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NEET spouse in the house not such a neat arrangement

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When colleagues at work boast about their wives' prowess in the kitchen, Mr T, a 43-year-old staff member at an IT company, can only gnash his teeth in envy. Although he's been married for eight years, his better half seems to have no common sense at all toward menu preparation.

Mr T had recently shelled out 50,000 yen for one of those newfangled devices that automatically bakes bread using rice as the main ingredient. His wife took to it with a vengeance. Now she bakes a loaf every other day. This, and a warmed-up plate of semi-prepared food from the supermarket is what she serves for supper. Dishes from that morning's breakfast remain piled in the sink.

"The bread really came out great again today," she gushes to him. Big deal, he shrugs -- the whole process is automated, so she'd have to try hard not to get it right.

Mr S, age 45, works for an ad agency. Declining revenues has resulted in a cut of 500,000 yen from his annual salary. Since his child just started primary school from April, he suggested his wife consider taking a part-time job to help ends meet.

"She flatly refused, going as far to say 'I don't want to work any more,'" he sighs to Nikkan Gendai (May 20). "At the time she graduated from school and began looking for work, times were hard, but even back then, her goal was to become a full-time housewife. She finally got her wish, and now she's dead set against going back to work, even part time. But would that be so horrible? It's not like she's a showbiz celebrity or something."

Up to last month, Mr S had handed over his entire pay packet to his wife. From this month he stopped.

About a decade ago, a government report in Great Britain coined the term NEET, an acronym for "Not in Education, Employment or Training." It was applied to people between the ages of 16 and 24. Japanese quickly picked up the term, and widened the NEET eligibility from the ages 15 to 34. It also included housework in the criteria.

Nikkan Gendai reports that NEET housewives in their 30s appear to be on the increase. According to the most recent survey on labor trends, conducted by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, 42% of females in their 30s agreed with the statement, "Husbands should work outside the home and wives should be full-time home makers." That figure marked a 7% rise over the previous survey and the first increase since the survey began in 1993.

As long as wives perform a reasonable amount of house chores and look after the kids, the tabloid concedes, husbands shouldn't begrudge what they do in their spare time. But all too often they become wrapped up in some outside interest.

Mr M, a 43-year-old staff member of a printing company, looks at a copy of the women's magazine his wife regularly peruses and snarls, "That's a total sham!"

The object of Mr M's ire is a special section in the magazine about the dolce vita lives of what it calls "Mama-san Models." A weekly activities calendar includes such entries as "Wednesdays: café lunch with cronies in Futago-Tamagawa" and "Saturday: invite kids to a home party." The articles encourage wives to engage in conspicuous consumption and -- all the more vexing -- disregards the very existence of the hardworking hubby, who appears neither in the articles' photos nor the text.

After the March 11 earthquake, Mr M's spouse dutifully donated her old items of clothing to disaster victims in Tohoku. That same evening, she returned with an armload of shopping bags. "Everything was on sale for just for two days," she told him breathlessly.

Although the public is being encouraged to conserve electricity, Mr M has noticed that when he returns home in the evening, as often as not, his wife will be curled up on the sofa, snoring loudly, with the television turned on.

"Being a busy housewife really takes it out of one," Mr M remarks caustically.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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This is very funny. So many Japanese housewives not only do not work, but they look like old hags and bag ladies within a month of getting married. Poor husbands.

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i'm not trying to defend, but while i know some lazy housewives, i also know wives that work full time and take care of kids, do house work and all.. not every japanese wives are like the ones mentioned in this article..

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After the March 11 earthquake, Mr M’s spouse dutifully donated her old items of clothing to disaster victims in Tohoku. That same evening, she returned with an armload of shopping bags. “Everything was on sale for just for two days,” she told him breathlessly.

He should have donated them the next day, and taken away her money.

Although the public is being encouraged to conserve electricity, Mr M has noticed that when he returns home in the evening, as often as not, his wife will be curled up on the sofa, snoring loudly, with the television turned on.

Kick her in the face and tell her to get in the kitchen and make you a sammich!!

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even back then, her goal was to become a full-time housewife

So, she does exactly what it says on the packet, and he married her. Don't see what he has to complain about.

I do wish people would stop treating stay-at-home mums and stay-at-home wives as if they were the same animal. There is no reason for a healthy adult with nothing better to do to not work. Parents of small children do have something better to do. Whether they do it, or pay someone else to do it, is their choice.

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I really feel sorry for men that marry these parisitic women. I understand the difficulties of running a house and kids and such but some of these women do NOTHING all day; no kids, no jobs but spending money like they are princesses. I am sad to see that some women actually have this goal.

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Just by pure definition how many house-wifes overseas could be called NEETS?

Why do articles on JT try to paint those as a pure Japan phenomenon and people swallow it?

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Hey, the charities only accept new clothes, don't they? Specifically to stop people donating worn, tattered clothing. As usual the weeklies are not to be trusted.

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I suggest Mrs S leaves for a while. Then Mr S can come home to an empty dark house, with nothing at all waiting for him to eat and noone to talk to, noone to iron his shirts, or clean the house, no one to pick the child up from school and take him or her to play dates or lessons, or do any of the other myriad of things a mother needs to do for her child. Let him do the lot. Or even better Mrs S can take the child with her and then perhaps he will appreciate the family more than he does right now. You dont know what you have until it is gone, eh.

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42% of females in their 30s agreed with the statement, “Husbands should work outside the home and wives should be full-time home makers.”

Sorry, but J-men have no one to blame but themselves for this. If they had provided some sort of career opportunities for women, especially as it relates to child-care, maternity leave, etc. then women might want to stay in the workforce. But, as most companies treat them simply as glorified maids who fetch coffee, for wages well below the same rank of men, it is no wonder they want to have a career at home. As cleo says, there is certainly no shame in that. And at least they don't have to deal with all the male-dominated nonsense of the office.

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worried, if the Mrs leaves, Mr will use his full paycheck to buy a porsche, pick up hot chicks in Ebisu and enjoy his sexuality all night long.

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If Mr. T were to do the cooking, would he come up with even the automated bread from rice? Or would he just stop at a convenience store on the way home?

Not condoning people (male or female) who sit around the house doing nothing to improve their lot, but when I hear males complain about their lazy wives, I wonder how the males would manage.

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Bread machines aren't magic. Someone has to measure the stuff and fill it, take out the bread immediately, clean it ... and they aren't foolproof.

Anyway, yeah, if the wives just up and left, I wonder how the guys would get along. You think your menu sucks now? Most young Japanese men I know can't make anything more than curry (from roux) or spaghetti. Most likely they'd all end up moving back in with their moms, since that's all a Japanese guy wants anyway.

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Kick her in the face and tell her to get in the kitchen and make you a sammich!!

..and find yourself with a quick trip to the cells charged with dv. Or if your wife doesnt have the balls for that, then perhaps you might find that sandwich is spat in for the rest of your miserable marriage until she does find the balls to call the police.

Thats fine, Mr.S can go to Ebisu and if any of the young things want anything to do with him, thats fine. Mrs S will have the kids and a lump sum payment and no useless lump of a man around not to appreciate her. Win win I would say.

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I did not advocate kicking anyone!

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See MrDogsjokeregarding kicking in the face. I responded to that.

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This article is written entirely from a man's perspective, which is sad. While I know some women whose dream is to be housewives (just because working in Japan is not exactly paradise for women, hint hint), it is also true that many guys tend to pity themselves too much. These guys married the ladies knowing them well (I assume) and instead of talking with them about their problems (or divorce them if they're so unhappy) they go to Shukan post to complain about life. Not very impressive. Also, it depends a lot on the husband how a wife behaves. I bet these women just stopped being interested in their husbands and that's not hard if the guys are non-stop on the job, go out for late drinks with coworkers and don't take care of their wives' needs. Plus, the age is also a factor. I'm not sure how old are the wives in question, but judging from their husbands' age (40s) it may be simply a difficult age period. Men rarely pay attention to those things. So I suggest Shukan post interviews the women and writes something from their perspective just for the sake of a fair game.

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OH I have so been waiting for this article @worried. This is it!! This is the one that tells the TRUTH. Hallelujah!!! The truth shall set you free.

What are these particular women good for? Seriously? Going out everyday for the lunchtime specials. What's worst is the infidelity that is not mentioned in this article.

@worried Of course, I'm a Western man so I'm quite capable of doing everything that needs to be done to maintain a household UNLIKE some J-Nationals men. I could outcook any Japanese woman in the kitchen. Come to think of it I've never had a Japanese woman cook for me. Only their moms which says a lot about the current generation of 30something women.

I do all the cooking, cleaning, and decorating. I got the Martha Stewart handbook memorized. Where am I going with this? Not to sound misogynistic but @worried if I can do all those things that MIGHT be considered a homemaker's job (woman) then what are these Japanese women good for?

I mean really, like, why on Earth would anyone choose to be so helpless? I know women who can't make Miso soup. No Miso Soup.....that's sad.

In a balanced relationship both partners bring something to the table. I make the Tonkatsu, the rice, I prepare the radish, prepare the cabbage and light veg. These women in Yokohama can't even make the Miso Soup.

I don't need you to wash my clothes, iron my shirts, or balance my checkbook. What are you good for?

@worried You talk about taking away all the time. What this article shows is that these women don't have to ability to manage a home or produce. Your remarks show the only thing you know how to do is destroy. You're showing me that the only trick your pony can do is run, hahahaha

I'm talking to you here. There's ABC Cooking School. You got all the technology in the world to multitask. Part-time job and hybrid washing machines compliment each other. While you work it takes care of the laundry.

Unfair relationships. It's what I jokingly call "Horse and Buggy" relationships. These J-girls think they are queens. The wedding day is about them, then life after that is about them as they stay home with the "Hoover" sucking up dust if you are a lucky husband. If you are not lucky she's out with the cable man. Then the law rewards such women when they want a divorce.

It's paradise for @worried here in Japan.

@reckless worried, if the Mrs leaves, Mr will use his full paycheck to buy a porsche, pick up hot chicks in Ebisu and enjoy his sexuality all night long.

That's not gonna happen. He'll be milked for all she can get in Family Court.

Very silly to hand over your paycheck to your wife. We don't need women to spend our money for us. Ridiculous. I can shop on the Internet and have it delivered.

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@NetNinja.

Tell us how you truly feel and don't hold back. ;)

Most men I know can do a lot of stuff around the house and most will help out.

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NetNinja,

Completely agree with everything you have said. I would however like to add maybe these whining little wimps of men should grow a set and put their foot down. Afterall marriage is supposed to be a partnership and that means both pull their weight equally. But from what l have seen the married men?? in Japan are to scared to say anything so they whine behind the wifes back and never do anything to correct the issue. Great marriages they must have

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maybe these whining little wimps of men should grow a set and put their foot down

I agree, and if they can't do that they could at least sick their mother-in-laws on their lazy wives.

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MIL's don't need to be let loose on spouses, IMO & IME.

Honestly sounds like some bachelors are posting here.

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@Stranger

It's "sic". Not "sick". You just gave me a really horrible image in my mind!

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@Lucarasi

You should have quoted me and put sic after my misspelling also. That would have been even funnier/confusing.

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Up to last month, Mr S had handed over his entire pay packet to his wife. From this month he stopped.

That is a step forward. Men should stop giving over their bank accounts to their wives once they get married. I control the purse strings and give my wife a 10,000 yen allowance. Anything that costs more than that (clothes, etc) she asks me and I buy it for her or give her the OK.

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Who created Japanese men who can do nothing? THEIR MOTHERS!! Blame them for not teaching their kids - male or female - how to cook, clean and look after themselves.

Like Cleo said, I have zero tolerance for a non-working wife with no kids. Small kids? Stay home if you want but when they head off to school, get your butt back to work or volunteer at your kids school. Anything but sit on your butt, pick up pre-cooked food and think you are contributing to something when you aren't. Sadly, there seem to be more of these women then the hard working ones.

As for the comment about the wife leaving and taking the kids, I think the man would be happy. I think many mothers would be happy too to have a break from the kids and husband. Thing is, while hubby has the money to look after himself, what would the wife do? No money, no job to support herself. Which is exactly why the husbands are pissed off.

Sadly 50% if my female uni students dream of being a housewife. When pushed they will admit they have no idea about cooking, cleaning, raising kids... again, blame THEIR mothers who raised them like this. Dad's job is to be the office, remember?

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Well said Ninja! Exactly how I feel about these women! Thank god I have a husband who is aware of this, helps out at home (and he's a native) and also looks at these women in disdain.

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Adam, I think many of these men are worried about losing their kids if they actually did step up and try and get rid of them!

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tmarie,

Im not saying get rid of them especially where kids are involved, just sit them down and talk things through. It is amazing what a good conversation can achieve. In the end the only way a marriage will work for both is if they act as a team and work to make each other happy. Whining about the wives to another person doesnt help, talk directly to the wife / husband, dont snipe just come out and say whats happening. Damn lm sounding like Dr Phil, NO!!!!

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Do you know many j-women? The "chat" thing doesn't work well. I have seen guys try. I have heard my j-girl friends laugh about it knowing that if they don't give in, they will get their way. Why? Because they are princesses. I have some great j-female friends but they frighten me at times with their comments and their ideas about relationships. The men here seem much more level headed for the most part but I guess being raised by a stay at home mom means they are fine with the idea. Thing is, the stay at home women aren't holding up their end of the bargain. And why would they change? They don't benefit from it. They would have to do more work.

Withhold the pay is my opinion. I have no idea why men here hand over their paychecks. It is a cultural thing. i get it but when the women aren't doing what is culturally expected, why not? Thing is, many of the guys don't even have bank cards let alone the pin number. Sad.

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An old Chinese saying goes - "There are 3 types of wives. The FLOWER*, the MAN, and the MOTHER". Explanation: FLOWER is giddy and fluffy headed, who is exactly that, a flower, good for decoration only. The MAN is a level headed, cool and steady wife. The MOTHER, is as it says, a mother.

For a wife, a man will subconsciously gets attracted to one of these 3, and pick her to be his wife.

From the whiners' complains here about their wives, it looks like either they got married with their eyes tightly closed or, most likely, they have picked a "flower" for a wife, probably because at that time, it was their bottom bit that was doing the talking. And when their bit has calmed down, they realised that what they actually needed was a "mother" for a wife but then it was too late. And this was when the dissatisfaction and complaints about their wives start. So whose fault was it?

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An old Chinese saying goes - "There are 3 types of wives. The FLOWER*, the MAN, and the MOTHER". Explanation: FLOWER is giddy and fluffy headed, who is exactly that, a flower, good for decoration only. The MAN is a level headed, cool and steady wife. The MOTHER, is as it says, a mother.

For a wife, a man will subconsciously gets attracted to one of these 3, and pick her to be his wife.

From the whiners' complains here about their wives, it looks like either they got married with their eyes tightly closed or, most likely, they have picked a "flower" for a wife, probably because at that time, it was their bottom bit that was doing the talking. And when their bit has calmed down, they realised that what they actually needed was a "mother" for a wife but then it was too late. And this was when the dissatisfaction and complaints about their wives start. So whose fault was it?

This is a fallacy. Women are no more "flowers", "man" or "mother" than men are warriors, rapists or gay. There is no stereotype applied to women at birth any more than there is to a man. Humans by their nature are able to decide for themselves their own lives, and work towards it. The tools that enable this process is education and an open mind.

Your comment tries to put the blame on the "whiners", but in truth, all you're doing is stereotyping women and relegating them to specific spheres and unfair categorizations.

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Fault? How about the mothers who raised princesses who can't do anything?? Same thing for those mothers for raising sons who can't do anything.

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Mrs Coughalot once tried giving me a boil-in-the-bag curry for my dinner after I got home from a 12-hour workday. She'd been to hula dancing club for an hour that afternoon, you see, and couldn't be bothered cooking.

She hasn't made that mistake since, nor has she been to hula club again. The house is nice and clean, however.

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In the end the only way a marriage will work for both is if they act as a team and work to make each other happy.

This is the crux. It doesn't matter if the wife stays at home, goes out to work, works from home, does volunteer work, has lots of kids, has no kids, has her mother over to stay, is a cordon bleu cook, has trouble working the microwave, has an iron hand on the family finances or gets housekeeping and an allowance to buy make-up and ice cream - so long as whatever the arrangement is, both parties are happy with it. Make sure, before you get married, that you and the person you are marrying share basic core values, are compatible outside the sheets as well as under them, and are looking more or less at the same horizon.

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I agree Cleo but people change their minds. I know more than a few women who claimed to be forward thinking, wanted to work... but when the ring went on, out those ideals went. Rather unfair to the husband. What would the wives do if their husband came home one day and just said "Honey, I quit my job today" which is exactly what has happened to two guys I know here. Really unfair and lots of stress and pressure on the men to be the sole breadwinner. Certainly some people don't think things through before getting married but some do and get screwed when the wife (or the husband in some cases) stops playing by the rules agreed upon.

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Now ay would i ever hand over all my cash to my wife. She gets money from me weekly and that is fine. My brother in law hands over allhis wages and gets 500 Yen a day pocket money for his lunch and has to ask if he can have monry for stuff like beers. That is no way for a working man to live.

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@vinnyfav

If I am not mistaken, you have this bias opinion that just because it is an old Chinese saying, it is outdated and silly in this "modern" world, hence your rather defensive stand here. Or you are a women's libber. Have you thought deeply what exactly this old Chinese saying means?

Don't look at the shallow and physical attributes of the 3 classifications, but the basic intrinsic values/attributes of each character of womenkind.

And do you realise that what you are saying, is actually in tune with this old Chinese saying, only difference is that you might have expressed it differently by adding "education and open mind", but the end result is the same - that is - the shaping of a basic character is what we decide what we are to be, and what we are, shapes our basic character?

If you think that education and an open mind alone shape our character, you are wrong. Education is only an additional bonus. It is additional tool for our survival, that is all It only gives us a wider horizon and open a bigger option for us to look at as we shape our life along our life's journey.

One point that you missed out is the psyche. It is an important ingredient in the make up of our basic character too.

All said and done, at the end of the day, whether we are a flower, a man or a mother, is how and what we decide and shape our basic character.

Should you be thinking of women's lib here, then it is another kettle of fish altogether, as you will note the subject matter here is about the values of a wife, a woman, not women's lib.

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If I were married to a skinflint who reckoned the family income was his because he worked for it, I think I'd be more inclined to reckon the kids were mine because I raised 'em.

As for people changing their minds - if the core values are the same, there can't be that much of a seismic shift unless other things change, too. Like the bloke who says of course he will do his share of the housework but once the honeymoon is over expects her to do a full day's work, keep the home clean and produce hot cooked meals, clean shirts, hot baths and a couple of kids while he spends his evenings draped over the settee in front of the telly with a cold one.

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Cleo - nobody's moaning here about women doing a full day's work. It's the women who don't do a scrap of work from the moment the ring goes on and still manage to report doing a bit of hoovering as a herculaean, exhausting task, so draining they can't muster a bit of conversation when the breadwinner comes home who are the object of many men's ire here.

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Ivan, I was pointing out that it isn't always and only the woman who 'changes her mind' once the ring is on the finger. But even taking your point, what business is it of all these men, what goes on in someone else's marriage? So long as you and your lady wife have an arrangement that suits the two of you, what does it matter if the bloke next door lets his wife manage the family finances, or is happy to let her go off to hula classes? Or even if he's not happy and she still goes?

I look around me and see couples with arrangements similar to ours, who are quite happy. Others with different arrangements that would have either me or Mr cleo tearing our hair out, but it works for them. Other couples who seem determined to be miserable whatever the arrangements (or usually, lack of). No point getting upset about it.

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If I were married to a skinflint who reckoned the family income was his because he worked for it, I think I'd be more inclined to reckon the kids were mine because I raised 'em

So you keep the kids, he keeps all the money. Fair deal?

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Japan's kozukai system (whereby the male breadwinner hands over his monthly salary to the housewife, who manages all finances), is incomprehensible and bizarre to Westerners. And the reason for this is that the kozukai system is predicated on what is, I think, an unsustainable quid pro quo between the sexes: The idea that women have the right NOT to work outside the home while men have the right NOT to do any domestic household chores. This absolute, rigid division of labor prevailed throughout Japan's halcyon days in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but it started breaking down after that. The plummeting birth rate and the end of the salaryman's glory days as a hostess bar-hopping, well-paid lifetime employee probably account for the breakdown.

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Time to change. Japanese men should be alot more selfish. Women should put in equal effort in a relationship. If they don't, kick them out and file for divorce. Let them make it on their own even if you have kids. It's not worth it. She might learn something that life is not easy. I would be alot happier alone and not put up with the typical J-women deceit games. They are not worth it. They need to be more real which is hard for most J-women.

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"I think I'd be more inclined to reckon the kids were mine because I raised 'em." That IS the mind set of many, many Japanese women. They want the pay, the want the kids and they don't want to do a fair chunk of work.

I don't want my husband's salary. I have my own. We have an agreement on bills and I don't question what he buys, he doesn't question what I buy. We certainly discuss large items and whatnot but my husband is not a child. I don't want to be mummy and give him allowance.

Cleo, I am happy it works for you but it certainly doesn't work for many. I have been out with numerous coworkers/husband's coworkers and they are jealous that my husband has control of their money.

As for changing minds, women here play the part they need to get married. Look at the young, single women here. Make up, hooker heels, short skirts... Look at how they dress when the ring goes on. They change their mind like they change their fashion.

The men here do need to start putting their foot down. I'm not saying it is easy - I have been known to go on strike when I feel my husband is lacking in doing housework - but what can these guys do? Refuse to go to work? Taking back the money THEY worked for would ensure that these women don't get too comfortable at Afternoon Tea.

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So you keep the kids, he keeps all the money. Fair deal?

No, that's the whole point. Everyone loses out with that kind of mentality. What I'm saying is that when husband and wife don't put everything into a marriage, and instead start drawing lines about what's mine and what's his, all you have is two people living together, not a marriage. For some people that might work very well, but I find it sad.

Japan's kozukai system ..... is incomprehensible and bizarre to Westerners.

No it isn't. This Westerner at least understands it and finds it works very well. And we don't have the 'absolute, rigid division of labour' you describe. I contribute financially, he does his share of cooking and cleaning.

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I have a question. You men who do or don't Hand Over My Monthly Salary - do you get paid in cash?

My employer deposits my salary in my bank account and my family uses it as we see fit.

I know some Japanese males who don't have a cash card so when they need money, they need to ask their wives but they seem always to have enough cash.

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Cleo, judging by the general tenor of comments about Japan's kozukai system, I'd have to say that you're in a minority among Westerners who understand and accept it. And, not being Japanese yourself, I don't think any arrangement worked out between you and your husband about finances can be seen as representative of orthodox Japanese households. I'd venture to guess that the number of middle-aged married Japanese women who have never contributed towards paying a single month's rent or mortgage payment (all the while controlling the family finances), and the number of middle-aged married Japanese men who have never washed dishes or done laundry (or even set foot in a supermarket), is extremely high.

And again, for a Westerner, it's just jarring to meet people who've had such one-sided life experiences. I'm not saying that the Western system is better, just that most Westerners can't comprehend how Japanese society operated (very, very well, one should add) according to such a rigid division of labor from the 1950s until the whole system--dependent on good times and excess cash--began coming apart at the seams in the 1990s.

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From an European perspective, this article is quite intriguing, as most women there work (for example, in France: 85% have a job) of the even when they have children (80% of the women with children work). Most women would rather work than being confined in their traditional housewife role. The housewife model is considered there as a typical 50's/60's social model, so it is very interesting to observe a country where this model is more mainstream.

I am even more intrigued by the allowance system. Whatever the choice (work/housework), an healthy couple should involve post parties for most decisions. My wife and I don't check each others spending (we are both working full-time with one kid), but we definitely make common decisions concerning the general budget and significant spending.

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@Adam Good Morning Adam.

Funny that this article is about woman who are good for nothing and you're name is Adam. Yeah, it's a bible reference and if anybody had a problem with women it was Adam. *A bit of light hearted humor to start the morning. Now lets quote:

@Adam said : Im not saying get rid of them especially where kids are involved, just sit them down and talk things through. It is amazing what a good conversation can achieve. In the end the only way a marriage will work for both is if they act as a team and work to make each other happy.

You are right on both counts here and you are because it's theory. There's a rule about domestic violence. Stay inside the box. Walk away when things get heated. I'll swing back to this in a sec.

@Adam most people think as you do and would fully agree with you. There's theory and then there's application. Put yourself in the scene.

Pet-Gaikokujin: Love, it's time you start helping with the rent. We are in recession now. There are bills to pay. (Then you drop the reality of the situation). You need to at least bring in 150,000yen. per month. (I'm not going to do all the calculations here but I can add it up) Rent, Food, Bills, Car Maintenance, Insurance, Retirement. I'm not Harry Potter you know.

J-girl: WHAT!?!? Why do I have to pay for anything? I'm your wife. I want to quit my job and stay home. I want to make babies. (A man is logical in nature but we can see in this case she's not trying to hear that)

Pet-Gaikokujin: Me too honey but we need to prepare for that. We have to share the responsibility.

J-girl: No, you are mean. You don't love me. This is Japan. Man must pay for the woman here. (Notice here that the J-girl feels she's entitled to everything)

Pet-Gaikokujin: I'm not a Japanese man. I want a partner who has a career as well. We share the joy in life, not me working my arse off so you can sit at home. That's not exactly fair.

J-girl: Goes mad, starts destroying the house. Grabs a knife from the kitchen, not really stabbing at you but waving it around like a Terrible Towel at a Steelers game.

(I'll show you who's boss. I'll provoke you and get the police to explain your position in this society)

Pet-Gaikokujin: I'm gonna call the police

J-girl: !Screaming! Call them!!! Call them!! (I got this homie!! I'll be in your place while you sit in the box)

So you see @Adam it doesn't go so smoothly in application. ;-)

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I'd have to say that you're in a minority among Westerners who understand and accept it.

Never said I wasn't, Masswipe. Simply pointing out that it isn't true that the system is 'incomprehensible and bizarre to Westerners'. I would have been mollified by a 'many Westerners' or even 'most Westerners'. :-)

not being Japanese yourself, I don't think any arrangement ..... can be seen as representative of orthodox Japanese households

Oh dear. Do I detect traces of 'Westerners can't fit in', 'inscrutable Japan' and 'you'll always be an outsider'? There's no such thing as an 'orthodox Japanese household'. It isn't a religion. You would be nearer the mark if you'd said 'typical Japanese household', but then again there is no such creature. Every family is different. I know Japanese households where the husband handles all the finances and gives his wife (earning or not) a housekeeping allowance. I know Japanese households where the wife handles all the money and the husband has no idea how much they have in the bank. I know Japanese households where they each have jobs and pay into a housekeeping kitty, keeping the rest of their earnings to themselves. They're all pretty 'typical' families.

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How does a Japanese man "hand" over his money? Salary is paid via direct deposit into a bank or Japanese post account. The man doesnt have an atm card to his own account? I and my wife both have access to the money, although I work and she is a home-maker. She does a fantastic job of cooking, cleaning and raising the child as well a keeping the fridge stocked with beer. If i need money to go out to the bar,I either grab it from her purse or go to the atm. I NEVER ask. Neither does she. I dont see how that sort of circumstance (the husband doesnt have access to funds) could ever come into existence unless the dude was a complete moron.

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As a divorcee who works long hours Monday to Friday and looks after his daughter most of the day on Saturdays and Sundays while also doing the housework and cooking in his own place, I can safely say that the pressures of doing domestic chores (be honest ladies, what is it, maximum 3 hours a day right?) and raising children, especially when they're at school for most of the day, are not a patch on the pressures the average working man or woman has to endure daily.

Is your work subject to continual appraisal and rigid standards by a boss? Is your lifestyle under threat if you slack off?

It was the same where I grew up, but especially in Japan we're told to appreciate the sacrifices and hard work of mothers while completely ignoring the far greater daily sacrifices and pressures that the fathers experience.

I've been at many family dinners where the children are asked to say thankyou to their mothers for dinner.

I've never once seen, or heard of a child being asked to say thankyou to their father for buying the food, buying the house, paying for the furniture, clothes etc...?

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NetNinja,

Good morning to you too. Damn that was one frightening scenario you painted. Ok l admit it, some J women are crazy. What l was saying would work ok on a sane non psyco person. But thanks for a good laugh though, oh and l feel sorry for Pet-Gaikokujin. Poor bugger!!!!

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@scotchegg - I kind of agree with what you are saying, but I have been a careerwoman, a working mother, full time and part time, and a stay at home mum. I can honestly say that each role has different pressures and different good and bad points about it. If you feel unappreciated and constantly under threat of sacking in your job, perhaps you should think about moving somewhere else? If you feel like that, it is also no wonder that you find childcare easier and more comfortable.

I am currently working part-time and I am one of only two working mothers in the kindergarten. I didn`t want my son to go there, I much prefer hoikuen and it suits me better, but it was the right move for him, he is happy, and so I am adapting my life for him.

I love working and I am proud of it, I have no intention of giving it up. My husband and I are a team. We both work, we both do cooking (he loves it, I hate it), we both do housework, and we both share responsibility for the kids.

Interestingly, when some of the non-working kindergarten mothers make pitying comments about me "having to work" I feel sorry for them. I am bright, happy, well-turned-out (if I do say so myself!), optimistic about my life and my future. But many of these mothers shuffle around in baggy clothes, heads down, shoulders hunched and their body language just screams misery and defeat - so who is right here?

I agree with Cleo - for most women (and men), when you marry them, they do exactly what they say on the tin. My husband has always known my feelings about working, and supported them. These men that marry women whose only goal in life is to be a housewife - and then complain when they...erm...become a housewife...have only themselves to blame. If people lie and cheat to get the ring on their finger, then that is a whole different issue.

To answer Zennys question - I actually think this is a phenomenon that, while certainly not unique to Japan, is definitely more prevalent here. Most of my UK mother friends are either working, or full time child-carers. I dont know one single childless wife who doesn`t work, and I only know a few with older children who are not working but are active in charity work and volunteering.

By the way - I DONT know how to make miso soup. Good miso soup anyway. I am not Japanese so I never watched my mother make it. I dont like it, so I dont make it. If my husband wants it, he has a huge choice of places he can get it from right outside our front door, or he can make it himself. Dont see many steak and kidney pies in this area though, so its not as if we arent both making sacrifices, but we are worth it as a couple and as a family.

Many of my Japanese friends comment on our relationship and say how lucky we are. That kind of annoys me. Luck doesnt come into it. You work hard at a relationship, you communicate, deal with issues, fix them and move forwards. We have been through some VERY rough times but what doesnt kill you makes you stronger and I believe the same goes for relationships. If the men in these articles have these issues they need to try a little communication. I the wives refuse to communicate, then perhaps stronger means are called for, like withholding money.

My god - could I BE anymore rambly today??!

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Oh, just have to add while I am in this talkative frame of mind - I TOTALLY agree with what one poster said about women in the workplace - perhaps if MEN had made it easier for women with children to work in the first place and not be treated like glorified waitresses/playthings, with respect, and promotional opportunities if they are any good, maybe more Japanese women would feel inclined to get off their collective butts and earn money.

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I have lived here for 20 years Cleo, I understand it. Won't accept it. BIG difference. These people who enter into a marriage intent on not taking a position to assist and get involved deserve to be brought to task, and given a "Wake up" call. What kind of pathetic adult woman or man would put up with such a deal? You work all day and come home to a "home" devoid of the essentials that should make it as such. i.e. the other member of the team getting their head out of their... I too find it abhorrent that given this life women would rather exist and sit chatting inanely spending their husbands’ money rather than living and doing something worthwhile. There's taking a rational, logical stance over the issue then there's defending the indefensible.

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My X-wife was taking all my take home pay by 10,000 to 20,000 Yen a day and hiding it somewhere. I didn't notice until about three years ago, when the part time job I had besides my full time job got cancelled. I suddenly had to start going to the bank instead of using the cash I got from the part time work on Saturdays. I was in shock. So I had my salary deposited in another account, and my job was under strict orders not to tell the X what the account was nor any info on it. I then put her on a budget. She yelled and screamed as usual and told me my money was not mine...well get a clue lady.

Anyway, I have to drag my butt to family court because she is trying to get 50% of my pension. Look at the law. Before April 1, 2008, a divorced man did not have to give the spouse a single Yen of the pension. So, at family court I told them I want to give her a percentage of the pension from that date up to the divorce date. Should be a fun chat.

If any of you are going to get a divorce, both of you be sure to go to the ward office to turn the papers in, because this woman did not do it for a year. So I was told that all the money I spent to set her up for an apartment, and monthly payments are considered gifts, because I was technically still married at the time.

I held up my passport at the first hearing and told them Narita is only a couple of hours away. and the story goes on and on.

I am living with a real sweety now, and she is Japanese too. So different from the first one.

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If as you claim, Cleo, that there is so much diversity and eclecticism among Japanese couples regarding the handling of family finances, then why does something called the "kozukai system" even exist? Why do so many Japanese housewives, it seems, have total control over family finances, and why do you defend it so passionately here every time it comes under attack?

Also, while the myth of Japanese racial/ethnic homogeneity is just that, it's a bit of a stretch to imply that in Japan there simply exists no standardized way of doing certain things like handling family finances. Clearly, during Japan's halcyon days (I'd say 1960-90) a rigidly defined system and division of labor emerged between the sexes. And while there are far more interracial/international couples in Japan today, it is again a bit of a stretch to imply that the Japan of 40-50 years ago--when the kozukai system really took root--did NOT regard an orthodox Japanese household as consisting of a Japanese husband, Japanese wife, and their Japanese children.

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A marriage and household is very much like a business. Job duties need to be agreed upon in the job description categories. One job being the money maker and the other being the home maker with part time jobs being somewhere in the middle. Salaries need to be agreed upon as well as quarterly evaluations. If a job is not being performed to task, its time for termination and a re-hire.

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I understand it. Won't accept it. BIG difference. These people....

But if you've got your marriage worked out the way you want it, what concern is it of yours to 'accept' or not accept what 'these people' (total strangers) do in their own marriages?

As miamum points out, if people lie and cheat on their way up the aisle, then there's a problem; but a man who marries a woman who is up front about wanting to be a full-time housewife (ditto a man who wants a live-in maid but marries a career power house) has no one to blame but himself if he doesn't like it when she does exactly what she said she was going to do.

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why does something called the "kozukai system" even exist?

As a system? I'm not sure that it does. It's one way of seeing that someone who leaves the house every day has enough money for travel, food and a bit extra, without a constant haemorrhaging of limited domestic finances.

Why do so many Japanese housewives, it seems, have total control over family finances

'So many' doesn't mean 'all'. I've already mentioned that I know families where the wife gets housekeeping and the husband handles everything else. People do what works for them. Traditionally it was considered gauche for a samurai to be concerned with money, though I'm not sure that that has any bearing on the modern 'corporate samurai'.

and why do you defend it

Because I know from personal experience that it works?

it is again a bit of a stretch to imply that the Japan of 40-50 years ago--when the kozukai system really took root--did NOT regard an orthodox Japanese household as consisting of a Japanese husband, Japanese wife, and their Japanese children.

Heck, that's still the way the tax system sees it. Did you notice all the hubbub about the pensions and dependents' allowances that was going on before the earthquake gave everyone something else to think about? That hubbub was precisely because diversity has hit the Japanese family, and the old, what you insist on calling 'orthodox,' system no longer holds true for enough people to make it a political talking-point.

Kaptankichigai - I was with you until the last sentence. If one side of the bargain is not being kept out of laziness or pig-headedness, then fine, throw it all out of the window and start again with a clean sheet. But what about if one partner is no longer able to fulfil his/her agreed role due to circumstances beyond his/her control? Sickness, injury, unemployment, change of circumstances indicate a regrouping, not a termination.

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cleo-agreed

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Because it is a social issue that is being discussed here THAT is why.

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Although I absolutely agree that people should be honest about their future goals before marriage I also doubt that many women would openly say "I intend to be a housewife for the rest of my life" if asked, in the same way many men would probably dissemble if asked questions about future fidelity intentions for example.

Miamum - reluctant though I am to answer your ad hominem comment, I'm perfectly happy at work thankyou. But I also know that slacking will likely mean the sack, reduced employment opportunities and severe long-term lifestyle impact (extreme scenario, but seen many homeless women?).

You proudly list your CV of career woman, full-time working mother, part-time working mother etc. and certainly there is stuff to respect there. But consider this: Aren't all fathers who work, working fathers? Just because the hours I'm parenting in a week are fewer than my ex, who works part-time, does that mean I deserve the title any less? Many fathers, married or divorced, have the same arrangement, (full time work and look after the kids on weekends), but when we spend time parenting it's considered a lucky playtime that we should be thankful for, not the real 'raising' of a child that mothers do.

Especially in Japan mothers are praised for doing things that many fathers do all the time without any mention. Of course there are also layabout fathers who do bog all.

But these examples are working parents whose children are still too young to take care of themselves. As for housewives with no kids or whose kids are old enough to look after themselves, please don't describe your housework as any kind of living or job, in the same way you wouldn't describe an unemployed single man's daily upkeep of his house as his job.

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Well posted Mia!!

Good call about "working dad" but really, how many hours of childcare/housework... do men do? Both my husband and I work and yes, he does help around the house but he certainly doesn't do his "fair" share and I end up doing it. Tend to think the same goes for children when both parents work. Pick your battles. Like I said, I have gone on strike and he gets the picture. If mom stays home, I don't think dad should have to lift a finger.

What gets me are the muppet j girls who want to marry a gaijin because "they help at home" and yet, want don't want to work and expect hubby to help out!! Haahaha!!

As for the question about bank cards, as I said, many j-guys don't have one. The wife has it - and the pin number!!

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cleo writes, "what concern is it of yours to 'accept' or not accept what 'these people' (total strangers) do in their own _____ " (fill in the blank, and yes, can't argue with that: words to live by.

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While I don't condone laziness and think this story is talking about worst case scenarios, it is worth understanding that the Japanese employment / social system is designed to draw a clear delineation between the sexes or to make a woman choose between having children or having a career. Yes, some women manage to have both but it is usually at the expense of being able to spend any real time with their children. Consider that: j Japan has some of the lowest rates of women in executive, managerial or elected positions. If a man is the head of household and his wife gets a part-time job earning over ¥1 million / year she will have to start paying into the pension system, which she previosly didn't do even though she would be able to collect on it, the family will lose many of their tax deductions as well as family allowances provided by the company. For many those losses outweigh the money the wife will earn. Most daycares close early or if they do have extended hours they're 7 or 8, which is still relatively early if you have a full-time job. Most men don't pick up the kids because they don't get out of work in time. They know that if they left that early they'd never get ahead. The same is true for the majority of working women. There is no punishment for not paying child support or alimony even though a women who tries to re-enter the work force after being a full-time housewife is going to have a rough time making a go of it. Japanese females now out number males in the number of college graduates but they fare worse than most any of their counterparts in developed nations when it comes to wage disparity. If they want to avoid impoverishment in their old age they can set aside rainy day money or stay married for 20 or 25 years, I forget the exact number, before they can collect half of their husband's pension. And remember that many men will get two pensions, the big one-time one from their company and the government one. An ex-wife is only entitled to half of one of those and it's not that difficult for a financially astute man to hide one of them. The reality is that neither the government, which is made up of old men, nor major companies want this system to change. And when it comes right down to it, neither do most Japanese men. The women I do know have basically given up on any expectation that it will and are too overwhelmed with the details of all of it to know where to start. It's easy, and apparently great fun, to criticize Japanese women for wanting to be stay at home moms and trying to pinch a bit of ¥ aside - just in case - but given the nature of the system here it's really hard to blame them. You have millions of intelligent, college educated women who will never be allowed to utilize their skills to their fullest unless they give up on the idea of having a family. That's not having it made in my book.

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The women here don't "fight" for these rights though. As you stated the women "have basically given up" which is why change doesn't happen. Certainly blame the men for making the rules but blame the women for not fighting for it. Thing is, I don't actually think many women care about such things because... they can't be bothered to. my young uni females have no clue about how hard it is - they won't even bother trying because they think they are entitled to stay home.

My mom was a single mom who worked her butt off to raise two kids. I admire that and will ensure I never end up working crappy jobs after kids like my mom did. Instilled that in me. Moms here aren't instilling much in their kids when it comes to such issues.

I know of women who have gotten pregnant and basically been told to leave their job. They don't bother fighting back so why should I feel sorry for them when they can't even bother to feel sorry for themselves?

I feel for the single women who need to compete with these "baito" moms who lower the wage to stay under the max salary cap so they can stay under their husband's coverage. They aren't helping working women at all.

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tmarie, you're judgin' these things through your first-world Western eyes.

The Japanese have a culture that's different than yours.

Your idea of what constitutes 'rights' to Japanese is moot (non-existent, not worth considering).

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tmarie: I understand what you're saying but I'm not saying you should feel sorry for them. They have made choices, as have the men who work 16 hours a day and spend so little time at home that they don't recognize their own children. It's all about choice. But having come of age after others fought that fight for me I can't honestly say what I would've given up or done had times been different. I recommend Race for The Exits to get a real and very detailed idea of how entrenched the system is and how vested it is in keeping things the way they are. It may change your opinions slightly, it may not. Either way, it's a bit academic and dry but a fascinating read.

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You're right Ronin, I am. Just as they judge me, my job and my marriage through their Japanese eyes and yet, envy what I and my Japanese husband have. No idea how many times my students have comments on how "lucky" I am to have such a husband, such a job, such a life... It isn't luck. I have worked my butt of to have what I have, to be where I am and to have the benefits I do. Thing is, they don't get that when I try and explain what I have had to do to be where I am. They, for some reason, think it all just magically happened and will happen for them to if they meet the right guy with the right job... They have no concept of working towards it. Why would they? Most of their mothers didn't. Thing is, their mothers grew up in a very different time when life was a little more secure.

If you want to use "culture" can you explain the issue with these women NOT looking after their homes like they culturally should be? 100 years ago there were no Aeons to go pick up the pre-cooked food, daycare to drop the kiddlets off at and no cafes to spend their time/money at. There was no culture of PTA and creating busy work for everyone, there was no culture of going out for dinner, going shopping for brand name bags... So... the culture thing doesn't work for me. More so when more women see things like "Sex and the City" and want that life but don't want to work for it. They want the "right" to stay home, have a husabnd who slaves at the office, two perfect kids but yet, aren't keeping up their end of the bargain. Men have a "right" to a clean house and a home cooked meal if you want to go by what you're suggesting.

Ambrosia - you're right. It is about choice. I just get sick and tired of many on here feeling sorry for the poor housewife with the nasty, horrible Japanese husbands. I think Japanese men get a very bad rep which I don't think they all deserve. I have no idea how the women here get the "damsel in distress" image when I don't see it.

Who is the book by? Will pick it up.

Don't get me wrong, as a working non-Japanese female I have certainly had my fair share of fights here to be where I am - and knowing when to walk away. It isn't easy. I just find it frustrating when people defend thee types of women. There are some amazing j-women out there but I honestly know very few who deserve much respect when it comes to being a wife, a mother, a homemaker... Hats off to the working moms here (and not 15 hour baito women who see it as a hobby) as I have no idea how they manage.

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just that most Westerners can't comprehend how Japanese society operated (very, very well, one should add) according to such a rigid division of labor

Depends on your definition of 'operated very well'. Sure men and women in Japan used to have clear cut roles but how happy were they and how happy were their children. Life is about making choices and if you don't have many choices, you can feel stuck. Men felt they HAD to work and women felt that it was their job to be a homemaker. It may seem harmonious on the outside but who knows what kind of dissatisfaction and resentment people are feeling on the inside.

Roles are changing but men still assume that their wife is going to do all the cooking, cleaning and child-rearing and some women still assume that their husband is going to be the sole breadwinner and she can sit on her bottom after the kids are off to school. Couples should not make such assumptions anymore. They need to ASK these important questions BEFORE they get married!

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Aren't all fathers who work, working fathers? Just because the hours I'm parenting in a week are fewer than my ex, who works part-time, does that mean I deserve the title any less?

Absolutely they are, the ones who then also spend time on the parenting side too. They deserve admiration and respect. But the mothers juggling children and a part-time job deserve the same respect, even though they may not be bringing in as much money as the husband.

My listing of my history was not intended to garner respect, but simply to point out that I have been in all positions, and each one has its merits and its drawbacks. Many of those drawbacks I think depend on what you want for yourself, for example a woman who wants a career but has no way to balance one with children and therefore has no choice but to let her considerable skills and experience go to waste.

tmarie - you are absolutely right and I get so irritated by people who comment on how "lucky" I am, when as you rightly say luck doesn`t come into it and we have worked our butts off and both of us made sacrifices to get what we have now. So many friends of mine expect to have these things just handed to them.

I DO feel sorry for the J women who want to work, but cant because they cant get childcare/have in laws that bully them into not working/a husband that doesn`t support them working/the system precludes it etc etc. I also feel sorry for the J guys whose spoilt wives sit at home and expect to be kept women without lifting a finger but it is still very much a mans domain here, and it is easier for a man to fix this issue for himself than for a woman to fix hers. I agree that women here are apathetic and should fight more for their rights but how exactly do they do that? Everything is against them, even other women!

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I feel for the ones that want to work. Thing is, I don't actually meet all that many who either want to work after grad, want to work after marriage or want to work after having kids. There are a few and I feel for them. Just like I feel for myself when it comes to talking to my husband about having kids and trying to figure out what I would do about my job (I don't get mat leave) and finding daycare. I am terrified I will be shunned for classes if I have kids but that won't stop me from trying to get work - or fighting places that won't rehire me because I have kiddies. Like I mentioned, I have seen numerous women just not even bother to contact Hellowork when their maternity rights are denied! They can't be bothered. When I mention that this crap will continue unless they stand up against it, they just shrug their shoulders and become stay at home moms even though they claim they want to work. I don't actually believe they do want to work. Or are they that apathetic about their rights? Either way, they get no sympathy from me about it all when they do nothing to help themselves. Who do they expect to fight for them? Oh right, the likes of me it feels at time. And unlike some, neither my parents nor parents in law are around to try and help out like some are for the j women.

Lack of child care is a HUGE issues but again, until the women demand it, it won't happen. I just keeping thinking that if these women got together they could help each other out with childcare and perhaps some of them could even start at home daycares or whatnot but I don't see it happening. Just the idea of getting a babysitter gets looks from others when I talk about it. Seems they want to have their cake and eat it to.

And yes, you're right, other women ARE against them. Women are their own worst enemies. Myself included as I have been told off by many for not supporting "these" women and their "rights" to stay home. Stay home. Just do a damn good job at it just like I do a damn good job at what I do - and still manage to have home cooked meals, a clean house... I must be superwoman if I can manage it. Working moms are my hero and they are beyond superwoman status to me! Gods I think!

I did the "stay at home housewife" for six months recently and I nearly went insane as I was so bored. It honestly made me dislike these type of women more as I KNOW they do very little in terms of hours spent "working". We're not beating clothes on rocks and gathering anymore. Again, ones with little kids are different. Ones with kids in school or none? Bah. I am their enemy! ;)

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tmarie I think you and I were identical twins separated at birth!

I agree with everything you say, just not as articulate as you at expressing it having been up 5 times in the night with the baby/toilet training and then doing a full days work, then cleaning the house, cooking dinner and...excuse me now, my red and blue cape and body suit needs ironing!

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Supermom/wife/goddess!! Damn! My eternal respect for being able to do it all!!

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Well, as you rightly said, in order to have it all, you have to do it all!

Two words: "Asahi" and "Superdry"! ;)

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Hahaha! I have one! 'Kirin!!!"

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These two people clearly deserve each other.

Furthermore, while man or woman are both capable of filling any role, in this case both agreed she should be a housewife. So he should stop complaining.

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I think that maybe he should have gotten to know his girlfriend better before asking her to marry him. It doesn't sound like he ever bothered to ask her about her goals/dreams, or whether they matched with his at all. Was it really all about the bedroom in this case, then? But sure you can find someone to sleep with you any night downtown, or at least pay for someone to (surely a pro would also stay the night and whisper sweet nothings in your ear if you paid enough).

To be honest, you can't really blame anyone (women or men) who want to spend money and hang out with their friends without having to worry about making any of that money or cleaning the house. Who wouldn't want the lifestyle that they had as a child (just with a bigger allowance and eternal summer vacation!)?

Unless they underwent a huge personality shift immediately after marriage (in which case I think it's more a question of you not knowing them well enough beforehand), then I think it's more to blame with the spouse that married this already lazy person with no goals. If you married for real love, then I don't think that this situation would really arise.

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Absolutely they are, the ones who then also spend time on the parenting side too. They deserve admiration and respect. But the mothers juggling children and a part-time job deserve the same respect, even though they may not be bringing in as much money as the husband.

That's the point though, working mothers, whether part-time or full-time are given admiration and respect. You and tmarie had a little lovefest above about your superhuman work, and if you are getting up five times in the night with the baby you certainly do deserve respect (and probably a long chat with your husband about doing his fair share of the parenting). My point is that even mothers with a few-hour-a-day part time job are allowed by society to call themselves working mothers, as if it's remarkable that they do both. Fathers who do their fair share of the parenting (and i do agree that unfortunately there aren't enough of them) would be laughed out of the pub by men and women if they went around calling themselves working fathers and suggest they deserve the same respect that society says we should give mothers.

As for Cleo and others asking what is it to you if some women still want to be housewives after the kids reach school age, or they don't have any children at all, let me tell you what it is to me. Men who don't inherit wealth have to train and continuously work hard to live, or be homeless. Sure, most men and many women are ok with this but they always know that slacking off or not wanting to work could mean homelessness. Clearly many women think there's a third way, marry someone and get him to take all of that risk. And what's worse, according to the article almost half the women in Japan assume it's their right! What does society think of men who decide not to work and live with their parents? It describes them as a problem and invents mildly insulting acronyms like NEET for them, and sneers at them. And that's how it should be, even if the parents have no problem with it.

And as for assuming that husbands with housewives agreed to that arrangement, well even if they did when they got married I can almost guarantee that after years of giving all your salary to a woman who allows you only a bit back per month while squirreling bits away for herself, and decorating the house that he paid for with her own taste in furniture that he paid for, many guys are not happy anymore with the arrangement but have no choice but to live with it if they still want to see their kids.

It's rare that the JP media impresses me, but one thing about this article that did, is its description of housewives as NEET spouses, and for me, that's a good thing. It's about time society started frowning at them a bit more.

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Scratch that, we should just be calling them NEETS.

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Men who don't inherit wealth have to train and continuously work hard to live, or be homeless.

And men with a private income don't, unless they want to. It's still no one's concern but their own, so long as they don't try to scrounge off welfare or charity. (On other threads, I've done my share of bashing full-time housewives who don't pay their share of health insurance, pension premiums etc; where it affects the rest of us, it is our concern. But what happens within a couple should, I think, stay within the couple)

mildly insulting acronyms like NEET

NEET is an insult? I thought it was just a description of a social phenomenon originally penned by the UK government. 'Lazy good-for-nothing freeloader' is an insult.

as for assuming that husbands with housewives agreed to that arrangement, well even if they did when they got married I can almost guarantee that ..... many guys are not happy anymore with the arrangement

So you agree that it's the man reneging on what he agreed to?

I'm not saying it's anybody's 'right' to stay at home, or that I think it's a good thing for one half of a so-called partnership to sit at home watching telly while the other half works all hours trying to make ends meet. But I don't see how these men who were quite happy to marry a woman who stated up front that she intended to quit work and be a full-time housewife have anything to complain about when they end up with .... a full-time housewife who refuses to work.

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But that's that problem Cleo. Fine if they want to stay home and that was agreed upon but they damn well better do the "housewife" job of home cooked meals, looking after the kids, cleaning... Thing is, they aren't. Hence the problem!

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It's still no one's concern but their own, so long as they don't try to scrounge off welfare or charity.

Actually it's not simply their own concern. Economies need as many people to be economically active as possible to grow. Especially in a Japan facing an ageing population and diminishing workforce NEETs become a bigger problem, and men or women who are able to but simply refuse to work for no better reason than they don't feel like it are making life harder for the rest of us.

NEET is an insult? I thought it was just a description of a social phenomenon

I'll bow to your pedantry there, the acronym itself might be neutral but I meant it's used in a mildly insulting way.

So you agree that it's the man reneging on what he agreed to?

Firstly I doubt many couples actually have the discussion, and secondly it depends what you mean by "it's". You mean the cause of the problem? Then absolutely I do not think it's 100% the man reneging on what he agreed to. "It's" largely society for allowing women the freedom to make that kind of demand of other people, and then dangling the threat of never seeing their children again in front of men who try to re-negotiate.

If you're able and refuse to work simply because you don't feel like it then I highly doubt you fully appreciate the risk your husband is taking on for you, otherwise you wouldn't ask him to do it. And although I know it won't matter a jot to you, I'll continue to withhold my respect and call you a NEET. But then you wouldn't consider that even a mild insult anyway, right?

Moderator: Readers, please keep the discussion civil and focus your comments on the topic, not at each other.

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I doubt many couples actually have the discussion

More fool them?

I'll continue to withhold my respect and call you a NEET.

I don't need to be a pedant to tell you that you're wrong. I work.

Moderator: Readers, please focus your comments on the story and not at each other.

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Oh, dear, I sense a pedant-off. The "you"s in the last paragraph except for the last one were the generic 'one' variety, not the second person singular prononun that the last "you" is. Clear?

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Being called a NEET is a huge insult. Speak to anyone about the issue and they snarl about these people. I have students with siblings that are NEET are they are embarrassed by them and call them lazy - which I tend to agree with. Blame the parents for allowing their kids to become like this. Homemakers can claim to be working but unless they have an employer, pay taxes on a salary (not their spouses), they are “Not in Education, Employment or Training.”

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@tmarie-why is being a home maker a huge insult? @scotchegg- I have no idea what in the world you are trying to say. Pretentious is not a language.

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Economies need as many people to be economically active as possible to grow.

And feckless housewives with no job skills queuing up at Hello Work will help the 5% (and set to grow, after the triple-whammy) unemployment rate ... how?

I agree with tmarie that housewives who aren't actually doing the housework they agreed to do aren't keeping their side of the bargain - but doesn't it seem that the thread has unravelled from being about those women to being about any woman who has the bald-faced temerity to stay at home and let her husband support her financially? There's nowt wrong with being a housewife if you want to and circumstances allow.

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I still dont see how a homemaker is a job to be ashamed of or insulted by. Why assume that any homemaker is not doing his/her share of the familial responsibilities?

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@tmarie- the job is what you put into it, as any job

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Indeed it is what you put into it. I just don't see a lot of these women putting anything into it. That is my issue. My issue is with the lazy ones, not the ones that are doing amazing jobs. Thing is, many are NOT doing amazing jobs. Between school, club and juku, there is limited time with the kids, many schools provide lunches, hubby is off working, kids are gone... Like I said, we aren't out beating clothes on rocks to wash them anymore...

Cleo, you're right about unskilled people turning up to hellowork. Why can't they volunteer then? Schools could always use someone to help with reading programs, writing classes... I don't mean busy work created by the PTA, I mean actually helping out. They could do the crosswalk guard positions that many seem to cry about needing more of. There are so many older people out there that could use someone to help them get groceries, just sit and chat with them, why not help the new moms who have a baby and a toddler... So many things that could be done instead of spending the day at the gym gossiping, shopping and going for lunch.

There is nothing wrong with being a STHM but once the kids are out, why not help out others? Why stay home if you don't have kids to look after? Unproductive. I know, been there, done that and I was studying at the time so it wasn't like I wasn't doing anything.

As for assuming, you might want to reread the article again and realise we aren't talking about ALL SAHW.

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tmarie, I don't think the schools want the feckless housewives any more than Hello Work wants them....If my kids were still in school I wouldn't want them being taught reading and writing by some bored missus who was there because she had nothing better to do.....

And yes, the article is about money-wasting, basic housework-shirking wastes of space, but read through the posts and you'll see quite a few of them are throwing the rotten tomatoes at all women not in gainful employment.

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I think they don't want the annoying PTA crappy, "Let's make busy work for everyone including the teachers" type which is oh so common. My stepmom is a SAHM who still spends hours a week at my brother and sister's ele school - my sister graduates university this year! She works with the kids that need one on one help with reading and writing. There are a few others that help out and the school loves them for it.

And if the schools don't want them, I am sure some old person who can't drive to get their medicine, has annoyed the crap out of their kids, has no one to chat to would love to have a little thing they could boss around and speak to during the day - even if just once a week! It doesn't have to be a school or an old person's home. So many things that could be done but they don't do anything to help out.

I feel that some people contribute to society, some don't. At least the guys who are out working are busy working and paying taxes to keep the street lights on. These women? Sigh. They could be doing so much more. But they don't. Because they don't "have" to.

I don't anyone was bashing SAHM who do a good job. I think many are just tired of seeing so many women here not looking after their kids, not helping out and not really keeping up their end of the bargain. If I had a penny for every mother I saw hit her kid, ignore her kid, leave her kid in the car while she popped into a shop, sat talking to other moms while her child was running on the road or nearly falling of the slide, kids screaming and crying while mom looks away wishing she were anywhere but with her child... I would be a rich women - and I wouldn't need to work! ;)

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And feckless housewives with no job skills queuing up at Hello Work will help the 5% (and set to grow, after the triple-whammy) unemployment rate ... how?

Feckless? Why do you assume that these women are incompetent? Are you suggesting 42% of women in their 30s in Japan lack the skills to do basic clerical work / drive a bus?

I agree with tmarie that housewives who aren't actually doing the housework they agreed to do aren't keeping their side of the bargain - but doesn't it seem that the thread has unravelled from being about those women to being about any woman who has the bald-faced temerity to stay at home and let her husband support her financially?

The thread has always been about women who stay at home and let their husband support them financially. In what way do you think it has unravelled?

And yes, the article is about money-wasting, basic housework-shirking wastes of space

Oh, that seems to have changed from the "what business is it of yours if they decide to stay at home" idea to a more scornful one.

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Why do you assume that these women are incompetent? Are you suggesting 42% of women in their 30s in Japan lack the skills to do basic clerical work / drive a bus?

Well, according to the article, they've shown they're incompetent/feckless when it comes to basic housework; why would they be any different with a 'proper' job? And how does it help having people who don't really want a job, whether basic clerical work or driving a bus, queuing up in front of the 5% of the population who desperately do want and need a job, to support their families?

As for '42% of women in their 30s' - I imagine the majority of those have little kiddies to look after. How is dumping the kids on a minder while you go out to do a job you don't want to do and don't need because your partner is bringing in an income, better than looking after your own kids?

The thread has always been about women who stay at home and let their husband support them financially

The article is about women who don't keep their side of the marriage bargain and do the housework their husbands expected them to do, and refuse to do out to work.

And the last quote was an attempt to reflect the tone of the article; a woman (or man) can be a waste of space if they like and it's none of my or your business - so long as it isn't my or your space that they're wasting.

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I've seen those articles in the women's magazines. They're all for the former Roppongi Hills crowd, but marketed to every woman in Japan as if they had as much money.

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The article is about women who don't keep their side of the marriage bargain and do the housework their husbands expected them to do, and refuse to do out to work.

Nice try but no it isn't. The article gives three examples. Only one of them talks about the wife not preparing menus well or keeping the sink clear. The other two don't mention if she does housework well / enough at all, and absolutely none of the men's complaints are about the wives' performance. Their complaints are that housework ain't that hard so the wives can get jobs. Look at the last sentence of the article.

Well, according to the article, they've shown they're incompetent/feckless when it comes to basic housework; why would they be any different with a 'proper' job?

As above, they haven't shown they're not good at housework, the article suggest that the husbands see housework isn't taxing and feel their wives are enjoying an easy life with the cash they earn.

As for why would they be any different with a proper job, that should be obvious. As housewives they know they don't have to pull their fingers out because a) housework ain't that hard and b) they are at no risk of losing their position. The husbands are hardly going to divorce them. If society started treating these women as NEETS and made it unacceptable for women to transfer the risk of not working to their husbands, they'd have to put in as much effort as working people. Frankly I'm surprised you feel nearly half of women in Japan are actually incompetent to use a computer / drive a bus.

And how does it help having people who don't really want a job, whether basic clerical work or driving a bus, queuing up in front of the 5% of the population who desperately do want and need a job, to support their families?

It's not in front of others, it's in addition. Having jobs creates earnings which creates consumption which creates economic growth. Even a quick search on the word NEET will give you plenty of information on how they're a drag on the economy and why we need to get them into work.

You mentioned the marriage bargain and clearly see it as a kind of "deal" between two people. The article is showing that many husbands feel they get a bad deal, and hopefully society is waking up to this and making it more acceptable to tell NEETS of any kind, married or not, to get off their arses like the rest of us have to.

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Their complaints are that housework ain't that hard so the wives can get jobs.

Then why oh why didn't they marry career women in the first place? I'll tell you why. Because at one point they reasoned it would be nice to have a live-in, unpaid maid. Now they're complaining because they don't like what they chose.

I'm surprised you feel nearly half of women in Japan are actually incompetent to use a computer / drive a bus.

Dunno about driving a bus, but a lot of the women I know, when I mention something they can do with a computer, like check train times or keep track of the family finances, get the blank, blinky look and start to mutter about getting their husband to show them how to do it.....Not all, some are pretty savvy - but enough to tell me your average I-wanna-be-a-housewife lady isn't going to pull her weight in any office environment.

Having jobs creates earnings which creates consumption

I thought one of the complaints was that these women were consuming too much already....?

The article is showing that many husbands feel they get a bad deal

Three men is not a lot of husbands.

Personally, I don't see any reason for any able-bodied adult to sit at home doing nothing. But if a couple decide they can afford to have one of them working and one of them not, then that's their decision. I'd just like them to pay their fair share of health care and pension premiums. Heck, if I could afford not to work, I wouldn't. There's lots of other stuff I'd rather spend my time doing.

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Cleo, again, a lot of these women DID state they wanted to work. Until the ring went on and they decided to quit their jobs. As I said, I know two men personally who came home one day to their wives announcements of "I quit my job today" with ZERO discussion on the matter with their husbands.

If you think they are so unskilled they can't work a cash register, then just admit it - we live in a country full of dumb, spoiled women. I am more than happy to say it as that is how I tend to feel about the majority of the female population here.

And it does affect us. Is is tax money out of MY salary that allows them to stay home and manage to be covered on their husband's pension and health care. It is my tax money that helps pay for the schools, roads, lights and government buildings. They want to use it, they can work and pay taxes too! Not fair with the tax break - as you have mentioned previously as well.

Expect this to get cut - much like one of my others posts.

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Then why oh why didn't they marry career women in the first place? I'll tell you why. Because at one point they reasoned it would be nice to have a live-in, unpaid maid. Now they're complaining because they don't like what they chose.

Perhaps you're right, although it's interesting that you continually place the blame for this issue on the husbands rather than the wives who you acknowledge are feckless. But if you're saying men do not have the right to change their minds, and society's message to the husbands should be 'you made your bed, now lie in it' then I guess they'll just have to simmer quietly and the housewives can continue milking them. But I hope we don't have to live in that kind of society.

Dunno about driving a bus, but a lot of the women I know, when I mention something they can do with a computer, like check train times or keep track of the family finances, get the blank, blinky look and start to mutter about getting their husband to show them how to do it.....Not all, some are pretty savvy

The "blank, blinky look"?! "some are pretty savvy"?! Not exactly fighting the corner of the sisters there are you. Just because they haven't used an internet route finder before I hope you understand that doesn't mean they can't learn how to. And sure, society can offer back to work training schemes to help with this.

your average I-wanna-be-a-housewife lady isn't going to pull her weight in any office environment.

yeeesss, and as I keep saying that's because they know they don't have to. Expose them to the same risk their husbands face and they'll soon start pulling their weight.

I thought one of the complaints was that these women were consuming too much already....?

But they're just spending their husband's money. If they have a job they create extra wealth and consumption.

Three men is not a lot of husbands.

Riiiight, but you don't think the writers asked all the men in Japan and could only find three with complaints do you?

then that's their decision.

And if everyone had the same right to decide that the economy would collapse overnight. And if their decision is having wider social and economic effects then it is not simply their decision.

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Also, a lot of the "bambi in front of Mac truck" is a way of getting out of doing things. I know I certainly use it at times. I think they would be okay at an office where they knew they actually had to work. At home? Nah. What are their husbands going to do? Fire them? I wish Japan would change the custody laws as this really would be a wake-up call to these women. Not keeping your end of the marriage bargain? Out you go! Now go get a job!

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What are their husbands going to do? Fire them? I wish Japan would change the custody laws as this really would be a wake-up call to these women. Not keeping your end of the marriage bargain? Out you go! Now go get a job!

Absolutely, although I would go further and say the whole marriage "bargain" needs to be re-evaluated. Men should fight harder for custody law change, and start doing more parenting, and stop financing and making it acceptable for their wives to be NEETs.

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you continually place the blame for this issue on the husbands

If either partner says before marriage 'This is what I'm going to do', and then once married they do it, I don't see how the other partner, who approved of or at least didn't object to whatever it was, has any basis for complaint. In this article they're focussing on men who want their live-in maid wives to start bringing in money, but the same applies to women who marry the strong, silent type and then complain because he has no conversation, or who marry a mama's boy and then complain because he doesn't cook or do laundry.

you don't think the writers asked all the men in Japan and could only find three with complaints do you?

lol I think they found three who had the opinions they were looking for and looked no further. My husband was once stopped by a TV crew and interviewed as he left the station on his way home. They were looking for people who would complain about having to live in the sticks because they couldn't afford to live in Tokyo, for a programme about the dire housing situation. He told them he chose to live where he did because he liked it, had done his stint in the concrete jungle and had no intention of ever returning to it. Do you think they used his interview? course not. (Hint - just because it's written in a magazine or even on the Internet or the telly, don't mean it's the whole story.)

@tmarie, I've also used the blank, 'little ol'me don't unnerstan nuffin' look to get out of doing stuff. But I'm talking about giving them stuff that they've asked about themselves.

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I agree with both of your last comments. I tend to think we all agree on the issue, just wording it differently. Husband/wife who changes their mind, doesn't uphold their end of the bargain = bad. Upholds = good. People want different things in marriage and that is fine as long as everyone is "happy". Just seems to be a lot of unhappy marriages here for whatever reason.

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(Hint - just because it's written in a magazine or even on the Internet or the telly, don't mean it's the whole story.)

Really? Wow, thanks for telling me. Previously I had thought all media is an agendaless, highly ethical world of competent instructors. You've really opened my eyes to the way they might mislead, or spin an issue. (Hint - none of that is what I really think.)

I do agree that more men should just kick their wives out if they're not happy with it. Or not marry these lazy women in the first place.

But I can't agree, that even if they're the best housewife in the world, the marriage bargain that you think is reasonable, is reasonable. Seems to me the husbands are getting screwed (not in the way they would like, or expected to be when they got married.)

And even if the people in the marriage are happy, their decision IS having an increasingly negative impact on the economy and others.

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Women marry men, hoping they'll change, but they never do.

Men marry women, hoping they'll never change, but they always do!

-- Paraphrased from Albert Einstein

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I do agree that more men should just kick their wives out if they're not happy

And vice versa? Or is everything the woman's fault?

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Or is everything the woman's fault?

Of course not and you know full well the topic is husbands dissatisfied with their wives. Kindly don't ascribe implications where none exist.

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Or you could have just answered And vice versa? with a Yes, of course.

No implications ascribed, simply a request for information. :-)

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Or you could have just asked And vice versa? and kept it at a simple request for information. :-)

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Love all the commentary on this topic.

I feel that Japanese women like to take the lesser of two evils. Take this scenario. You have a partner who says she doesn't know how to cook. She's never even scrambled an egg for you. We all know how uncomplicated this simple task is. You have a choose now. You can believe that this Japanese woman has no brain and really doesn't know how to cook an egg. (Assuming she's an airhead)....OR....OR...you can could assume that she knows how to scramble an egg and that she's just lazy and doesn't want to do that for you. Most Japanese girls will take the road of ignorance as it's the lesser of the two evils.

Now about those women who want to stay home and do nothing. I have a few words to describe them. Shackles, anchors, dead weight. How can you do that to your partners? Why am I asking that question, I already know the answer. Answer: Japanese law indirectly dictates that she can do that. If you leave her she'll get your salary and pension anyway.

Guys!! Guys!! If you going to marry a Japanese women be careful!! Her friends are your worst enemy. They'll plug her with ideas. She's already hard-wired to think TWISMine. That sense of entitlement runs deep.

When I read comments from people like Cleo and AdamB I feel so impressed. So happy there are people out there who strive to do the right thing. "Talk about it, share your ideas before marriage" It's romantic to a Japanese woman as well. After thinking about the reality here in Japan the shadow falls on optimism.

Japanese law: You are property in a marriage, not partners. It's double worst for a foreign man here. No koseki, hell you can't even sign for an apartment. So you lets say you live with your GF. The agent (Fudosan)looks to your Japanese partner to sign the paperwork. Not you, Gaijin. You get married. Suddenly she quits her job and decides to turtle you. You're paying the rent and bills. You are now her slave. She can cancel the contract on your place. She'll go back to her parents house and where does that leave you?

The deck is stacked against the men on this one. This is why she'll quit her job and stay home. It's totally NOT fair.

The biggest problem in it all is the deception and lies that the Japanese law supports when it comes down to getting a divorce. She can even claim that she felt mistreated in the relationship cause you didn't financially support her.

I want to take a break from my job. "Warning" Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become excruciatingly painful as you watch her eat the best lunches and watch TV whilst you work yourself to the bone for her only to take your pension, home and kids in the end.

What does it take to organize men and respect his fellow man? It takes people marching on the capital if you want change.

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You are all missing the real issue.

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If he 'expects' his wife to cook dinner, then he needs a swift kick up the rear! My wife, while being a great cook, is NOT here for my whims! I would never ask her to cook for me, or act "like a wife should". Any man who disagrees is an idiot!

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My Wife worked and she was a very good cook when she wanted to be but preferred to eat out. Once I bought the apartment she wanted it started time for me to stop working, etc. At that time both of us were in our late-30's and till than she loved to work and insisted on being able to work.

As for the term NEET, by japanese standard it DON'T apply to housewife's as they are considered doing a valuable job on par with an office-worker. The term is used for people mostly between the ages of 20 and 34 and actually comes from Britain. Yeah, I know useless Trivia.

As was said when you get married roles need to be defined as well as responsibilities and duties. My Wife never took my wages but we split the costs of living, I paid for the rent, saving, etc she covered the Food bill and Utilities from hers, anything left over was free to use. Any big purchases, etc were discussed and mutually covered.

Same system as my parents used.

Just my 0,2 yen.

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@Youdon'tknow

If he 'expects' his wife to cook dinner, then he needs a swift kick up the rear! My wife, while being a great cook, is NOT here for my whims! I would never ask her to cook for me, or act "like a wife should".

It's nothing to do with acting "like a wife should". It's about fairness. I and my wife both work, but if either of us stopped for whatever reason, then that person, at home all day, would be doing 90% of the housework, including cooking. I can't see any problem with that.

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lucabrasi.

Got it right. We shared the cooking as I love to cook.

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It doesn't take all day to do the housework. As much as people like to say how hard housewives work, there is no comparison between a 40,50,60 hour work week with commute times, and keeping a house.

Some of you talk about your own situations and how you share housework, finances, etc, and get on fine and that's wonderful. The article wasn't saying all households are like that - it's not really a peer reviewed scientific study after all! But, there are plenty of cases these days where a Japanese man (or man married to a Japanese wife) who doesn't work feels like they are in a bad situation. Sounds like a lot of cases I know.

But the bottom line is the matter of the heart. (Yes, I'll wax romantic). If the guys in the above stories were in love with their wives, and their wives made them feel loved, appreciated, special etc etc, then they wouldn't be complaining.

It's like couples saying they can't stand this and that about their partner - there are usually deeper issues involved. i.e it really isn't all about toothbrushes, toilet seats, 500 yen kozukai opposed to 600 yen.

Then again, what do I know. My wife handles most of the money that I earn, and I'm writing this after feeding the kids and doing the laundry....

but, I was the one who promised till death do us part...or something to that effect! So, people shouldn't be kicking each other out. Don't do that unless you done a lifetime of counseling. The next one you marry might be worse, or have a different set of problems.

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yasukuni@

It doesn't take all day to do the housework

Don't tell anyone, but I'm gonna let dinner simmer a bit, pop out and drop the 'spent' wine bottle in the trash, pick up a new bottle of wine and hope she doesn't notice if I must change brands, uncork it and pour the first glass for me before she gets home, and shout "okarinasai" when I hear the door and the "tadai..." . Hope she doesn't notice I secretely put the spent bottle "properly" in the trash and opened a "new" one. I'm lovin' it!! She'll b@@ch--I'm sorry, complain--like h@@l about drinking (and to think I do it at home--if she discovers the replaced/changed bottle, but I hope she'll thank me for making dinner. Nice having some free time to stop at the trash for empties and return to Sakaya-san for replenishment. I'll even have the bath ready. My heart of hearts hopes she works over a half hour or so so I can get another glass ahead of head. I'll never complain about my NEET system.

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Granted don't take a full day to do the housework, but a full clean is still tiring.

And with that I am not just talking the visible surfaces, add kids in and it goes on for longer.

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add kids in and it goes on for longer

Kids! That was your (this "your" (hopefully) should be plural) choice. In fact your "it" should go on for a lifetime since (again, plural) you chose kids. Hope you are not one of those bleeding heart liberals who profess that it takes a "village to raise a child."

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Willynilly.

Liberal, sorry I am not an american hence I don't know that reference. And I can't figure out what you are trying to say.

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zenny@

sorry I am not an american hence I don't know that reference

lots of things you will not understand in the world, whether American, British or Japanese, and so on .... so no need to say sorry. I don't apologize for my ignorance! My point is simple--if you have a child, raise it, don't talk about the extra work involved. I believe everyone here knows mother (and yes for some for some us, father and even older siblings) put in extra time to help us along in this world.

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I am not complaining, but being a single dad I was simply voicing my opinion.

And I still stand by the view that kids add to the daily housework vs an adult only one.

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Zenny@ fair enough and I salute you, truly

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If you have permanent residency, you can rent your own place.

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It doesn't take all day to do the housework. As much as people like to say how hard housewives work, there is no comparison between a 40,50,60 hour work week with commute times, and keeping a house.

I've been very lucky in that I've been able to work from home, juggling housework, money work and raising the kids. In the past Mr cleo would occasionally drop derogatory remarks on the lines of 'It don't take all day to do the housework', 'While you're at home you could do #whatever#'. Then one interpreting job required me to be away from home for three days. He offered to take time off work to see to the kids - he was ready for a break anyway, he said.....

At the end of the three days the flat was a wreck, the kids were eating junk food and he couldn't wait to get back to work for a rest. And no, they were not particularly demanding/difficult kids. Since then he has not once come out with the 'housework don't take all day' line. And if he comes home to find everything isn't pristine, he's quite happy to pick up a brush and dustpan.

Do the housework properly and it can take a fair bit of time, especially if there are kids in the equation. Just coz some housewives prefer to spend their time lunching with friends and serving up shop-bought grub don't mean that all stay-at-homes are painted with the same brush.

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Do the housework properly and it can take a fair bit of time, especially if there are kids in the equation. Just coz some housewives prefer to spend their time lunching with friends and serving up shop-bought grub don't mean that all stay-at-homes are painted with the same brush.

100% agree. It is the lazy ones that give them all a bad rep. Shame as some women out there are amazing supermoms while others... I pity their husbands - and their kids!

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Even though my wife is a stay at home mom - we still share household chores - as I've always consider domestic work a full time job. She gets at least two days off a week - which I call date nite - eat out etc and WE go shopping whenever the fancy strikes her - which is frequent. Note: shopping does NOT equate to buying. When we shop together - I learn more about her and her tastes - apparently I still prefer clothes that look more like curtains and she prefers clothes that look like ... well, clothes.

I do all the heavy cleaning - steaming the floors, I usually do the dishes (so I bought a dishwasher gyahaha), clean the bathroom and toilet. Since she does the cooking and laundry - things related to being clean and sanitary - I do all the dirty jobs - including changing the babies' (plural) poopy diapers.

For the record - my wife was a former US bar certified attorney (all US attorneys are insane) and a former telecom and bank executive (aka executive VP) - her goal in life was NOT to be a high powered exec, but to be a stay at home mom - which she's ultra fantastic at...understandably.

Life is great when there's mutual respect...oh and I take out the trash - sorted properly of course! I'm also the designated driver and it was my responsibility to bathe the kids when they were babies. We split the time now that they're toddlers...and I carry the groceries, push the cart...

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I forgot to add to the mutual respect comment - that also means she respects (and loves) me. It seems the J-NEET comments reveal a lack of mutual respect.

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I want to divorce my Japanese NEET wife. She has become the opposite of what I thought she was when we married: ambitious, career-minded, broad-minded, flexible, cheerful, initiative-taking, problem-solver, ...

Now, she's literally the opposite of all that.

Eight years later, coming home day after day, tired from work, I don't know which I find more amazing: her ability to accomplish absolutely nothing in my 10 hour absence, or the fact that she believes that she has a legitimate excuse for doing nothing!!!

The condition of our home? Imagine a cat hoarder, but instead of cats, we have TRASH stored in every crack and crevice in our home. There's stacks of paper arranged in no particular order, tons of bags, plastic, labels, tidbits litter every tabletop or flatspace. Our refrigerator is a receptacle for expired food -- Literally, 90% of our packed refrigerator is occupied by inedible leftovers or expired food, and by expired, I mean like two or three years old!!!

We have four young, lovely kids. I adore them and want to give them the best. My wife doesn't understand the concept of taking preventative measures so that our children can avoid accidents: Poisonous chemicals are laid out for our baby and two-year old to find; floors littered with trash and clothes along the main walking areas; rotten milk and food left out for days are within reach of our often-hungry children, hungry because my wife cannot plan our meals for the day, week or month.

We are not poor nor am I abusive. I have a good paying job at a respectable university and, though somewhat more goal-oriented than the average person, am well-liked.

Part of our marriage agreement was to turn on our jets and get focused on being as productive as possible, to become financially independent so that we could return to the US, give our children the luxury of an international experience, and also so that I could help support my younger sister who is disabled and needs constant, special care.

With a strong business background, I set about plans WITH my wife, who had an active part in visualizing our dream and future -- I thought we were going to be a strong team! The plans were nothing complicated, but plans that had clear mid- and long-term targets which we could achieve if only by being consistent and persevering while learning from our mistakes.

Both her parents and mine have strong entrepreneurial backgrounds so I figured that at the very least, she has the DNA to be financially independent.

So, in short, initially, we shared the same dream, had the same drive and understood clearly the commitment required to achieve the dream.

But soon after our first child was born, everything changed.

I noticed first that she couldn't plan her day, that she'd wake up lethargic and be so full of excuses when I asked her how her day had helped us come a little closer to our goals.

Then I noticed the hoarding. I'd have to clear out the closets, desks, cabinets and refrigerator every couple of months!

Then the secret blogs, the internet auctions and the investing she was doing WITHOUT my knowledge!!! (I have a strong background in finance for crying out loud!!!) Needless to say, she lost money and time in all of these secret ventures.

I had never done anything to encourage her to go underground ... She just did. Believe me, I tried all kinds of approaches with her to get us on the right path because that's what you have to do for the sake of the kids.

We've tried 3rd party mediation like by a priest from the church of my mother-in-law. Despite my being a foreigner, the priest and mother agreed that my wife was being lazy. As often is the case, my wife pledged to do better, tried hard for a day or two and then soon gave up all efforts, spending almost all her time trying to look busy or productive.

I've come to the conclusion that my wife seriously has a mental disorder along the lines of depression and/or ADHD, although she refuses to take steps to find out for sure. She believes the problem is with me.

It has come to the point where you can be assured that we're going to have a monthly episode of me getting on her case to seek help!

Meanwhile, my children suffer, our financial resources are dwindling, we've all lost eight years of our life, and my disabled sister wastes away in sub-par facility.

My point in all this is not to vent ... I just want to let the readers know that this is a REAL PROBLEM and that it is not a simple matter of pointing fingers and saying someone is lazy.

NEETs are a product of a privileged and egocentric generation. They had mostly been sheltered by their doting parents and have no clue as to how approach and solve problems.

Several patterns of lazy thinking that my wife often displays are:

"Don't get angry! You should never get angry! [and therefore our conversation is finished]" ... Even though her actions have gone beyond reasonable (i.e. my having to fetch her from store detectives at our local supermarket for her shoplifting!!!) I don't condone anger, but I do believe that we should be aware of everyone's switches and limits. My wife has no clue!

"I have my way of doing things." "We should just be happy and normal." If that was our initial goal at marriage, sure! But it wasn't ... Our goal was to strive for excellence and success. "There's only a problem if someone else thinks so." I'm that someone else!!! How come I don't count???

What to do? Well, since I can't get my wife to get help. Then I'm going to divorce her. Eight years of this hell is enough. I've shown patience, but she hasn't shown ANY signs of growth or maturity.

And the kids? Well, she says she would never give them to me, and even though she isn't fit to keep them, I have no fighting chance here in Japan. I'd rather get out on my own and start being productive rather than fight a losing battle. I just hope my kids don't get hurt being brought up by her (mostly her parents) and that they become wiser about relationships from this awful situation.

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marriedawitch.

Whew long post. Last paragraph got me a bit upset.

So now you are willing to get a divorce and leave your kids behind while you pursue your dreams?

Maybe I mistook what I read but that sounds horrible to me.

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Zenny, no, don't blame him for this. Blame the wife. Blame the crappy system here that usually gives the kids to the mother even when it is the father that is the better parent. They agreed to go for this, she hasn't kept up her end of the deal. Why on earth should this guy stay in an unhappy marriage? For the sake of the kids? No thanks. My parents splitting was the best thing that happened to my family. Some people don't seem to get that staying together for the kids is not a good thing - nothing like an example of cold parents, no love and resentment to warp a kid's sense of marriage. NEETs are a product of a privileged and egocentric generation. They had mostly been sheltered by their doting parents and have no clue as to how approach and solve problems. Exactly how I feel about them. Let the parents deal with them and look after them. When the parents die, I hope they've left enough money for the kid/adult to survive.

I just read an essay from one of my fourth year students complaining about her father. Seems her dad works all day and come home and doesn't help her mother with the cooking and the cleaning. Her mother stays home, doesn't work and her hobbies are "shopping". This student stated that her dad was sexist for not helping and that she doesn't want to marry a man who won't help clean. Needless to say, I wrote a reply back stating that perhaps if her mother worked outside the home, her father would help at home but until her mother is putting on the hours at the office her father is, is it her mothers job to look after the home. She is 22 and already expecting some poor guy to work his guts out AND help her at home. Pathetic.

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tmarie.

I am not saying he shouldn't divorce, but to just turn his back on his flesh and blood that is unimaginable to me. Yes, his wife is at fault but why should her parents be settled with raising his kids?

IMO, a true man rather goes down fighting before abandoning his kids and/or family.

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marriedawitch, get a maid?

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Zenny, are you aware of custody laws in this country? I think he's just stating the worst case scenario - and the wife already said she wouldn't give him the kids... If he does divorce pretty much a given that she gets the kids, he won't get to see them, they'll be raised by the grandparents... The laws need to change so dads have rights to their kids (or the parent without custody at least has visitation rights!).

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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Literally, 90% of our packed refrigerator is occupied by inedible leftovers or expired food, and by expired, I mean like two or three years old!!!

Funny, I didn't read anywhere in the article stating that your arms were broken or you were unable to pick up garbage and toss it out yourself?

Alot of what I read in that sounds like whining to me. 4 kids, you don't state their ages, but I think it's safe to say that they are still young. 4 kids in 8 years of marriage? Dude you laid a ton of work on her right there alone, but all I hear is your selfish complaining about how she can't keep a house clean. Every think that she is beat from watching over YOUR kids? Don't think so from the tone of what you wrote.

Working at a Uni you say? Geez, real back-breaking and tiring work huh? I suppose you go out for drinks with your colleagues every night after work too? Why aren't you running home to take care of your kids? And help out your wife?

You are the master of your own situation. You want things to change, but are unwilling to effect change yourself for whatever reasons, whether it be out of laziness or misplaced expectations.

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Sorry, but why are on earth are you trashing uni jobs? Done properly it is a very busy job. Between lessons, meeting with students, planning, marking.. you certainly work a lot more than the hours you get paid for if PT and with FT comes all those wonderful meetings. A simple labour job means you don't take work home with you. Get a grip.

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marriedawitch, i agree with Yubaru and a couple other here. 4 kids in 8 years can transfom anyone. Just get a maid to help out, preferably a good looking one. Your wife will learn she has to keep up. getting a priest to do an intervention wont work in Japan. try to spend more time at home. Looks like you havent been there for three years.

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It seems that everyone sees things from their own experiences - which I guess is obvious.

@Cleo, that's funny about Mr Cleo. But I can honestly say that I can keep house MUCH better than my wife. Even with kids around. Maybe it's my mother's influence, but I like to make beds (or put futons away), but many women don't. I like to dry dishes and put them away whereas some women leave them in the sink.

My wife will complain about how tiring everything is, but when she was in hospital, the place was immaculate, the kids were fed, and they even got to bed early. No boasting (though it sounds like it), but I know from experience that if you do things right, a house doesn't need 40, 50, 60 hours.

If the Japanese wives mentioned here were like you Cleo, there wouldn't have been an article in the first place.

btw, my wife is great at what she does -so I'm not complaining - just saying that I can keep a house running better and cleaner than her in a fraction of the time. But, I like to do things fast - whereas Japanese have a knack for drawing things out.

Lastly, because you are sensible, hard working etc etc, you probably can't imagine what some of these other women are like.

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@marriedawitch. You have a problem there. And why apologize for venting. It's good to vent sometimes. Good on you for seeing someone for counseling.

My only advice, is that you said she went back to her old ways after two days. You have 4 kids, so as hard as it is, why not just keep trying and being patient. Maybe if she tries again, and again and again, then she will improve - and maybe you can come to some other arrangements.

I honestly think that one of the big problems for many Japanese is that they are products of the 70's and 80's. They grew up with a father who was and endless supply of money, and a mother who waited on everyone hand and foot. In other words, there are too many princes and princesses around, who can't cope with hardship. (and what they think is "hardship" is actually just "real life".

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@tmarie ...oops I should have read your comment. You said a lot of what I wanted to say. (except where we differ about staying in marriage for the sake of kids).

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Apart from the uni job bit, I agree with Yubaru.

Do you have any idea of the work involved in raising 4 small kids? You say it all started after the birth of the first child, yet instead of being supportive and helping her through what appears to be postpartum depression, you berate her for having a mental disorder AND knock her up with three more kids in rapid succession.

Your wife has a first-time baby to cope with, and instead of trying to understand her situation you complain about her being tired (she's got a new baby) and unable to plan her day (she's got a new baby), and bug her about advancing your goals. Then instead of 'learning from your mistakes' as you say you planned and agreed to do, you give her three more babies. (Deleted)

You complain about the fridge being full of out-of-date crap, yet you leave it there for years. Ditto with the poisonous chemicals, rotten food and milk left out for days.

You come to the conclusion that your wife is mentally ill, but instead of getting her proper professional medical help you bring in the local priest and her mother to give her a sermon, and when that doesn't fix her, it's her fault.

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No mutual respect. I've always wondered how couples let this stuff get out of hand. These NEET women don't respect the partnership. Somewhere along the line the guys got whooped by their ladies, and accepted submissiveness over confrontation. Sometimes a good broo-ha can clean the air and get out their stance. I'd say have it out and deal with it.

We're all so much better than these people (sarcasm). I wish I was here in the 80s when the gettin' was good.

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She believes the problem is with me

I think she's right.

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"I honestly think that one of the big problems for many Japanese is that they are products of the 70's and 80's. They grew up with a father who was and endless supply of money, and a mother who waited on everyone hand and foot."

Yasukuni, this is correct and close to the point I always make about Japan's kozukai system: It worked well when Japanese companies were flush with cash and thus able to provide their male breadwinner employees with generous perks, benefits, expense accounts, etc. Thus, the average salaryman at that time didn't mind forking over his entire base salary to his wife, because his company more than made up for it with other benefits that he could use for fun (i.e. drinking, carousing, etc.). In other words, the Japanese salaryman nobly sacrificing for the greater good of his family was a myth, and the end of the good times have revealed that truth. Likewise, the end of the gravy train has shown Japanese housewives not to always be the dutiful managers of the household, sacrificing everything for family.

The implications for Japan's once tight-knit, so-called "managed society" (kanri shakai) are bleak in the short term. With money tight, fewer and fewer Japanese children of the good times of the 70s and 80s will be able to agree on how to manage family finances. But perhaps the children of the less prosperous Heisei Period will find it easier to make do with less.

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@MASSWIPE

the Japanese salaryman nobly sacrificing for the greater good of his family was a myth,

You're probably right about the 70s and 80s, but I think a lot of the hard-working guys in the 50s and 60s did sacrifice a lot (for their companies as well as their families).

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Do you have any idea of the work involved in raising 4 small kids?

Since he also has the kids, I assume he does. Why are you assuming he does nothing? If she's not working, she needs to be looking after the house? Why does he have to clean out the fridge? He's the one working all day outside of the home. It is HER job to look after the house. She isn't doing it.

As for the comments about "you give her three more babies" it isn't like it is a one person job. Many women here WANT kids even if they can't look after the ones they have. Why is this guy getting all of the blame? His wife sounds like a princess - one with mental issues, yes - but a princess. And an evil one at that based on the comments about him not getting the kids if he leaves. She seems to be well aware he's unhappy, there are issues but yet, she's not doing anything to change and is making threats about keeping the kids.

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Since he also has the kids, I assume he does. Why are you assuming he does nothing? If she's not working, she needs to be looking after the house? Why does he have to clean out the fridge? He's the one working all day outside of the home. It is HER job to look after the house. She isn't doing it.

He didnt have the kids, he just was the sperm donor if you want to be technical about it. You are also being very sexist by making the comment that "she needs to be looking after the house" "It's her job".

You obfuscate the matter by bringing into the discussion something that means squat, talking about "others" that want kids. You are ASSUMING as well that she "sounds" like a princess, you are ASSUMING as well that she may have mental issues.

He is unhappy because he cant have his cake and eat it too.

I have three children and guess what, I never expected, nor wanted my wife to do EVERYTHING I understood what it took out of her, I assisted as much as possible, I woke up at 3 in the AM, I took the kids to the Doc, school etc. PLUS I worked 60 to 80 hours per week too. She stayed at home didnt work either.

I never EXPECTED anything, to expect something without asking or discussing about it is just plain asking for trouble and disappointment. I also dont EXPECT anyone to copy me either. Each person makes their own choices and this guy chooses not to make the time or effort and just EXPECTS something to be done and blames it on his wife.

It takes two, and he needs to look in the mirror and honestly ask himself if he has done everything he could to make things right. I personally doubt he can from what he has written here so far.

You are making assumptions based on ONE side of the story, you have been judge and jury on half the information. It's hypocritical.

I hope no one ever crucifies you based on only half a story.

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Since he also has the kids, I assume he does (have any idea of the work involved in raising 4 small kids)

I would say it's obvious he doesn't. He says he's out of the house 10 hours a day, so he doesn't 'have the kids'. And I guarantee that he does not have any idea of how debilitating, both mentally and physically, childbirth itself can be for some women (I emphasise some - some of us, in contrast, are lucky enough to sail through it all with a glow in our cheeks and a skip in our step. Others aren't, especially the ones who get no support from their SOs.) Instead of giving her support after the birth of the first baby he complained about her lethargy and pestered her about how her day had helped us come a little closer to our goals. (Which reading between the lines sounds like he was pointing out that she wasn't earning?)

As for the comments about "you give her three more babies" it isn't like it is a one person job.

Exactly. So unless he's saying that he made no input for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th, we're still faced with the question of why on earth he thought having 4 babies would be a good idea when his wife wasn't coping with one, or managing to plan her days in a way that he approved of and was helping us come a little closer to our goals.

His wife sounds like a princess - one with mental issues, yes - but a princess. And an evil one at that based on the comments about him not getting the kids if he leaves.

No, she sounds like a woman who had trouble coping and instead of getting the support of her husband was ground down until she developed what now appears to be serious mental illness. As for being evil - he says his plan was to return to the US with the kids. Can you blame her for being against that? In a similar situation, I would be, too. Maybe he expected her to traipse across to the US and hang around on the outskirts of his new life in the hopes of being allowed to see her kids now and again. (Sounds like another case that was in the news recently)

She seems to be well aware he's unhappy

Pity he couldn't have been more aware of her unhappiness and need for help after the birth of the first baby.

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You are making assumptions based on ONE side of the story, you have been judge and jury on half the information.

To be fair to tmarie, aren't you and I also making assumptions on the same one side of the story? And reaching very different conclusions!

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If she's not out earning a wage, it IS her job. If she was out working and he wasn't it would be HIS job to look after the house. Nothing sexist there.

He's just a sperm donor? Wow. Now that is rather sad. Men, or at least in my family, are much, much more. You can't have it both ways. If she just wants him as a donor, then she can't expect him to raise the kids. If you view yourself as just a donor to your kids, I feel sorry for you. Of course, I don't think you do which is why this comment is crazy.

He's unhappy because his wife agreed to a certain life before they got married and isn't following through. Not only is she not following through on working outside the home, she's not even doing the job she's now doing properly.

You talk about what YOU expect or don't expect. He expected his wife to work towards the goals they agreed upon. As it is now, she's not doing anything. Why should he work all day to support the family and then come home and do all the work when she's been home? How about he just quits his job like she did hers? What would you say? You would probably jump on him for not supporting the family. She's not supporting hers. Do you think it is good to have a mother home all day and not do the housework? Do you thin it is good to have a dad away all day working and not get a chance to see the kids? I certainly don't but someone has to work to make money. While he's working, she should be mothering. Doesn't sound like she is.

I am glad you enjoy the arrangement you have, your wife made a smart choice. However, that isn't for everyone. When I wasn't working, my job was to look after the house. I did. I certainly didn't expect my husband to come home from work and cook dinner, clean out the fridge... why? Because I think that would be very selfish and unfair of me.

Why did his wife think it was a good idea to continue to have kids she can't look after? Why the focus only on him? She was a willing participant in making kids too.

How much support does she need? What is evil about going to the US with the kids? His kids too. Why is staying in Japan okay with a sick mother who isn't looking after them ok?

Pity she couldn't have been aware of her unhappiness and get help. Again, why are you only blaming him? I am just asking for some balance on this. He might not be super husband, he might not be the best dad but why are you guys being to judgmental with regards to his faults when clearly, he is trying to cope as best as he can, is trying to sort things out for his kids...

If they divorced, who do you think the kids should go with? Honest question. I would go with the parents who is able to support them - financially, emotionally... doesn't sound like the wife is doing this even with a husband who is out working.

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I would go with the parents who is able to support them - financially, emotionally...

He didn't support his wife emotionally, why would you imagine he would do any better at giving the kids the emotional support they need?

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How do you know that Cleo? Do you know anything about PPD or just regular depression? Lots of people with PPD and clinical depression have lots of support. However, regardless of the support, they suffer from mental illness. Most believe it is a chemical imbalance that all the love and support in the world won't cure.

You're being cruel to suggest this many hasn't support his wife when he's stuck by her for eight unhappy years, works to support the family and is obviously and unsure what to do. He must care because he posted his issues on here.

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How do you know that Cleo?

By reading the same post you read, but obviously picking up on different bits. When she was struggling after the birth of her first child, he says his main concern was how her day had helped us come a little closer to our goals - the goal being, he tells us, to turn on our jets and get focused on being as productive as possible, to become financially independent. Obviously he doesn't consider the production of 4 kids in 8 years to be particularly 'productive'. I have suffered from clinical depression, a long, long time ago; and I know that telling someone in that condition that what they have struggled to do that day amounts to 'absolutely nothing' is NOT helpful. No wonder she gave up trying.

Then when she's really down, instead of getting her the proper professional help she needs, he calls in a supersition-monger to nag her some more and make sure she has no self-esteem left.

why are you only blaming him?

Maybe it would be easier to feel some sympathy for him if he didn't start out calling his wife a witch.

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She sounds like one though - from where I sit. She sounds a lot like some of the wives of men I know. Great men who married selfish women.

I don't see anything wrong with his comments about focusing on the goals they agreed to. Having kids means you need to ensure you have a source of money.

I also don't see where he nags her.

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She sounds like a princess??? Wow! How do you gt that out of what the guy said? It sounds like a bad situation all around, to be sure, but what it sounds like to me is a woman suffering from some serious PPD. Any logical person would have asked themselves after the first baby if a second was a good idea and yet this couple now has four. Since he's posited himself as the logical, sane one then why in the world didn't he insist on birth control after the first? Sure she could've lied and said she was using something but he'd know if he were wearing a condom or not. Mistakes may happen but four isn't a mistake. As for the house, that sounds like my worst nightmare and he doesn't seem to enjoy it either but again all the mess and hoarding smacks of someone with a mental disorder. If it bothers him that much then he has four options: 1) put up with it, 2) send the kids and the wife to her parents for a few days while he gets the house in order and then keeps it that way, 3) get a maid or 4) leave the wife. University work is hard so no doubt he doesn't want to go home and work more but so what? Welcome to the life of working women the world over. They go to their jobs then come home and deal with the house and kids. Men help to varying degrees but most every poll I've ever read indicates that throughout the world, women carry most of the housework and childcare burden even when they have outside jobs. It's either not a priority to his wife or she's currently incapable of doing it. If he wants it done he'll gave to find a way to make it happen without her. It's unfortunate that he's so happy he'd consider leaving his four kids with her parents. If he does do that I can well imagine four kids who are going to grow up to hate a father who they felt abandoned them to a mentally ill mother or grandparents who will likely soon be elderly. I'm not usually an advocate of staying in miserable marriages but surely he knew the child custody laws before he married her or most certainly learned of them at some point before the fourth one was born. Again, why continue reproducing? Whether she wanted more or not seems irrelevant if she is as ill as he's suggested. I hesitate to say he's selfish and stupid but find it hard to come to any other conclusion.

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@cleo touche' on my comment about "assumptions".

I would love to have his wife come here and tell her side of the story out of fairness to all participants.

Knowing from my own experiences that what one person expects in a marriage, or even agrees upon, is many times viewed differently from the "other" side. Not to mention the fact that this is an international marriage between two people with very different cultural ideas.

I wonder what her background or upbringing were like.

As most probably know, admitting to a mental illness here carries a stigma with it to many and asking for help in a difficult situation like this marriage may not be the easiest thing for this guys wife.

I wish them both the best, and I hope first and foremost that the children are attended to, loved, and taken care of, no matter what happens between Mom and Dad.

I would also hope that Dad here bends a bit and tries to understand what it takes out of a woman when they have children, particularly 4 in 8 years. Patience, Patience, Patience......and learn to clean up the house himself too, at least through the expired stuff outta the fridge.

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I hope first and foremost that the children are attended to, loved, and taken care of, no matter what happens between Mom and Dad. I would also hope that Dad here bends a bit and tries to understand what it takes out of a woman when they have children, particularly 4 in 8 years. Patience, Patience, Patience......

Yes.

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When one of a couple complains that their spouse changed after marriage, my feeling is that 1) Grow up and deal with it! People change. It's a constant part of life and thank goodness or we'd all be acting like 5, 10, 15... year olds. The complaining spouse probably changed too but doesn't see it, just like you still see the young you, most days, when you look in the mirror. 2) People who are lazy, slobs, sots, scounderals, ...fill in the blank... were probably that way when you married them but you willfully didn't see it for whatever reason, a fat wallet, nice ass, prestigious family, you name it. People change and then they don't. It's the great paradox of life.

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People do indeed change and one should expect that but as Cleo as mentioned - and I agree with - you need to talk about these things before marriage in terms of who is going to do what. Is it unfair for these women to state they will work and then refuse to. That isn't about "growing", that is 100% changing your mind and not following through on what you agreed upon before marriage.

My husband and I talked about this. I plan to work but mentioned that if we have kids, I might stay home for a year or so (I don't actually want to but might be the way it works out with work). He is more than happy to have me stay at home for as long as I want. We chatted. If that is what happens, neither of us is going to be bitter about it. Shame that others didn't seem to talk about such things. I for one, expect my husband to work his ass off until he's 60. The only way that wouldn't happen is if he gets sick (god forbid) or gets laid off (god forbid).

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tmarie.

I get you, my wife said she wants to work but at the same time also have kids(only had one due to circumstances).

The only way that wouldn't happen is if he gets sick (god forbid) or gets laid off (god forbid).

That unfortunately are things hard to cater for but better be prepared for. How do I know? Same as you might get hit with a major sickness. Again ....

As they say shite happens when you expect it the least. Life likes to throw curve-balls when you expect them the least.

But you need to be flexible enough and also strong enough to deal with those things when they do happen.

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Shit happens but you need to be prepared for it. Me working ensures that we won't have such a hard time if he gets sick and can't work. What do families do when the husbands get sick? Ask their parents for money. It just seems wrong to me that if both are able to work, only one is.

My husband just had a coworker die last week. 28 year old guy, married with a kid. Got married early, the kid is in school. The wife doesn't work. People at work are worried about what she is now going to do for money. At 28, this guy probably didn't have much savings and that won't go far for the wife and kid. She's going to have a heck of a time finding work after being out for so long - and not having much experience in the first place.

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But his wife working outside the house is not the concern of the guy who wrote in. The concern is how to deal with a wife and mother of four young children who, other posters agree, is most likely mentally ill. Everyone gets that you have issues with Japanese women. You've stated them plenty of times. I wouldn't even disagree with you on many of those issues. If you're so insistent though on having the last word on this issue though, would it kill you for it to be somewhat sympathetic to a woman who is clearly going through some kind of hell?

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if we have kids, I might stay home for a year or so (I don't actually want to

Maybe you should actually have the kid before you say that.... :-)

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I have sympathy for her. But I also have some for him. Why can't you?

Cleo, fair point - but also why my husband and I discussed it BEFORE getting married. That being said, trust me, no way in hell will I stay home. I am not some starry eyed kid who might change her mind. Like I said, I was home for 6 months, no work and went insane. I would become the depressed housewife/kitchen drinker if I was stuck home all day with the baby.

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Where did I say I don't have sympathy for him? I acknowledged that he's in a bad situation, that university work is hard and that I wouldn't want to go home to a filthy house. I am sympathetic to his situation but it is largely of his own making, assuming the kids are his and he can certainly do housework if he is so bothered by what she's not doing. If you, before you even have a child, think that you'd go insane staying home alone all day with a baby, imagine having four of them. I've noticed that you're always quick to bash women, particularly Japanese women and while you may have your reasons, I think you assume you know more about the system here than you really do. Most Japanese aren't even aware of the extent that the system controls the status quo, that being women staying home and men working. Perhaps consider reading the book I recommended, reading it with an open mind.

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You called her a spoiled princess. That isn't exactly what one would call someone for whom they're professing to have sympathy. You also said that mothers should be blamed for Japanese men's inability to do any housework. That's interesting. And at what point does an adult become responsible for himself or herself learning how to do things around the house? In our house, our mom and dad showed us how to do housework. There was no assumption that teaching my brothers and sisters or me, was my mom's job. So Japanese fathers have no role in teaching their kids how to do housework?

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marriedawitch, IMO you should start familiarizing yourself with your wife's disease. Read books about it, consult a doctor, etc. You say you've been patient for 8 years, but I tend to agree with the others that you may be part of the problem - if not the bigger part of it. It is obvious that your wife has a problem. You should be the one she relies on to speak about her problem. Obviously, you are not. How do you imagine she feels all day? Taking care of 4 small kids, living in a trash, knowing she has a problem, has a complete loss of identity and on top of that she gets pressure from you all the time, which she obviously is not capable of coping with. I bet that she blames herself deep inside, but she just doesn't know how to change things. And that is not because of her character but her disease. Obvious. And that thing you ask her about how has her day contributed to achieving your goals..that just sounds like a very self-assured, arrogant and abusive (not physically) husband who thinks that he and his goals in life are above everything else. My advice is to move, change location, hold your wife real tight and let her know she can count on you (if she can...)and you will go through this together. Clean the house yourself. Uni jobs are busy for sure but you also have more vacations than a regular salaryman. So use that time wisely. Also, you mentioned your wife had a secret blog - has it ever occurred to you that she wouldn't need it if she could talk to you?! Don't call on her mother and a priest - how lame. I have the feeling your wife is on the verge and you should really do something about it. The problem here is obviously not being a NEET or anything else. It's a matter of a serious depression that shouldn’t be categorized as unique to Japan or women's problem.

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but also why my husband and I discussed it BEFORE getting married. That being said, trust me, no way in hell will I stay home. I am not some starry eyed kid who might change her mind.

I think you can discuss things forever before they happen, but you can never be 100% sure that things will go as planned. I have the feeling that when you eventually have a kid you wouldn't be as assured as you are now. It's easy on you to blame the J-women for this and that only because they are not thinking like you. But you can't really know what it's like for them until you experience the same. So just wait and see. Come back to this forum a few years later and post again!

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Got to agree with aeho11.

You put your own goals, etc foremost to the exclusion of what your family needs and what you should be providing for them.

Take a step back. This is your wife and the 4 kids you made together. What is more important your wife and kids or your goals/job?

Heck, I made many mistakes in my marriage(posted here often, details are open) but still was there for my ex-wife(till the end) and am raising our son now. At no time did I put my dreams nor my job before my family.

I truly think you need to re-evaluate your life and goals and find what truly matters. Granted won't be easy.

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Like I said, I was home for 6 months, no work and went insane. I would become the depressed housewife/kitchen drinker if I was stuck home all day with the baby.

Being home with no work is not the same as being home with a baby, especially one that you yourself have carried for 9 months and turned yourself inside out (that's what it feels like) giving birth to. Believe me, until you've tried it for real you have. No. Idea. I'm not scoffing your values (they're not all that different to what mine were back in the day), nor accusing you of being a hidden wannabe NEET, I'm just pointing out that a baby changes everything. Everything.

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Ambrosia, I have also defended Japanese on this very thread. The ones I respect. I would also bash the freeloading housewives of "back home" so no need to make this a Japanese women vs foreign women thing. It isn't.

I can sympathize with her but criticize at the same time. I see nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade. I certainly don't think the guy is perfect, no one is, so can you please stop trying to make it seem as such?

Mother should be balmed for their kids not being able to do housework - son or daughter. Why? Because they are the primary caregivers. You can't have it both ways. You can't expect the man to head off to the office everyday, work his guts out, come home late AND do all the housework, all the child rearing... when there is a SAHM around. We aren't talking about single parents here - though at times it seems that way with the amount of hours some of them men here work. You're right, there is responsibility of housework - regardless of gender - but when you are the one that stays home to look after the house, that is what you should do.

Again, do you think it was just him that made those kids? You also don't know the full story but everyone on here seems to be jumping on him. I am just playing devil's advocate. Have seen a few situations like this and feel for the men more than the women.

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And I don't "assume" I know the system here - the longer I live here, the more confusing it is.

I do love the patronizing tone on here with regards to having kids. Indeed, babies do change everything. Which is exactly why I don't have one. I do think about these thing, perhaps not everyone does but some of us aren't as dumb as you would like to believe.

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Neither do you know the full situation but you were quite quick to call her a princess. As for him "working his guts out", bit melodramatic, no? I've done his work. It's hard but hardly gut-wrenching. The kids were made by the two of them but again, he's the one posting on this site and saying things, that to many of the other readers, suggest his wife is ill and has been since the birth of the first child. If he were in the least bit aware of his wife's condition and sympathetic to it he would have worn a condom, gotten a vasectomy, done whatever it took to make sure she wasn't going to be burdened with more of his children. So, yes, I do blame him for that. I don't expect a working father to do all of the housework, but I certainly do expect a fair contribution. Working fathers get days off, holidays and eventually retire. Working moms don't. Most every working mom I know cooks and cleans 7 days a week. If you want to talk about choice, to a large degree men who stay in the office 16 hours a day do so because they choose to. They choose to because their egos won't allow them to be spoken of badly by their co-workers. They choose to because they want that promotion. They choose to in spite of the fact that it means they'll miss most of their children's lives and will leave their wives at home to do most everything. The men I've admired are the ones who've had the nerve to put their egos aside and to say no to the ridiculous hours at work and afterwards at the bars. They know their careers may stall but they're okay with that because their families are more important to them. But as for this family, of the man who posted, we're not talking about a normal situation. We're talking about a woman who more likely than not has some problems and a husband who is looking to leave her and his four kids. It's pretty understandable why many of the posters are jumping down his back.

I never said you were dumb so I don't know where that paranoia is coming from. I do however think you have some issues with women and can be quite patronizing yourself. Those are your problems though and you're clearly not going to cut this woman any slack. All I can say is good luck to this poor family because they're going to need it. Each and every one of them. I hope the man who posted is reading this because it might give him some insight into the situation and a way of looking at it which he hadn't considered. If he is reading it, finally, I'd suggest calling the Tokyo English Life Line at 03-5774-0992. They can probably offer some unbiased advice.

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I said she sounds like, and I stick with it. My step-mom was a stay at home mom, made time to volunteer, made sure the kids had home cooked food and also did suffer after having her first child with PPD... Plenty of people sugger with mental illness but have to get up and do their job.

Are you seriously suggesting he get snipped because his wife may or may not be ill? Oh dear. Seems you might need to rethink things. Perhaps he wasn't aware of her illness until looking back at it, like many people do? Perhaps she could have had her tubes tied? Or we could just have her sterilized? Sounds crazy doesn't it?

What is a fair contribution if he is out working and she's home? I am honestly asking because my opinion of it is, you aren't out earning a wage? Earn at home and look after the house. It would be great to have a hubby help with bath time, reading to the kids... but in terms of cleaning and whatnot, your job. How I have seen it done in my family, how it was done when I was home and is done when I am working and my husband is home for days off. You try and support the other person. Certainly, husbands can help out if they are home or working but it shouldn't be the expectation that you can slack off because your other half with pick up that slack.

I agree about retiring - my MIL drives me nuts with this because she still caters to my FIL who does nothing around the house, doesn't work... but then again, that is the life SHE picked. She doesn't expect my husband to do anything either when we go home, picks up after him...drives me mad as he does not behave that way at our house but.... that is the environment she created. Like I said, she didn't teach her boys to look after themselves, even though mine can. He won't at home though. She won't let him.

You're right, this family isn't normal - so the comments I have made on this thread don't all center around this one family. We don't know the full story. Thing is, I have seen this type of story more than once and I tend to side with the husband. Certainly there are times when I side with the wife but this one mirrors closely to a guy I know. His wife is a creation alright.

Paranoia? That comment wasn't even directed to you so could you relax a bit? But I do appreciate you suggesting I have "issues" with women. So do you it seem based on that snide comment. Why would I need to "cut slack" to a women I don't know, will never meet? This is a poster board. I am certainly not worrying myself over a problem that isn't mine. Just expressing an opinion. They do indeed need help and I wish them luck. Unbiased advice certainly is needed - because he isn't getting it from here.

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I'm seriously suggesting he "get snipped" because he's already got four kids who he's considering abandoning. If that'll stop him from bringing a third into a dire situation and possibly abandoning that one too then yes, that's exactly what I'm suggesting, though not for the reason you stated.

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The NetNinja here!

NEETs are a product of a privileged and egocentric generation. They had mostly been sheltered by their doting parents and have no clue as to how approach and solve problems.

I totally agree with the above statement. Their parents worked extremely hard after WWII to bring this country back to some level of greatness. All the money saved up now goes to their daughters and grand-daughters Louis Vuitton bags and cute little doggies they can stuff in them.

I don't know about you guys but I see those exact same NEETS on this webpage everytime I comment. You probably see the underwear ad just below this comment box. Something Gmarket....anyway.

I feel for @marriedawitch. The monster I had in my home was not my wife but a monster none the less. As much as I love the Internet I can't stand how some J-girls are using it. It's interesting, the men are using it to look at naked girls...but the J-girls. They're using it for multiple relationships.

If you come home after 10 hours of your absence and the house hasn't been touched with trash everywhere still then it's time for WebWatcher program to run in the background of your PC.

Facebook, MIXI, Online Dating Sites here in Japan....a boat load of pain coming your way.

Ladies, I don't mind you going out seeking personal gratification using men as tools for your attention. No problem at all with it. What I do have issue with is a NEET woman living under my roof, off my salary, spending her day talking with some guy on the net who's trying to arrange a meeting with you. That's low.

Unfortunately fellas, if it ever gets to that point you already have an uncomfortable relationship and that means it's time to ship out.

NEET women, in your house, with too much free time and the Internet are a deadly combination. I's a grim idea to imagine you coming home to find her "Pris en flagrant délit".

You have to be careful guys. Japan has a lot of philogynists and misandrists out there.

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Being home with no work is not the same as being home with a baby, especially one that you yourself have carried for 9 months and turned yourself inside out (that's what it feels like) giving birth to. Believe me, until you've tried it for real you have. No. Idea. I'm not scoffing your values (they're not all that different to what mine were back in the day), nor accusing you of being a hidden wannabe NEET, I'm just pointing out that a baby changes everything. Everything.

So does the second, and third, and fourth, as well.

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I'm seriously suggesting he "get snipped" because he's already got four kids who he's considering abandoning. If that'll stop him from bringing a third into a dire situation and possibly abandoning that one too then yes, that's exactly what I'm suggesting, though not for the reason you stated.

Divorce doesn't = abandoning. You might want to rethink your stance on that. The poster has said that the wife wouldn't let him see his kids if he divorced her. How is this him abandoning his children?? How can you side with a wife who threatens to keep her children from their father?? And then turn around and make it seem like he's the bad guy? Perhaps he would like to get divorced, find a new wife and have kids and a good family life? Plenty of men do that. Why shouldn't he?

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tmarie, I still can't believe you are on the side of this guy. Obviously, you can't put yourself in her shoes and imagine what's it like for her. Wondering why you can identify so passionately with him though.

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@tmarie

Amen, Sister, Amen!!! You're speaking the truth!!

The man is not abandoning his kids. They're being kept from him. It's cruel. What's worse is the malice of the lies to make herself the hero.

She'll tell those kids Daddy ran away. Daddy didn't want to stay with us.

The truth is: "Daddy, didn't want to stay with YOU, Momma!"

@aeho11 You should take notes. tmarie is telling the truth. She's right!! You might learn something here today.

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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Divorce doesn't = abandoning. You might want to rethink your stance on that. The poster has said that the wife wouldn't let him see his kids if he divorced her. How is this him abandoning his children?? How can you side with a wife who threatens to keep her children from their father?? And then turn around and make it seem like he's the bad guy? Perhaps he would like to get divorced, find a new wife and have kids and a good family life? Plenty of men do that. Why shouldn't he?

Ya'll forget that this is Japan. Divorce here means either taking the kids or letting them go, abandoning them, one or the other, there is rarely, if ever, any middle ground, read that as join custody, which does not exist here.

Si it's either he abandon them, or she, and to the courts here who do you think is going to win?

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No, it doesn't have to here. I know of parents who see their kids even though they don't have custody. There is no joint custody but that doesn't mean the kids can't spend time with the other parent. There are a few mature women out there who don't use the kids as a weapon - same goes for dads. How dare ANY of you suggest that divorce = abandonment. It doesn't. Sadly though, we know how this usually plays out. Dad, and yes, usually is it dad, doesn't get to see his kids. Why? Ex-wife won't let him. So if you want to point fingers as to whose fault it is, blame the wife for not allowing their father access to the child. Blame the courts for not enforcing visitation. Do NOT blame the parent (mother or father) who doesn't get the kid. Many of then want to see their kids and can't.

New low for Japantoday.

aeho, why do you so "passionately" side with her?

Moderator: All readers back on topic please.

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No, it doesn't have to here. I know of parents who see their kids even though they don't have custody. There is no joint custody but that doesn't mean the kids can't spend time with the other parent. There are a few mature women out there who don't use the kids as a weapon -

Excuse me, culturally speaking here, it's the way things are, and yes I will "dare" to say that divorce here, with children involved, equals abandonment. Maybe not by choice, but by the way that it is.

Does it mean that it's right? Heck no. However the example you gave of a "few" mature women out there, is more the exception rather than the rule.

Like it or not, it's a fact.

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"The bread really came out great again today," she gushes. Big deal, he shrugs - the whole process is automated so she's have to try hard not to get it right."

This husband sounds like someone who doesn't appreciate his wife making delicious bread for him.

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This husband sounds like someone who doesn't appreciate his wife making delicious bread for him.

He doesnt appreciate that it cost him 50,000 yen to have a machine make the bread for him.

He probably would be happier if his wife could make it from scratch.

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Up to last month, Mr S had handed over his entire pay packet to his wife. From this month he stopped.

Smartest move "Mr. S" has probably made. I have never understood why I would have to turn over my entire salary. I don't mind providing for the rent and utilities, and making sure the spouse has extra to take care of personal needs, but I find that once you become a responsible adult male, you should have enough maturity about you so that you don't go blow your entire paycheck on something frivolous without taking care of home.

I have seen many arguments between western men and J-ladies on this issue.

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This husband sounds like someone who doesn't appreciate his wife making delicious bread for him.

Make? That involves more than measuring out the ingredients and pressing the on button. Probably cheaper to buy bread.

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Probably cheaper to buy bread.

Making your own is undoubtedly cheaper (and tastier) than buying bread.

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Did you factor in the cost of the machine vs buying bread on sale?? My impression is that bread makers here are still rather expensive. No idea. I certainly don't "make" bread.

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You can get a bread maker for less than 10,000 if you don't want bells and whistles. That would pay for itself in about a year, making 2 loaves a week and assuming a saving of about 100 yen a loaf. (More, if you make 'speciality' breads) The machines only make one loaf at a time though - I prefer to do a week's worth and freeze it. Much better bread than in the shops, and much cheaper. Once you get the hang of it it isn't difficult.

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“The bread really came out great again today,” she gushes to him. Big deal, he shrugs—the whole process is automated, so she’d have to try hard not to get it right.

I guess the wife was taking a cue from ancient Rome, just giving her husband "bread and circuses" to keep him preoccupied on what is really going on. At least she may have half of it right, don't know what kind of "circus" he is getting but from reading his comments, I doubt a very fun one.

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Cleo, I get bread here for less than 100 yen! My husband only eats the nasty white stuff and I don't eat it - shock, horror! A gaijin who doesn't eat bread!!

I feel for the guy though - homemade bread is great. Now could she also do a homemade meal instead of Jusco's nasty stuff?? Much cheaper to make that stuff on your own too. Heck, even a crappy cook like myself can manage the basic Japanese stuff!

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tmarie, if you don't even eat bread, there's little point in making it, either by hand or in a machine! I refuse to eat the nasty white stuff, too (which yes, can be got for less than 100 yen - if it were free it would still be a waste of money....) but fresh-baked, homemade wholemeal with sunflower seeds, or soft Scottish baps, is a whole different story.

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Well that is why I don't make it...

So if this women can "make" bread, why can't she make her husband a decent dinner? That would be much cheaper than buy precooked crap at the grocery store!

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Well after reading most of this I have re-confiurmed that having kids in Japan puts tremendous stress on the family & tends to make life if your lucky bearly bearable & for many makes life hellish ranging to hell itself.

I dont blame kids for this I blame JAPAN, clearly there are better ways of living than the way many do live, thankfully the Mrs & I are childless, were are both MUCH better off because of that.

This country is way way beyond a dire need for change, it needed for the country to survive!

Life sucks bad in Japan for far too many, but they have to realize it & make changes, otherwise they only have themselves to blame, glad I aint young, I wud hate to be growing up in Japan

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Well said GW. Until the locals demand change in working hours, conditions, sexism in offices and labour practices... this will continue to be an issue which makes for unhappy marriages for some.

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