After getting married, visiting your in-laws becomes something normal and in Japan, that is no exception. Returning home/帰省(kisei) during holidays, especially, should be something relaxing and fun because you get to see your family and spend precious time with them. However, when it comes to visiting your in-laws, many of the Japanese housewives have a different opinion on the matter.
I first heard this term after talking to one of my Japanese acquaintances and she told me that some of the people really don’t get along, feel awkward and sometimes are even harassed by their in-laws.
That is the reason why holidays like New Year’s turn into something very depressing for those people because, in spite of having a holiday, they will need to 気を使う(ki wo tsukau), be thoughtful of their husband’s parents.
After more research, I stumbled upon different opinions and some women were mentioning that they are not fond of drinking, but they are forced to drink until morning, others are saying that even though is New Year’s, because they are women, they need to cook, wash dishes all night and is just tiring.
Many are afraid to say it directly, but searching for the tag #Kiseiblue on twitter, I could find out more reasons and various opinions of why they wouldn’t want to visit their in-laws and here I will share a few of them:
“I totally understand kisei blue Now I don’t experience it, but when I was young, during Obon or New Year’s holidays, I felt melancholy and honestly detested it. However, because now I will be the mother-in-law, I should be careful and be considerate”.
“First of all, I don’t understand “returning home” to your in-laws. If you get married, you have your own family, right? So why should I go all the way and even do housework at my husband’s place? Is he going to do the same when coming to my family’s house? Why does such a thing even exist?”
“I perfectly understand the 'Homecoming Blue' phenomenon during holidays. Nowadays, it is already an era when women go to work. I don’t get what’s fun in going to your husband’s house during holidays. I also understand when husbands don’t want to go to their wives' houses, too. We should all go to our own houses separately just with our children. However, it might be impossible if you’re not raising kids.”
“If you and your mother-in-aw get to know each other and understand that you are different, then it will eventually get comfortable. From her point of view, I am a guest, so I never helped with preparing anything or washing the dishes. I watch TV, stretch my legs, let the child in their care and go out with my husband. It’s troublesome because you think of it as 'family,' but you are a guest.”
Above you can see different people voicing their opinions about feeling blue when going to their husbands’ houses.
Besides the opinions mentioned above, it seems that some wives feel uncomfortable when their in-laws talk about negative things and it makes them feel depressed just listening to them or are simply tired and just want to rest during holidays, some even receive bad treatment, sometimes harassment!
I’ve heard of in-laws telling the wives about their husbands’ previous relationships or calling them ugly, also suggesting that they should be cleaner, etc. so figures why wives will get uncomfortable going to their place.
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