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Japanese husbands in survey say they do half the housework and childcare; wives say 'Nope'

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

The current generation of young adults in Japan is really the first for which both husband and wife working outside the home is the norm, coming after several decades in which the man was expected to be the sole breadwinner and the woman to take care of pretty much everything at home. But as women contribute more to the family’s earnings, the question then becomes whether men are proportionately increasing their housework efforts.

That’s the issue behind a recent survey from Japanese women’s interest and family life internet portal Teinei Tsuhan, which asked 250 working married women and 250 working men (all aged 20-39) about the division of labor in their families. Things got off to an encouraging start, with guys seeming to accept the need to share the burden, as 72.8 percent of the surveyed husbands said that they and their wives do an equal amount of housework, and even more, 76.8 percent, said they evenly share childcare duties.

However, responses painted a very different picture when women were asked for their take on the situation. The overwhelming majority, 90.9 percent, said that they do more housework than their husbands. Things were only slightly better when it came to taking care of the kids, with 90.4 percent of women saying their husbands don’t do as much for the little ones as they do.

When asked what tasks specifically they got saddled with a heavy load for, women’s top three responses were:

● Housework

  1. Meal preparation (64 percent of respondents)

  2. Putting away clothing and household items (40.8 percent)

  3. Washing bedsheets/airing out blankets (28 percent)

● Childcare

  1. Drying kids’ hair and getting them dressed again after baths (43.6 percent)

  2. Cutting kids’ finger/toenails (37.6 percent)

  3. Making sure kids have everything they need in their school bags in the morning (36.4 percent)

One could make the argument that a perfect 50-50 split of household duties is impossible. Likewise, it wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate to say that societal pressures in Japan place a heavier responsibility on men to be economic providers, and pursuing that goal in Japanese workplaces often means doing so much overtime that there aren’t enough minutes left in the day, or energy in the body, for significant cooking or cleaning. Still, with 66.4 percent of the survey’s respondents saying that they’ve fought with their spouse over who is or isn’t doing enough to help around the house, it looks like the current split is making a lot of couples unhappy, and could do with some rebalancing.

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Survey reveals that Japanese women’s ideal husband is surprisingly ordinary

-- Japanese women asked what best job for a husband is, may be looking for romantic-comedy lead

-- Japanese group trying to win support for “Housewives’ Day Off” to help harried homemakers

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Not saying Japanese husbands are lining up for chores but the fact is that Japanese wives and mothers in-law seem to like things done "their way or no way". Not just mine, this opinion has been agreed upon almost unanimously by both foreign and Japanese men who I know. Throw kids into the mix and she just prefers you stay right out when choosing their clothes, their lunches, their club activities or anything else she might have to justify in front of other mums. For Japanese women to allow their husbands to do more around the house means relinquishing control over their space.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

when American men say they did 50% it means we took out the garbage that day :) :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

JtSnose, very valid point. My Mother was a champion soldier and my father was injured as an athlete. Thus they decided to cook on every other Tuesday and only.one would vacuum on the weekends. But both would clean the bathroom when they felt good and my father more so since he was more physically capable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I prefer to divide regular chores and tasks by how much each person enjoys them or how well each does them. That usually leads to a reasonable and somewhat equitable balance.

Tasks that neither enjoys or does particularly well need to be negotiated. We don't like cleaning? Okay, we hire a cleaner. Logical. No shade on anyone. One couple decided to share the cleaning they detested by doing it together in the nude. Once the house was tidied the job ended with a mutually agreeable reward. (Tough if you have kids, but the point of the example is the creativity with which partners might approach shared problems.)

The argument of job hours impacting how many household task a person can do is flawed. If a person were single they'd have responsibility for 100% of the domestic load. Off-loading 100% because of a person's anatomy is ridiculous.

People who respect their partners will refrain from contributing to messes with the expectation that their partners will deal with it. Alas, if a person has been brought up by a slave-parent who enables them all their lives, there's not much hope of retraining them. Unless, as a wise mother once told one of my colleagues, she train her partner fast in the first two weeks of love's bloom when he was besotted . After that forget it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As men are usually physically more able, they should always help to do housework when at home . . . I do so, as father and husband, my wife takes over when I am unable to be at home or otherwise unable to.  ( My mother who was a champion athlete and my father who was injured while serving in the U. S. Military are a different story.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Of course they would say no.

If true they’d be at home doing half the housework while the husband works all day and then does another half?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its pretty much IMPOSSIBLE for men to contribute more at home until Japan starts getting better at work\life BALANCE, until THAT starts to happen, it AINT going to happen!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Definietly hard to Separate ...

I am 100% sure that my gf does a lot more cleaning and such BUT whenever there is something heavy to lift or something to repair or even clean the sinks or whatever it is all 100% my work -.-V

Even had to repair the stupid washing mashine some time ago and didn't got any help at all as like she said "is to hard for a woman"

I for one couldn't care less if she swipes the floor every day a few times or once a month so this work is choose by hersefl, if she wants to complain I tell her she can just leaf everything as it is and at some point I will definietly clean up the flat just not every day.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ok first, there's no way Japanese men do half of the housework. My husband is Japanese and I definitely don't hate them en masse like some people do here, but on the whole they do way less housework than their western counterparts regardless of their wife's employment situation. It's only become normal recently for men to help around the house. I don't think I've ever seen my Father in Law clean up a single thing even though he's a really nice guy.

I don't mind doing housework as my job is only part time and my husband works a lot, all I really require is that he doesn't make useless messes. His Mother, bless her heart, didn't require anyone in the house to clean up after themselves (typical in Japan) and just followed everyone around cleaning up their mess. She basically thinks it's ridiculous for anyone but a wife to clean the house. It took me the better part of a decade to undo this part of my husband's psyche but I still occasionally find used masks and piles of receipts around. I do the majority of the housework and watching our daughter but that's because his job is really difficult and time consuming. On the weekends I let him sleep in as long as he wants and he spends time with our daughter, takes her out, does the grocery shopping and will leave me some space for deep cleaning the house or gasp occasionally having a nap.

The key is, I don't nag at him to do things incessantly and he would never require me to keep the house a certain way at all times. I also don't waste my spare time flapping around town doing Mommy lunches and taking our daughter to classes she doesn't want or need to do so I suppose that keeps resentment down. Just respect one another. There's not enough of that going around here.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I love the dopamine hit of finishing daily chores/tasks/errands. Some people just don't get off on doing work. Life must be a constant drag for them.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Some of these Japanese males can be scary bad.

One in particular I was talking to said that his baby was crying one night.

His wife was sound asleep, exhausted from taking care of the baby all day while he worked at his job.

That one night, he got up from the crying. His wife was knocked out.

But pretended to be asleep, and ignored the cries, hoping the baby would just stop.

Just so he wouldn't have to deal with the baby..........

That just made me say "WOW."

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This seems like one of those surveys that will produce flawed results, because of how the survey was constructed.

Seriously, real issues with it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am not Japanese, not in that age group and have no children but there would be no argument from my significant other that I do over 90% of the daily housework inside and outside. That comes from having to do a lot of the chores when I was a child. It is so natural now that I don't even consider most of it as work. Upon arriving here, it was shocking to see how much mothers/wives had to do here, while husbands and children barely did anything. My wife's father barely did anything and wouldn't even get up off the sofa to fetch a beer from the fridge on his own. I even had male colleagues who came over trying to order my wife around: "Okusan! Biiru kudasai." I had to set them straight right there on the spot and they were pretty confused. Times have changed some but I still hear from a few of my female Japanese colleagues that they hate the year-end holidays because they have so many relatives visiting and they have to do all the house chores.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

She needs material to be able to complain about him while she's at the French cafe, Italian restaurant, Starbucks, park, English lesson, swim school, dance class, etc..

9 ( +14 / -5 )

So then 50% of either husbands or wives are liars.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I bet they do do 50%. But for a Japanese wife unless he does 90% he’ll never be doing “50%”

3 ( +12 / -9 )

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