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If you have or had a Japanese spouse, how would you describe your relationship with your Japanese in-laws? How has it changed over the years since you got married?


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First night I met the {prospective } inlaws, I got supremely drunk with father {Japanese }......I mean he laid on every drink he had...beer, sake, wine, plum wine, whiskey, shochu.....{maybe it was a test ?}

I went to bed and woke up at 3am with the room spinning wildly......mad dash to the toilet.....didnt make it....spewed all over the place including onto the fridge.

Next morning, dying with shame I apologised profusely to {prospective } Mother in law.

Her reply ? Pointing at her husband she said "dont worry, he's done that too "

Happy ever after and coming onto 30 years of marriage.

Sadly Father in law passed away about a month ago .....many tears shed for a diamond geezer.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Pretty much the The Kubler-Ross Change Curve.

Anger -- Avoidance -- Blame -- Acceptance -- Self-awareness.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Things were a bit different in the 80s and there weren't many foreigners in Japan. However, the whole family took me in completely at ease, not a hint of any tension or aloofness. My wife's grandfather told pretty good stories about the war, just a typical grandfather. They even quickly got used to my sharp, ironic and wry, black humour.

My sister-in-law's children were initially scared of me because they hadn't seen foreigners before and they weren't commonly seen on TV back then (note that there was no "Why did you come to Japan"). However, after a very short time everything was fine. No problem with extended family either.

Maybe it's all about simple human behaviour and attitude. And you can also tell a lot from your partner

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@GuruMick, something similar here. My first meeting was with my wife's sister and her husband. I found out later he had been charged with vetting me as the parents didn't trust the sister's judgement (a sucker for a smile is what they thought). We shared a crate of beer, he asked me what I thought about marrying the second most beautiful woman in Japan, and I was put to sleep in my wife's grandmother's house along the road. It seems I passed the test. I also heard later that my mother-in-law's first response when hearing her daughter was going to marry a foreigner was, "But what if he takes her away and sells her?" My wife's sister's response was along the lines of, "Don't be daft. Who'd buy her?" That was 37 years ago. I have many fond memories of times (and more beer) with the in-laws since then.

(Sorry. Too much nostalgia.)

10 ( +12 / -2 )


0 ( +2 / -2 )

Great. No change.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They are extremely sweet and have been very loving and caring towards me from the very first moment I met them years ago. There was a time though, when we lived closer to them, when my MIL would suddenly just drop by for a visit. That was a bit troublesome (I detest surprise visitors and it's not a habit where I come from - I reckon you should always call & check in advance if it's a good time to visit). My spouse spoke with her though and she understood our point of view without any issues. Haven't had any problems since. I have even been able to confide to my MIL about some issues, and she's been very supportive.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Like most of you guys, great relationship. All of the family always ask me to tell my FIL to do something they want him to do because he will only listen to me. "Diamond geezer", that him too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Haven't seen them for months. They refuse to meet anyone in case they get infected. They go to their local supermarket and their weekly tennis and sewing clubs, because obviously those places are less risky than meeting family. Or maybe they just hate me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The first time I met my Father-in-law at home in Hiroshima, a Bucho in a telecommunications company, he repeatedly pointed at himself and said, "Yellow monkey, huh? Yellow monkey??" Apparently, even then the war hadn't quite ended for him and he was a bit of a conservative and had a 'reserved' and a bit stern personality. But, as time wore on and we saw more of each other, he began to soften and the fact that I took good care of his daughter had a positive effect on his attitude. He's passed away and I miss him now. When we explained to my Mother-in-law, previous to meeting my Father-in-law, that we were going to get married, she put the back of her wrist to her forehead and laid back on the sofa in 'distress'. I think she was imagining her husband's reaction. In neither case was the news 'celebratory'. He didn't attend and refused her Mother from attending our wedding but my wonderful Grandmother-in-law came and I cherish her memory greatly. Much of their 'concern' was the fear that I would take their Number One daughter back to America which is what finally happened, but their visits were quite happy and often. Every morning at the little shrine we have, my wife lights the incense and rings the bell and, sometimes when I think if him, I do too. It's decades later but those memories are as fresh as yesterday and my appreciation of my great good luck in 'accidentally' meeting my wife still continues to grow. For some Japanese women in my wife's acquaintance here, the story has not been as positive...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Great stories!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fantastic! My father-in-law is my drinking buddy, they would do anything for me and I for them. Couldn’t be happier.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

FIL is great, MIL is a controlling sociopath who thinks she owns my daughter.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Unfortunately I have no mother-in-law, as she passed away during my wife's childhood. But the relationship with the rest of my Japanese wife's family, including her father has always been extremely good over the past 20 years of living in Japan. Yeah - numerous really funny episodes of getting drunk with my father in law, who retired from an executive position as a large Japanese company.

One anecdote I can contribute here: when he found out I don't really like whisky (during my student times) he was like - "yeah, the boy needs to grow up some more", and he didn't insist on it. 10 years later, when he heard I finally I graduated to the drink, he brought one of the most expensive bottles from his small collection and opened it (against my horrified protests - as the bottle was about 30man yen) right there and had shared a drink with me. I think he waited for that ocasion himself, haha :) . Afterwards he proudly thaught me to appreciate the various brands and grades Japan has to offer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Relationships with all five have been excellent actually, but hard to recall everyone’s name.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, I returned here, dated quite a bit…realised I don’t think I could live that Japanese lifestyle. So I doubt I’ll be marrying here.

Maybe when I’m old I’ll change my mind lol

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm going to introduce the expected spouse to in-laws regardless of nationality and would have no opposition. However, people in their 50s or over appear to have a certain tendency toward foreigners. Let's take one example, in the international sports competition, such people tend to have a notion of "Genuine Japanese". Even though an athlete have the nationality of Japanese, whose family name or first name is not Japanese oriented, is regarded as "Not Genuine" by such people. This express they lack of understanding towards diversity. Therefore, we, young adults, need to have them change the way they see.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just as we were about to say our wedding vows out of the blue my father in law got up and started shouting that the marriage should not happen. I was not good enough for his daughter blah blah blah. We had to have him escorted out. 9 years ago and neither my wife or I have spoken to him since. They both lived in America for 20 years and can speak good English. They never gave us a wedding present. Father in law went to a very good university, worked around the world for a large trading company and still plays golf at 80. My wife speaks to her mother by phone 2 or 3 times a week. Mother in law is super sweet. I have met her 3 times for lunch.

Is one brother we have stayed at his house in America he is great. His parents have not spoken to him for 25 years as he is married to another guy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Have had many-a Japanese girlfriend, some quite serious, and I never had a bad encounter with the parents. Yes, I got the usual questions about what I can and can't do (chopsticks, sushi, etc.) and was challenged to a couple of drink-offs with fathers, and it was all good. I did, however, often hear that BEFORE meeting the were quite nervous or had had negative opinions of foreigners, though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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