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
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