Japan Today

Advice columnist shuts down mother who doesn’t want to give son permission to marry

By Scott Wilson, RocketNews24

With Japan’s birthrate among the lowest in the world, and one-third of Japanese young people believing marriage is pointless, you would imagine that most parents would be happy to hear that their child was getting married.

Unless you’re one mother who recently wrote into an advice column, asking how she can tell her son that she doesn’t approve of his wife-to-be. The article was brought to the attention of the Internet by Japanese Twitter user @ivy0110 in a tweet, which has been retweeted over 40,000 times.

The mother writes in to say that she is worried because “she can’t accept the woman her 29-year-old son has chosen to marry.” Rather than express concerns like she thinks the woman is taking advantage of her son, or they have a bad relationship, instead she says that the woman’s “clothes and first impression” were bad, she’s worried that “she wouldn’t be able to help her kids with homework,” and she just “can’t allow him to marry her.”

And… that’s pretty much it. The monster her son wants to marry is so horrible that the mother can only express her disapproval in vague, unclear terms. The inhumanity of it all!

For those who have read similar advice columns before, you may be expecting the typical roundabout answer of telling her to talk it over, reconcile their differences, blah blah blah. But thankfully, that’s not the case here. This columnist employs a tactic not often seen in Japanese advice columns: sass.

He starts off with – by Japanese standards – a very in-your-face opening: “Honestly, I don’t see what’s the problem here.” He then gives the mother a schooling by explaining that the Japanese constitution establishes marriage as an agreement between the two people only, and that the mother has no right to “not allow it.”

And the best part is, right after, he says that head-of-household permission for marriage was only needed during the time of Imperial Japan, implying that maybe the mother would find herself more at home under a more authoritarian regime.

Finally, the columnist tells the mother that her son is not her property, and that even if she doesn’t like the woman he has chosen to marry, she obviously has some good points that made her son fall in love with her, so she should do her best to try and find those good points for herself.

And then he ends with a nice little final bit of icing on the burn cake: “I feel pity for your son who, on the verge of entering into the next step of his life, has to deal with such ridiculous pettiness.” Yeowch!

Here’s how Japanese netizens reacted to the columnist’s response:

“Slow clap.” “That was refreshing to read.” “The mom should be happy her son is marrying anyone!” “That son needs to break up with her immediately – with his mother, that is.” “Good response. Japan has many old-fashioned ways of thinking left over that need to go.” “My mom won’t allow me to marry my love either… maybe it has something to do with her being 2-D?”

No matter what you think about the advice here, you’ve got to admit, it’s better than telling your daughter to demand selfish things from their boyfriends.

Source: Twitter/@ivy0110 via Hamusoku

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Blogger offers her top four tips for Japanese women dating foreign guys -- Try not to cry at this series of short films showing struggles working mothers face in Japan-- “Don’t let pressure dictate your life”—China’s unmarried women speak out in heart-rending video

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Wow, great answer. Mom, get a life and let your son live his.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

...and then there are other mothers - just waiting for the day their son will say : I'm going to get married !!!

Response : YOUPEEEEE !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As a father, I will be glad if my daughter can respect me and come to seek advise from me and my wife concerning the man whom she will like to marry. But I will not abuse her respect for me by making unreasonable demands and objections. Children are under our care, but they are not our property. We are here to guide them in their life's decisions, not to control their lives because ultimately, everyone must be responsible for his or her own life.

Hope this mom will realize her mistake and stop hindering the son's marriage before it is too late, or else she will either destroy her son or herself. And I hope the son will be man enough to say no to his mother. Personally, I think a man who cannot say no to his mother makes a poor husband later on since he will not be able to defend his wife against his mother's unreasonable demands and interference in the marriage life.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Do most Japanese mothers help their children with homework? My neighbor's wife graduated from college but doesn't help with her daughter's homework. She speaks English and looks down on his homeland (curious as to why she married and had a child with a gaijin...) so she doesn't allow a bilingual environment so their daughter is monolingual and monocultural. (Japan is #1!) The daughter is struggling in all her subjects and juku is not helping.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Best response Ive heard so far :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

dentook2001, Your description of the Japanese wife sounds like a marriage on the way out. Most international couples I know are quite enthusiastic about English learning for their children...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Tim_Fox Me, too. The international couples I've met usually raise their children to be bi-lingual and I thought my neighbor's wife was unusual. My boss went to Hokkaido a couple months ago and came across a Japanese woman who married an Australian and they are raising their two children in a Japanese only environment. I met a Filipina who lives in Yamanashi. She told me her mother-in-law forbade her to speak Tagalog or English to the children. I told her I would have ignored that request/command. Her children were brought up in a Japanese only environment and question her why she didn't teach them English as they are having a difficult time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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