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Table tennis star's alleged illicit romance bouncing all over Asia

29 Comments

The headline in Taiwan's weekly Mirror magazine (Jing Zhoukan), which claims circulation of several hundred thousand, reads "The 49% infidelity rate for Japanese woman is world's highest." 

Asian media has been abuzz with news of an unfolding scandal regarding the breakup of former tennis table star Ai Fukuhara's marriage. Her husband, Taiwanese table tennis star Chiang Hung-chieh, recently filed for divorce in the Kaohsiung District Court. 

Practically weaned on the small white sphere, Fukuhara was a ping pong prodigy from age three, and by the tender age of 15 was a member of the Japanese table tennis squad at the 2004 Athens Olympics. 

The couple married after the 2016 Rio Olympics and held wedding ceremonies in Taiwan and Japan in 2017. They have a daughter born in October 2017 and a son born in April 2019. 

According to the English-language Taiwan News, earlier this year, the 32-year-old Fukuhara had been spotted with an unidentified Japanese man eating dinner in Yokohama's Chinatown. Afterward, she was photographed climbing over a railing to dart into the man's car. 

The two were later seen checking into a hotel and leaving it together the next day. Fukuhara insists that they had spent the night in separate rooms. 

As the rumors of an illicit relationship began flying, Taiwan's media began running stories with headlines reading, "A high percentage of Japanese women commit infidelity, but no matter how rough it is, their husbands tolerate it" (in the China Times, one of the island's four biggest daily newspapers) and "Four reasons why Japanese married women like to play around," (reported on the website of TVBS News). 

"Along with Mirror Media, these would be  Taiwan's equivalents of Japan's Shukan Post, the Yomiuri Shimbun and Fuji TV," a Taiwanese journalist was quoted as saying. 

And these media, needless to say, boast a high degree of credibility.  

From the chatter emanating from Taiwan, websites in China -- where Fukuhara is also well known -- have picked up the story with a vengeance. 

Some of the contents in China, which first began appearing from the end of March, are believed to have been based on a certain YouTube post. 

"In every case, they've been gleaned from a YouTube video posted by a Chinese woman living in Japan and married to a Japanese man," the aforementioned Taiwanese journalist says. "The contents take special pains to cite the 49% infidelity rate as being the world's highest. 

"They typically attribute the 49% figure to 'various data on the web,' but actually the sources are vague," he adds. "The explanations range from 'Japanese husbands are too busy with their jobs,' or 'Japanese relationships are open' or 'Both husbands and wives in Japan take infidelity for granted,' and so on." 

The YouTube video is enough to convince viewers that in Japan Fukuhara's behavior would be viewed as typical, and that Japanese husbands feign not to know about their wives' illicit behavior. 

Shukan Shincho tracked down the Chinese housewife who posted the video on YouTube and asked her on what she based her story.

"I didn't know that media in Taiwan had picked it up," she insisted. "It was certainly not my intention to do anything to damage relations between Japan and Taiwan. I apologize if anyone was hurt by this." 

As the total number of viewers was only about 4,000, Shukan Shincho's writer is skeptical of its influence on major media organizations. 

Nevertheless the reporting on the breakup between Fukuhara and her Taiwanese hubby continues to spread throughout Asia. 

Kin Birei, a native of Taiwan and a well known critic in Japan, remarked, "Well, certainly some Japanese place a low value on fidelity; but to claim nearly half sounds like a made-up figure to me." 

Kin doesn't believe Fukuhara owes anyone an apology, but opines, "it's irresponsible for her not to provide an explanation. Not doing so will just keep feeding the rumors."

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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Yeah, 49%... I’d say that sounds about right. Husbands working 12 hours straight, a bored and lonely housewife with no career ambitions at home alone all day... what could go wrong?

6 ( +13 / -7 )

In a nation with a declining population, such behavior must be encouraged. Overworked males tend to have lower sperm counts and are too exhausted by the work demands imposed on them to perform. If Japan is to maintain an optimal population, a steady supply of healthy males should be imported to sate the desires of sex starved Japanese women.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The signs of rampant infidelity in Japan are there if you can recognize them.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Cheating on one’s spouse is reprehensible and nobody’s business but the people involved. One should be free to screw up one’s own relationships or damage one’s own integrity without public input. We could get by with fewer of these kinds of stories and still manage to survive.

Yes, but the husband deserved to know and may not have found out if not for the story. He and the kids saw her off at the airport, and she betrayed them all.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

My interest is piqued. Is there any truth to this 49% figure?

A housewife with no sources came up with the figure, so I doubt it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Practically weaned on the small white sphere, Fukuhara was a ping pong prodigy from age three, and by the tender age of 15 was a member of the Japanese table tennis squad at the 2004 Athens Olympics. 

The couple married after the 2016 Rio Olympics and held wedding ceremonies in Taiwan and Japan in 2017. They have a daughter born in October 2017 and a son born in April 2019. 

Sounds like she never had a chance to be free and sow her wild oats.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sounds like she never had a chance to be free and sow her wild oats.

Ah, yes, the "making up for lost time" theory.

On the other hand, some have raised the issue of the "double standard."

Fame and fortune aside, life certainly isn't easy for sports celebrities.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is this the National Enquirer news section?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Is this the National Enquirer news section?

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

She’s entitled to some freedom if she had already ‘weaned the kids on ping pong balls’, like she was:

- “Practically “weaned on the small white sphere”, Fukuhara was a ping pong prodigy from age three.” -

Not trying to judge someone’s marriage but, are these the actions of a happily married woman and mother of two toddlers?

- “Fukuhara wasspotted with a Japanese man eating dinner. Afterward, she was photographed climbing over a railing to dart into the man's car. The two were later checking into a hotel and leaving it together the next day. Fukuhara insists that they had spent the night in separate rooms.”

Japan likes to let their sports and media darling slide until they double fault.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How incredibly boring.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The two were later seen checking into a hotel and leaving it together the next day. Fukuhara insists that they had spent the night in separate rooms. 

Oh! Ai-chan! I wonder how much mileage she thought she could get with that excuse : D This 49% thing sounds really interesting. Hmm...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cheating on one’s spouse is reprehensible and nobody’s business but the people involved. One should be free to screw up one’s own relationships or damage one’s own integrity without public input. We could get by with fewer of these kinds of stories and still manage to survive.

As for an exact percentage of infidelity based on “data on the web,” with follow-up questions aimed at explaining such non-data, why do people read this trash?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"A high percentage of Japanese women commit infidelity, but no matter how rough it is, their husbands tolerate it" 

Trashy stuff even for tabloid journals!!!

Infidelity is more from the husbands using their expense accounts to enjoy the entertainment districts.

A friend of mine was actually told by his boss, after getting promoted, that if he had to sleep around better do it with escorts. Lesser chances of being accused of harassment, was the logic!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is wrong, the way millions are harassing her.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My interest is piqued. Is there any truth to this 49% figure? Seems impossible.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Unless they are immediately related to me, or I am employing them as my marriage counselor, I really don't care about whether or not somebody has cheated on their spouse.

Do you interview your plumber about any affairs they may have had before they fix the kitchen sink?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is very interesting to observe the differing cultural reactions to famous people engaging with other famous people. In the Orient the obsession is taken to the extreme. In North America it is also a very strong cultural obsession, if not quite as large a one. Meanwhile, in Europe, they are much less interested in other people's private goings-on, unless they are part of the British royal family.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

49%? That's NOT Japanese women, that's Humanity itself. And given America's roughly 50% divorce rate, I suspect we could give any other polity on the planet some serious competition in this event.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Quite frankly if Chinese use it to feel more negative about Japan....that’s fine by me.

Its also fine by me to have your life and relationships. Now I don’t think cheating and lying to your spouses is any good, but it’s also worse to be confined, controlled, and not be able to do what you want.

Japan is a free nation, and I and the ladies can do what they want.

Live with the consequences if you do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I say there is a matter of context that has to be considered. If a strong percentage of marriages become toxic for xyz reason while attitude towards gender roles and divorce is not exactly up to speed with other cultures, could you really blame women? That being said though, I think that 49% is exaggerated to an extent.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

and she betrayed them all.

I rarely ever use this term but this is misogynistic. Women also need s$x.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

she had that high pitched squawk when she played. quite annoying

0 ( +1 / -1 )

VinnyToday  02:43 pm JST

she had that high pitched squawk when she played. quite annoying

Saaa!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

a bored and lonely housewife

clutching empty milk bottles to her heart

Sorry Gaijinland, but that triggered that song in my mind. No malice intended. :-)

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfpRm-p7qlY)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@thepersoniamnow

*It is wrong, the way millions are harassing her. *IF the report is true is it ok for her to cheat on her husband? Is it ok for her to ruin her family? Again I don't live in her home nor know her family business except what I am reading here, she has two young kids, if she wants to risk her marriage knowing cameras and prying eyes are everywhere, and being a celebrity, she should have known better, so her marriage was NOTHING BUT A PROMISE that was broken.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NOTHING BUT A PROMISE that was broken.

Humans are NOT an innately mate-for-life species but has had this condition imposed upon it by the emergence circa 70,000 years ago of a biologically deranged, pathological social structure which is now dominant upon all Humans. Those who oppose it vanish into geological time...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ai chan was huge sensation in the 90's. Her fame and success led the way for today's top Japanese players.

She did so much to popularize the game both in Japan and other countries. On the strength of this, I attended a ping pong exhibition in Bangkok while on holiday.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

With her crying, pouting and little temper tantrums continuing well into her teens, I was surprised to see her move up and get a bronze.

These stories about her cheating must really make her pull out the tissues.

I feel sorry for her.

We both do not agree with nearly 50% Japanese wives cheating.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

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