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Int'l marriages test ability to balance love with tolerance

87 Comments

When you're the partner in a "kokusai kekkon" (international marriage), proclaims Shukan Gendai (Apr 21), every day you're in for a surprise.

And the stats show increasing numbers of such partners are in on the gag. According to Toru Orimoto, a legal professional knowledgeable about international marriages, the number of Japanese males tying the knot with a female of another nationality rose from under 4,000 in 1980 to 23,000 in 2012. Add to that the number of Japanese females marrying foreign males, and you've got more than 30,000 new international couples tying the knot every year.

"The recent trend has been for middle-aged Japanese males in their 40s and 50s to wed foreign women," says Shinji Katsuyama, operator of the Toranomon branch of the Win Bridal Japan matchmaking service. "In many cases, when these men, who have assets, decide they want to wed and have children, they desire a young bride. But Japanese women aren't interested in middle-aged men -- the accepted norm for a partner's age differential is around 10 years -- so it's easier for them to pair up with foreigners. For foreign women, the main factor attracting them to live in Japan is economic, which is something that a man between age 40 to 60 is able to offer."

Shukan Gendai proceeds to list numerous gaffes by foreign brides, such as the Chinese female who felt it was okay to scoop up and keep coins that had been flung at the altar of a Shinto shrine during the Setsubun festival; an Italian woman who tried to emulate Japanese at funerals, but erroneously thought they were snorting powdered incense at the altar; a Romanian bride who freaked out at the sight of her husband swilling raw eggs for his breakfast; and a man who found it odd that his Libyan bride would escort their children to a nearby park at night to engage in outdoor karaoke gatherings with her compatriots.

While assigned to Indonesia, Takashi Hosokawa met his wife Cecilia (both names are pseudonyms), who had worked as an interpreter. The two have enjoyed 15 years of connubial bliss.

"We were married in November and I brought her to Japan in December," Hosokawa recalls. "I was shocked by my electric bill for that first month, which was over 50,000 yen."

It seems Cecilia cranked up the air conditioner setting to 35 degrees, equivalent to the daytime peak.

"I walked in and our little 2K flat was like a sauna," he relates. "'I'll freeze to death here,' she whined. And there she was padding around barefoot and in a halter and miniskirt, perspiring. It never occurred to her to put on more clothes.

"And then she became upset when I asked her to put on a long-sleeved garment," Hosokawa smiles in recollection.

Following her marriage to an American, Kanako Mori, 34, soon discovered her hubby was a passionate aficionado of porno movies from his native land.

"He loves watching AVs showing blonde actresses with breasts the size of volleyballs, and when we had sex, he urged me on, saying, 'Come on, Kanako, let yourself go,' and 'Go ahead and scream, don't hold anything back.'

"At first I was shy and felt silly doing it, but since I wanted him to enjoy the act, even though I wasn't turned on by it at all, I would watch his videos and practice, bellowing out, 'Oh yes!' and 'Oh my god!' I'd keep the vacuum cleaner running to drown out my voice," she tells the magazine. "Now I pretty much have the act down pat."

So what's the secret to giving an international marriage staying power?

"The most important thing is to go with the flow, and keep your sense of humor," advises manga artist Junichi Inoue, age 42, who three years ago tied the knot with a Chinese bride about 20 years his junior. "If you try to force your spouse to give up ingrained customs and practices, you'll never resolve anything. Just enjoy the ride."

The article concludes that Japanese need to understand that if love is to transcend national boundaries, tolerance is indispensable.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

87 Comments
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Very entertaining article but full with stereotypes.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Oh God. Cant wait to read some of the responses to this, but heres mine for what it`s worth:

How to write an appealing article J-tabloid style:

1) Take topic everyone is curious about 2) Find as many extreme examples as possible, preferrably ones that ridicule foreigners. 3) Write up and sell.

You will probably all have noticed that not one example in the article contains a mistake or faux pas made by the Japanese side. What a strange bunch we furriners are.

And Japanese women not being interested in middle aged men??! Bwa ha ha! They are if they are rich and attractive. More like, Japanese women arent interested in middle aged men who cant get anyone in this country to marry them.

It IS true that when you are a partner in an international mrriage here, every day you are in for a surprise. But most of those surprises dont actually come from your Japanese spouse!

24 ( +28 / -4 )

International marriages test ability to balance love with tolerance

As opposed to other marriages, between 2 Japanese people, where you really don't have to bother.

37 ( +36 / -1 )

So what’s the secret to giving an international marriage staying lower? (power)

Ignore articles like this.

“The most important thing is to go with the flow, and keep your sense of humor,”

Applies to any marriage, not only international ones.

All these 'us vs them' articles full of extremes and stereotypes are getting a bit boring.

31 ( +32 / -1 )

this is a ridiculous article.. talk about the bait and switch. I thought we'd be hearing stories from international couples and how they made their marriage work long term and the sacrifices that have been made.. instead we get this crap about Cecilia turning up the "air conditioner" to 35 degrees?! Or the porn loving american and the timid wife? Geez...

17 ( +19 / -2 )

agree napolean, and Cleo - well said. The principles that apply to making an international marriage work are the same basic principles that make any marriage work - chocolate, beer and lotsa love!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Seems like they are fishing from a pretty selective and shallow pool for their most compelling examples of kokusai kekkon to me. Trashy journalism, Japanese style.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I love reading comedy with my cup of morning coffee! Maybe recreating this into a "manga" would be even better!

18 ( +18 / -0 )

pretty lame stuff this one!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Id say the recipe for any successful marriage is tolerance ... isn't that just common sense though? Why would it apply to only international marriages?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Shūkan Gendai................ yeah wouldn't expect anything less from them any..... this story on one page and nude photos on the next... ...articles of interest to middle-aged salarymen for entertainment purposes only.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So foreign women marry Japanese men only for economic reasons, and Japanese men who marry foreign women are desperate? Nice article.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

a Romanian bride who freaked out at the sight of her husband swilling raw eggs for his breakfast;

maybe her husband was a huge Rocky fan .. raw eggs arent a japanese breakfast but they are Rocky's traditional breakfast!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I love these articles from the weeklies... so funny.

Kanako Mori should be given a medal... what an excellent woman!

I just hope she and her husband take care where they put the vacuum cleaner while they 'enjoy the act'.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Trying to get it right at a Japanese funeral can be pretty confusing, even when you don't snort the incense...

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Haha - good article (I speak from first hand experience)....

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Marriage is a multifaceted relationship that needs to be nurtured in all of its capacities in order to be successful. Both of you must be prepared to put your partner's happiness ahead of your own for any kind of marriage to truly work. This means making sacrifices for each other for the good of the marriage. If you are self-centered and unwilling to make sacrifices it will create resentment although sometimes you have to do things that are just for your concerns, listening to your partner and not forgetting about your daily lives and even your aspirations for your personal future. Without communication the relationship will continually struggle. Hence a happy marriage is not guaranteed no matter how much you love each other. There are so many variables that can have an effect on the happiness and success of any marriage. Therefore it's important to realize that you have to continuously work on all of these aspects if you want your marriage to remain happy and a healthy one. It's not a 50 to 50 deal. It's 150 to 150 deal and will always takes effort and hard work to make it last. Nobody said it's easy but it's worth it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hahahaha, oh wow...this cracked me up. It may be stereotypical but it is still funny.

I am now wondering where I fit into the mix. My husband is 5 years my senior, we met at a festival and he makes about the same amount of money as me. So, I guess I don't fit the young hottie gold-digging foreigner. But, this made me wonder what faux pas I may have made...

Has anyone else made a cultural oops that they would like to share? (^o^)v

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Targetting their audience for sure. But I have heard way weirder things J wives do or expect - my own included.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I’d keep the vacuum cleaner running to drown out my voice

Classic!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Tolerance is indispensable whenever a man and a women get married. Period

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Well I was laughing while reading thjs and I made my fiance to read it too :d for them us gaijins are honmani muzukashi to understand as I always act with my feelings.when I first started dating w/my fiance we were always arguing that she was being too shy to hold hands in ohblic or about her reply as "i like you" when I was saying "i love you".for me it was really hard to understand the meanimg of daisuki and for her it was too hard to understand I was keel saying that k love her. But after 5years,now she keeps saying that she love me and accusing me of not saying enough love words to her anymore>_>but with trying to understand each other and by knowing that there will always be a culture difference between each other will solve many problems. I guess having a long distance relationship for more than 3years and still trusting each other helps too.Also never forgett that trulying loving and caring about each other is whats the key for a happy marriage.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"“At first I was shy and felt silly doing it, but since I wanted him to enjoy the act, even though I wasn’t turned on by it at all..."

Now that's true love. What a gal!

"If you try to force your spouse to give up ingrained customs and practices, you’ll never resolve anything."

Sage advice. I always think though that everyone has their own culture so some international couples can be more alike that people of the same nationality who have really different values and experience.

Heard on the radio that a couple in the US who'd been married for 83 years said that the secret was to get lots of sleep, don't fight, and eat lots of vegetables.

Simple isn't it?

Don't fight?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Btw.sorry for typos still couldnt get used to my mobile :s hope it wont cuz any.misunderstandings or cause pain to your brain while trying to understand what I tried to meant with those horrible typos. :(

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@yasukuni : I always thought that having a long,happy and peaceful relationship was eating healthy,caring each other,being calm &try to calm your partner down when he/she is really angry and having a good sexual life at home(or in public in case of any fantasy o_o)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

my international marriage is going well, but of course we have our fights, and many of them stem from cultural misunderstandings. I get pissed when she slurps noodles or sniffs, she is upset with my Japanese sometimes (slang or bad words). She got upset with my poor intonation, because she unconsciously started to imitate me and her colleagues at work noticed that sometimes her Japanese is strange. the toilet seat is always a fight starter :) Japanese TV is another. if she tries to take me shopping, we can be almost sure that a fight will follow (I hate shopping!). but all of this make our marriage more fun, and we are very happy together

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well said Cleo and Nicky - and anyone else who rolled their eyes at this crap.

Just a question. If unmarried men are marrying foreigners and foreign women are marrying Japanese men... Who is matching the Japanese women?! Based on the numbers it seems like there must be a large number of middle aged, Japanese women... Certainly not enough foreign men here and the rates for FM/JW are a lot lower. Hope these women are preparing for their future...

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Oh and just to add, I certainly didn't marry my husband for his money. And seeing as how he married me when he was 27, that rules out the desperate middle aged man therory... Same for all the other FW/JM couples I know. Imagine that.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This article was too funny to read.

Italian wife snorting powdered incenses at the funeral. Libyan wife doing karaoke in the park. Indonesian wife cranks up the heat to 35.

Freaky American porn addicted husband. ‘Come on, Kanako, let yourself go,’ and ‘Go ahead and scream, don’t hold anything back.’

LOL hahaha

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Too funny and only a shallow pool of so-called "international" marriages that they spoke to! HA HA HA Made my afternoon!!! (my poor hubby will get a good laugh out of this - wonder where we fit into this??????!!!) LOL!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Trashy journalism, Japanese style."

Well, it is from the weekly tabloid Shukan Gendai. Trash journalism is pretty much what one should expect from this or most other weekly rags.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When you’re the partner in a “kokusai kekkon”

There's only one partner in an international marriage?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's an article from Shukan Gendai guys. Just something to keep people amused on trains.

" I get pissed when she slurps noodles or sniffs, .. the toilet seat is always a fight starter :) Japanese TV is another. if she tries to take me shopping, we can be almost sure that a fight will follow (I hate shopping!)."

I think you've got things easy if these are your biggest issues.

I never get upset over noodle slurping because that's culturally acceptable here - and this is Japan. Toilet seats? If you know that women don't like toilet seats up, how hard is it to just put it down? Just takes a second.

Shopping? If you hate it, then maybe she can go with her friends while you do something else, or maybe you can get to like it or pretend for love, and she will do something similar.

You sound lucky. Some people have huge issues.

The examples in these stories are probably just made up anyway.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Great article, of course the population needs constant reminders how weird these foreigners are and their funny little ways.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

yasukuni, the toilet seat goes both ways, you know :) watch South Park for an in-depth analysis. and yeah, she gave up trying to carry me to shopping, I'm too busy anyways. Of course, we are a happy couple having so small and trivial issues. In almost 4 years we haven't had any really big fights. But it has nothing to do with luck (except the initial meet), we've both have had our bad experiences in the past, and we chose each other carefully and we also work hard on accepting each others qualities and defects and compromising when needed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The toilet seat thing cracks me up. It is not a problem at my house...we have a urinal and a toilet in seperate rooms so there is no need for the toilet seat to go up.

I think the one thing I did that annoyed my husband was honking the car horn. Back home, if you are stuck behind someone who obviously hasn't noticed the light color changed within a few seconds, it is acceptable to wake them up with a honk. However, my husband was very upset when I did this even though I could clearly see the person staring at their cell phone. I explained that I would be happy to get the same if I was holding up trafiic but claims it is rude. But this isn't necessairly a cultural thing....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@tmarie - I think my husband married me for MY money! Can't have been my sparkling wit and personality... ;) !

There are many things we do that drive each other crazy, but when you are in it you adjust, accept, and take the rough with the smooth. Except of course when they start making funny honking snorting noises at 5am. Then it's open season!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'm a partner in an international marriage and after 11 months I believe things are going very well. I moved to her country and so I have had to learn new cultural things and she has had to adapt to some of my American quirks. The hardest thing has been that I have a "tin ear" so in the 11 months I have only learned about 200 words here and I depend on her for translation everywhere. If you are going to marry internationally you have to go in with your eyes open and knowing that she/he will like many things differently from you and then both need to remember that big word . . . COMPROMISE.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Shukan Gendai proceeds to list numerous gaffes by foreign brides, such as the Chinese female who felt it was okay to scoop up and keep coins that had been flung at the altar of a Shinto shrine during the Setsubun festival; an Italian woman who tried to emulate Japanese at funerals, but erroneously thought they were snorting powdered incense at the altar; a Romanian bride who freaked out at the sight of her husband swilling raw eggs for his breakfast; and a man who found it odd that his Libyan bride would escort their children to a nearby park at night to engage in outdoor karaoke gatherings with her compatriots."

I knew they would never just report on marriages, but would have to point out bizarre foreigners whom the Japanese married. Then they flip it to point out the porn-hungry foreign man whom the Japanese woman must suffer and adapt to his fetish. Nothing like trying to undermine the increasing number of Int'l marriages by generalizing that foreigners can't understand Japanese culture or customs and are laughable (but sometimes so cute when they screw up!). The sad part is that a lot of people take the Shukan Gendai seriously, and not for the drivel it is.

As for interntaional marriages, culture can of course create heaps of problems, but it can also provide for a lot of interest that might otherwise have long since evapourated in the case of two people from similar backgrounds. My wife and I often still reveal things about each other's nation and culture and it STILL makes for lively conversation. Language as well can of course be a problem, but again learning a new language for many is a pleasure (and frustration!). The problem is when neither side is willing to try and understand certain differences that are hard to overcome (even if you want to), and subsequently when neither party is willing to compromise and/or accept; but since when was that limited to international marriages? Toilet seat up? down? last I checked that had nothing to do with nationality, but was more a gender thing.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Can you imagine the replies they might get if the question was about "What the heck does you J spouse do/did that shocks/ed you?"

Italian women - I took him home to Italy and her slurped his pasta. My family was shocked and thought I married a heathen.

American man - She told me before marriage that she wanted to work FT and didn't want kids. Then I came home one day and she gleefully told me she quit her job and wanted a kid.

Russian/Canadian wife - He complains about being cold all the time in Winter. Get over it! It is 3 degrees! In Russia we call that an amazingly warm winter's day.

Chinese women - He said he was cooking Chinese food for me and made this strange, glutinous egg thing. I honestly have no idea what it is.

Western women - He asked me to clean his ears. WTF?

3 ( +11 / -8 )

European, married to a japanese woman for 4 years, had some national and international girlfriends before in my (already long) life... It's a little bit complicated, but there is not better choice than a japanese girl :)...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My wife is of Chinese ancestry and we have been married for 30 happy years. Accept any difference as part of the cultural difference and talk about it....lllllater, if at all.

Be discreet, accept her family and remember your family is just as strange to her.

Good luck, be happy.

Pierre-Antoine Ferron

7 ( +7 / -0 )

There are definitely A LOT of stereotypes with this article. I really don't feel that I should be a certain way because I married my wife who is Japanese, nor do I expect her to act a certain way neither. I definitely can care less about the celebrities and their marriages. Celebrity and talento news for me is just "smoke screen news," especially those nerdy looking news reporters and nerdy looking talentos, who think they're cool, which they are not!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kanako Mori is my new hero.

If you want to keep your marriage going - make your husband happy. What a wife.

I had no idea that 80% of international marriages in Japan were J-guy to international-gal. It seems the inverse is the case down my neck of the woods. Still all good!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It's 'interesting' because if the same tabloid asked foreigners for funny moments/experiences in Japan, and what foreigners thought of Japan, they would print the kind of tripe that was quoted in this article (ie. embarrassing mistakes by foreign spouses), and would print all the examples of praise by Japan, but would never dare print any criticism of the nation or its people, nor any embarrassing moments the Japanese spouses might have experienced. It's just a rag to pander to the insecure masses, and should be treated as such.

There is nothing really mentioned in this article, at least in relation to the Shukan Gendai, that is specifically an 'international marriage' issue, but don't tell them that -- they'll just chalk up your comment as being 'foreign'.

Manuel: "I definitely can care less about the celebrities and their marriages."

Not that the article really deals with it, but I agree with you, especially given how many are based on shot-gun marriages of late, and end in divorce quicker than the shot-gun could go off. What's more, there are so many celebrities/talento who are quoted in the media as saying fluff like, "I just want to find someone and get married by such-and-such age" that it seems pretty vapid. Maybe this article is a reaction to all the 'herbivore' crap and the fact that marriages with a foreign partner are on the rise and the people at Shukan Gendai are a little scared.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Dentshop: "I had no idea that 80% of international marriages in Japan were J-guy to international-gal. It seems the inverse is the case down my neck of the woods. Still all good!"

I highly doubt this is a valid statistic, though there are a much larger number of J-guys that import East or SE Asian wives than you would think. Usually doesn't end well from the examples I know.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Pardon my ignorance, but what's it all about these toilet seats?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just get in where you fit in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many foreign spouses are well-informed about life and customs in Japan. The article deals with only one segment of foreign marriages - picture brides for Japanese men past their prime.

Also I could tell you an equal number of humorous gaffes committed by Japanese flying in the face of Japanse customs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't know a single international couple (and there are several around us) where the husband would have been Japanese. In all the cases, it's been the wife wanting children AND career, something which seems impossible with a Japanese husband but standard practice from where the other gaijin hubby's and I'm from.

I don't have the need to "tolerate" my Japanese wife. Most things simply aren't that important that I would absolutely have to have my way. She has good reasons for doing what and how she does things, as do I, and the most important thing is that we listen when the other explains. We have the same goal anyway.

I have no idea in what world the writer of this article lives in.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In many of the major cities, it may appear that a lot of int'l marriages are foreign guys to Japanese women (often younger) but that is merely a drop in the bucket. The majority of foreign residents in Japan are Chinese and Koreans, makes perfect sense that they would make up the bulk of the international marriages. Just a lot harder to see as you walk around your city or town.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I highly doubt this is a valid statistic, though there are a much larger number of J-guys that import East or SE Asian wives than you would think. Usually doesn't end well from the examples I know.

The stats are out there and this isn't far off the mark. Thing is, they marry other Asians so don't stick out like sore thumbs like the rest of us. So marriages work, some don't. If I was going to go by my friends, WM/JF doesn't work out to well. Plenty of men stuck in marriages because of the kids. Mind you, most WM would howl at that - what you said isn't much different. All on who you know.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

And we're off...

Int'l marriages test ability to balance love with tolerance

In most of the cases of WM/JF marriages I know, the expression "test ability to balance love with tolerance" should be replaced with "eradicates completely both love and tolerance".

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

gonemadApr. 19, 2012 - 12:49AM JST Pardon my ignorance, but what's it all about these toilet seats?

It seems that most Japanese women (my own wife included) think that having the toilet seat up is gross, and always insist on keeping it down when not in use. It's like they think bacteria or other gross things are going to come up and crawl out of the toilet unless the lid is kept closed at all times. Similarly, I've heard many Japanese women say the same thing about Western style bathrooms that have the toilet and the bathtub in the same room, that it's gross because they hate thinking about the toilet being nearby while they are taking a bath.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It seems that most Japanese women (my own wife included) think that having the toilet seat up is gross

'Tisn't only the Japanese ladies. This beloved UK lady (:-)) also finds it gross to walk into the smallest room to see obvious signs of who used it last and what they (he) did there. Same as using anything else in any other room in the house, when you've finished put it back in good order ready for the next person.

Things have changed a little, though; I used to insist on the lid being put down, but now it's seat down and lid up, for the sake of kitty.

Having the toilet and the tub in the same room is not only gross, it's inconvenient and inefficient, since if someone is having a bath the loo is out of bounds to everyone else. And vice versa.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ivan, have a ever told you how much I enjoy your posts?

Cleo, many dog owners are the opposite. Toilet seat up so pups can get a drink when needed - of course, no cleaners or sprays allowed. Personally, I don't care either way. Up, down, as long as the aim is correct and everything ends up IN the bowl. Grosses me out to see drips and drops on the floor of bathrooms in cafes, bars and the like. Honestly, is it that hard to get it in?

Also, not sure why J-chicks complain about such things. I have seen some pretty nasty sights here in Japan in the lady's washrooms I have never, ever witnessed home.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I'm just glad I don't have to deal with the emotional drama I experienced when dating girls back home. Wish my Japanese wife initiated physical contact a bit more, though.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

tmarie - never heard of a dog-owner worthy of the name who couldn't be bothered to put down a bowl of fresh water for the pup. I wouldn't want any of my critters drinking from the toilet regardless of how clean it is.

Maybe the ladies (again, J and otherwise - this is not a Japanese thing) who want to keep their loos at home nice also find the 'nasty sights' in the public washrooms gross?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

All readers back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well my Japanese wife of 8 years and I have had our challenges...one of the funny ones is that a heater heats the room and air conditioner cools the room ; ) Then she knew what I was talking about. Every other day it's a question about our English slang and idioms... some stuff might be stereotypical but some of that is true and funny.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

oh me i select ,i found of chating many country and met not for money,but he is good,and you can trust not only for small thing but for all,so many i found internet its funny but its true.some were only looking for fun and some for the rest of their life.others mind and attitude,internet makes you happy sometimes make you bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate the way guys don't clean up after themselves too. Just sheer laziness and lack of consideration. And I also hate the idea of being licked by a dog who drinks out of a toilet.

I guess that makes me a girly-man.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can barely relate to needy American, been in 5 relationships and looking for a sugar daddy, women ! let alone even think about starting a relationship with someone I can't communicate with! Beauty is only skin deep and much of it is makeup! Usually the women that are all about fashion are not the ones that try to make a relationship last! When you don't maintain the perfection that they assume will last forever, they usually look elsewhere! I call them Takers!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wow, I would never ever have thought that the position of a toilet seat is something someone could worry about. Fortunately, my (J-)wife thinks the same...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I highly doubt this is a valid statistic

Just going by what the article stated. The arithmetic backs up what I said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cleo, fresh water is out but sometimes dogs just like the toilet. If it is clean, what is the problem? Do you allow your pup to drink out of puddles, rivers, streams? Toilets are probably much safer for them.

And perhaps they are just as disgusted by the sights I've seen but why have I not seen such sights "home"?

I also don't get the big deal about the toilet seat. As long as there is one, I'm okay.

If anything, I think those in international marriages are ready and expecting their to be differences. Family culture is much stronger than social culture. You could marry the person next door and be in for a surprise with the behavior. People just sort of assume that same culture, same language equals like minded. Clearly, that isn't the case or their wouldn't be as many divorces are there are "back home".

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

"If anything, I think those in international marriages are ready and expecting their to be differences. Family culture is much stronger than social culture. You could marry the person next door and be in for a surprise with the behavior."

This is so very true. You need to make a T-shirt or coffee mug with that written on it. Just about everyone is in some kind of cross-cultural marriage.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cleo, fresh water is out but sometimes dogs just like the toilet. If it is clean, what is the problem? Do you allow your pup to drink out of puddles, rivers, streams? Toilets are probably much safer for them.

Add dogs to the list of things you shouldn't be allowed to have.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

fresh water is out but sometimes dogs just like the toilet.

Dogs like lots of things - taking food off the table, peeing on the furniture, humping guests' legs - that they're not allowed.

If it is clean, what is the problem?

It's the toilet.

Do you allow your pup to drink out of puddles, rivers, streams?

Heck no! No idea what nasties lurk there.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are over million UNIFICATION CHURCH members married internationally and living a very happy life. Need to find the secret of that successful marriages????? any comments

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I married a japanese woman and am happy so far.She is demure and does what I say. Too many wetern women are opinionated these days and end up driving the man crazy.that is why asian women are popular as the are used to doing what they are told.this is a big help in making an international marrige successful. I know it sounds old fashioned but maybe its true

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Part 1

Oh Joy where do I start lol. JT is really like my second home now and I hope you guys don't mind. Sorry for the somewhat extended posts but this is one topic which never gets enough time to begin with. I hope I can bring a little light on the subject, if just a little.

It is somewhat frustrating reading articles like this. The proverbial (bull in a China shop) presence of those who pay no attention to Japanese manners and social norms. As though every foreigner in existence falls into that circle. Granted they are some Gaijin's here that have no concept of this. Although they are in the minority at least for those I have been in contact with. Not to mention that international marriages are not that common to begin with in Japan. At least in relation to the population at large just yet. Marriage in and of itself is on the decline within Japanese society which is at the heart of a much bigger problem. Once again this seems to be an effort to discredit cross-cultural marriages due out of fear, ignorance more then love & tolerance. Many of my Japanese female friends have said this of Japanese society in regards to marriage.

Marriage is too messy, tiring and potentially humiliating to bother with anymore don't you think? It's just not worth the hassle. We don't want a complicated life. Not to mention Japanese men don't want to spend time with us as would rather hang out with friends or coworkers. So we don't even bother with them. We get married and are seen more as roommates then couples in the service of our husbands lol.

This is happening with depressing regularity between Japanese men and women these days. Marriages, births are all spiraling downward with troubling implications for the nation's future: A sagging birthrate means that fewer working-age people will be around to support a growing population of elderly as a social crisis looms. Women shopping at designer boutiques and chic restaurants with their girlfriends or moms, the men go to karaoke clubs with their colleagues from work or the solitude of their computer screens to romance hassle-free virtual women lol.

In fact, as many as a million young Japanese men mostly teenagers, but increasingly older men as well are suffering from what is known here as hikikomori. It's a condition in which men seclude themselves in their rooms for weeks at a time (though the causes seem to go well beyond fear of women to traumatic experiences from the past, such as being bullied at school).

In a way I kind of feel sorry for them. Japanese women in a since are evolving breaking free of centuries of tradition. While men continue to stick to old ways which are no longer relevant in today's world. Japanese families were large at the time. Staying at home meant sharing a room with brothers or sisters. But after decades of prosperity and falling birthrates, many young adults are pampered only children. Leaving home to marry means the drudgery of housework (especially for women) and the poverty of having to pay your own bills. Which becomes even more desperate once a parent dies. There is also a phenomenon of parasite singles which is also creating a demographic nightmare.

Japan now has about four working-age people to contribute to pension plans to support one of today's retirees. By the middle of the century, there will be just two workers for each retiree, which will create huge financial problems for the country.

It came from the 1997 Japanese horror movie Parasite Eve and applies to young, live-at-home men and women alike. It is these type of social imbalances which is also leading to higher international marriages for some out of pure desperation. So in that since what is being said here is correct to some degree. Although it is false to assume that International marriages are the cause of this which is a bit misleading.

So what we really should be talking about is why this trend is growing. The husband works long hours and carouses into the night with his colleagues from work. The wife is expected to stay home, clean house and take care of kids.

If the children behave badly, she's a bad mother. If her husband has an affair, she's a bad wife. So is it really surprising to see this on the rise?

Better educated, more widely traveled Japanese women raised more affluent than their mothers. You see more international marriages as women no longer feel bound by the Japanese tradition that says.

A woman unmarried after age 30 is like a Christmas cake on December 26, stale.

Men, meanwhile, seem intimidated and bewildered by assertive young women who are nothing like their parents. My girlfriend said this of her previous boyfriend.

My fiance wanted me to give up my career and lead the traditional life as a Japanese housewife. He would give me lines like: I want you to cook miso soup for me the rest of my life. Ehhh am I supposed to be impressed with that, no thank you!

So what does he do. Rather than risk rejection or summon the energy to maintain a modern relationship, he simply pay for affection in the country's ubiquitous hostess bars and brothels. Then you wonder why so many Japanese women are going the international route. I don't blame them would you?

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Part 2

Int'l marriages test ability to balance love with tolerance.

While true to a point there is one aspect you failed to mention, trust. I have never met a Japanese girl yet who didn't have this at the top of her list. Regardless if she was a gyaru girl, company worker, university student, society girl, Hostesses or otherwise. When you think of moving from situation to situation in context via trust, it becomes a very human exercise, full of sincerity and honest intention of which you can only then continue forward. There are three aspects which are so very important in any Japanese relationship.

Number 1 Your intention to establish a relationship Number 2 Your intention to gain her trust Number 3 Your intention to spend more time with her. It is those kind of people who get married that is, people who you can trust & who keep their promises. I do not like people who can not keep promises.

One of the most unattractive traits in men according to many of my female Japanese friends is (yuujuu-fudan) or the inability to make decisions!) Japanese girls are going to look to you for guidance as to where a relationship is going. If you are subdued and not letting on that you want to move forward, they will simply going to assume you are not attracted to them. In turn, they will start to shut down their own signals of interest, and things will promptly fizzle out. This even can happen out of rejection.

I once asked a girl out and she said no. I then didn't ask again and she got mad and thought I didn't like her lol.

There is a point I am getting to on this so just bare with me.

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. A man appreciative of a wife's career and more of a partner in daily tasks. 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.

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 either 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.

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

Women want to find companionship in a husband and that is sadly lacking with Japanese men. So they look to International Marriages as a way out!

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 as 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 which levels are well below requirements for population replacement. The Japanese government 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. Where that goes remains to be seen as we all know lol.

Japanese Men:

According to statistics the split of Japanese men marring foreign women breaks down like this. Chinese 10,242/Filipinos 7,794/Koreans 5,318/Americans156/British 65

Japanese women:

Koreans 2,235/Americans 1,529/Chinese 890/British 334/Filipinos 117

This list is a couple years old so it could be significantly higher then this now.

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Part 3

OK half way through lol. My girlfriend keeps telling me I should write a book or apply for JT position haha. In all seriousness though I am not that good a writer it seems. I would be fired the first day lol. No hard feelings though I would fire me to.

Well moving on now shall we. Gaijin also have to contend with negative perceptions in Japanese society, factors such as the language barrier and the temporary nature of many foreigners presence in Japan has come to mean that cross-cultural relationships between Japanese and foreigners are regarded as fleeting, non-serious undertakings. Even Japanese girls find themselves dealing with this, those who unabashedly pursue foreign men can be looked upon as promiscuous within conservative factions of Japanese society. Little by little, these mindsets are changing however but there is still some ways to go.

Another aspect that get's overlooked many times is the importance of being a leader.

This warrants further explanation as many western women fail to grasp the importance of this in the proper context. What many women might see as being submissive or self defeating is completely the opposite. I once had a Japanese friend tell me.

I do not like Japanese guys that are indecisive. Even when I met a guy being just friends that is one of the things I pay a lot of attention to. By not showing a strong will and committing to an opinion either way you are actually creating stress for me, because suddenly the pressure then falls on me to take that responsibility.

Now this is something that is a stark contrast to the west. Usually when making decisions it is between both of you. One may ask for the others opinion or say you decide and then you better make the right choice lol. Although I have yet to met any girl (In the west) that would tolerate a man making all the decisions for them. This is not true of all Japanese girls but is common.

I think that is where some people form the outside misconception of Japanese women being submissive. It isn't so much that as they want a man that is a leader which in their view signifies strong character.

Another difference you see is how many Japanese women never admit that they have a boyfriend. Nobody ever seems to mention it. I think in the West, if you started talking to a woman, unless she was looking to play around, she would mention pretty soon into the conversation that she had a boyfriend. Whereas Japanese girls whether they are looking to play around or not, they just never mention it.

I think more than anything, it is suddenly bringing up your boyfriend in the middle of a conversation which has nothing to do with your boyfriend just feels a bit weird don't you think.

Many seem to bring up this point which can makes things a bit more difficult to read. Not to mention touchy so you better be in tune to this. Although really the most difficulty any International marriage has is communication or there lack of. Some people go into these relationships not having a clue and therefore miss all the signals if things go south.

With no respect or acknowledgement of Japanese customs, you come across just like one of the kurofune (Perry ship) guys. Japanese people get caught off guard buy this and you end up looking like a moron.

The situation in which the author mentioned the wife complaining about the temperature was entirely her fault. She should have asked what was considered acceptable instead of changing it herself. That was being inconsiderate on her part. Although there are a few things which still concern me about even my relationship. It isn't so much us as it is how society looks at it. I always have to be on guard back home when some idiot asks a stupid question like.

How is she in bed? I bet it must be nice having a slave doing all your work for you?

Not to mention other jealous women which try to sabotage our relationship. Then people wonder why we Gaijin get so disenchanted with our own women. Some friends even interpret her responses wrongly.

So how do you like my brother? Well he is not that great really. He is lazy and doesn't help out much!!

I always get stares from my sister on this one lol. I tell her no no you don't understand. As many of your already well know. It is quite common for a Japanese girl to respond in such a way.

It is sorta like, I am so sorry you look so good today haha.

It can really throw people off who aren't accustomed to this.

Hey why don't you dump that guy

She has gotten responses like that when out in public when I am visiting my family back home. It is somewhat frustrating at times but you deal with it. I have gone to in great lengths to tell her.

Look at these encounters like Napa. Just noise among everyday life which is of no concern.

That one seems to get the point across of which she can relate to. In the end what is important is that both of you see each other on equal terms. That it is made clear from the beginning what is expected and what you expect in return. Trust and honesty as well as how you make her feel is what is important.

No one said cross cultural marriages/relationships would be easy. Yet I wouldn't change it for the world. It has allowed me to learn one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Not to mention see things from outside ones cultural firewall.

It is not something everyone is capable of doing. However one looks at cross-cultural marriages. It can be one of the greatest experiences of your life if you will it to be. Although you have to always look at things from the other person's perspective. To see what is not in plain view and to trust your heart not your mind. Be a leader yet be humble and show her that fate was destined to bring you both together. Don't be so much concerned trying to figure out what she wants but how she feels inside. In closing I leave you with another quote which is starting to get to be a habit with me lol:

When the wedding march sounds the resolute approach, the clock no longer ticks, it tolls the hour. The figures in the aisle are no longer individuals, they symbolize the human race.

We get married next year btw, can't wait!!

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Wow Reiki that was one of the most insightful posts I have read on JT in some time now. Great job and I agree with you 1,000 percent. I have been married twice and my first one wasn't so great. I was really hesitant on marrying a Japanese girl as I didn't know how my family would react to it. My grandfather was a WWII vet and would have probably had an issue with it but thankfully my parents were very supportive. It takes a lot of time to master just the language and then you have everything else to worry about. I am no where near fluent yet but my wife helps me out a lot. We also agreed to move to the states which was a big commitment on her part. There are some things she still has issues with like having the bathroom and toilet in the same room lol. I am considering building a new house where it would feel a bit more like home. Make sacrifices as we all have to. I recently enrolled her in a master English class of which she was ecstatic. I didn't think it was that big a deal to her but I guess it was.

We try to visit her family at least twice a year. Once during the summer and then at Christmas. It works out pretty well really considering. Not anywhere the pressure she had back home but she feels challenged. One thing she tells me though which is surprising. Why did my teacher lie about so many things which aren't true? I felt somewhat guilty as I don't want her having anger toward her home. Japan just like anywhere isn't perfect but I do hope someday we learn to be more honest with people on all sides. I do get in trouble quite a bit though for not making up my mind. I didn't realize that was so important and I will make a mental note of that. I guess one should never assume to much. Int'l marriages do work but just have to be willing to commit to it. I feel very lucky though as that isn't always the case with everyone. Thanks a lot for the excellent post though. Well worth the time I spent reading it :)

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True to form, this is crap weekly magazine journalism. Foreigners are bizarre. Blah, blah, blah. Except perhaps the Japanese wife who turned on the vac to drown out her fake erotic screams to satisfy her porno loving American husband.

In fact so-called international marriages are not all that different for same nationality marriages if the people involved come from the same social and educational backgrounds. And generally speaking, Leo Tolstoy was right: "All happy marriages are the same. Unhappy marriages are unhappy in their own ways."

There is a Peeping Tom aspect to the low brow Japanese media obsession with "international marriages." When they discover there really is not much to report that is different from Japanese marriages they have to look for or invent weird twists.

My own marriage happens to be extremely happy. Nothing to do with being "international." Everything to do with enjoying each other's company 24/7.

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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. Agreed with most of what you wrote but this is dead wrong. Married Japanese women are supposed to look after hubby's family, not theirs. Which is why boys are usually wanted for children and more so for the first born.

I also have to question just how many j women want foreign husbands. The numbers are in favour of j guys being more open minded when it comes to international marriages. I think a lot of women like the idea of marrying a white, handsome rich guy but when that doesn't happen.... Also, plenty of these women seem to think that if they marry a foreigner, they can then turn around and be 'Japanese' with regards to quitting work and being a SAHM. I think due to the internet, the jig is up and a lot of western males really aren't up for that. Not that they every were before, they just bought into their little passive GF was great and would work and didn't really know what could happen. Then the ring went on and well, things changed. More guys are aware of this.

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Ahhh...the vacuum cleaner. Now I know what to give as a wedding gift.

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This the "international marriage" I'd love to read about in the weeklies.

"This is the room where we keep oji-san and oba-san. They are over hundred years ago and we still collect their pensions for them. They don't smell any more. They are all dried up now."

"Oh God! This is disgusting! I'm going to vomit!"

"Don't knock Japanese customs! After all your family does things I don't understand, like saying grace before every meal."

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tamarie, there are advantages for Jwomen to marry foreign men. One is that they don't have to worry about looking after or living with his parents. That takes a lot of the hassle out of marriage.

Another is that they don't have to worry if he doesn't compare well - in terms of which University or level of education, status etc - because he's from another world and it doesn't count so much.

I'll admit that's sad. But with all the difficulties between wives and mothers-in-law here, it can be a lot easier if she's in another country.

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Yasu, I agree there are if you said 'western" foreign men. Looking after the family of the husband is very, very common in many countries - not just Asian ones. I also agree it can be easier - though have to say, my MIL is a star. Though I think that is because HER MIL was a witch and she is smart enough to know that repeating the pattern isn't the best thing to do.

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My comment on marriage, international one that it is; I've been married over 25 years to a Japanese woman, I didnt marry her because she was Japanese and she didnt marry me because I was "gaijin". We married each other because of who were are and not our nationalities, those were just added extra benefits and sometimes misunderstandings too!

Tolerance and acceptance is what I have found to work the best in our marriage. I dont like hearing, not here, from other people, that marriage is a 50/50 proposal. That's the dumbest thing I ever heard really, because if you are only willing to give 50% you are waiting for the other 50% to come your way too! Someday's it's 100% from one to another, most of the time however it's a joint venture where we both work to make things better for us and our children.

Sometimes I can not stand my wife, and I am sure there are plenty of days where she can't stand me either. I feel like I hate her guts, but that doesn't stop me from loving her either. In a marriage, international or otherwise, everyone goes through periods of misunderstanding, miss- communication, and host of other problems. But in looking back at it, those periods are the one's that eventually made our marriage stronger and more stable because I learned how to deal with and accept each others differences.

I am glad we are different and come from different backgrounds and cultures, it just makes each day that more enjoyable.

Because I for one and damn glad that I didnt marry someone like me!

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Tmarie right again - I was talking about western men.

I'm sure there are some women in Japan who get on well with their MILs. But the women around us all start spitting poison when they talk about the sons's wives.

Maybe you're just the model daughter-in-law?

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Here Is all you need to do... Listen ..respect your partner ... Love them... Remember they are your best friend ....

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