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3 male governors in Japan experience what life is like for pregnant women

19 Comments
By Michelle Hughes, RocketNews24

According to the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), Japanese husbands are some of the most likely in the world to not do any household chores or to help with childcare. In fact, men in the Kyushu and Yamaguchi areas are even less likely than the average Japanese husband to help out around the house and data shows that wives do about 7 times the amount of work their husbands do.

As a result, the “Kyushu / Yamaguchi Work-Life Balance Campaign” was created to encourage people in the Kyushu and Yamaguchi areas to find a way to make their home life and their work life more compatible, and to create workplaces that are more understanding and flexible when it comes to workers’ needs in regards to raising their children.

So what’s the best way to get people to pay attention to the campaign and to deepen one’s understanding of what pregnancy is like for women? By getting your male governors pregnant, of course.

The three current governors of the Saga Prefecture, Miyazaki Prefecture, and Yamaguchi Prefecture put on jackets weighing 7.3 kg that replicate the additional weight a woman would be carrying around the 7th month of pregnancy and wore them as they went about their normal daily lives – working, shopping, doing laundry, washing dishes, you name it. Their goal was to try to understand even just a little bit more how much difficulty and discomfort women have to bear during pregnancy.

A video has been released showing some of the trials and tribulations the governors experienced throughout the experiment. On top of having a larger, heavier stomach, their field of view was reduced, which made something as simple as going up and down the stairs troublesome. Actions such as leaning over the sink to do dishes or bending down to grab something off of the bottom shelf at a supermarket caused their bodies to ache. Putting on socks, getting into cars, and so on proved to be much more difficult than they expected.

Governor Yoshinori Yamaguchi of Saga Prefecture had this to say afterwards: “I’ve experienced many things since I’ve become a governor, but experiencing what pregnant women go through had a real impact on me.”

After the “Kyushu / Yamaguchi Work-Life Balance Campaign” began, 96.7% of the men who went through the same pregnancy experiment said that “men also need to be responsible for household chores and child-rearing”.

Though wearing a bulky, heavy jacket can’t compare to the real thing, it seems that the closer men come to understanding what women go through in general and not just during pregnancy, the more likely it is that feelings of true partnership, as well as mutual respect and admiration, will grow.

Images, Video: PRTimes, YouTube/九州・山口ワーク・ライフ・バランス推進キャンペーン

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Survey by Japanese ministry reveals high rates of “maternity harassment” in workplace -- Have plans to visit Tottori’s sand dunes this summer? Catch some Pokémon while you’re at it! -- Square Enix announces new Romancing Saga project! Don’t fire up your PS4 just yet though

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19 Comments
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Nice publicity, but it would have been more realistic if the jackets had to be worn under the clothing, necessitating purchase of an entire new wardrobe.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I wonder how "complete" the experience was.

Did they each have boyfriends before they discovered they were "pregnant?"

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Now lets let the girls grow hair, go to work and work overtime, deal with all the stress at work, and listen to their wives nag after they get home. lets see if they can manage that.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Did they do it for immigration status? Can they go to city hall for financial support so they can sit on their butts all day?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

So can you now build more school please?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Make them wear it for 9 months heheheh.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

In no way did these men experience what life is like for a pregnant women. They just wore a heavier stomach.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Pure. Madness.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The experience wouldn't be complete without them being forced to quit their jobs because of their pregnancies and the impossibility of arranging day care at a nursery of their choice...

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Simulations are just that--simulations. Of course they are not the real thing. That said, if simulation was not effective it would not be used for pilots or train conductors or surgeons etc. However limited it may be, a pregnancy simulation does provide some of the experience, can builds empathy and can facilitate cultural retraining.

Psychology classes often use simulations to allow caregivers experience the frustrations of the elderly. Simulations and training may motivate participants to change cultural habits. Every small step toward equality, coequal reciprocity in relationships and empathy for others helps humanity as a whole.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yeah, sorry, but all they did was wear a waited garment for a few hours. No sickness, hormones, bladder pressure, they. Oils still drink, smoke, and whatever. Didn't have to wear it under their clothes, probably had people give up seats for and help them, and will never actually go through labor and then deal with the physical changes, ppd, or have to raise the child. I'd say they experienced nothing but a commercial opportunity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

According to the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), Japanese husbands are some of the most likely in the world to not do any household chores or to help with childcare. In fact, men in the Kyushu and Yamaguchi areas are even less likely than the average Japanese husband to help out around the house and data shows that wives do about 7 times the amount of work their husbands do.

That may be the case, but fertility rates in "conservative" Western Japan are higher than for more "liberal and progressive" Eastern Japan.

Satsuma Prefecture, commonly associated with hard core macho guys and conservative politics, has a fertility rate of 1.62 that puts it in the upper middle of European fertility rates. Miyazaki (1.69), Saga (1.63), Kumamoto (1.64), etc. are all relatively high fertility areas.

In contrast, prefectures and major cities known for centrist of even left-leaning politics and more progressive social attitudes have much lower fertility rates.

A complete list can be found here.

https://www.tohoku.ac.jp/japanese/newimg/pressimg/tohokuuniv-press_20150624_02web.pdf#search=%27%E7%9C%8C%E5%88%A5%E5%87%BA%E7%94%9F%E7%8E%87%27

Correlation is not causation, but it is striking that the hard data shows just the opposite of what I suspect this article is trying to say. You get higher fertility rates in more socially backward and conservative areas than you do in more socially liberal and progressive areas. And, of course, this pattern is not peculiar to Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Satsuma Prefecture, commonly associated with hard core macho guys

Thee is no Satsuma prefecture. You mean Kagoshima? Ex-Satsuma province is a part of it now.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Bullfighter, that is because in areas where men eat meat their women will put out, but in areas where men eat grass their women will say not interested. Time and again surveys of Japanese women say they want the man to take the lead, in life and in the bed room. As for this rubbish about women having to carry 7kg for two months of pregnancy, I have carried a beer belly for over 20 years and I can still put my socks on, bend over etc; Women these days have it so much easier than years ago too. Washing machines, electric steam irons, dryers, Hovers. When my mother brought us up she had no labour saving devices, had to make up a coal fire to heat water and still worked. So women today are just a bunch of lightweights compared to their mothers and grandmothers and while a man’s work has become somewhat less physically demanding, it is now more mentally demanding.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thee is no Satsuma prefecture. You mean Kagoshima? Ex-Satsuma province is a part of it now.

Thanks for the correction. I started in Meiji history. It is still Satsuma for me. And, it is Kagoshima in the source I cited.

As for this rubbish about women having to carry 7kg for two months of pregnancy, I have carried a beer belly for over 20 years

Tell me about it. After swimming 1km today at age 69, I checked my weight. 7kg over recommended optimal. Friday, I cycled 60km carrying that extra 7kg all the way.

Of course, as others have noted, there's more to pregnancy than weight gain. That's one reason why this publicity stunt by the three governors looks so silly.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

bullfighter: "Of course, as others have noted, there's more to pregnancy than weight gain. That's one reason why this publicity stunt by the three governors looks so silly."

Rare case of agreement, but it's FAR more, not just more.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Should have super glued them on!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My normal body shape is pretty similar.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@choiwaru

Suddenly my fetish for pregnant birds has lost its umph....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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