“Mr A” – it will soon be clear why Shukan Post (Oct 9) uses no names here – is a new father in his 30s. He works hard for his company – all night, sometimes. His wife works too. Early one morning he was just getting home as she was leaving for the office. “Here, take her,” said the wife, passing the child to her husband in mid diaper-change. Exhausted, only partly awake, the husband let the diaper slip and caused something of a mess. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his shin. His wife had dealt him a swift kick. “Sleeping! Is this a time to sleep?” Mr A bowed low in apology, but it was some time before Mrs A’s rage abated.
Domestic violence, sadly, is as old as marriage, but its nature is changing, Shukan Post finds. Once upon a time the perpetrators were overwhelmingly male. Most of them still are, but wives are learning that they too can seize the initiative. National Police Agency figures cited by the magazine tell the story: in 2014, 59,907 episodes of domestic violence were reported nationwide. In 5,971 of them – 10% – the husband was the victim.
Partly the dramatic increases – in both the net figure and the number of female perpetrators – arise from a heightened awareness of domestic violence as a social problem and a potential crime, rather than as something inevitable and yet too shameful to report. Men, in particular, have been loath to come forward as victims, partly out of embarrassment but partly also out of fear of possible repercussions at work. It might be an obstacle to promotion: If a man can’t manage his own household, the thinking might run, can he be trusted to manage a department?
But the trend is unmistakable: Men are weakening while women grow strong. Prominent among female perpetrators of domestic violence, notes divorce lawyer Yuto Tamura, are women who are especially proficient at their jobs, often conspicuously more so than male colleagues. Accustomed to having things their way, they are impatient with the compromises that harmonious marriage demands.
And so we meet Mr C, a company employee in his 50s, announcing to his wife one weekend morning, “I’m taking the dog for a walk. I’ll be back at noon.” A pause to chat with a neighbor delays him a bit. Home at 12:30, he finds himself facing a furious wife whose barrage of slaps and punches sends his glasses flying. Worse than the pain is the shock. Now he’s afraid to leave the house, he says, for fear of the wrath he may unwittingly provoke.
Mr D is in his 20s and involved in a venture business. Here’s a nice domestic scene: While his wife prepares dinner, he’s in the living room playing a video game, his infant daughter asleep beside him on the sofa. The little girl wakes up and starts to cry, so Mr D picks her up, places her on his lap and goes on with his game – at which his wife, suddenly furious, storms out of the house, leaving him to wonder why and figure it out if he can. He can’t. It’s hours before she returns, and when she does, she’s trembling. She indicates a carving knife in the kitchen. "I could have killed you,” she says, to all appearances as bewildered by her rage as her husband is.
That ended quietly, but as an indication of how it might have played out (or how a future outbreak between them might play out), consider Mr E, 43, 12 years younger than his wife – who had bought him chocolate on Valentine’s Day in February and naturally expected a return gift on White Day in March. When Mr E forgot, the violence that followed got her arrested for alleged attempted murder. Unfortunately the magazine provides no indication of what happened then. Very likely the case is still pending.© Japan Today