lifestyle

Fewer Japanese seek marriage amid worries over income: poll

73 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

73 Comments
Login to comment

More than half of single women want their spouses to earn at least 4 million yen a year.

A good question also to ask here would have been how much single men want their potential wives to earn. Two-way street.

35 ( +38 / -3 )

Japan’s population is projected to fall around a third to 87 million in 2060, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research says.

Japan's becoming more and more IRRELEVANT by the day. Bad economy, huge national debt, people are unhappy, rising suicide rates etc. No wonder many don't want to get married and start building a family.

6 ( +13 / -8 )

“More than half of single women want their spouses to earn at least 4 million yen a year. Meanwhile, only 15.2% of single men in their 20s earn 4 million yen or more,” the report for a Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance affiliate said. “This gap seems to be one of the reasons for more people not marrying at all or marrying late.”

This still seems to be an attitude out of the mid-20th century, in which women expect to stay home. Or maybe it was the question which reflects the social expectation.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The men has learned and know better than to marry only to give up his 4 million yen income, hobby, and to live on a 30000 per month allowance from their wives.

20 ( +20 / -1 )

With a dip in the rate for women as well and it still being relatively rare for children to be born out of wedlock in Japan

Rare? More like many marriages are performed to ensure that the child isn't born out of wedlock. Which also leads to the rather high divorce rates here as well.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Many women who are married can't work. Why? Because a lot of companies won't hire them and extremely high taxes after marriage. Making it impossible for the woman to work.

It's not a one way thing. It's Japanese policy. Plus! No maternity leave, some even aren't hired again after having a baby

19 ( +22 / -4 )

"The pension system is creaking under the growing number of elderly and the low birth rate, as a smaller working population need to shoulder a growing number of retirees."

If Japan is smart---something I doubt more and more every day---it will phases out the Nenkin/Social Security system. It's not sustainable. Many Japanese would have you believe that Nenkin is as Japanese as samurai swords and sushi but the program is not even 50 years old. It's going to destroy the country; get rid of it.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

In the West, couples who both work can live together to defray costs. That's not a traditional situation in Japan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The only reason to endure the challenges and hardships of marriage is if you and your wife genuinely love each other and want yo have children together. Otherwise just save and retire and be happy.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

So many recent or future Japan problems are included in this article.

Population shrinkage, birth rate shrinkage, late marriage timing, young guy doesn't want to get marriage, immigration acceptance, increase nursery and so on.

It seems that Government is taking a countermeasure or updated methods but actually we feel there are no significant change at this moment. We seriously need to consider these problems in Japan and help each other and change our mind as well.

Even if our company also must hire more woman and keep hiring them after giving birth, it means we need to give them working opportunities,

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This issue can be boiled down to the same thing that plagues every Japanese: over-concern about what other people think.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

“More than half of single women want their spouses to earn at least 4 million yen a year

Is that 4M what these women expect in gross or net annual income?

Meanwhile, only 15.2% of single men in their 20s earn 4 million yen or more,”

That's kind of a low. Thought it would be something like 30-35% No wonder these guys don't get hitched and start becoming fathers until well into their 30's, 40's.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Seems that the japanese government realises the low birth rate issue is detrimental to Japan in the long run, but unfortunately does not have the moral courage nor the political will to carry out the needed reforms to deal with the root causes.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

It's a sad indictment of the LDP in general and the Abe regime in particular that any mention of moral courage will be met by howls of derision.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Krissey Santos Taxes aren't "high," though you might be talking about the requirement that women pay taxes on income above 1 million yen. I think they should throw out that whole thing, tax all income at fair rates, without that benefit for people earning under that amount. My company constantly gets married women who want to work only 2 days a week, to keep their income under that level, but without that stupid rule they'd just work full time and become productive members of society.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

QUOTE: "Abe’s government wants to raise the birth rate to 1.8 per woman from 1.4, which is still below 2.1 - the rate needed to prevent a population from shrinking."

I find his desire very rich indeed coming from a wealthy guy who couldn't be bothered to have even one child,,,

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This is the point, and the main point, that the 1%er Japanese political elite simply cannot understand. There is no feeling or perception of stability in the economy for at least 40% of Japanese workers. So no marriage, no kids, no consumption. Maybe Japan is doomed.

9 ( +8 / -0 )

A post-marital society may not necessarily be a bad thing TBH

2 ( +4 / -2 )

titaniumdi0xide , suicide rates have been falling in recent years. Excuse the pun.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan’s population is projected to fall around a third to 87 million in 2060, the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research says.

No. It will get to 87 mil WAY BEFORE that. The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research does not take into consideration other external factors when putting out this data. Suicide, car accidents, homocide, and emmigration are all factors that contribute to the population stats and they are not being considered at all

The survey showed 38.7% of single Japanese men in their 20s who were polled said they wanted to marry as soon as possible or wanted to marry eventually, down from 67.1% three years ago.

I'm afraid that this trend will not only continue but increase. See, about 15 years ago, there was still pressure by parents and society to get married. Now, society as a whole has somehow come to accept that young people are just not getting married anymore. There isn't the social pressure to get married anymore. As a matter of fact, I fear that there might be pressure not to get married now. WHen ALL of your friends are single, you might want to stay single as well to conform.

One reason that is often overlooked is the riduculous laws that we have regarding divorce. Many japanese guys have said to me personally that one of the reasons they don't want to get married is for fear of a divorce which could get very messy.

others warn the government has fallen so far behind on the population issue that it will be difficult to raise economic growth without opening up to large-scale immigration

Unfortuately, that is true. Japan is so far past the event horizon that population decline is inevitable pure and simple. Controlled immigration would have MAYBE given Japan some degree of stability, but now its too late. Unless they do some kind of mass immigration program

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Krissey: Many women who are married can't work. Why? Because a lot of companies won't hire them and extremely high taxes after marriage.

While I do agree that there are companies still stuck in the past, I have no idea how you got the idea of high taxes after marriage? Peter Payne is right. The whole system of taxing married women only if they have an income of over 1.3 mln yen/year is outdated and should be scrapped. It does not encourage women to look for better jobs and as there is little demand for such, there is also little supply.

Plus! No maternity leave…

If you are a part-timer you are not going to get any maternity leave because the social insurance you have paid does not cover it. If you work full time (some types of temporary employment contracts also allow you to have a maternity leave, or in other words, part of the social insurance you pay with them goes to maternity leave) nobody can take away your right to maternity leave.

While it is difficult for foreign women to find full-time positions, it is not impossible. Many, though, seem to have little understanding of why part-time jobs do not give you the right to maternity leave.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not much of think tank if they're doing research and polls to announce a known trend. True think tanks would generate ideas and suggest policies to counter the problems.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Krissey Santos

Many women who are married can't work. Why? Because a lot of companies won't hire them

True. Two friends getting married this year are quitting their full-time jobs, one from extreme bullying from a female supervisor (maybe we need another harassment word: kekkon-hara?) and one because she was made to understand "married women are no use to us here."

If you can't easily get the stability of an income for raising kids (or being guaranteed a desk space after maternity leave) then you have to rely on your husband to bring home the bacon. Depending on your social class there's strict expectations from families on how to raise kids: sending them to private schools, jukus, lots of naraigoto, etc., and it all costs money.

Children out of wedlock won't catch on here IMO because for most Japanese people children and family aren't just individual choices. There is the koseki system, family ohaka, pressure to fulfill parental expectations (and extreme guilt when unable to do so), etc. Having the wrong-shaped family here is a still a stigma and shame. It will take generations to change.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Don't marry a woman who doesn't make her own money. How come they expect a man to earn 4 millions a month just to take care of her. I am loving my single status.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

I don't see any problem. Let people live out their lives and enjoy the advantages of being single. Ask any couple that has had a long-term successful marriage. It's a lot of work. Most people simply aren't cut out for being partners or parents.

80-Something million is still a lot of people. With all the extra space that will open up, they can add more green spaces and create a nicer urban environment. Less fighting to walk through crowds. More peace and quiet.

Meanwhile, there will be many technological advancements such as robotics, human cloning, and reproduction not requiring humans to mate (they will be able to manufacture humans from DNA samples and grow them in artificial wombs).

There's always the option of carefully controlled and organized immigration that could meet the need for workers. Put in place better programs to help the foreigners assimilate.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Women who demand that their future hubby earns more than jpy4M or over any specific amount aren't worth marrying. Only desperate blokes with very low self esteem would contemplate a life with such dragons.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

The men has learned and know better than to marry only to give up his 4 million yen income, hobby, and to live on a 30000 per month allowance from their wives.

30,000 yen? I only get 20,000! Hey that's not fair!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Many women who are married can't work. Why? Because a lot of companies won't hire them

Sadly the types of jobs available for many women who are raising children are limited to PT and mostly service industry related positions or sales positions that offer minimum wage.

One can not blame them for NOT working when many had careers or potential one's and then lost them because of their having children.

The zaibatasu themselves are to blame for this, and the changes needed to be made to make it worthwhile for women to return to the workplace will take at least a generation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I heard that 1 in 3 women in the UK outearns her partner. My sister-in-law certainly outearns my brother, although he does work shorter hours that let her pursue her career. In Japan I'd be surprised if it is more than 1 in 10.

My dad managed to buy a house, raise two kids, and keep my mother at home for 10 years on an electrician's salary in the 1970s/80s, but you can't do that in the UK now. Japanese people are no more privileged than people in other First World countries, so Japanese society is just going to have to get with the program. Globalization means most First World men can't earn enough any more, so two income families are the way forward. Women are going to have to work, and society is going to have to change to let them. No more tax breaks or free pensions only for women who don't work, no more sacking women for having children, no more PTA meetings during office hours, no more reelecting politicians who call women "baby machines", etc. etc. A whole new approach to gender relations is required.

11 ( +13 / -1 )

@Dylan Trouble with the population falling is, it means the economy will fall, investment will fall, no new shopping malls will be built anywhere by major cities, and everyone will look to the government to secure their happiness, which isn't going to happen. I know that I wouldn't invest in a business here at this point, and I'm literally happy to be my current age (48) because of all the problems (and higher taxes) that are coming.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Don't marry a woman who doesn't make her own money. How come they expect a man to earn 4 millions a month just to take care of her.

4 million a year, not a month.

My wife made her own money when we got married, and she stopped working when we had our first kid. It's been great. She's an excellent mom who takes care of our kids, waking up at 6:30 every morning to make their and my bentos, drives them to school, does all of our laundry, pays all of our bills, and keeps a spotless house. I go home every day to a home-cooked, well-balanced meal.

Contrast this to the house I grew up in, where my mom worked full-time and then some, and I always had to make my own meals (which ended up being a lot of cereal), and do my own laundry (which never was done as well as it could have been). My school lunches were a granola bar and whatever sandwhich I made that day, which was never anything special.

My kids have it much better than I did.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

JaneMJUN. 22, 2016 - 01:04PM JST

The whole system of taxing married women only if they have an income of over 1.3 mln yen/year is outdated and should be scrapped.

Any employee, male or female, married or singe, is taxed only of his/her annual salary is more than 1,030,000 yen. The taxable amount is the excess amount above 1,030,000. I do not see any need for change.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Myhumbletake, et al

A lot men seem to think marrying a woman who won't be out earning money is a one-way street. Why do they not take into consideration the fact that that same woman will be most likely doing all or most of the housework, shopping, cooking, risking her life to bear his children, doing the raising of them, taking care of all the errands at banks, city hall and such. And more.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Any employee, male or female, married or singe, is taxed only of his/her annual salary is more than 1,030,000 yen. The taxable amount is the excess amount above 1,030,000.

It isn't only income tax paid (or not) by the individual. A woman married to a sarariman and earning under the fixed amount gets a free pension and is included in her husband's health insurance, and her husband gets an extra tax allowance on account of her being a dependant. A woman who is single, or married to someone who is not a sarariman, gets no free pension no matter how little she earns, and is obliged to sign up for the more expensive national health scheme. And women married and single earning over the fixed amount get to pay towards the free pensions of their non-earning sisters married to sararimen (as do men, of course).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I have read that there is quite a lot of bullying in the work place, does Japan have any trade unions that can help bullies or victimised workers?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@strangerland

Funny these people who want to be so progressive and liberal that you even suggesting that your lifestyle works for you gets you voted down. Would they prefer that you have a dysfunctional family? Well I vote you up since you guys sound like a nice couple who found a way to make it work.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

A lot men seem to think marrying a woman who won't be out earning money is a one-way street. Why do they not take into consideration the fact that that same woman will be most likely doing all or most of the housework, shopping, cooking, risking her life to bear his children, doing the raising of them, taking care of all the errands at banks, city hall and such. And more.

Bingo.

Funny these people who want to be so progressive and liberal that you even suggesting that your lifestyle works for you gets you voted down. Would they prefer that you have a dysfunctional family? Well I vote you up since you guys sound like a nice couple who found a way to make it work.

Thanks. The thumbs-down never bother me though, so it's all good.

I think a lot of people read about a housewife who does all the housework, and they equate that to oppression of women etc. But what they don't realize is that expecting that a woman has to work is just as bad as expecting that she has to stay 'in the kitchen'. True progressiveness is letting a woman do whatever she chooses to (and can afford to of course).

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Strangerland, sounds like we had a similar upbringing - I was one of three siblings in a single-parent household. My wife also stopped working once our kids got into elementary school, but I wonder sometimes if their childhood was really better than mine. Of course, comparing childhood in America and in Japan is apples and mikan - but I'm still a good cook, very efficient at cleaning the house (a skill which has transferred), and do laundry better than my wife.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kohakuebisu, correct on all counts. Japan has to modernize. The 1980s are over. My wife won't work though, nor will most of her friends. They just sit around on their increasingly fat backsides complaining about how little money the men bring in. No wonder fewer men want to marry. They are all very aware of this problem. The school system and idiotic scheduling of classes and days off creates havoc for working mums too. Why on earth does anyone need a PTA army? Mums taking days off to watch plays at kindergartens etc., knowing they'll be ostracized if they don't show up? The whole society still seems to think women should not be working and men should earn a fortune, even though we all know that blokes have less money than they used to and less job security. Women need to be able to take jobs and the whole country needs to adapt to the times. But Japan doesn't do "change". It's the c-word.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@CH3CHO: Any employee, male or female, married or singe, is taxed only of his/her annual salary is more than 1,030,000 yen. The taxable amount is the excess amount above 1,030,000. I do not see any need for change.

CH3, please read what Cleo said.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@hampton

Totally agree. Japan basically needs a giant 'reset' button that would be akin to the Meiji Restoration. A resetting of the education system, workplace dynamic, household dynamic - the list goes on. Even when I first came to Japan 20 years ago, I thought that the single-income household was incredibly outdated. Guess what - nothing's changed! How do you change things? Acknowledge there's a problem. Sadly, this will never happen. The Old Boys' Club would rather run the place into the ground than force change.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I wonder if it really matters? There are too many people in the world already Who in Tokyo would like not to be crammed into a 300% over capacity train every morning and evening? Well, now people are not having children who will seek endless material wealth and there might just be a possibility with a smaller population to actually lead a much civilised life and have seat on that train......

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow, Japanese women are more spoiled than I thought. In my country people hardly earn 1 million a year. 4 million seems like luxury to me, it's actually being a rich person.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@kurisupisu That's fine if you ignore all the sensible and realistic disaster-inducing effects of what you're advocating. A smaller population would have been something to plan for, years ago, when it was obvious to all the experts and leaders that this was likely the trend. I see what you the young people are about and, unfortunately, they are not about much: neither resistance nor change, neither engagement nor understanding. Japan will have a chance to turn around perhaps if it can survive the next 60 years without a total collapse in the economy and infrastructure. Meanwhile: as Komeito and Jiminto say: be happy and smile!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Cleo: Thanks for clarifying this: Most above should read it.

It isn't only income tax paid (or not) by the individual. A woman married to a sarariman and earning under the fixed amount gets a free pension and is included in her husband's health insurance, and her husband gets an extra tax allowance on account of her being a dependant. A woman who is single, or married to someone who is not a sarariman, gets no free pension no matter how little she earns, and is obliged to sign up for the more expensive national health scheme. And women married and single earning over the fixed amount get to pay towards the free pensions of their non-earning sisters married to sararimen (as do men, of course).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@cleo @MsDelicious Very interesting stuff. By "Sarariman," you mean someone who is employed by a company that pays into the system rather than a non-regular worker?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleoJUN. 22, 2016 - 03:42PM JST

It isn't only income tax paid (or not) by the individual. A woman married to a sarariman and earning under the fixed amount gets a free pension and is included in her husband's health insurance, and her husband gets an extra tax allowance on account of her being a dependant.

If an employee earns more than 1.3 million yen, she has to pay into the public pension and the public health insurance. If she pays into the public pension fund, the amount of annuity that she would get when she retires or when she becomes disabled is more than the amount she would get out of "free pension plan" of her husband. If she pays into the public health insurance, and if she cannot work due to sickness or injury, she can collect the sick leave benefit in the amount of 60% of her usual salary tax free. Since the employer pays half of the costs of social insurance, the odds are that the benefits are larger than the fees.

Each person is entitled to a tax deduction in the amount of 380,000 yen. If both wife and husband earns a lot, each deducts his/her 380,000 from his/her taxable income and calculates tax. If one of the spouse works and the other does not, the working spouse deducts his 380,000 yen and her 380,000 yen as "dependent family deduction" from his salary. These are fair cases.

But if one spouse earns less than 1,030,000, the other spouse can deduct his 380,000 yen and her 380,000 yen as "dependent family deduction" from his salary, and she can also deduct her 380,000 yen from her salary. The couple can use the 380,000 yen deduction 3 times even though there are 2 members in the household. This actually is not fair. If she earns more than 1,030,000 yen, his "dependent family deduction" is gradually reduced depending on her salary. The deduction becomes zero, if she earns 1,410,000 yen or more. At that point, the couple can deduct 380,000 yen only twice, once for him and once for her, losing their unfair advantage. I do not think the tax system should be changed to give them unfair advantage any more.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Thank god for the wedding industry that J-men are too stingy to invest in condoms..dekichatta weddings still account for 1 out of every 4 weddings (at least in the place where I work..)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, now people are not having children who will seek endless material wealth and there might just be a possibility with a smaller population to actually lead a much civilised life and have seat on that train......

If ridership drops, you can expect the trains to get shorter.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If an employee earns more than 1.3 million yen, she has to pay into the public pension

All registered residents of Japan between the ages of 20 and 59 are obliged to pay into the public pension (kokumin nenkin) scheme regardless of earnings, unless they are paying into a company scheme (which includes a kokumin nenkin component)(=Category 2 insuree) or are registered as the dependent spouse of an employee paying into a company scheme (=Category 3 insuree).

If she pays into the public pension fund, the amount of annuity that she would get when she retires or when she becomes disabled is more than the amount she would get out of "free pension plan" of her husband.

If she pays into the company's Employees' Pension Insurance scheme she likely pays more than the kokumin nenkin premium (spending on how much she earns) and the company pays in an equal amount, so she gets more than a person enrolled in the kokumin nenkin. If she is part-time, a contract worker or self-employed she is not eligible for a company scheme and is obliged to register under the kokumin nenkin as a Category 1 insuree; when she reaches pensionable age, she gets exactly the same as the 'free pension housewife'; the housewife is registered as a Category 3 (i.e. non-paying) insuree under the kokumin nenkin scheme.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I do not see any need for change.

YOU don't but millions of Japanese women do. Consider the 1.03million yen (not 1.3) limit. To work that means child care, let's low ball the cost at 30,000 per month, that's 360,000 per year, not including associated travel costs and what not, so to be fair, actual take home pay for one year after paying child care expenses is roughly 500,000 yen.

Do the math, less than 50,000 yen per month of extra income. That is slave wages, working means to try to get ahead, based on your comments, it would take DECADES to even move forward a centimeter or two.

There NEEDS to be changes made and quickly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

From 19 to 39 I went from one relationship to another, expecting the next one to lead to marriage. After turning 40, I thought I'd stay single. It's been five years now and I've never been happier. Kind of like being a teenager with money!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

From 19 to 39 I went from one relationship to another, expecting the next one to lead to marriage. After turning 40, I thought I'd stay single. It's been five years now and I've never been happier. Kind of like being a teenager with money!

Is it safe to assume that there are no kids in the picture?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan's becoming more and more IRRELEVANT by the day.

Irrelevant to whom? There are still roughly 126 million people here. Japan is relevant to them. If it's not relevant to you, don't slam the door on your way out.

Which also leads to the rather high divorce rates here as well.

High relative to where? Japanese divorce rates are mid-range by European standards.

It's not a one way thing. It's Japanese policy. Plus! No maternity leave, some even aren't hired again after having a baby.

Don't know where you are getting your misinformation. Japan has nationally mandated paid maternity leave. Roughly 90% of the women eligible take it. Are you sure you are not conflating Japan with the US? The US is the only advanced country without nationally mandated paid maternity leave.

http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/07/15/422957640/lots-of-other-countries-mandate-paid-leave-why-not-the-us

The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research does not take into consideration other external factors when putting out this data. Suicide, car accidents, homocide, and emmigration are all factors that contribute to the population stats and they are not being considered at all

Utter bollocks. You don't even need to be able to read Japanese to see that their population projections include a whole range of factors including mortality (aka death) and population movements.

http://www.ipss.go.jp/site-ad/index_english/esuikei/ppfj2012.pdf

One reason that is often overlooked is the riduculous laws that we have regarding divorce. Many japanese guys have said to me personally that one of the reasons they don't want to get married is for fear of a divorce which could get very messy.

Don't know where you are getting your misinformation. Divorce can be messy anywhere. I speak from experience. In Japan if both parties agree you can divorce just by going to the city or ward office and filling out a form. This is far and away the most common type of divorce in Japan.

The zaibatasu themselves are to blame for this

The term zaibatsu is wildly anachronistic and has been since the late 1940s when the American occupation broke up the zaibatsu.

Incidentally, the main point of this article is rather old news. The pattern described in this article was first noted in 1996 (20 years ago) in 結婚の社会学―未婚化・晩婚化はつづくのか by 山田昌弘. Bit late to be getting worked up about it now.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The term zaibatsu is wildly anachronistic and has been since the late 1940s when the American occupation broke up the zaibatsu.

Sure it is, but if you think for one moment that they were broken up you are mistaken. However that aside here, I used the term instead of writing out all the big business conglomerates that make it difficult for women to return to the work place because of their policies.

High relative to where? Japanese divorce rates are mid-range by European standards.

This isnt a comparison game, and FYI Europe doesnt count in this discussion, bringing it up is rather ignorant as well seeing as how culturally speaking the views toward marriage and divorce are light years different and the national laws between the two regarding citizenship and other issues are day and night different.

You do not know much about Japan, the culture, and the people to be making a comparison like this to support whatever point you were trying to make.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This isnt a comparison game, and FYI Europe doesnt count in this discussion, bringing it up is rather ignorant as well seeing as how culturally speaking the views toward marriage and divorce are light years different and the national laws between the two regarding citizenship and other issues are day and night different.

"High" is a relative and comparative term. Europe is not a unit when it comes to nationality laws and those pertaining to marriage and divorce.

You do not know much about Japan, the culture, and the people to be making a comparison like this to support whatever point you were trying to make.

Not much at all. Only the tiny bit of knowledge one gets from living here twenty-five years, doing a PhD in modern Japanese history, and teaching comparative sociology for the better part of two decades. That and living in a European country for eight years.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

No, the posters here that worry about there being only 70 or 80 million Japanese really needn't worry. Everyone will have more space and more calm to enjoy their lives more.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well they'll be overjoyed when the consumption tax goes up. Meanwhile the wealthy oyajis responsible for decreasing it will form committees to ponder the nation's low birth rate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

At least we can look forward to real estate prices dropping, says the morbid voice in my head.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

After reading this article marriage here sounds more like a business contract.

How can a guy ever trust a woman who is checking on his wallet? The thought in itself stresses guys out.

Perhaps thats the reason why women here prefer americans and europeans instead. Pathetic souls!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

After reading this article marriage here sounds more like a business contract.

Marriage based purely on love is mostly a Western construct. For most of the world, marriage has been akin to a business contract. It was the way of ensuring lineage continues, by creating a strong partnership of two people who were able to work together to raise children.

Japan traditionally hasn't been so different. They have shifted more towards love in the past decades, but it's not so long ago that arranged marriages were the standard here (my mother-in-law had an arranged marriage). Even now, there is a dowry of sorts whereby the bride's family pays money to provide support at the start of the marriage, since their daughter will now be taken care of and become part of the groom's family.

How can a guy ever trust a woman who is checking on his wallet?

What does that have to do with trust?

The thought in itself stresses guys out.

Western guys. Japanese guys expect it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Perhaps thats the reason why women here prefer americans and europeans instead.

Except that they don't, of course. Of the total of 6046 Japanese women who married non-Japanese men in 2013 (the latest year for which Wiki gives figures) 2543 married Asians; 393 married South Americans, 1405 married men from the US or UK, and 1705 married men from 'other countries'. Meanwhile in 2010 (the latest year for which the government gives figures) 670,007 Japanese women married Japanese men. A ratio of well over 100:1 in favour of home-grown men.

Meanwhile, in the US the Census Bureau reports that 7.4% of married households have one foreign-born spouse, which would seem to suggest that a significant proportion of Americans prefer non-Americans.

I couldn't find any figures for the UK, unfortunately.

Of course that pretty little thing in the Roppongi bar will tell you she prefers men like you....she's paid to make you feel happy.

http://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/jinkou/suii10/dl/s05.pdf

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%9B%BD%E9%9A%9B%E7%B5%90%E5%A9%9A

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/06/stateline-marriages-foreign-spouse/2775271/

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@bullfighter

Don't know where you are getting your misinformation. Japan has nationally mandated paid maternity leave.

As I'm sure you're aware, laws / mandates / rules in Japan are rarely enforced. Even if the company has provisions for maternity leave, the woman has the risk of returning to a lower position or even losing her job entirely. Japan does not have a modern, functioning legal system. Don't even get me started on the harassment that will inevitably take place (be it in any shape or form).

I feel that your commentary is largely academic based, but not 'real world'. I've spoken to these people - politicians, civil servants, salarymen, housewives, working women - you name it. Hundreds if not thousands of them. It's rather pro-Japan biased in most cases to boot. There are specific issues pertaining to Japan that do not exist anywhere else. You must acknowledge this.

Take for example, the divorce rate. Now, this would be possibly the highest in the world if 1) Couples didn't admirably stay together for the sake of their children (resulting in bekkyo, among other things) and 2) More women had financial freedom.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Perhaps thats the reason why women here prefer americans and europeans instead.

So man guys come here and meet girls who speak English and like foreigners, and take that to mean all girls here like foreigners. What they don't realize is that the girls who speak English usually do so because they have an interest in things foreign, often including the men, and that the huge majority of girls, most of whom don't speak English, have little to no interest in foreigners, or at best would be willing to date one if there were no language issues.

Of course that pretty little thing in the Roppongi bar will tell you she prefers men like you....she's paid to make you feel happy.

Oh there are plenty of girls in Roppongi who are their to meet guys and are not receiving any paycheck to do so.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Meanwhile the wealthy oyajis responsible for decreasing it

Correction, increasing it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd lIke to read just one solid positive bit of news. One. Mr Abe is focusing on his Constitution, Abenomics, winning an election which is but a joke. There's nothing to vote for. No one can lead this nation out of its holes. The young have no interest in keeping this nation. Politicians and businesses are playing games with the nation and its young. The question is what will it look like after the 2020 Olympics? Who will control Japan? America? China?

Sad

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As I'm sure you're aware, laws / mandates / rules in Japan are rarely enforced. Even if the company has provisions for maternity leave, the woman has the risk of returning to a lower position or even losing her job entirely. Japan does not have a modern, functioning legal system. Don't even get me started on the harassment that will inevitably take place (be it in any shape or form).

I'm not aware that laws, mandates, rules in Japan are rarely enforced. Try driving over the speed limit or after drinking and you will find the rules enforced. The legal system certainly is not perfect but to say that it is not modern or does not function is laughable. Moreover, being "modern" is not necessarily equivalent to being "good."

Harassment is not "inevitable." It happens and you read about it. But, you don't read about the cases where it does not happen. It's like the trains. You don't read about every train that arrives on time. You do read about seriously late trains and delays.

I feel that your commentary is largely academic based, but not 'real world'. I've spoken to these people - politicians, civil servants, salarymen, housewives, working women - you name it. Hundreds if not thousands of them. It's rather pro-Japan biased in most cases to boot. There are specific issues pertaining to Japan that do not exist anywhere else. You must acknowledge this.

No I don't acknowledge this. Give me a few minutes with Google and I can find examples in the US or UK of almost anyting that is claimed to be Japan specific. If you have thousands or even hundreds of examples you should write an article detailing your findings. As a Japanese citizen I will defend my country against false accusations just as I would expect a Brit or American to defend their countries.

You and others probably find my response unusual because you have little experience with Japanese with native level English.

Take for example, the divorce rate. Now, this would be possibly the highest in the world if 1) Couples didn't admirably stay together for the sake of their children (resulting in bekkyo, among other things) and 2) More women had financial freedom.

Bekkyo 別居 (legal separation without divorce) is hardly a Japanese peculiarity. I'd like to see it demonstrated that women in Japan lack economic freedom.

Japanese women have had the vote since 1947. If they feel hard done by the system, they are in a position to change it, and they are fully capable of deciding what they want without the advice of foreign nationals.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

A good question also to ask here would have been how much single men want their potential wives to earn. Two-way street.

I always tell my students, mostly men, that on this issue, no money, no honey! NEVER marry a poor girl, it will be just a sorrow for you, besides you end up marrying a conversation in the end and a woman who earns a lot of money usually is intelligent and has a lot to say.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In Japan, I suspect a lot of non-working women care little about the problems working women face. Rather than identifying with others as women and mobilizing to end sexual discrimination in the workplace, I think dependent women fear working women and feel threatened by them. This failure to provide a united front is a big obstacle to female advancement. Women may have the vote, but enough of them benefit from the way things are to want major changes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Which also leads to the rather high divorce rates here as well

Based on what? Is this high compared to your home country?

Take for example, the divorce rate. Now, this would be possibly the highest in the world..

Why would the divorce rate possibly be the highest in the world? Youre suggesting a level of dysfunction that is just not evident when you compare how safe and relatively crime free Japan is compared to other developed coutries.

if Couples didn't admirably stay together for the sake of their children

And that is the primary difference between western and eastern thinking (ie, prioritizing personal happiness above all else vs making personal sacrifices to maintain the family unit for the sake of the children) which manifests in less dysfunction and greater societal well being.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@bullfighter

Without turning this into a tennis match, I'll attempt to highlight your false arguments one more time.

I'm not aware that laws, mandates, rules in Japan are rarely enforced.

Just off the top of my head - Working hours (incl. overtime), price fixing,

Give me a few minutes with Google and I can find examples in the US or UK of almost anyting that is claimed to be Japan specific.

This is irrelevant. Again, Japan has its own unique set of problems - as with every country. It's the trifecta of declining birth rate, ageing population & a prolonged recession. Japan is torn between letting go of tradition & embracing change. That's why nothing every changes here.

You and others probably find my response unusual because you have little experience with Japanese with native level English.

I speak fluent Japanese, having learnt the language for over 20 years. Over the years I have built more connections here than you have hot dinners, my friend. No idea why you would even make that assumption. Screams naivety.

Bekkyo 別居 (legal separation without divorce) is hardly a Japanese peculiarity. I'd like to see it demonstrated that women in Japan lack economic freedom.

Right, let me break it down for you. Japan is by and large a society where a majority of households are single income - for better or for worse. Gender roles are clearly defined, with men typically being the breadwinners & women being the homemakers. This is no generalisation. Japanese society was built on this premise.

Of course, there has been slight changes here with the advent of dual-income households & even stay-at-home fathers, but on the whole very little has changed in 50 years. Unfortunately, this mentality often carries into the workplace, with women often being subject to age, gender & sexual harassment. I've spoken to victims.

So, to give you a 'demonstration', a salaryman may meet a client & go out 'for a night on the town'. End up in a hostess bar & god knows what else. Comes home to his wife & child. Rinse, wash, repeat. A practice which is largely 'accepted' in Japanese culture - knowingly or unknowingly of the wife. This culture does not exist outside Japan.

So, the wife grows increasingly jaded by the day, but her girlfriends can only but sympathise (or empathise!) with her situation. She would desperately like to divorce, but this would mean sacrificing her living arrangements & financial support from her husband. It would also be looked down upon by both sides of the family, as it could damage their family names. Family honour is extremely important in Japan, as you know.

So, tormented, she decides to stay in the household & take up a hobby or two to alleviate her misery. They largely lead separate lives, but stay together for the kids. Often, even 'amicable' marriages see couples sleeping in separate rooms. Again, a Japanese idiosyncrasy. Please do not mistake this for an 'attack' on Japanese culture, I'm just giving you a realistic 'demonstration'. I've been here a long time.

For what it's worth, my family has been through divorce twice, so I know what it's like.

Japanese women have had the vote since 1947. If they feel hard done by the system, they are in a position to change it, and they are fully capable of deciding what they want without the advice of foreign nationals.

There you go again with your 'anti-gaijin' mantra. Where does this stem from, I might ask? Naturally, I'm in no position to give Japanese women advice on anything, regardless of my background OR gender. You're right, it's up to them. This I agree with - but we both know that little has changed since 1947 on both sides of the fence (ie. both genders).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well put sighclops

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Sighclops, Good comment!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites