Mazakon! Even without its meaning, it sounds like a deadly insult. The much-maligned “mother complex.”
“What’s wrong with a mother complex?” asks Spa! (Oct 8). What’s wrong, in other words, with being fond of one’s mother?
Let’s hear what some wives and girlfriends have to say. “My husband loves fried chicken, so I cooked it for him,” says a 32-year-old housewife. “‘Not like mom’s,’ he said. ‘Get her to teach you.’” Naturally, the woman saw red. “I never made it for him again.”
“My boyfriend,” says a 26-year-old receptionist, “didn’t buy me a birthday present – said he had no money. And yet that same month he bought a birthday present for his mother! ‘Mom comes first,’ he said. Honestly, it made my flesh crawl.”
Hurt feelings in both cases are understandable. Is that the whole story? Spa! canvasses some men for their point of view.
“People say I have a mazakon because I enjoy going out for an evening with my mother,” fumes a 38-year-old banker. “And yet when a woman goes shopping with her father, no one thinks anything of it.”
Or this, from a 41-year-old management consultant: “My mother’s getting old, and she lives alone, so once a week I drop in to check up on her – to my wife’s disgust. I want to show my mother kindness while I can. What’s mazakon about that?”
Well, it’s a long story, and rather a complex one, as Spa! tells it. The boy growing up unable to tear himself away from the maternal breast is a familiar theme – characteristic in particular, says sociologist Toshiyuki Tanaka, of a male-dominated society like Japan’s. Boys raised by mothers who sacrifice themselves for their sons may well feel they have a debt to repay as men. Wives’ and girlfriends’ resentment may stem from a suspicion their husbands and boyfriends want the same overprotective, unconditional love from them. “Forget it!” they’re saying, in effect. It’s a new era, the ideal mother of former times no longer exists, and men who expect to be mothered all their lives need a sharp lesson in female self-assertion.
On the other hand, says writer Takayuki Kiyoda, the more women advance in society the more they may unwittingly stimulate the mother complex – at least in men inclined that way. Denied motherly affection by their wives, they’ll take it where it’s offered – at mother’s house.
And yet, Spa! finds, even women have mixed feelings about this. Tanaka, the sociologist, says wives and girlfriends may have deep misgivings about husbands and boyfriends who are rude to or neglectful of their mothers. It suggests inconstancy: “I’ll love you as long as you are useful to me, then I’ll dispose of you.” A man who disposes of his mother today may give his partner the same treatment tomorrow. Which brings us back to the initial question: What is wrong with a mother complex?© Japan Today