a boyfriend at 16 whe he is 40 years old does not automatically mean something is wrong? Yeah, I too am all for looking at the facts rather than presuming based on how I personally feel about it, as if my feelings have anything to do with Joji Takahashi and Mika Mifune.

But I have not read anything about Mika complaining, or Joji for that matter. That combined with 11 years would seem to indicate that they are happy. But frankly, I do believe that the age difference does have a bearing on their marital stability. And I find it incredible how people just don't want to see it. They lament the soaring number of divorces, but don't want to have anything to do with possible solutions.

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marushka

Typical age difference for society where women can not climb social ladder in working environment or they are just lazy to work….

That's BS. My 16 year younger partner chose an older man because younger man are just too insecure and conservative too support the ambitions of a career woman. In the meanwhile (after 16 years together) she has a management position and her income is three times more than mine. She usually gets home at 11PM - no houswife waiting with food etc. in this household, which is fine with me, I do the household chores. Try that with a younger guy, say 25-35 years old, Japanese or foreign. According to my wife your chances would be close to zero.

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Lucky guy to have her. She's fine.

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quote My 16 year younger partner chose an older man because younger man are just too insecure unquote exactly what i meant...

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I've known several couples where the age difference was something like 15 or 20 years. Of course, it comes down to the two individuals, but these folks were happy as clams and a lot of fun. When it works, it works.

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"Mifune, 27, who married her musician-husband Joji Takahashi, 51, when she was 16"

Takahashi, now 62, is married to a hot 27-year-old. Hats off to this man!

Moderator: Takahashi is now 51.

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Sarge, he's 51 now, so he was 40 when they got married.

I agree with the posters praising this couple. If they're happy together, who are we to criticize them? I too know a fantastic old lady who married at 16; her husband was 30. They responsibly waited until she was 21 (and he 35) to start having children, and all six of their kids are smart and successful. I hope the same thing happens with these two.

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How does a 40 something year old man meet a 16 year old anyways? What type of interests do they share? They can't even go out and enjoy the night life. Don't see how that works out unless the guy is just after young girls. Overall, it just seems kinda creepy to me becuase an adult man doesn't share too many interests with a teenage girl. Not saying it's wrong to be attracted to a 16 year old girl, that's human nature. But I just can't wrap my head around what would make you want to marry one when they're both at oppisite stages in their lives.

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Squally there is actually no need for you to wrap your head around anything at all. People down on them don't seem to realize that. Just observe the results.

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I'm not saying shut it down, you're putting words in my mouth, I just don't see how it would begin in the first place unless the guy has ulterior motives.Seriously, a 40 year old man doesn't have much in common with a 16 year old girl. Hell, her mom went on dates with them, that's kidna sad. From a male point of view, if I were to start dating a 16 year old, it would not be for love but for lust or a piece on the side. We wouldn't have any common interests due to the age difference and there are things you couldn't do becuase she is so young. Hell, I couldn't even go to a nice resturant with her and enjoy a few drinks becuase not only can she not drink, but she can't even drive me home if I have a few.

I'm glad they've been married for 11 years, but I wouldn't be surprised if that girl regrets getting married at such a young age. Go ask most couples who got married at a young age and even the happy couples will probably express some sort of regret about getting married so young. Also, you don't know them personally, and neither do I, so she could be miserable and just lying about it. Not implying that is what's going on, but I wouldn't be surprised.

I'd imagine a marriage like this would last longer in Japan then in a western country. But that's only becuase of the social stigma surrounding divorce in Japan. Oh and the fact that Japan is a male dominated society adn women are often expected to fall into the "housewife" stereotype. No wonder my Japanese wife wanted to marry my loser gaijin butt:). But that's just my opinion, you don't have to agree with it, I could care less.

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For the record, I'm honestly happy that they have a successful marriage because the odds are stacked against them when you marry someone so young. I'm not trying to dictate what people should do, just expressing my opinion about a situation such as this.

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Oh and the fact that Japan is a male dominated society adn women are often expected to fall into the "housewife" stereotype.

No more so than the man being expected to fall into the "salaryman" stereotype.

Women live longer, have more avenues for self-expression, and have an easier time entering the traditionally-male world than their husbands would have doing the opposite. For every rich male executive, there are a hundred miserable drones commuting to soul-crushing jobs on those packed trains, you know! Fortunately for Jiro Mifune, he's in a field where this doesn't apply, which is probably one reason why young Mika was attracted to him.

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Squally: I'm not saying shut it down, you're putting words in my mouth,

I know you are not saying that, but your questions and doubts lead others there. You talk about what they have in common. Doesn't matter. Its how they match that matters. She can't drink? Come on. Could you get any more shallow than that? Mom went on dates? Yeah, at first. Chaperones are an age old and tested tradition. They are there to make sure guys are not just trying to get some lust on the side. Based on what you said, I would not want you dating my daughter at any age. You don't seem to understand anything about love. That is why I suggest you stop asking questions, because you don't even ask the right ones. Stop assuming, because you have no evidence that the odds are stacked against such a couple (but evidence was presented by others to suggest the opposite.) And stop assuming regrets that were never spoken. Just observe, because everything society planted in your head about such a relationship were just guesses on societies part. Close your ears and open your eyes.

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Just because you might not have much in common doesn't mean a couple can not get along extremely well. You can learn something from each other all the time and gain new experiences, etc., etc. Of course if this type of relationship is not for you, so what? Let others enjoy their lives. My own parents were vastly different, yet lived well together. We see all the time, couples who seemed like they were made for each other because they were so alike (and the same or around the same age) and what happens: separation or divorce. So, there's positive and negative to both types of relationships. There's no guarantees. Do whatever feels right for you.

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I didn't mean to say "positive and negative to both types of relationships." What I meant to say is that relationships between similar couples works for some and not for others. And relationships between dissimilar couples works for some and not for others.

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Shallow? It's not about just going out and getting drunk. It's about being able to enjoy your evening and sometimes that leads to having a few drinks. I'm talking about I want to go out for a nice evening to a fancy restaurant and have a beer with my food. I'm not talking about taking her out to get plastered and trying to get lucky. Shallow would be an adult male trying to date a high school girl who is immature and gullible, taking advantage of a young naive girl.

But that's awesome that you can say I don't know anything about love, when you know nothing about me. Hey weren't you chastising me for doing the very same thing to this couple? Hmmm pot calling the kettle black? Or do you have a thing for younger girls so you don't like seeing this couple get criticized?

Then there is the whole issue of different maturity levels and what not, but I'm preaching to deaf ears so I'm leaving this entire issue alone. Let's just say that if a 40 year old man ever came to my door and asked me to chaperon his date with my 16 year old daughter.........I'd be arrested for assault and my wife (who is Japanese) agrees that she would never let it happen.

LOL this whole argument is vaguely familiar and I'm not surprised. Seems a lot of the JT populace don't have a problem with adults males preying on immature high school girls. Reflection of Japanese society IMO, go to any adult store and you'll see it.

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that's fine marushka, when you're not working down there anymore and you're too old for sex enhancing drugs, your young sweetie will want to have an affair with me. this is where your plot will fail just give it time. haven't you seen kurutta kajitsu?

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i love these stories.

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Squally, this was obviously not the case of an adult male preying on an immature high school girl. My grandfather was 30 when he got married to my grandmother, who was 18. They were together their whole lives. Where do you draw the line?

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I'm not sure their case proves anything. I agree Mifune and Takahashi seem like good people and quite happily married. However, they originally met while filming a movie when Mifune was 14 and Takahashi was 38. I don't know where you draw the line at what constitutes an age-inappropriate relationship but I have to feel like that gets awfully close.

It worked out for them, great. But I would be uncomfortable presenting their case as some kind of presumptive evidence that 40-year old adults should be free from social scrutinty in pursuing romantic relationships with middle schoolers.

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kanerich said: I'm not sure their case proves anything.

How many more similar cases would you like? Nobody said anybody should be free from scrutiny. Even a 25 year old man can abuse a 25 year old woman and suspected abuse should always be scrutinized. But their case (and many others) prove that older men don't always abuse teenagers and such a relationship is not always detrimental. In fact, my research finds it to be downright beneficial! But if you listen to the TV or look at the law, you would think older men will abuse any teen they can or the teen will be "ruined", but Joji and Mika prove its just not true. Meanwhile, their beginnings are banned in many countries. Not scrutinized. Just plain banned.

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Do they have kids ? Otherwise why the need to marry,when they could have stayed boyfriend and girlfriend ?

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harmoneeikaiwa, legal age to marry is 16. Age of consent in all or almost all Japanese prefectures is 18. Simply dating a 16 year old when one is over 18 could land you in court. But why does anyone get married? Asking about kids is putting the cart before the horse. Most people get married before having kids you know. In fact, I have been told that that is the ideal or do you disagree? Why they did not make kids after marriage is anyone's guess. It could be a medical problem. It could be their choice. I know a lot of women who want to get married yesterday, but want to enjoy life without kids weighing them down until late 20s or more.

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Thon.. good post. I know tons of men that are drones, walking zombies while their wives giggle it up at starbucks.

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This always troubles me but not so much because of the age difference, although 24 years is pretty extreme. If she was 35 and he was 59, it wouldnt seem so bad, but at 16.....I dont know. Maybe she was an exceptional 16 year old but I would go with bouncing around the room any 40 year old that came after my 16 year old daughter.

Interesting though that her mum went out on dates with them! On the other hand, I guess that if you have a strong 16 year old, better compromise with her in the interests of protecting her and keeping your relationship strong, rather than risk her running off and getting married anyway by herself. Sounds like her Mum might have made the right decision.

God, I`m dreading the day my daughter turns 16 already! Only 10 years from now....

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I guess Mika has grown up to the same direction with her husband. It must not easy, but glad they made their 11 years.

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