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Centenarians aren't the only ones disappearing

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There’s much talk lately about missing centenarians – 281 as of mid-August, people aged 100 or more who, suddenly discovered not to be where they were officially domiciled, may be anywhere for all anyone knows, or nowhere – dead.

Somehow missing people in their 60s and 70s get very little attention, but there are plenty of them too, says Shukan Post (Sept 3). The magazine gives no numbers, except 60/40 – the ratio among the missing “young elderly” of men to women. But an NPO involved in the search for missing persons has enough anecdotes at hand to suggest that the problem is very real.

“In the case of the missing men,” says Sakae Furuuchi, the NPO’s director-general, “it’s most often a matter of job stress or money worries. With women, though, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it’s a romantic entanglement.”

Not always, of course. A certain “Ms C,” for example, seems to have been “spirited away.” She and her husband are pensioners in their 70s, and one day she simply vanished. Her wallet and bank book were in the house. A home security camera recorded her leaving with only a handbag. A friend suggested she had probably gone to Kyoto to be with others who shared her religious faith – what faith is not specified. So the investigation shifted to Kyoto, but so far has turned up nothing.

More typical is the case of “Mr A,” who, just shy of 60, was looking forward to his pending retirement. Free at last, he thought. “We’ll go on trips, have a good time...” But with just a few months of office grind left in his life, he came home one evening to find his wife gone. That was the first shock. The second was that she had raided his bank account.

“We were a couple in name only,” is what Ms A told Furuuchi. “I never got a word out of him.”

She appears to be one of many who, once found, are deaf to any persuasion to return home.

“Mr B,” too, experienced the shock of coming home one day to an empty house. He and his wife are both in their 60s. He was still working, having found a post-retirement job. The wife was sought, and found. She had taken up residence at a mountain hot spring, where it seems she and her lover meet two or three times a week.

“They worked for the same company,” Furuuchi says. “Ms B began to fear that her husband was on to them. Thus her sudden departure.”

The common thread among many of the women,Furuuchi explains to Shukan Post, “is a feeling, intensifying as they grow older, of being in a stifling environment with no one to associate with except husband and relatives.”

It’s never too late to discover that there’s a great big world out there awaiting those venturesome enough to plunge into it.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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It's got to be incredibly tough being a traditional woman in Japan. When you're young you think the whole world is your oyster. You get all kinds of attention from men, with the right behavior you get whatever you want.

But then you get married, and stuck into a family, kids grow up and either move out, or worse, never leave, and you are trapped. No hope of the future, no respite from the constant demands of Japanese men who seem to never grow up and act like spoiled children their whole lives.

It's a wonder they all don't disappear past the age of sixty.

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for a few generations now the children of Japan have been raised by women, their mothers. The spoilt kids and jerk husbands have been made that way by the women of Japan.

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"Centenarians aren't...." yeah, it's the wealth that is disappearing.

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a few generations now the children of Japan have been raised by women, their mothers. The spoilt kids and jerk husbands have been made that way by the women of Japan.

Cant say I disagree with this. Husbands-of-a-certain-age often do behave like jerks. A woman I know has a husband who just chucks stuff on the floor, or drops something and doesnt even bother to pick it up - SHE gets up and scurries around for him - then complains to hell about it. But you know, SHE created this monster.

These women never did have to live like this. They were happy to take the cash when it was flowing. Japanese men can and do behave like jerks and they need to change - but why should they when that is all they know, and no-one is telling them it is not acceptable?

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kirakira25 at 08:25 AM JST - 27th August a few generations now the children of Japan have been raised by women, their mothers. The spoilt kids and jerk husbands have been made that way by the women of Japan. Cant say I disagree with this. Husbands-of-a-certain-age often do behave like jerks. A woman I know has a husband who just chucks stuff on the floor, or drops something and doesnt even bother to pick it up - SHE gets up and scurries around for him - then complains to hell about it. But you know, SHE created this monster.

Sorry, I've got to disagree. My wife does the same thing (dropping stuff and not picking it up) because I'm the neater of the two of us, and I hit my "messyness tolerance" faster so I always end up cleaning up. So I told her that for the next month I wasn't going to pick up anything. It took a month of grinding my teeth and resisting the urge to clean, but eventually it hit her messyness tolerance and she began to clean up... and then started making passive-aggressive comments about how difficult it was to clean up until I reminded her that I'd been doing it every day without complaint for the last 10 years.

In any couple you'll find that whoever has the lower tolerance for mess ends up cleaning up... and whoever isn't cleaning up tends to disregard the partner's efforts because they don't see the need to clean yet. It's only natural. My advice is to grit you teeth, and let the dirty dishes and discarded clothing pile up until your partner gets the urge to clean and then realises that if things are left until they're ready to clean the backlog is so immense that it's actually a MAJOR effort.

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“We were a couple in name only,” is what Ms A told Furuuchi. “I never got a word out of him.”

That would be a run-of-the mill Japanese marriage then.

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It’s never too late to discover that there’s a great big world out there awaiting those venturesome enough to plunge into it.

This reconfirms my understanding that the Japanese live statistically so long because they never really live at all. In other words: All work no play makes Jack mad.

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These articles seem to always suggest the woman leaves the man, but a retiring man with any wherewithal would probably not want to return to the old hag anyways. No?

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Japanese men can and do behave like jerks and they need to change - but why should they when that is all they know, and no-one is telling them it is not acceptable?

How can a woman tell them it's not acceptable when doing so risks being beaten or ending up in the poorhouse? Women in Japan still make 66 yen for every 100 a man makes and their opportunities in the work force are still greatly limited, as well as their earning potential. And opportunities are limited for women over 35, more so than they are for those who are above college age. So if he's a jerk and she isn't a new college grad, what on earth is she supposed to do?

Men are often jerks because society lets them be jerks. Women do not have the social power to demand that they not be jerks or to move on to better things than being married to jerks. Keep in mind that DV laws in Japan only came into effect in 2000. And honestly, it's still socially acceptable to beat and rape your wife and hit your kids. It's a "personal matter."

Women don't make these rules. Men do. And until men change or women have the power to demand change, they won't stop being jerks. As it is, women do not.

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How many Japanese men and women do any of you actually know? How many couples have you talked to and listened to? Your insistent sweep of generalized insight is based on nothing more than the conclusions of the clueless. Get into the mountains at the weekends, just for one tiny REAL insight, and SEE many happy couples hiking, relaxing and enjoying life. The Japanese don't live? What a load of...

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A lot of interesting views. With many Japanese hitting retirement age, I imagine there will be many who decide to just pick up and leave rather than bother with an ugly divorce. Watch out guys! Your wife may just be biding her time! The idea of having her inattentive husband home every day is too much so she takes the money and runs.

kirakira: You do have a point. Some women are enablers. Their husband doesn't pick up after himself and she doesn't insist that he does so she has to do it. So whose fault is it, right? And some women actually seem to like this feeling of being needed; especially when the children are grown and gone. Some have gotten part of their self-worth from taking care of the household so continue doing housework because that has partly defined her. My MIL is working but her husband is retired. Yet is seems she still does all of the cooking and cleaning!

But monkeyz made a very good point too. It's very hard to insist that your husband do any cleaning when he is the one making all or most of the money. I was in this position a while ago when I wasn't working and I depended on my husband for financial support. Pretty hard to tell him to pick up his socks or tidy up his stuff when he was the one pulling in the cash. Now that I am working again and I feel I have my power back, I do tell him to keep his things in order!

Frungy: I agree with you too. People do have different thresholds for messiness. I admire your patience to stick it out but I think I would go crazy if I had to wait until my husband cleaned! I also don't understand why his mother didn't seem to teach him anything about keeping things organized and keeping the house generally clean & tidy. It's really frustrating sometimes. I know we are at opposite ends but I am making every effort to bring us a little closer together on that tolerance scale!

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Ah it seems that everyone has an opinion or a reason, well let me put a few more into play.

Yes @YongYang I have had plenty of discussions on this sort of thing with Japanese couples as well as divorced people especially when I was going through my divorce or helping others through their.

I have rarely come across a Japanese woman who left her husband for being violent but I have met several who said they had nothing in common and that their husbands just work and sleep and the idea of spending time with them after retirement was to much.

But talk to the Husbands and it is another view, so many of them talk about wives that have locked them out by no longer sleeping with them and sleeping with the children instead and being alienated from their children by wives that view the children as their property and territory, I have seen men told quite directly after the second child that sex was over and that if they want it they can get it "professionally".

Now these are not isolated and as I have been seeing do not seem to be the case for many of today's younger couples but a good portion of the couples I know in their mid 40's and up have told me similar things.

My retired neighbor just says it is what is is he and his wife live in the same place but have separate lives, they even vacation in separate places (She goes south to the beaches and he and I go north fishing).

Yes I do know several couples that are happy together but I must sadly say they are the few.

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This is just so wrong. The guy worked all his life to support his wife and at the end, she takes off with all of his money to spend time with her lover. What a real bit~h!! She should be thrown into jail along with her lover and and remain there for at least a year or so.

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I have seen sooo many "housewife" students that are only interested to have fun and spend their husbands money on themselves.. shopping, dance lessons, whatever. They even complain about being with their husband and kids on the weekend, because it's not "fun"..

Many of them consider really annoying when the husband retires and they have to be together all the time. Pretty sad!

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Sad.

A good deal of computer work going on with some of it in the right direction.

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That is why its a good idea to have a secret back-up account. The less she knows the better you are off

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Wow. A woman that doesn't mind being a housekeeper, but cannot stand to accompany her chosen mate. It's possible that these marriages were arranged and they couldn't get along with each other to start with. After the relatives die and the kids move out, there is nobody left to keep the sham marriage from falling apart. Shock to the husband and long-last relief for the wife. It's so Japanese, except for that last bit!

Anyways, word to the guys with female Japanese partners who want to make it last: make sure she REALLY communicates to you! It's hard-coded in their personalities to gaman and hold everything in. It's only human to boil over once in a while, but Japanese people are able to keep it under control until it's almost unbearable, then do something extreme.

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YongYang - Get into the mountains at the weekends, just for one tiny REAL insight, and SEE many happy couples hiking, relaxing and enjoying life.

You are a funny person. Yeah, they may well be in the mountains together relaxing, but their conversation won't go past, "Oi! drink!" - I know many Japanese couples in the 50+ range and they are all the same. They have no relationship what-so-ever. The husbands are abusive oyaji and the wives are dithering air-heads. It's Japanese culture!

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Disillusioned : funny, I live with my Japanese in-laws and they are nothing like that. They must not be Japanese!

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The husbands are abusive oyaji and the wives are dithering air-heads. It's Japanese culture!

um... i disagree...

it is probably true that there are many couples that don't have any real relationship, but i know there are many who enjoy each other and treasure their life together. i don't like it when people say "japanese are blah blah..." it's like when people say "french people are blah blah", "americans are ~~".. same thing..

when someone says things like that confidently, it just makes me think how little that person knows about the people in the country... everyone is different, every couple is different. there are ones with wonderful relationships and ones with no relationships. it's just that simple.

i don't understand the point of this article other than making people think negative towards people around them.

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How can a woman tell them it's not acceptable when doing so risks being >beaten or ending up in the poorhouse?......And honestly, it's still >socially acceptable to beat and rape your wife and hit your kids. It's a >"personal matter".

Really now. Feel like backing that up at all?

Good comments, Kirakira. A marriage is what the TWO people who are in it make it.

'I never got a word out of him' said one woman.....how much effort did she put into keeping conversation going, was she openly contemptuous of his pay and bonus? Marriage is not a one-way street, it takes the contributions of both to make it work. Complaining every day over coffee to your friends while you say nothing to your husband about what bothers you accomplishes nothing.

It's Japanese culture!

Yeah, let's import the American model...get sick of your husband, decide he 'just doesn't do it for you anymore'?Divorce 'em take half of what they own, garnish their pay, take the house,get a restraining order so he can't see the kids...it's a wonderful life.

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