Japan Today



Tensions surface between middle-aged men, daughters-in law


The generation gap is eternal, but no two eras experience it quite the same way. How many ways can the old and young grate on each other? People now approaching old age have lived through an unusual number of possibilities. Politics, music, technology, sex, and economics have all conspired in recent decades to set the generations at odds.

“Generation gap” usually suggests parents and children, but Shukan Post (Sept 5) tries a different approach, focusing on fathers-in-law and daughters-in-law.

The wife of a man’s son, mother of his grandchildren or grandchildren-to-be, deserves a special place in his heart and often wins it – but “special” doesn’t always mean good.

“My eldest son brought his new bride home for Obon,” recalls a 62-year-old company employee, referring to the annual mid-August occasion for family reunions. “Maybe because I never had a daughter, I felt a little awkward.”

“A little” soon became a lot. "Not that she wasn’t a nice person – on the contrary – but… well, the way she dressed – was it really suitable? See-through T-shirt, no bra? You don’t want to stare, and yet ... does my son really not mind?” The father-in-law didn’t say anything, but “it embarrassed me to be thinking what I was thinking!”

A 64-year-old self-employed man describes coming home one evening and entering his living room, only to suddenly stop short – there was his visiting daughter-in-law, breastfeeding her little boy. Well, so what? “She was not in the least embarrassed – she smiled down at the infant and said, ‘Look, grandpa’s home!’ For some reason I felt like apologizing, but thinking that would be silly, I just said, ‘Drink up, little man, and grow big and strong!’” Which was surely the best way to handle the situation.

This from a 65-year-old accountant hosting his visiting son and daughter-in-law: “My son was out late at a class reunion. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and noticed their light on, which seemed odd. She must have fallen asleep with it on.”

Approaching to turn it off, he saw his daughter-in-law, wide awake, so thoroughly absorbed in a pornoraphic video that she didn’t even notice him. He beat a hasty retreat and nothing was ever said – “but I can’t get it out of my mind, I can’t feel the way I used to about her.”

One last anecdote, narrated by a 63-year-old company president. “She came to my office one day” – his 39-year-old daughter-in-law – “to talk to me about my son’s infidelities.” She was distraught. Unable to contain her emotions, she burst into tears, into uncontrollable sobs. “I couldn’t just stand there and let the woman weep. I took her in my arms, comforted her, kissed her, she clung more tightly to me…” Nothing further happened on that occasion, but the die was cast: “In secret from my wife and my son, we now meet at a love hotel once a month.”

© Japan Today

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Enquiring minds want to know!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The different generations have fundamental value differences and by understanding the differences in behavior driven by our value system we can understand better and improve our relationship with people of different generations. In other words if we examine our value system shared by the generation groups we can understand their diverse beliefs, behaviors and mind-set. Therefore the key is in generalizing values based on all the generation groups. .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At least the last paragraph shows it's "all in the family"...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

More articles like this, please, JT.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

From their reactions, it sounds like these fathers-in-law have a few hang ups about women...pretty pathetic.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

A lot of this is pretty inappropriate/bad manners on the girl. I typically parade around my house in my underwear and white undershirt..but I would never do that at my in-laws house or if anyone was visiting. I would not be comfortable with a future son or daughter in law in such wear and I certainly wouldn't want my wife/daughter/whatever girl wearing a see through shirt when company is around.

Additionally, watching porn is all well and good...but it should be very discreet, and probably not watched at all while visiting in laws...a little self control, right?

9 ( +8 / -0 )

Walking in on a girl watching porn... mmm!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Wow. Suddenly my relationship with my FIL just seems so.....ordinary.....

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Well, after reading another article about how certain Japanese women have no qualms about being artificially inseminated with their FILs seed, I am not surprised!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just the other day I was at my local home center and overheard a guy in 60s ask an assistant if they sold "magic mirrors".

I remember thinking at the time perhaps his daughter-in-law is coming to stay...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

From their reactions, it sounds like these fathers-in-law have a few hang ups about women...pretty pathetic. Looks like I have some exciting times to look forward to when my sons marry,,,

Hang ups? Pathetic? Not at all. Normal. Normal women, normal men. Sixty-something (even 80-something) men will react to a younger woman this way. Even an older woman. In care homes staff frequently need to intervene (though I can't see why they would bother) to separate couplings.

I don't know how representative the few cases cited in the article are, but there seems to be a huge ignorant insensitivity on the part of the daughters-in-law as to what is and what is not appropriate when you are a guest in your in-laws' home.

That said, of the examples cited, breast-feeding is normal and should have been normalized in many cultures by this day and age; however, it is not. That's not an issue just in Japan.However, her father-in-law was not home when she started and she can't be blamed for feeding her child. That he walked in on her and was uncomfortable is too bad. His problem. Weird how that works. Everyone can comfortably climb into a sento together, but seeing your grandchild breast feed is a big deal.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

..... I cannot get my mind off the last story. It is so twisted! Anyway, uh I guess..be at leisure at own house, but not in law's house! I honestly am a bit put off even of kissing hubby on cheek there because I feel like I'm bending some unknown rule. In laws' house= best behaviour for me! Now, I really wonder what his dad thinks of me..hmm.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

63 is middle aged?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

See-through T-shirt, no bra? You don’t want to stare, and yet ... does my son really not mind?”

And yet you did? Um, her eyes are very much north.

The father-in-law didn’t say anything, but “it embarrassed me to be thinking what I was thinking!”

Um, yeah, you should be. Perv!!!

she smiled down at the infant and said, ‘Look, grandpa’s home!

Yes, it is called being a mature adult. Those are not for you, dummy.

Drink up, little man, and grow big and strong!’”

Drink up? DRINK UP???? What are you ten years old?

“In secret from my wife and my son, we now meet at a love hotel once a month.”

Oh, dear lord. Never an in-law. NEVER. Especially your son's/daughter's spouse. Now she knows where his cheating comes from. And you even betrayed YOUR OWN SON!!!. Sick, sick, sick!

What is wrong with these people?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@Sandiegoluv: "What is wrong with these people". They're (we're?) men.

I humbly ask for forgiveness, but for a lot of cases like these we simply can't help stealing a glance. Moreover, if we happen to be exposed to breasts unexpectedly, it can be quite surprising. It shouldn't have been a shock that an older man, after a hard days work, makes his way home to see a partially nude young woman sitting in his living room. No there was nothing she did wrong, but I probably would have put my foot in my mouth as well.

Obviously a few of these are plain stupid, I will agree: there is no excuse for actually acting on impulses and one should never overstep certain boundaries...especially the bottom stories...but surely the vitriol is unwarranted here, right? Just because we oggle the odd female doesn't make us Pervs.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This familiar weekly magazine fare. A generalization made on the basis of a few bizarre anecdotes.

When was the last time you saw a see through T shirt on a woman?

5 ( +5 / -0 )


Quite a long time ago, I'm sad to say.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This spring, thankfully.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The comments here show how Japanese culture has eroded under cultural attack by enemies of that culture. I've seen it happen to America. Some don't see that this is happening by design. When people see the "old ways" as interfering with their mass culture then the country is finished. The disrespect for the father in laws -- shown not in the article but in the comments -- tells me that deflation is not the only thing eating away at Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

oldickeastman, Most posters here are non-Japanese. I have never heard of daughter-in-law and father-in-law affairs. So disgusting and disrespectful.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The article refers to older japanese men who in this case sem to be the conservative and rather reserved types. This is generally the way middle aged men here think. The generation gap is very obvious. Nothin special.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Smacks quite a bit of the old Penthouse Forum, "You'll never believe what happened next." The article's title and first paragraph suggests a somewhat serious topic, the generation gap between in-laws, only to deliver some pathetic run-of-the-mill male fantasy. What a joke!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@kaynide. I am a guy as well, but even I can not understand what they are thinking. SMH

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, that escalated quickly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it just me or do these anecdotes seem like the "authentic" Penthouse Forum stories?

At the very least, cheap porn stories from the AV rental section.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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