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The shrinking state of Japanese salarymen's pocket money

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In a July 5 installment of the popular "Shabekuri 007" program broadcast Mondays on the Japan TV network, show hosts and audience alike gasped in astonishment when Mitsuyo Ota remarked she paid her entertainer husband Hikari a "kozukai" (monthly allowance) of 50,000 yen. This figure, only slightly higher than that of the average wage earner, appeared unusually parsimonious for a man at the peak of his showbiz career.

In Japan, salarymen's monthly "kozukai" and discretionary spending patterns function as a useful economic barometer, and Shukan Post (July 23) has picked the brains of sociologist Masahiro Yamada, who tied up with a market research firm to conduct international comparisons in five countries.

Based on data from wage earners living in major cities in the U.S., UK, Italy and China, the Japanese came out rather poorly.

"Japanese males came out second to Americans in terms of hours worked, but in contrast to about 80,000 yen per month for Americans, Japanese only averaged half that, about 40,000 yen," says Yamada. "Considering the consumer price differentials, Japanese are even lower than Chinese males in the major cities."

The survey also determined that the percentage of the husband's annual income devoted to discretionary spending was 12% in the U.S.; 19% in the UK; 14% in Italy; and 35% in China.

"In Japan, the figure was only 8%," Yamada notes, adding that the practice of men handing over their entire pay packet to their wives is not widespread outside Japan.

The average "kozukai" is down by nearly half since the bursting of the bubble economy. The figure peaked at 76,000 yen in 1990. This year it dropped to 40,600 yen -- down by 35,400 yen in two decades and by 5,000 from just last year.

What does this imply for the average man in the street?

"I get 40,000 yen a month," a 48-year-old worker at an auto manufacturer moans to Shukan Post. "I can only afford to respond to invitations to go golfing with my boss perhaps one time out of four. Once, when I had to play two consecutive weeks, all I had left for lunch right before payday was a 100-yen hamburger, washed down with coffee at the office."

The custom of "kozukai" appears to have taken root in the Edo era (1603-1868). An old ledger saved by the Inoyama family of Kaga-han, present-day Ishikawa Prefecture, confirms this.

"Even though Naoyuki earned the largest income, his allowance was unbelievably small -- only 19 monme per year," Yamada points out. The Inoyama's total household income for the same year was 4,356 monme.

Other old records indicate a pattern of budgetary behavior remarkably similar to Japanese households of today.

By contrast, American husbands of a century ago were less generous with their discretionary income. In "A Daughter of Samurai," Etsuko Sugimoto (1873-1950) voiced surprise when her American female host confided she had raided her sleeping husband's trousers pockets for coins to donate at Sunday church services.

"Before the Pacific War, Japan was primarily an agricultural nation and family members pooled their income. I suppose the custom of apportioning out an allowance to the husband became entrenched," says Yamada. "After the war, when the work shifted from farming to salaried wages, the practice continued."

Before the bursting of the bubble, wage earners were able to supplement their "kozukai" with generous outlays from their employers. But due to cost cuts, entertainment budgets and other perks enjoyed by these "shayo-zoku" have gone the way of the Brontosaurus.

Economist Takuro Morinaga notes that while family income declined 8% from 2000 to 2009, wage earners' average "kozukai" dropped by 38%. This suggests the "kozukai" system may be a key factor in Japan's stagnant consumption.

Yamada agrees, noting that while boutiques proffering male-oriented goods have been springing up in foreign countries, in Japan it remains females who dominate consumption.

The future prospects appear even gloomier as the eventual increase of the consumption tax from 5% to 10% is almost certain to cause more draconian budgetary measures. What to do?

"At the very least, try showing this article to your wife as a hint to raise your stipend," Shukan Post recommends, humorously adding, "but please don't blame us if it stirs up a hornet's nest."

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

130 Comments
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Well, that is tough, but it should keep them out of trouble. Any more than 50,000 yen/month and we all know what the guy'll do with it... make a girlfriend.

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Most people could make a girlfriend with less than that, it's more the sex-parlors that would put a dent into their kozukai.

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Jason6, 40,000 yen will barely cover a White Day gift and dinner at an upscale restaurant. Sex parlour is definitely a more sensible option.

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40.000yen after lunch bento, possible supper, late-night taxi, etc don't leave much for the Izakaiya and the GF.

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i just dont get why???? why the man needs pocket money if he is the main earner, my husband gives me household money and pocket money, the rest he has in the bank for whatever we need and our daughter needs, dont get why women in the house eating their husbands money need to have control over their husbands money, that shows they dont respect their husband at all

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That's why I control the purse strings in my family, not that I use much more than 50,000 yen a month.

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I recently got nailed leaving an offshore receipt out... hiding cash is the tough part. Not much equity in watered down drinks and whores for 500 bucks a month unless you hit the soapland twice and can settle for a smoky dank bar with your coworkers day in and day out. That's pathetic in itself. Values and priorities are different here. A real man can manage time, family money, investments and his kids education. Sad story. This whole kozukai thing will disappear in 10 years.... Lose the Goldenweek and Oban thing first- families should travel & invest with Dad's drinking and whoring money. GO HOME after work.

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Fully agreed with mrskit. I don’t simply get it: why do they act like lambs? What is a point to work so hard and then to give your money to someone who doesn’t do anything, and by the end this person will decide how much you can spend for yourself for your earned money? Are they not able to make a budget themselves?

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dont get why women in the house eating their husbands money need to have control

They don't need shoes either. Stay pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen. (Yes, I know everyone is barefoot in a Japanese house. But you get my meaning).

What is a point to work so hard and then to give your money to someone who doesn’t do anything

Doesn't do anything?

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classic cleo.

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cleo:Ok, taking care of house, is it a big job? Sorry but to me it is same if I will give money to my cleaning lady asking her to give me monthly budget. Of course, I do understand that a normal house wife has her duties etc. but honestly, it is not a very difficult job now days or it is?

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I do understand that a normal house wife has her duties etc. but honestly, it is not a very difficult job now days or it is?

If there are kids involved, yes, it is a very difficult, tiring, at times frustrating job (assuming that it's done properly). Also very satisfying and rewarding (again, assuming that it's done properly). But that isn't the point. None of these men are married to some homogeneous, one-size-fits-all 'normal housewife'; each one of them is married to his wife. The two of them have reached an adult agreement as to how the household budget should be managed, and if they're happy with that, then who are you (or me) to say they should do it differently?

Why do they act like lambs? Because that's their way of putting all they have into their family. When a man allows his own pocket money to be reduced before he'll see less food on the table for his kids, or his kids going to school with holes in their shoes and the elbows out of their clothes, some may look down on him and consider him not to be a 'real man' because he isn't earning enough to have money pouring out of the windows, but I think he deserves respect.

And any man who sees his wife as no more than a cleaning lady deserves to find himself paying alimony and doing his own cleaning. Probably doesn't have any kids anyway.

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Cleo: almost agreed, but I always consider family budget should be decided by both side. From what I see in japanese traditional case- man is working like a lamb, bringing his money to a woman who solely take a decision how much this man deserves to spend for lunch, beer etc. my questions are following:

do these men can not make a budget by definition by themselves isn’t it possible to take decisions together Does this mean that wife staying in house has high degree in economy science that she is taking decision only and solely?
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1/3 of my cash goes to the wife. Bills, mutual savings, etc.

1/3 into my personal savings.

1/3 I do what ever I like with.

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cleo; I get what you are saying and I know what it is to raise children, keep house and work, probably better then most here seeing that I as a single father have had to do everything on my own.

But I have watch young Japanese women today and unlike previous generations they seem to spend most of their time in the coffee shops chatting with their friends and or shopping (and I don't mean for food or the children).

Previous generations had several children but today it is at most 2 and once they are in school that leave a lot of time to spend and meet friends and that is what they do and why this quote:

"noting that while boutiques proffering male-oriented goods have been springing up in foreign countries, in Japan it remains females who dominate consumption."

make so much sense.

I have several Japanese friends that over the years got married and then divorced and the main reason was that their wives (Japanese) quit work refused to have children (claiming "not just yet later") and just spent money on restaurants, Hair, cloths and outings with their friends and in many cases when the men got home late at night expecting to at least have dinner ready what they got was nothing but do it your self.

Most of my happily married Japanese friends are married not to Japanese women but to SEA women who appreciate the hard work their husbands do and take care of the children and them and in exchange these Japanese men appreciate their wives and make sure their needs are met.

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In my case (male), I am the one taking care of the family finances. We earn more than we spend (which is below average), but we usually do things as a family, so all of us "enjoy" the money. If one wants to go out alone with friends is OK, but we do not have a budget for that.

I never understood why men, being away from home all day, want to spend the night with their co-workers and the weekends playing golf with their bosses.

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I always consider family budget should be decided by both side

Then that's what you should do in your family. Watch out you don't marry an AlfGarnett. (sorry Alf!)

I don't think it's a case of how much the man deserves for his lunch and beer, but how much the family can afford. In very many cases when the man says, 'My wife gives me only ¥40,000' what he means is 'We decided my pocket money should be ¥40,000' or 'We can't afford for me to have more than ¥40,000.'

today it is at most 2 and once they are in school that leave a lot of time to spend and meet friends and that is what they do

But if it's something the couple has decided together, what does it matter what outsiders think about their financial arrangements?

Maybe your friends who got divorced simply didn't get to know the people they were getting married to, and didn't talk over their hopes and aspirations before they got married.

When we were first married, Mr Cleo and I both worked and both incomes went into the communal bucket. Then the kids came along and I became a SAHM, only one income going into the bucket. Mr Cleo was more than happy to get on with his job and let me deal with the finances. The kids started school and I became a WAHM, two incomes again and by this time we'd settled into a routine of me handling the finances. Big purchases we decided between us. Basically the typical Japanese way of doing things, except that it isn't really typically Japanese - my own parents in the UK did things more or less the same. When the kids were little and I wasn't 'paying in', I never once felt that I was 'doing nothing' and I never (well, hardly ever) spent time chatting in coffee shops. I appreciated the hard work my husband put into putting food on the table and keeping us warm and clothed, and he appreciated the hard work I put into raising the kids, cooking the food, keeping the house (reasonably) clean and keeping the bank account in the black (most of the time). When I started work again he realised there would be times when housework took second place to deadlines, and he was (is) quite happy to muck in when necessary - and often when not necessary, just for a change. What's not to respect? I consider him much more of a man than the 'Wot I earn is all mine, here's a pittance to spend on you and the kids' -type of pseudo he-man.

with all my worldly goods I thee endow.

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Start a business. Take all the money you need from the company as business expenses. Problem solved.

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The whole system makes no sense to me. Why would anyone work their tail off at a company and give all their money to a wife and kids they hardly see?

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Before my wife starting working I just gave her an allowance, about 50,000 which was about 20% of my income, and I took care of the bills. Once she started working she keeps most of her income and gives about 10% for the family budget. Should be more, of course. She got a tongue lashing from some older Japanese women for not giving ALL of her income for the family. But this is the sign of the times. But I agree with dolphingirl. This is why Japanese marriages rarely ever work out. As my boss said, Japanese husbands are just seen as the banker, and that is it! This is why most young men are becoming herbivores and saying screw it (pun intended) to all Japanese women as there is rarely a chance in this country with the work situaiton and with the psychology of how J-women think about men to have a REAL relationship. I have heard of too many men in sexless marriages or divorced and of them complaining about their selfish wives.

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Guys, c'mon! Its YOUR money! You work hard for it just to die an early death, for what? Not worth it.

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This is why Japanese marriages rarely ever work out.

In Japan roughly one in four marriages ends in divorce: not much different from the UK, Germany and Sweden, and half the rate of the US. Maybe the men in those countries are being forced to give their gold-digger wives even more money than the 100% the Japanese men are handing over. I don't think I would describe three-quarters as 'rare'.

You work hard for it just to die an early death, for what?

With a life expectancy at birth of over 78, Japanese males on the whole do not die an early death. You seem to be asking, 'Why work hard for your family?'. I don't understand the question. Why wouldn't you work hard for your family? What kind of slob doesn't work hard for his family?

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If you're a member of a family and the primary breadwinner, then it's not "your" money. That money is needed for the continued success of the family.

The key here (and what seemed to be completely missing from the article) is the total amount of discretionary spending in the household and what percentage of THAT figure is doled out to the husband. It's meaningless to say a man makes 400,000 yen/month and gets only 50,000 yen/month kozukai. It would be more meaningfull to say (for example) that a family of three grosses 400,000 yen/month - of which 300,000 yen/month goes to fixed expenditures (mortgage/rent, food, tuition, utilities, insurance) and 100,000 yen/month is used for discretionary spending... Of that, 50,000 yen/month is given to the worker and the remaining 50,000 is used by the wife and child.

In that example, the husband is getting more of the discretionary spending money than the rest of the family, but you can see my point. Give the complete details and we can better evaluate who's really getting "the shaft".

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Everyone is forgetting that the companies often pay for many of the mens entertainment expenses.

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@space-monkey.

Those days are mostly gone now. Started to disappear quiet a few years ago.

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Well, this is how Japan really is. The companies in Japan want you to over work and get paid cheap at the same time. Japan is no longer a society that cares about each other, it is now a society that only cares about themselves and no one else.

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Cleo, you can comment on divorce rates but how about looking at the bigger picture and asking how many Japanese couples are actually happy with their marriage? I think that is the point, not the divorce rates.

As for how much he gets, how much does the wife get a month on cake sets, shoes, clothes?

I think SAHM do a very demanding job. My issue is the women with no kids and no job. There are FAR too many of them these days in Japan and why on earth do they get to control things the way they do. I agree with whomever stated that things need to be discussed and agreed upon. People bringing home the money should have a say in how it gets split up. These guys need to grow some balls.

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My wife and I decided to spend less than 10000 yen a month (not including bento when we don't have time to prepare it at home) for discretionary spending (we are both working). Of course, we have a toddler, so there are not so much opportunities to go out spending money after work (we'd rather spend more time all together), but we don't really check on each others spending (as long as it stays in a reasonable range). From time to time I or she go out for a drink with friends, but I don't really understand this idea of the woman controlling the money spent by the husband. After all, being married involved sharing and trust, so we both have access to each other's bank account.

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Cleo -- agree with much of what you say for a change. But I do have one question -- Is this an example of how Japan "won the peace", as you stated yesterday? If having about one-half the amount for kozukai as they did a generation ago is winning, I would not want to contemplate what losing looks like. Imagine having to face 40 years or so of this kind of lifestyle if you get married and have kids, and it is no wonder that the marriage rate and birth rate here are both so low.

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If you're a member of a family and the primary breadwinner, then it's not "your" money.

Yes, yes, YES!! and not only if you're the primary earner. Altogether a very sensible post from Fadamor.

Everyone is forgetting that the companies often pay for many of the mens entertainment expenses.

Not these days, they don't.

My issue is the women with no kids and no job. There are FAR too many of them these days in Japan

Actually I don't think there are as many as you think there are, and certainly fewer than there used to be. Whether a woman (or a man) works or becomes a housewife after marriage is no one's business but hers and her husband's. But I don't think those of us who pay taxes and social welfare premiums should have to subsidize people who can afford not to work.

I agree with whomever stated that things need to be discussed and agreed upon.

Erm, I think that was me....

If having about one-half the amount for kozukai as they did a generation ago is winning, I would not want to contemplate what losing looks like.

Losing looks like healthy young men joining the military for an education or because there's no other way out of the ghetto and being sent to the far ends of the earth to kill and be killed. I think most men would prefer forty years with a cut in pocket money to eternity in a flag-draped coffin.

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The usage of money is about TRUST and are you working together to build your future.I sense a lot of trust question marks, with the thinking I'd better have my own money,just in case.

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If you're a member of a family and the primary breadwinner, then it's not "your" money. That money is needed for the continued success of the family.

Maybe not. But the breadwinner should control how it is spent. If one does not contribute to the family income, one does should not have much say in how it should be spent.

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If one does not contribute to the family income, one does should not have much say in how it should be spent.

This is ridiculous....

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I was sitting with an American friend in a family restaurant, with a table full of 20 something year-old girls right by us at the next table. Their conversation was fairly scary, since they figured we couldn't understand and there were no other customers within listening distance. They were all conspiring to get married, quit their jobs, and sponge off their husband's income while they did a bit of cleaning "for show", so they could get together and eat cake whenever they wanted to...Their exact words. Caused a bit of a fright when I deliberately called the waitress over to ask some questions about the menu and what-not, and the group of girls just sat in silence with a "oh crap..." expression :p

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Caffeinebuzz: oh funny))) but this is typical situation in Japan, they assume de- facto that gaijiin are not able to speak/ understand Japanese, and it is exactly in these moments you can learn lot of interesting things) Cleo: I understand your points, I still do not see why is it solely wife’s decision to manage family finance // budget? Or you want to tell that women are better in maths?)

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@ Piglet

No, it is not. The one who earns the money has the final say in the decisions. Simple as that. You want a say in it? Get off your bum and work to contribute (unless you are physically disabled)

Refer to caffeinebuzz's comments. Perfect example of future parasite housewives.

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Once, when I had to play two consecutive weeks, all I had left for lunch right before payday was a 100-yen hamburger, washed down with coffee at the office.

Bwahahahahaha (pause) Bwahahahahaha. Thanks, I needed that!

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Just stash your business trip allowances and gas reimbursements from work into your own "hesokuri". Problem solved.

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That table of students sounds like most of my female uni students, sadly. Far too many princesses in this country. I think the worse the economy gets, the ruder the wake-up will be for them. Mind you, the men will suffer as well.

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I still do not see why is it solely wife’s decision to manage family finance // budget?

It doesn't matter who manages the family finances, so long as both partners are agreed. If both partners agree that the wife should have control of the family purse and bank books, what does it matter if other families have different arrangements?

Especially when money is tight (as it is for most people when the kids are little and there's only one income) it's important for one person to have oversight. It doesn't help the family finances if you calculate that you'll just about break even this month - and then find that the bank have taken a chunk out of your account to cover credit card use by your better half. And that applies no matter which one is controlling the finances and which one is using the credit card.

The one who earns the money has the final say in the decisions. Simple as that. You want a say in it? Get off your bum and work to contribute

Oh dear. As others have said, when you get married and have a family, it's no longer your money. If your precious money is worth more to you than your woman, don't marry her. If you think she's going to sit around on her bum contributing nothing to the marriage, don't marry her. If you're thick enough to think that cooking your food, cleaning your house, washing your clothes and most of all raising your kids makes no contribution to the marriage, don't ever get married.

Marriage isn't a 50-50 deal; it demands 100% input from both partners. Anything less, and you may as well give up before you start. If you can't trust her with your money, what the hell are you marrying her for??

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Get off your bum and work to contribute (unless you are physically disabled)

What about if you can`t get off your bum and work because you are raising young children? Does that not count as contributing to the family, even though it may not be a financial contribution?

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kira -

If you are raising young children, you are not 'on your bum'. You know that, I know that, anyone with a bit of sense knows that. Then there are the kronoses of the world who have no idea.

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Wanna see what those controlling wives do every day?

Take your lunch hour and go visit some high-end eatery. Try and find a table that's NOT surrounded by tables full of middle-aged wives eating lunch.

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Marriage isn't a 50-50 deal; it demands 100% input from both partners.

Well said!

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Seriously - these salarymen need to grow some and man up! Talk about being pu$$y-whipped!

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The idea that these guys wives know how much they are making is a joke...they don't...every guy is holding back money...be it from pay rises they neglect to mention, bonuses etc. It's just a ritual with no meaning.

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mrtestsworth - Salaries and bonuses go directly into the bank. The missus holds the bank book and the cash cards. More likely the guy doesn't know how much he's making.

There haven't been any pay rises here in yonks.

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There are clearly a lot of women who 'milk the system' in Japan to their own ends - you've just got to make sure you don't get caught by one of those who farm out their single akka-chan then go shopping and sit yakking with their mates and have an easy time of it. I've known quite a few women who, once they were engaged, simply forgot about work/training etc. as they knew they were about to put their feet up for a very long time.... there's a reason why Japanese women live the longest in the world and it ain't just diet. I can sympathise with the negative comments on here, but I also agree it can be a one-dimensional feeling - don't go near women like that! If one of her hobbies is shopping, walk away....

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don't go near women like that!

lol

And I would advise ladies in search of a marriage partner, avoid like the plague blokes who imagine a woman with even one small 'akka-chan' is spending her days on her bum with her feet up.

there's a reason why Japanese women live the longest in the world

Women the world over tend to live longer than their male counterparts, mainly because they never retire, while many men hang up their time card, draw their pension, sit on their bums with their feet up....and rot.

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To the dude in the article who only had a 100 yen for lunch. If he just accepted it without putting up a fight, then it's on him. But if he asked his wife for a little extra, and she sent him to work with only a hundred yen for food, then it's time for an exit strategy. That just ain't right.

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Any man who hands over his entire salary and then receives "pocket money" from their wives - like the salarymen above - are not real men. Have some dignity already!

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These spineless salarymen need to get their balls out of the jar their wife is holding and take control of their life. A wife or a husband giving an allowance to the other is ridiculous and insulting. Next…

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jonswon4 quote don't go near women like that! If one of her hobbies is shopping, walk away....unquote Lol, but there is a difference between a woman who can and able to afford for herself high standard of life and this one who has to use a man as ATM source of her existence.

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It's a matter of common sense. If the salaryman is also controlling the household's finances, then WHEN does he get off work? He leaves one job, only to come home and do the planning for shopping for food/toiletries/cleaning supplies then pay all the monthly bills. Most guys I know only want to spend the evening decompressing from the day's work. So the household finance concerns are handed over to their partner in the marriage. True, she's not sitting on her thumbs while at home (especially if there's a young child at home), but she has more times during the day where she can sit down and address the household needs than the salaryman does.

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LOl at some poster here that talk about man that don't mind being treated as a "Dildo with a wallet".

Considering that the husband in japan often is not at home, what would the wife do if an unexpected expense came up(Doc-Trip, kid needs extra clothing because old one got ripped, etc) and she would need to wait for hubby to provide the extra cash?

Might be small amounts but having access to them can be important. And schools here often ask for some extra cash to cover a bus-ride for an excursion, etc.

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Before the bursting of the bubble, wage earners were able to supplement their “kozukai” with generous outlays from their employers. But due to cost cuts, entertainment budgets and other perks enjoyed by these “shayo-zoku” have gone the way of the Brontosaurus.

This is the key passage in the above article, and the key to understanding what kozukai was and was not during Japan's halcyon Cold War days. The system worked fine so long as companies provided de facto social welfare benefits and other assorted goodies to their male breadwinner employees. In other words, the breadwinners were never supposed to be totally dependent on allowances doled out to them by their wives. But that's become the case for a lot of them over the last 10-15 years. Hence the increasing recognition that the kozukai system may no longer be viable, because it's evolved into something it was never really meant to be.

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Maybe someone can explain to me what's 'strong-spined' and 'manly' about making sure you have your lunch money and beer money before you make sure that Junior has lunch money and a pair of shoes with no holes in. The argument seems to be that 'real' men put themselves before their families, and I'm not buying that.

The real he-men are the ones who put their families first, even if it means tightening their own belts.

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The argument seems to be that 'real' men put themselves before their families, and I'm not buying that.

I dunno if anyone here is arguing that - I certainly wouldn't. Schools/clothes/supplies/books - not to mention medical care - for kids in Japan are notoriously expensive, granted. But men - or women for that matter - should not moan about only having $1 to spend on lunch if they are stupid enough to hand over ALL of their hard-earned to the other! Any adult who has "Pocket money" dished out to them from their partner is, quite frankly, an embarassment!

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With regards to the gyu with 100 yen for lunch, why was his wife not making his bento??? Isn't that all part of "housewife" duties? If she's got kids, she needs to be making things for them to eat so why not hubby?

And yes, raising kids is indeed work but many of these women aren't "raising" their kids. The schools are. Small toddlers and infants, I can certainly agree they are busy - and they have zero time to have lunch with the ladies. The ele moms?? Plenty of time - they are the ones in the cafes and whatnot. Why does this 100 yen guy not have a bento if wifey needs to deal with food for the kids - be it for lunch or for a snack before club and juku? Putting leftovers in a box doesn't take too long (he probably could even do it himself!) but if women on here are going to go on about how it is no cake walk being a housewife, then could they at least look at the fact that this guy shouldn't have to buy his lunch?

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The argument seems to be that 'real' men put themselves before their families

I dunno if anyone here is arguing that - I certainly wouldn't.

I think you certainly did, Burachan. Any man who hands over his entire salary and then receives "pocket money" from their wives - like the salarymen above - are not real men. That's what you said. By that argument the man should take what he 'needs' (or wants, or considers his due) first, then let the family get by on what's left. What happens in these families everyone is castigating is that necessary family expenses (food, rent/mortgage. clothes, utilities, insurance, education etc) are taken out first, and the man gets dibs depending on how much is left. That's the way it should be.

many of these women aren't "raising" their kids

Why is everyone so hung up on what 'these women' are doing, unless you're married to one? How does it affect you?

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What happens in these families everyone is castigating is that necessary family expenses (food, rent/mortgage. clothes, utilities, insurance, education etc) are taken out first, and the man gets dibs depending on how much is left. That's the way it should be.

But what about the hostess club/snack-bar/soapland expenses? They are crucial to the salaryman, and must be factored in!

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I have to go back to my first comment. The article implies that the salaryman is getting only a small fraction of the household's discretionary spending, but never actually provided anything to prove that.

Those who bash all wives based on what they observed in a cafe somewhere are painting housewives with a broad brush based on a relatively small data sampling. They're not ALL like that.

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I don’t know, I do still it is wrong to treat your partner as a child: you get 10 dollars because you were good at school, you get 50 because I really love you. I mean, of course this situation is quite complicated when a wife is a housewife and has not got any other income then this one from her husband. Personally I would not respect a man who will ask me to provide him a monthly allowance

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Loki520 is right

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Some women do quit their jobs after marriage and do a whole lot of nothing, but perhaps a lot of their new husbands welcome this arrangement. The husbands dont mind their money being drip fed to them. They have been controlled by their mothers until they enter full-time work and then they are controlled by their bosses and wives. For them, they know no other reality. And they dont want to.

A lot of men are a disaster with their personal finances also, constantly broke no matter how much they earn and with little to show for it. They need wives to take care of their money so they arent hitting up their parents for loans or eating a can of tomatoes for dinner until payday. Everybody knows at least a handful of these dudes, dropping 30000 yen at a bar on payday.

Combine this with one of the most spoiled, ambition-less generations of women in human history and it becomes a volatile mix. Lives are too easy and their main concern becomes looking needlessly good in front of their vapid and uninspiring "friends". Rant over.

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What puzzles me most is the fact that even foreign males accept to be scrutinized with the pocket money system, seemingly forced by their Japanese spouse.

In Germany I get always big laughs when I tell the story about Japanese salary men (or is it pocket money men), as pocket money is synonymous with children. My Japanese wife never dared to even come up with the topic, though I have to say we both earn independently.

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The first ten years of our marriage my wife gave me nothing. One day she gave me 1,000 yen. What's this for? I asked, having long before lost all interest in shopping, etc. It's spending money for you! she announced proudly.

She told me clearly some years ago, "If you want your own money, you have to find a side job and work harder." Japanese housewife philosophy?

The whole subject makes me sick. I've been on Japanese salary for years and it's been cut and cut and cut; so have the bonuses.

Well, some years ago I confiscated the bank book and seal.

Long story short, she won't take a corresponding cut in the monthly allowance I give her. I pay all the house and car bills for everything here and abroad, and on top of all that I pay her 125,000 JPY a month 'food' and gasoline/petrol to run 'her' (I bought and I maintain) car, one here and one in the home country. She complains it's too little and explodes if I try to bring the subject up....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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"How does it affect you?" -My tax money goes towards their health care, pension... -I teach their kids and have had to deal with mothers who taken no interest in their children's education and it shows in terms of behaviour, poor lunches and socialization

I have to fight with them at the grocery store over food after I have worked all day and need something quick for dinner (am sort of joking about this honestly, it does upset me when I watch all the crap they give to their wee ones and upsets me more when the wee ones are in tow)when mom clearly doesn't work or doesn't work FT -I have to sit and listen to their husbands complain about them when out with my husband and his coworkers for drinks (and I think if custody laws changed here there would be a HUGE increase in the divorce rates) -Doesn't help the women's movement in terms of working moms and government support in terms of childcare and salary rates

At the end of the day, you're correct in that it doesn't really "affect" ME as an individual but it certainly does affect how society works. I have great respect for SAHM but I have very little for many of the ones I see. There certainly are many great moms out there but the ones I usually notice are the ones gossiping under the tree while their kids are playing on the street, the ones that go to cafes and ignore their kids (I once had to tell a women that her kids were outside because she was too busy gossiping with her friends to notice they ran away - twice!!) and the ones that hit their kids, scream at them or just plain ignore them.

I can understand moms staying at home. I can't understand the princess that stay at home with no kids who are not ill. Again, tax issues come to mind, equality for women come to mind and just the sheer laziness of it all.

I feel for the guys who get duped into marrying these type - and have zero sympathy for the ones who knew what they were getting into. I get sick and tired of western society thinking Japanese men are evil and the poor women are the victims.

Again, why was this 100 yen guy's wife not making his bento? You sign up to be a housewife, do the job properly.

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"How does it affect you?" -My tax money goes towards their health care, pension...

I've done my share of rants about subsidizing people who can afford not to work, so I'm with you on that. We shouldn't have to. But that surely has no bearing on how people arrange their finances within the family?

I can understand moms staying at home. I can't understand the princess that stay at home with no kids who are not ill. Again, tax issues come to mind, equality for women come to mind and just the sheer laziness of it all.

Again, with you all the way. But 'laziness'?

I feel for the guys who get duped into marrying these type

I don't. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you get into it. Talk things over, make sure you know him/her and there's no reason to get 'duped'. People who get 'duped' into marriage get duped because they're not thinking straight. Maybe they're not fit to manage their own finances, either.

Again, why was this 100 yen guy's wife not making his bento? You sign up to be a housewife, do the job properly.

lol Mr. 100 yen had spent his money on playing golf (an expensive pastime in Japan) twice in one month. Good job he's limited to 40,000 or else he'd probably be playing golf every time the boss asked him to and ordering lunch regardless of the price. He's got his pocket money, it's up to him to choose how he spends it. His choice was golf and hamburger over decent lunches. And there is no mention in the article that all these money-controlling wives are in fact stay-at-home princesses on their bums with their feet up all day. Maybe his wife also has a job and they still have trouble making ends meet? (Happens more and more these days). But surely it still all comes down to how people manage their married lives is no business of anyone else's. Is it?

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Maybe this explains why Japanese tend to save so much more money than Americans.

It's a different attitude towards money. Get over it everyone.

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Cleo, his wonderful stay at home wife, I bring in no income should be making his bentos regardless of him playing golf or not - that is my point. If you sign up on the whole "I am a housewife" thing, do the job correctly which means making your husband's bento or making sure he has a decent lunch!

The tax thing certainly DOES come into part of the family finance. If the Japanese government would get rid of this BD tax break women could earn more money (and yes, pay more taxes on it) and not have to horde the money like they do. Lazy (and the ones I know with no kids ARE lazy) housewives with no kids would not get the perk of health care and salary being covered and would cost their husband more money. If this were to happen I doubt that many husbands would be happy to have their wives sitting at home with no job.

This whole law really, really screw over the single working mothers who have to compete for crap jobs with horrible salaries. While some women view their job as a hobby and a time killer, others see it as a means to end to pay rent, their kids school fees... That DOES affect society and women's rankings within it. That also goes with the moms who work PT for fun instead of demanding decent pay for the work they do because they want to be under their husband's benefits. Yes, it IS the fault of the government but also the fault of women who don't demand to be paid better because, heck, it is only a hobby for them so why bother? It does my head in - I know I am preaching to the choir with you on this as I know you also disagree with it because can't you see how this leads to other issues?

I think many men get duped into relationships here - it does indeed take two to tango but the whole 'tell him your on the pill" thing, act like a sweet girl and turn into a nasty wife thing is all too frequent here - from what I have seen. I have wonderful j-girls friends who have turned on their husbands once the ring goes on. So much so that I have ended friendships over it because I can no longer related to them once they have married. Indeed men (and women) need to talk things over before getting married but people lie. My husband and I talked a lot before we got married and he was told very early on that he needed to help around as the house as I would be contributing with the money. I know men who were told the same thing only to come home to wives who happily announced "I quit my job today" and were shocked. Rather unfair isn't it?

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That should say BS not BD!

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Once I got married, and had my son, I had all the kozukai I needed - love and affection. My job is to work, support my family, provide a future for them. Those are my needs. If anything else comes along, it's dessert. Don't need it.

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Any man wilfully letting his wife / girlfriend dictate what he does with his cash is a not a real man.

If the wife / girlfriend has no job and is just in the house all day, she has no right to control anything.

I work a full time job, have a side business, and still manage to keep my house clean, pay the bills and feed myself. Anybody claiming housework is tiring or stressful needs a reality check.

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The easy and obvious solution is one that is not allowed in Japan;

joint bank accounts

Go to any bank here and they will tell you it is not possible. However, an account which both husband and wife contribute to, and both can also access, would solve the situation immediately. This simple change would end the pocket money system forever.

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Absolutely fascinating thread to read through. The kozukai system is one of those things about Japan--like "parasite singles" (a term, incidentally, that was coined by sociologist Masahiro Yamada, quoted in the above article) and Charisma Man--that foreign (mainly Western) observers of Japan often find bewildering and incomprehensible. I can remember the first time I realized that millions of Japanese adults (especially women) lived rent-free with their parents without any accompanying social stigma. I couldn't believe it, but then I came to just accept the fact that Japan operates by a different set of rules.

As I wrote before, though, the kozukai system's best days are behind it. In modern Japan's dog-eat-dog economic environment, even the married-with-children salaryman --revered for his samurai-like devotion to family and company but now seeing himself squeezed by both companies that are cutting back on perks and their wives who are disproportionately reducing their pocket money (as the numbers in the above article show)--is starting to ask himself what the hell the point is of living life as a drone.

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his wonderful stay at home wife, I bring in no income should be making his bentos regardless of him playing golf or not - that is my point. If you sign up on the whole "I am a housewife" thing, do the job correctly

Where does it say that she's a SAHW, or that she brings in no income? Or that she signed up on the whole "I am a housewife" thing?

the whole 'tell him your on the pill" thing, act like a sweet girl and turn into a nasty wife thing is all too frequent here

That must be a new thing, because until very recently the pill wasn't available and most people still think it's 'too dangerous'. So any guy who falls for that line really does deserve to get duped. Maybe the thought of getting into her knickers blasts all reasoning out of his head, but he's only got himself to blame.

he was told very early on that he needed to help around as the house as I would be contributing with the money

I told my husband-to-be that he would be expected to do his bit with the housework and childraising regardless of whether I was earning or not. He's always been happy with that because he understands that non-monetary contributions to the family are also contributions. And he knows that every penny I earn also goes into the family bucket.

joint bank accounts Go to any bank here and they will tell you it is not possible.

But you can have multiple cash-cards for the same account. I don't see how that would 'end the pocket money system forever', though. Unless one person has an eye on the account, checking what goes in and what has to come out, you don't know if you can afford to take out more cash for personal use; which means you're back to asking the person 'controlling' the account if it's OK to take the money out. I don't see how that's essentially any different from the present system.

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If the wife won't give you pocket money, then there's one other weapon left in the armory/armoury. Withhold the 'nightly duty', forever if necessary.

This is of course breaking a Japanese taboo, ("come hell or high water, you gotta keep that up") so maybe only something Westerners can use, or could this taboo get broken a lot I wonder?

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Some posters really seem hell-bent on blasting housewives or SAHMs. I was a SAHM but recently went back to work pt precisely because I wanted some pocket money of my own. I dont HAVE to work, I CHOOSE to work. I would like my daughter to see a working woman and someone who comes home and still cooks dinner. I will admit that asking my husband for money (FOR ME) was uncomfortable. I felt like a child asking for an allowance. So, once the baby was older, off to work I went. I pay for my cars gas, tax, and maintenance and my credit card as well as sundries. Plus any discretionary spending for my daughter. Not saying that what my husband and I do is right for everyone. Its right for US. Cleo has an excellent point - its no one elses buisness what married couples decide in regards to pocket money etc. A family is a unit, not a one-man (or woman) show.

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PATHETIC, PATHETIC, PATHETIC.... Useless japanese females doing absolutely nothing all day, that's the reason why Japan is just going to keep going down, and down until China eats them. Jap man are just a bunch of sisis, I can't believe it. What happens if they divorce? does the wife keeps everything?

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Taking care of a house such a mine with as many ppl who live here is not easy!..But I AGREE...A man should maintain his family if the wife does not work, I do not agree to giving all the earnings! I would never give all my earnings to my husband if her were to stay at home and I were the one working...when we met I had a good job, we shared bills equally even though he made more than me, but now I am not working, I do not ask him for money, bills get paid, food on the table, clothes, car etc...do I go without at times a little yes, but I understand how hard he works, and do I really need a new vase, or another pair of my already huge collection of shoes, no I do not! I have been looking for a job, hasn't been an easy task...so until I have money to spend on whatever I like or the kids like, I need to adhere to a budget...I say work for what you want, if for some reason it is not possible, as long as you aren't naked, your kids are not hungry and your husband isn't spending the money on another woman, then let him keep what he rightfully earned!

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why just a Japanese salaryman's pocket money? what about my pocket money?

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Hmmm... this is turning into a good thread. :8)

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Unfortunately like many stories on Japan, this fails to take into account the shadow economy. Although most salarymen may receive a pitiful kozukai- it is not their only source of income. A large % of salarymen hold multiple bank accounts and arrange with their HR department to split a small percentage off into the secondary account which acts as their entertainment cash account. Ask your Nihonjin male colleagues if they are aware of this and you'll see. The wives in these cases never get to see the original gross salary. I remember when my Japanese boss discovered only on pay-day that the company was henceforth sending his monthly payslip directly home by mail instead of delivered to his desk. His horror was only matched by how fast he went home to intercept the payslip... But lest you think Japanese salarymen are all bad and deceptive, it is a common practice for wives to spin off a small % themselves into their own private account. Originally to protect themselves in case of a divorce, its more often used to fuel those handbag expenses.... again ask your female SAHM friends and see if they'll confess after a couple of drinks. Neither get reported in the general media though...

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Canucle - 100% agree! everything you said was what I wanted to say :)

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whatever one's stance, being given "pocket money" after age 16 is pathetic.

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Among the middle class people I know in China in the 25-40 age group for men, the least of what they spent for personal a month is about 100,000JPY per month. And that's if they got 'nothing' to spend it on. I've noticed Japanese are becoming better 'savers' than Chinese. Or the Chinese middle class just got more money to blow.

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I was raised in a house by a mother and father who both worked. I went to school and had what would be termed as a normal upbringing. We were never rich and managed to live a middle-class lifestyle. I also have a sister and she has worked since being a teen as I have. We've all contributed to the household income and taken control of our own "pocket money". Everyone is now a fully functional, university educated, independent adult.

All this crying that cleaning and taking care of kids is tough is sickening. You just DO it. This may result in a change of schedules with young kids prior to schooling, but you make it happen. Once they get into school, you both work and make yourself useful in providing things for the ENTIRE family. Even if one of you is employed part-time, you're doing something.

If you haven't worked for the money, then you have no right to start acting like the banker and filling your pockets with it. It is insulting and disrespectful. Yes the money should be managed properly so that everyone is cared for, and how a couple decides to do that is their business. However, women getting into marriage with some automatic expectation of this "pocket money" system should be served a rude awakening. Princesses are another issue, and should be left alone to shrivel up under the makeup. Don't be a sucker.

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you both work

how a couple decides to do that is their business.

Isn't that a bit contradictory? It's their business, but only after you've laid down the ground rules?

If you haven't worked for the money, then you have no right to start acting like the banker and filling your pockets with it.

If you and your partner have decided between you that that's the way you're doing to do it, then you have every right. In fact if your better half is going off to work in the secure knowledge that you're taking care of the finances, it's not so much your right as your duty to be the banker. I think it is insulting and disrespectful to suggest that anyone is 'filling their pockets' with money.

women getting into marriage with some automatic expectation of this "pocket money" system should be served a rude awakening.

If the person you're planning on marrying has expectations you can't cope with, either give him/her whatever wake-up call you consider appropriate, or go and marry someone else who shares your values. how a couple decides to do that is their business, remember.

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The issue Cleo with the joint account (or lack there of) is that if something were to happen - divorce for example - the other card carry is in crap because their name is not on the account. My parents (who both worked) had a house account and their own so no one ever had to ask for money or feel bad when they bought themselves something. Japan needs to allow joint accounts because many couples are now both working and it seems only fair.

Again, couples need to agree on this pocket money. Any guy who complains about how much he gets obviously has communication issues with his wife. And again, how much does the wife get?

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tmarie - I understand the thing about the lack of a joint account, but because of the way things work in Japan (eg it's accepted that the money in his name is actually household money) in the case of a divorce the wife can claim half of the money in the bank, half the value of the house, etc., because it's understood that she has made a contribution to putting that money there, albeit not a financial contribution. The reverse side of that is that no one bats an eyelid when I go into the bank and draw money out of my husband's account, but when he goes to draw money out of my account they want to see his ID, written permission from me, etc.

Any guy who complains about how much he gets obviously has communication issues with his wife.

Not necessarily. In many cases I think it's just another way for the man to say 'I don't earn enough to be able to spend freely' without actually admitting that he doesn't earn enough. And let's face it, very few of us earn 'enough'. There's always room for a bit more.

And again, how much does the wife get?

When I first started working again after having the kids, I initially set aside a small sum for my own 'pocket money' - enough to buy cosmetics, fund hobbies and maybe the occasional lunch with girlfriends and birthday/Christmas presents for Mr cleo. I gave up after a couple of months when I found I was just using it as a fall-back fund to buy food and stuff with when I hadn't had time to go to the bank. A suspicious mind could say that I'm free to use the whole of the household budget to spend on myself or to 'fill my pockets', but that's simply not the way it works, in our house at least.

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So let me get this straight. These men have their salary deposited into their own account, then he transfers his entire salary over to his wife's account, THEN his wife returns the kozukai in cash to the husband??? Sounds a bit backwards to me. If the husband needed more money, why not give his wife a kozukai directly from his account instead, and keep the amount that he needs/wants? Sounds like an easy solution from the husbands point of view.

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So let me get this straight. These men have their salary deposited into their own account, then he transfers his entire salary over to his wife's account, THEN his wife returns the kozukai in cash to the husband???

No, the money goes into the account in his name, and the wife has the cash card and bank book. She goes to the bank, takes out the money, gives him his pocket money and uses the rest to run the household. From the Japanese husband's point of view this is the easy solution; he can spend his pocket money as he pleases without having to worry about juggling money for food, utilities, education, clothing etc. He leaves all that fiddly stuff to his wife.

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A lot of interesting comments. I kinda like what DentShop said. I think in some cases, both parties are entering into the marriage with certain expectations and assumptions. These are the roles that have been played for years and some people just continue to play them.

The male gets to spread his seed and he is happy having a wife look after him and his offspring. A man's job is to look after his family. The female feels secure since she has someone providing for her and her children and if she controls the finances she doesn't have to worry about the male straying too far. It's rather like a codependent relationship. Each person needing the other. But there is a kind of balance achieved.

No one is getting duped and as cleo pointed out, if people want to have this kind of marriage arrangement, who are we to criticize. Their are still quite a few Japanese that still believe in these traditional roles.

Personally, I do hope things change and men and women in Japan can find a new balance so that kids can grow up having a father around. And some day I really hope to see some stay at home fathers!

On a side note, I didn't know about that you couldn't get a joint bank account in Japan. I was just talking to my husband about getting one. Now what to do...?

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You didn't use to be able to but I believe the rules have been changed to some degree recently.

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Direct deposit into the bank account and both spouses going over the monthly statement together solves any duplicity issues. Shady withdrawls would be quickly identified and both people would get an instant snapshot of how much disposable income they REALLY have... Unless they only used cash withdrawls.

And I guess I haven't weighed-in on this subject yet, so here it is:

Who is more of a man: the one who works out how the finances will be handled within the family to the agreement of both him and his wife, or the one who tells the wife that, "It's MY money and YOU can't have any unless I say so!" ???

And a follow-on question: Which of the two will still be married two years down the road? Marriage is - above all else - a compromise between two (hopefully) adults. Those that fail to compromise will fail in marriage.

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Why are there only two men to choose from Fadamor? And both of yours assume the man is in control of how the finances will be decided. How about a Japanese man who consciously steps back and allows the woman to control the family finances completely? Is he less of a man?

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How about a Japanese man who consciously steps back and allows the woman to control the family finances completely? Is he less of a man?

No. He's much more of a man than the deluded 'It's all my money' wimp.

I think part of this is historical - filthy lucre was supposedly below the notice of your traditional Japanese he-man. From the Japanese perspective, it's the bloke who insists on deciding in detail how the money is spent, goes over the family accounts with a fine toothcomb, lays down the law on his wife's spending and insists on holding on to 'his' money, who deserves all the nasty epithets folk on this thread have been directing at Sarariman Taro.

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Rico88, I have 3 teens, my husband has 4 from a previous marriage, 2 of which live with us the other 2 visit on wk.ends. My 69 yr old father who is confined to a wheelchair, lives with me as well. I guess it depends on the size of the house, I have 5 bd rms. 3 bth rms so not such a small house, kids help out even with yard work but with all the comin in and out, my tiles are white! grrrrrrrrrrr..at times it is not an easy task to take care of so much, so I think it is sad to hear ppl say...."All this crying that cleaning and taking care of kids is tough is sickening".

Lol..my husband did it one wk, while switiching between and jobs and said, he should be paid for it, I looked at him and said, tuff luck, at the time I was working, so I am sure if I go to him and say i should be paid for it, he would spit those words back at me...tuff luck!

dolphingirl...A man's job is to look after his family. The female feels secure since she has someone providing for her and her children and if she controls the finances she doesn't have to worry about the male straying too far.

let me say my husband goes to work and comes home, he doesn't drink or smoke, when we go out we go together, or we always take the kids, just a hoabit of ours, I don't see why women worry about , so the men won't stray if they are going to do it then they will...I have an uncle who's wife, runs her household period! Their 3 girls are all married with children, he even has cancer, and she is so strict as to the point of if there is a family argument, he cannot speak to the ones who argued, not even on the phone if she finds out he is in big trouble...I am a woman and I say he has got to be masoquist!I would not tolerate such things by a man or woman...she is the one in charge of bills, etc..with his money, have to admit they did good, paid off two homes, cars, etc...but any money left, she only gives him a small percentage, the rest goes to her account...again, I would not allow anyone to do this to me, and I say do unto others as you'd have done to you...my sister in law, is now divorced she was the same controlling way, would give her husband 25, dollars a week to pass it by, she would take his car fill it up with gas, and made his lunch for work, whatever money he had left over after paying bills,would be for her and the kids, she woulld tell my husband it is a good way to keep her husband out of trouble,lol..yeah right, he left her for another who he had been seeing on the side for yrs! I say , maybe the girl new his situation felt sorry for him, maybe loved him enough to not care he didnt give her much, and guess what, they live together for last 2 yrs, happy while my sister in law is suffering to pay the house not to loose it..but as I say what comes around goes around!

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Why are there only two men to choose from Fadamor?

Because those were the two situations I gave for you to choose from when answering my question. I never said those were the ONLY two possibilities out there, just that those were the two to choose from when considering my question. If you don't like the constraints of my question, then you needn't answer it.

As for your pseudo "third choice", if he agreed to hand over the monetary duties to the wife, then he's obviously really someone who falls under the FIRST choice because he "works out how the finances will be handled within the family to the agreement of both him and his wife."

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I have no issues with women in control of the money with regards to paying for the food, school bills... but I do think it is rather harsh that some guy only has 100 yen for lunch. Perhaps it is where I have lived in Japan that makes me think these women are spending much more on themselves and their kids in terms of things I deem unnecessary. Video games, plenty of toys, premade food... to me isn't exactly what families should be buying if they are so hard up for cash. Also, if the families are that hard up, mom can get a PT job while the kiddies are in school. There are MANY PT jobs out there that cater to these women - again, I feel sorry for the single moms that need these jobs for a living.

I think many women think it helps "control" their husbands (have heard numerous comments on that) but in all honesty, why would you want to be married to someone you need to "control"?

With regards to the women whose husband left her, I brought this up with my female students who thought they would just quit work, stay at home and lunch with their friends (their words, not mine). Many of these women want to have the life that they see in American TV shows, movies (SATC anyone?) but fail to understand that they need to work to have such things. I asked my students what they would do if the relationship became violent or their husbands got sick or died. Eyes blinking and no comments. Sorry but the world has changed and the whole 'job for life" that the Japanese used to live by is gone. Sadly, the work culture hasn't understood this yet. Men are stressed out by this and many wives just don't seem to understand that in a blink of an eye their cake set money can be gone in a matter of months - and mommy and daddy need to worry about their pension so really shouldn't be helping too much.

I look at SAHM where I am from and they certainly do not behave the way the locals do with regards to brand name bags, fashion, toys for their kid, lunch with their friends. Perhaps that is what I find so freaken hard to understand. Like I have said in other posts, my step-mom was a stay at home mother and spent a lot of time helping out at the schools where my brother and sister went, volunteered and gave something back to the community. She would not DREAM of buying premade food and whatnot. Her and my father both had cash cards and would sit down ever few weeks and go over the finances. Seems like a much better way to me than lording over the money and handing out cash as if your husband was a child.

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tmaire..I think many women think it helps "control" their husbands (have heard numerous comments on that) but in all honesty, why would you want to be married to someone you need to "control"?...Very well put, my sentiments exactly...

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VelvetRosetta: I'm not saying I agree with the way some marriages here work, I'm just saying that, from a socioeconomic point of view, that is the way things have been in Japan.

I agree with tmarie that both the husband and wife should be going over the family finances together and making decisions. Just as I think both the husband and wife should participate in the bread-winning, housework and child-rearing. Of course if one person is better at handling money matters then it makes sense to let that person take charge a bit more but BOTH the husband and wife need to be contributing something to ALL areas that make up a marriage.

If a man is content to let his wife to take care of the household and kids and the woman is content to let her husband bring in the money it may work as a business contract would but it's not a healthy relationship.

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dolphingirl: I can see your view of this especially since you have more knowledge on this than I do...I have never been to Japan before...

but...."If a man is content to let his wife to take care of the household and kids and the woman is content to let her husband bring in the money it may work as a business contract would but it's not a healthy relationship".

I wouldn't agree with the last phrase...not a healthy relationship..I know many who have been married for numerous yrs, and the woman never worked, honestly...to me that is not good, but I can't say it makes a bad relationship, they seem happy, alot of men like to be the ones who take care of the house and let the mom's stay home, some men do see this as a job,"not all but some" from the experiences I have seen where I live, It's just the way they have chosen it to live, guess if the woman has enough and the children, then they don't see an extra income so nec.Where I live we are far from rich, but as I have learned a bit on Japan, I could def. understand the need for 2 ppl to work in the household it is way more expensive than in Puerto Rico...

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Velvet - Yeah it really depends on your personal situation, but I was getting a bit worked up after reading through. I'm not ready to throw a blanket on it and say everyone's situation is the same. Honestly though, I would love to do everything for my family rather than put my energy into a non-fulfilling company.I guess I speak more to those who don't have it tough and yet put on the facade that they do. It seems to happen too often, more than not.

Cleo - Yes. My OPINION is that both people should provide some income. However, this obviously won't happen in all households. Whatever the case, the couple has to figure out the budget. I just don't like the idea of women with pre-conceptions that men can't manage money and it's their right to take control of this aspect. I'm not laying down the ground rules for anyone. I'm just throwing my thoughts out there.

Don't mistake that I'm speaking about all women in general. I'm speaking about a specific percentile of the population. They are out there and I disagree with their stance on finances and marriage. Unless that is you, I don't see why you feel the need to take the role of public defender. Just let people have their opinion. You seem to take pleasure in just arguing for the sake of it.

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The article says that the practice of the husband handing all the income to the wife to manage is not widespread outside Japan. My understanding is that it's common in China - which makes it a significant proportion of the world's population.

@Velvetrosetta - how do you explain the salarymen populating hostess bars in Japan if this practice is so effective?

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Hostess bars were and are often business dinners - some guys will invite friends out, claim it as a business expense and be done with it. Cleo has suggested this isn't done much now but I beg to differ.

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Personally, from my experience of dealing with middle-class Japanese housewives, I would have to say that there is zero respect for the effort that their husbands put in. Most women spend their daily cake-and-coffee sessions moaning about their husbands, and wishing that they were dead. (I have never heard a Japanese husband talk about his wife in such disrespectful tones, ever.) Basically, to a Japanese woman, a husband is a cash machine and - on at least one occasion - a sperm donor, and nothing more.

In my next life, I want to come back as a middle-aged, middle-class Japanese housewife, preferably a widow with a fat pension. They are truly the happiest people in the world. No wonder they live so long!

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He's much more of a man than the deluded 'It's all my money' wimp.

Cleo, Why does a man's gender even need to be in question in the context of money? Its odd that you should even bring it up. I thought women were liberated? Just because your dream man wont roll over and be castrated on demand, he is a "wimp"? Are his balls any larger because he is dumb enough to hand over all his money in exchange for an allowance, sex maybe once a year and a pat on the back to insure him of his masculinity? This is nothing more than a socioeconomically accepted form of prostitution, which some would call marriage, to their own poor-little MANipulating Cinderella syndrome advantage.

Most Jwoman are disingenuous and duplicitous. They want it both ways. As long as men don’t respect themselves enough to be in control over their own finances, women will determine the defining criteria by which hubby's “masculinity” is subject to scorn and ridicule. When she doesnt get her way, watch out! She gets bitchy and wrathful like a spoiled brat. This is a nice little game Jwomen play, called extortion. Some might call it emotional blackmail… Sweet mama just don’t love you anymore!

cake-and-coffee sessions moaning about their husbands, and wishing that they were dead...

Basically, to a Japanese woman, a husband is a cash machine and - on at least one occasion - a sperm donor, and nothing more.

This is spot on. This IS the issue. If Jwomen would ever grow up and start acting like mature women, maybe Jmen would actually want a relationship. But Cinderella is much too busy hatching bitch sessions with her friends and going off to Disneyland with his money.

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Most Jwoman are disingenuous and duplicitous.

Yep, they really and truly are, not to mention lazy and selfish. I think that most Japanese men would be shocked to the core if they knew just how cunning their womenfolk are. I used to buy into the image of the poor, downtrodden woman devoting herself wholeheartedly to home and hearth, completely at the mercy of a tyrannical husband/mother-in-law, but since I've actually gotten to know a lot of modern-day Japanese women, I see that this image is far from the truth. Times have really changed here. Nowadays most of them aspire to catch a man (the higher earning the better), use him as an ATM/sperm donor, and then ignore him as much as possible for the duration of the marriage, while doing the bare minimum of housework and childrearing in return. Have you noticed the recent tendency for elderly folks to be dumped in carehomes? It seems to be driven by selfish housewives who want to free up their time for hula lessons and coffee klatches, which they spend moaning about having to visit their senile old mothers-in-laws once a week or so.

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Wow just waded through most of this, I think most posters seem reasonable & understand whats going on in Jpn.

Perhaps a question of the day shud go something like:

What percentage of salarymen do you think cud handle household finances in a responsible way & why?

IMO the percentage wud be on the low side, my brother in law is an engineer at a big j-electronics company doing research but they guy I swear doesnt know how to use a calculator, I wudnt want him or a lot of other J-men I know doing my finances, yada!

I am lucky the wife & I do our own thing, she keeps her $$ from her part time job but she will spring for lunch, bring me home a couple guiness once in a while & I do likewise, no kids so clearly its easier for us, but still no way in hell wud I just leave finances to my wife, even though after all our yrs she wud no doubt do a good job but I just have to get in there & paricipate, not dominate, just participate

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It's probably better for single Japanese men not to get married in Japan, but to live with someone who has a responsible job, share rental and household expenses. Have a written agreement before you move in and keep all your finances separate. Why sacrifice all your hard work when you can have your cake and eat it too. It's up to you. Most Americans are more selfish and maybe Japanese men should learn from them. When you have control of your own money, you can have freedom and choice. This is something most Japanese dream of and they don't know how. Since men is making most of the money, they should dictate to the wives what they want to do with financial planning in the household. It's time for women to listen to the breadwinner. If they don't like it, they can leave.

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Why does a man's gender even need to be in question in the context of money? Its odd that you should even bring it up.

I didn't bring it up. I was merely responding to posters who had made comments about men who let their wives oversee the family budget being 'spineless' and 'not real men'. if it's a problem with you, maybe you should take it up with them.

But I see that you also equate married men who 'fail' to keep an iron grip on 'their' money with being 'castrated on demand'.

he is dumb enough to hand over all his money

As others have pointed out, once he gets married and has a family, it's no longer 'his' money. What's 'dumb' is getting married and making babies, and imagining that nothing has changed and it's OK to carry on like a single man.

As long as men don’t respect themselves enough to be in control over their own finances, women will determine the defining criteria by which hubby's “masculinity” is subject to scorn and ridicule.

As long as men don't respect their wives enough to trust them with the family finances, they cannot claim to be fully committed to their marriage. Seems to me it's the less-than-fully-committed men on this thread who are defining criteria and subjecting other men's masculinity to scorn and ridicule.

When she doesnt get her way, watch out! She gets bitchy and wrathful like a spoiled brat. This is a nice little game Jwomen play

Sounds like someone got burned.....

When you have control of your own money, you can have freedom and choice.

If it's freedom and choice you want, you have the freedom to choose not to get married.

Since men is making most of the money, they should dictate to the wives what they want to do with financial planning in the household. It's time for women to listen to the breadwinner. If they don't like it, they can leave.

If you are making most of the money in your family and you want to dictate financial planning to your wife and your wife is happy to listen to you, that's fine. But why the blanket generalisation? Why try to dictate to other men how they should manage their financial planning? Most men in Japan are apparently satisfied with things the way they are.

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Most men in Japan are apparently satisfied with things the way they are.

Really? Does this come from the results of a survey you can cite or am I reading wishing thinking?

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brotokyo -

Surely if they weren't satisfied they would change it? I know a few Japanese men who do manage 'their' (=the family) money, and every one of them complains about the 'bother' of keeping track of how much goes where, when.

There is a survey, albeit perhaps not a very scientific one, which states that in 62.5% of households, the wife has control of the finances, in 18.8% the husband and in 17.8% the task is shared.

The reasons given (either way) are: the natural course of things, 34.4%: the one who is better at it does it, 31.8%: more convenient, 29.8%: no reason in particular, 6.6%: control freak, 5.5%: the one with the higher income, 3.3%: other, 2.7%.

http://www.tonashiba.com/ranking/money/livingcost/03060034 (Japanese)

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thanks Cleo for the connect and never mind that it's in Japanese. My nihongo study at Sheffield has paid off so I can manage the article, and yes, it's not very scientific; nonetheless I would never agree that

Surely if they weren't satisfied they would change it?

For me the last statement in the original article above says it all:

“At the very least, try showing this article to your wife as a hint to raise your stipend,” Shukan Post recommends, humorously adding, “but please don’t blame us if it stirs up a hornet’s nest.”

Sometimes people just don't want to make waves, but that doesn't mean that most are "satisfied" it might merely imply they don't want confrontation.

Personally I could care less about this system in Japan, and find this thread more boring probably than what you find mathematics, but I certainly don't want to speak for "most" men in Japan and make a sweeping generalization simply because the "masses (of men)" remain silent on the matter. I like to believe many men are quite tolerant and just accept things the way they are. Toleration and satisfaction are not one in the same.

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The custom of “kozukai” appears to have taken root in the Edo era (1603-1868). An old ledger saved by the Inoyama family of Kaga-han, present-day Ishikawa Prefecture, confirms this.

Half this country's problems will be solved if the people stop following the draconian practices of the past. Not every tradition is worth keeping...

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@dracpoo2: Spot on. There's a lot of whining and "dou suru dou suru" going on in this country, but actually if Japanese people were only able to look forward instead of constantly focusing on the past, they could solve quite few problems quite quickly. But, they'll need to reach that conclusion themselves, we cannot dictate things for them.

Actually, many places in the world could benefit from losing a few idiot "traditions"... but no.

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cleo at 09:55 AM JST - 20th July Most men in Japan are apparently satisfied with things the way they are.

Are you dreaming? Anyway, life in Japan. She has been pretty controlling since getting married. I gave into a lot of her demands early on and I think that set the stage. I am the one who is always wrong. She complains about so much. I work crazy Japanese hours here, I leave early in the morning and get home late at night. She always expects me to then put wash dishes, clean our room then and then put all our clothes away. She only works part time! Anyway, I generally like to drink few beers every other night after work and after doing the crap housework when I get home. She now wants me to stop doing this and stop reading the news such much online. When I got here I bought us a wii so we can play it. I got one game and she complained I played it too much, although she spent just as much time as I did. On my days off I spend so much time doing housework and she complains if I leave my work clothes out for the next morning. Her complaining and general contempt for me has made me withdrawal emotionally, especially now that I cant drink beer at home and don't go to bars or leave my work clothes out without her acting like I burnt the house down. I guess Cleo saids this is a satisfied life with Japanese women. Really?

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I guess Cleo saids this is a satisfied life with Japanese women. Really?

So you got burned and are in an unhappy marriage. That's rough on you, but your wife isn't most Japanese women, and you're not most Japanese men. And your problems seem to centre around use of time, not over who manages the family budget. I hope one way or another things get better for you.

dracpoo2 and tranel, what dire problems affecting the country do you think would be resolved by Japanese men giving their wives a housekeeping allowance and keeping the rest for themselves??

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agree with cleo. sorry sfip330 you just picked a wrong woman.. and she doesn't represent most japanese women.

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The average is 4 man? I am the breadwinner of my family and I give myself 2.5 to 3 man every month. The rest goes to family. My wife is the one who does all the calculating and balancing because she is more in touch with what is needed for the home/family/kids/education/savings/etc. Thing is that we go over all that together so we know where the money goes (or doesn't go). I would love to give myself 4 man every month but I know that the extra 1 man is needed for the home or whatever.

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thanks god, because i.m gay and i won.t have any kind of woman problem, yeah! XD Anyway looks like you guys are suffering so much about japanese woman..are they that bad?... I.m dating with a japanese man and we don.t need one of us controlled the money...he has his money and I have mine... I don.t know why you allow your wives controlled the family money...so weird...

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Overseeing the family budget is one thing giving an allowance to your spouse like he or she is a littke kid is another. A concept Cleo is having a hard time coming to grips with. Speaking of Cleo who clearly has some strong opinions on this issue since she has dominated this thread I am interested to know a) if you are married b) do you give your spouse an allowance and if so what do they think of it?

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I am interested to know a) if you are married b) do you give your spouse an allowance and if so what do they think of it?

a) yes

b) yes, in that I tend to be the one who goes to the bank, draws the money out and hands it over. Sometimes he goes instead.

We worked out together how much he needs on a monthly basis, plus a little wiggle room, and that's what he gets. I'm sure he would like more. When he wants more for something special, if we can afford it, he gets it. If we can't, he don't. These are hard times.

I don't really have strong opinions on whether breadwinners should have an allowance or hang on to 'their' money. My strong opinion is that how one family decides to manage their family finances is no business of anyone else, and Person A claiming that Person B is a wimp and not a real man because Person B does things differently from Person A says a lot more about Person A than it does about Person B.

I think there has been some talking at cross-purposes on this thread; LouReed's 'giving an allowance to your spouse like he or she is a littke kid' is quite telling and probably explains a lot of the angst we've been seeing. The family budget has to be split up into a number of categories; so much more food, so much for clothes, so much for utilities, so much for education, etc. The husband's 'allowance' is just one more category; the money set aside out of the budget each month for him to use to buy lunch, have the odd drink with his friends, generally get around. It's a far cry from the allowance a kiddie gets to spend on sweeties if he's good, but I can see how someone who thinks it's the same might get upset about it. It's a simple misunderstanding, but a misunderstanding all the same.

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I agree with all of your comments. Of course in a successful family unit collective decision need to be made on how much to spend each week and/or month. This point I took issue with and one you highlighted was that the husband was being dictated to on what he could spend each month. The guy in the article who ran out of money and had to have a crappy lunch implied to me that he had no or little control over the financial decisions made by his wife.

Kanpai

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Imho- solely finance control executed by spouses looks to me as feudal system, when women didn’t have the right and possibility to have other source of income then their husbands’ . imho now days women don’t need to rip off men in order to protect themselves financially

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I agree that this is an outdated tradition and agree that it likely started a) because women wanted security and some level of control b) women had more time and more knowledge about the family finances.

I also agree with cleo that how other married couples want to handle their finances is of no business of ours. Cleo doesn't seem like the type of person who would blindly follow some old tradition...yet I suspect some Japanese people are and this is where problems can arise. People who are doing something a certain way because they think that is the way it is 'supposed to be done'.

Also, as cleo pointed out, the word 'allowance' can be misleading. I'm sure in many cases, both the husband and wife have an allotted amount they can spend on themselves.

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This helps keep the salaryman's money out of "entertainers" pockets but alas affords more flexibility on the wife's descretionary spending on where she wants to meet her friends for lunch while hubby chows down on rice balls and work provided coffee.

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I'm not japanese, But i've read articles stating that handing your wage to the wife is not a norm and certainly not a law, It's an agreement. According to Kotaku the figures of this is fading below 50%, A rising 30% is handled by both parties who both work. 20% It's the males doing the finances. I do have a question though, What are the laws of married couples on japan when both parties work and are wealthy.

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