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1 in 3 Japanese women want to be housewives: poll

171 Comments

One in three young Japanese women wants to get married and be a full-time housewife, a government survey has showed, despite growing calls for increased female participation in the workforce.

The poll, which quizzed more than 3,000 people aged 15-39, found 34% of unmarried women did not want to work when they settled down.

The survey, by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, found that only a slightly higher proportion of women actively did not want to become dedicated home-makers (38%), while the rest had no firm opinion either way.

However, potential husbands were on the whole less keen on the idea, with only one in five saying they wanted a future wife to stay at home all day.

Despite high levels of education, many women in Japan drop out of the workforce when they have children, and social pressures to play the homemaker remain strong.

Experts at home and abroad, notably IMF director Christine Lagarde, have argued that women could rescue Japan's chronically underperforming economy if more of them went to work.

The nation's male-dominated, shrinking labor market is being hit by retiring baby boomers and a falling birthrate, which is putting extra pressure on the nation's finances as it tries to fund a growing pension pot from a shrinking pool of workers.

As part of an overhaul aimed at getting the economy moving again, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to expand business opportunities for women.

Earlier this week, his foreign minister told a United Nations forum that by 2020, 30% of senior government positions would be held by women. At present only two of the 19 members of the cabinet are women.

The survey, conducted on the Internet in late March and released this week, found younger women tended not to be looking for potential husbands who can bring home a huge pay check.

More than 40% said they wanted a moderate, but stable lifestyle, and would be happy with a household take-home of 200,000-300,000 yen a month to live off after marriage.

There was no breakdown in the poll detailing how many respondents did not want to get married in the first place.

© (C) 2013 AFP

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There was no breakdown in the poll detailing how many respondents did not want to get married in the first place.

poll missing very important detail, when is the next poll? next year, me guess.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Hard to tell who is driving this sort of news. Is it feminists who lost their minds? Or greedy capitalists wishing to expand the workforce?

Actually I think it safe to say that 2/3's would like to be housewives since that middle third had no objections. Just because it was not their life goal, I don't think its fair to exclude them from the group wanting to be housewives. Its rather misleading.

Despite high levels of education, many women in Japan drop out of the workforce when they have children, and social pressures to play the homemaker remain strong.

You mean such as the social pressure of having kids to raise, a house to clean and a family who needs to eat something cooked that did not come out of a styrofoam container??

have argued that women could rescue Japan’s chronically underperforming economy if more of them went to work.

First of all, there are no jobs for them to go to. Second, "chronically underperforming economy"? Japan is number 3 in the world!

And I just cannot believe that only 1/5 of men would like to have a wife at home. What are the 4/5ths thinking? No kids? No house? Playboy life in an overpriced one room apartment with Mac for dinner until they die (young)?

-11 ( +10 / -21 )

I think these women meant that ¥200,000 to ¥300,000 would be a nice figure for solely them to get in it's entirety, i.e. this is what's left over after paying the bills, mortgage, childcare etc...! Nice life if you can rope some poor bugger into giving it to you!

13 ( +20 / -7 )

Or "2 in 3 Japanese Women do NOT Want to be Housewives"

19 ( +25 / -6 )

Girls, be ambitious.

Not.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

ControlFreak -

First of all, there are no jobs for them to go to.

yes, there are.

Second, "chronically underperforming economy"? Japan is number 3 in the world!

Japan is the 2nd biggest economy in the world. Has nothing to do with how it's performing.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

If the main alternative is to become an OL or just a junior lady in an office/factory, then I'd prefer to be a housewife too. There are a lot of exceptions, but mainly women in the workplace are still considered as beneath their male counterparts, even if they had a better education, and even if they are clearly more intelligent or capable than their male rivals. Changing, but very slowly.

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Why not focus on the fact that 2/3 DO want to have both a job/career and a family? What are you trying to say by focusing on the minority opinion?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

More than 40% said they wanted a moderate, but stable lifestyle, and would be happy with a household take-home of 200,000-300,000 yen a month to live off after marriage.

I wonder how a family with kids can survive, let alone maintain not an expensive but comfortable/stable lifestyle with this amount per month. With increasing taxes, prices, etc. it seems impossible to provide all the necessities for a family with or without kids if this is the income they'd have.

First of all there are no jobs for them to go to. Yes, there are jobs for them. The problem though is that most women still prefer to not go back to work even after their kids have grown enough not to need full-day care at home.

You mean such as the social pressure of having kids to raise, a house to clean and a family who needs to eat something cooked that did not come out of a styrofoam container?? Well, millions of women out of Japan manage to work, raise children and cook for their families. Cleaning can be shared by both husband and wife. When I was a kid, my parents cleaned the house together and we the kids helped a lot, too. My father cooked when my mother was away on business but then again he did not "suffer" from any prejudice regarding men's and women's roles at home and in the society.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Yeah...who wouldn't want a free ride? It would be so easy to drop out of workforce and leech of a partner , however economic realities these days often demand otherwise. Get realistic girls

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

If the main alternative is to become an OL or just a junior lady in an office/factory, then I'd prefer to be a housewife too.

I know plenty of guys who wouldn't mind serving tea if they could punch out at 5PM.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

This poll shows how much smarter women really are. They've seen their worn-out (:() father coming home late every night from work (or " a meeting") and their worn-out (:)) mother coming home from aerobics or lunch with her "friend". The young girls know who has a happier life. I'd love to be a housewife. If I only had a uterus.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Being equally educated and qualified as men, only to go into the workforce to be treated as secondary/inferior/short term employees wouldn't really float my boat either.

Don't blame the ladies.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

With women like this the future of Japan isn't looking particularly bright.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

I think it would be fairly easy to rustle up a poll saying that 1/3 of men who want a wife also don't want to have to hold down a job as the family breadwinner......this isn't particularly scientific.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Some Japanese girls still love the dream of having a non working life with plenty of housewife activities; Gym, flamenco dance, English lessons, golf... and a husband that shows up just to sleep on the weekends. Just like their mothers did. However, the salary of men these days is nowhere as high as it was on the golden 80s.

13 ( +20 / -7 )

Once again we have people getting their knickers in a twist over other folks' lifestyle choices.

The poll asked young, unmarried women, ie ladies who have no direct experience of managing a home/job/kids all at the same time. Come back and ask the same ladies about their choices ten or twenty years down the line, see if they're still so keen to stay at home/go out to work. The ones who decided to stay at home will probably look back and wish they'd had more money to spend on their family; the ones who went out to work will probably wish they'd had more time to spend with their family.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

A lot of coffee shop bludger wannabes in waiting.One complaint is that with the low pay and with a child, it's not worth paying nursery school fees to work.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: most Japanese women are lazy, lazy, lazy. I have spoken with hundreds, if not thousands, of middle-class housewives, and believe me they do not want to give up the cushy life. Who can blame them? If I could sit around popping bon-bons all day I'd do it, too.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

I can remember the government attempting to 'encourage' women to have more children and I suppose that is still what they want along with more women in the workforce. Childcare facilities are extremely expensive compared with most other developed countries and Japan ranks very low in terms of women's economic and political power, in some calculations barely above Muslim countries. Maybe we should see 34% as surprisingly low.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Or "2 in 3 Japanese Women do NOT Want to be Housewives"

Seriously. Way to screw up the focus on this one.

Hard to tell who is driving this sort of news. Is it feminists who lost their minds? Or greedy capitalists wishing to expand the workforce?

What is this nonsense? Feminists have lost their minds because they want women to have the "luxury" of self-determination? And as for "greedy capitalists," Japan's demographic problems demand that more women enter the workforce, unless the nation is willing to open its doors to significant immigration. (Or robots...)

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Of those married or hope to be which is a fragment of the current population.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be a housewife and raise kids. I'm a feminist, and I would be perfectly happy to be a housewife. Feminism is about making choices. Raising kids is incredibly difficult and not everyone is up to it. Not to mention, being a housewife doesn't mean ALL you do is raise kids and cook and clean. You can have hobbies and interests and passions even when not at a 9-5 job.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Some Japanese girls still love the dream of having a non working life with plenty of housewife activities; Gym, flamenco dance, English lessons, golf... and a husband that shows up just to sleep on the weekends.

I can't remember his username off the top of my head, but there's a Japanese guy who posts on here about his stay-at-home wife, for whom he funds hula dancing club, mama-ranchi and other stuff, and she just moans and complains at him all the time. Classic! I can't wait to see what he posts on this thread.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

We need equality in the workplace (I despise the term "OL") (and I'm a guy)

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Neonfraction:

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be a housewife and raise kids

The key word being AND.

It's understandable that one parent should stay home and look after the kids and clean up their mess. But I sure as hell wouldn't want to marry someone who just wants to stay at home or go out for lunches with their friends, attend ballet classes, and gossip all day when there are no kids in the family while I work all day. People with no kids should go out and work and not depend on someone else.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

If my wife gave me the choice to stay at home and be a house-husband and pursue my interests with no obligation to contribute to the household income, then I'd take it in a heartbeat. I'm surprised the number isn't higher.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I would rather sit around stuffing bon bons too. Or maybe I would go to the culture centre to do a bit of learning, or maybe on a holiday abroad, or perhaps sit around chatting with other house-persons. The stranger thing is that non-Japanese women were conned into thinking not-being a housewife is something that they should aspire to.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

This is one of the most misogynist society where women earn half of men do. When Abe's government says they want to increase the female workforce, they are simply saying women working as stopgap for those companies the government is trying so hard to protect.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I'm beginning to think that those who accuse housewives of doing nothing all day either don't know how to clean a house properly, shop or cook, either that or they had layabout mothers themselves. I'm leaning towards the latter, judging buy the venom directed at those who stay home.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Why shouldn't women stay at home and look after the family is they want, Of course they need to marry a hard working man who has the ability to finance everything.

The IMF is part of big business and the elite, wanting more Japanese women in the workforce. This is so there are more consumers, kids in day care, mum having a bit more cash to buy things. It's all a con to increase consumerism and reduce wages. Yes more people looking for jobs means more choice for the employer and lower salaries except for those at the top as we have seen in every single western country.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I'm beginning to think that those who accuse housewives of doing nothing all day either don't know how to clean a house properly, shop or cook, either that or they had layabout mothers themselves

Funny, I think the same thing about housewives that complain about household chores being a full-time job. I have plenty of double-income friends who somehow manage to raise 3 kids, cook, do the finances and keep their houses spick-and-span without turning it into a 7-day a week, 8hr a day marathon, then whinging about being "under-appreciated".

3 ( +11 / -8 )

@papsmurfinjapan.

yeah, not too hard to keep the house clean when hardly any one lives in the place. With mummy and daddy at work for most of the day and the children in paid day care, there is not much housework to do, or are kids dormant from 7 am to 6 pm?

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Or "2 in 3 Japanese Women do NOT Want to be Housewives"

They'd rather just live with their parents.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

kids dormant from 7 am to 6 pm

Kids go to a place called S C H O O L during the day.

Now if you're caring for little kids all day, sure you'll have a bit more cleaning up to do - but that is a small blip on the decades of housewivery the woman who chooses not to work has to deal with. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

If a stay at home mum who has a 12yr old kid in school is flat out cleaning up that kid's mess all day, then she has failed as a mother in the first place. No offense intended to stay at home mums, but I still think dad who works 12hrs a day, 6 days a week has it worse off than mum. If I had a choice, I'd choose the former.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I have plenty of double-income friends who somehow manage to raise 3 kids

You mean they pay for someone else to watch their kids while they're busy earning those double incomes. It's impossible to be in two places at once.

cook

From scratch, using fresh ingredients, every day? There simply isn't enough time if you're working a full-time job, don't get home till 7 and need to have the kids fed, bathed, homework-supervised and in bed with a bedtime story by 9.

do the finances

Two incomes being a lot easier to do the finances for than one....

and keep their houses spick-and-span

If everyone is out all day, why wouldn't it be spick-and-span? There's no one there to mess it up.

Whichever way a family decides to go, there's going to be corners cut: either you stay at home and use your time to alleviate the scarcity of money, or you work and use your money to alleviate the scarcity of time. Whichever way you go there are going to be times when the grass looks greener on the other side, but I don't see why people feel the need to put down folk who make a different choice.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

I can't believe the cliched vitriol in most of these comments. Been there, done that. I prefer my wife at home. And if all it takes is a gross income of ¥20-30,000 to make a girl content, who's to say what she wants or expects from a loving husband who can provide that? She certainly isn't demanding! So if reasonable comfort and a loving relationship mean more than money, who are most of you who denigrate that option in life to criticize? Sad sacks, that's what. Consume, consume, consume, spend, spend, spend - that's all you know about how to make your lives happy. Pity. I'll take the reasonable girl, anytime. Life is a lot more than money. Lesson over.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

You mean they pay for someone else to watch their kids while they're busy earning those double incomes.

Regardless of whether you work or sit on your bum at home, your kids will go to school unless you choose to home school them. You are simply making the assumption that all kids whose mothers choose to work are little babies put in child-care. That is an inaccurate assumption. Many mothers who choose to return to the workforce do so AFTER their children have entered Elementary school. You think they should sit around until 3:30 for their kids to come home?

From scratch, using fresh ingredients, every day?

Oh, I'm sorry if my friends home cooking doesn't meet your high standards Cleo. How dare someone use frozen vegetables when they should be buying pesticide-laced "fresh" vegies from the supermarket.

Two incomes being a lot easier to do the finances for than one More trips to the bank, more taxes to pay.. easier, sure..

If everyone is out all day, why wouldn't it be spick-and-span?

Dust accumulates whether you are in the house or not. Windows need cleaning, baths need scrubbing, trash needs to be taken out, washing needs to be done...

I'm not putting down women who stay at home. I'm just saying I think it's preferable to going out to work for a living if hubby's income is enough to live on. I support a woman's choice to support whatever she wants to do. But I take issue with women who complain and whine about how hard being a housewife is to their husbands who are working their arses off to actually pay for everything - then complain that he doesn't do enough around the home.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Also worth noting is, this mentality has spawned from the girls having been raised in a household where the mother did the same. I've lived in both rural and urban (Tokyo) Japan and this is how young women are raised. Get married early, settle down and that's it.

That's just not how the modern world works, people. GET OUT AND WORK!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Everybody has it easier than the "old" days. As for this article, it seems a bit prejudiced against women. Based on the results the title should be "2/3 of young women don't want to be married and be full time housewives". 3,000 is not a scientific pool but you don't need a poll to know most Japanese women don't want to be housewives... just look at the birthrate and the high suicide rate. Based on the suicide rate, only S. Korean women have it worst in Asia. Now this survey doesn't answer what those 2,000 women want to do if not get married and be a housewife. Maybe the ministry didn't want to know.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well, I think women mean they want a man who will give them a child, a free house and 200-300,000-yen spending money, mainly on the condition that once the child is born she makes him a cheap bento, allows hom 30,000-yen spending money (approx one-tenth of what she gets) and absolutely no physical relationship. That's what so many see in their own families, so it's natural that they would want the same.

Mind you, if japan cannot even break into the world's top 100 countries in terms of gender equality, why on earth would a majority of women want to face the workplace. They get treated like crap on the whole.

http://www.japancrush.com/2012/stories/japan-101st-in-global-gender-equality-rankings-reactions.html

2 ( +9 / -7 )

"... mother coming home from aerobics or lunch with her "friend"..."

Hahaha. No, but don't you remember? There was an article recently saying that Japanese wives don't cheat or aspire to cheat on their husbands remember? :p

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The best job a woman can have is being a housewife and raising her and her husband's children. Taking care of them in their infancy. Seeing them off to school in the morning and greeting them when they come home.

So many ladies at my company, pop out kids, ship them off to nursery school for 8 to 10 hrs a day where some stranger takes 'care' of them, instilling 'their' value system into your children so they can come back to work and earn 800 yen an hour as an OL.

If a typical family of 4 can't live off a husband's salary, then they are living beyond their means.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

People can do what they want. That said, if a man wants a babysitter then thats the life hell have to live with.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@papasurfinjapan

" Kids go to a place called SCHOOL everyday" What from the time they are born? If patents have more kids there is often more than one child in the family of pre school age. The fact is people here seem to think Japan is backwards, this is because they are using a bias, a western one, One that is the accepted norm in media, governments and societies in the west. Women should have a choice yet we have "feminists" here insisting it is a woman's duty to work. That is not the feminist agenda, it is the globalists agenda and powerful propaganda.

I pity those little kids and toddlers who see their parents less on Monday to Friday 's than paid strangers do. The whole thing that most from the west have fallen for is to destroy the family unit and make us feel dependent on services (with fees), such as day care, further education for all, training for a new job. It wants money spent and people in debt. This agenda has failed in Japan and i love that.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Only a third? I thought it would be more. One of my students is a woman in her mid-30's. She has a PHD in bio-engineering and does not work. She stays home with her teenage kids while her husband slogs his life away as a company employee.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I pity those little kids and toddlers who see their parents less on Monday to Friday 's than paid strangers do.

Me too. But what does that have to do with this topic? Like I said to Cleo - you are presuming that all mothers who choose to work all have 0-3 year old kids and are shuffling them off to child-care so they can "selfishly" pursue their careers. Now that may be the accepted norm in Western countries, but here in Japan, many mothers, at least where I live, choose not to return to work until their children enter elementary school and they have more time on their hands.

I wholeheartedly agree that regarding preschool age kids, where economic circumstances allow, parenting should be a full-time job. I'm talking about after the kids get older and go off to school at 7:30 in the morning and don't come back until 4 or 5pm (or even later). There is no necessity for the mother to be at home, and I think it is only fair that instead of spending her husband's hard-earned money on lunches with friends and yoga and designer clothes, that she also go out and earn her keep - of course there will always be exceptions, but since we are talking in generalisations, that is where I stand.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@papasmurfinjapan

Surely she earns her keep by being a mother, and caring for the household. Another western myth of the globalists is that only paid work is meaningful. There are also many "feminist" men i encounter that inisist their wife works so they can have more money for themselves.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

"The poll . . . found 34% of unmarried women did not want to work" Just kidding, but there is [some] truth to this misquote.

Following this type of marriage are the constant money saving "ideas" of the wife...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan is the 2nd biggest economy in the world. Has nothing to do with how it's performing.

Japan is the 3rd, China overtook Japan 1.5 years ago.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

My wife works full time (teaching): She left Japan to do so.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My wife was much happier as a house wife!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Come to Canada, we could use your education and initiative ;)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The 1 in 3 women in the survey are expressing a dream. The reality may turn out differently. Which does not imply that (young) women do not have the right to make a choice. If and when society starts denying them that privilege something is seriously wrong.

But what I am certain of is that as soon as women in the workplace receive more respect and start earning wages on the principle of equal pay for equal work, things will change.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

falseflagsteve: Women should have a choice yet we have "feminists" here insisting it is a woman's duty to work. That is not the feminist agenda, it is the globalists agenda and powerful propaganda.

What are you on about? What "feminists" here are "insisting it is a woman's duty to work"? Has it ever occurred to you that women simply want the opportunity to be able to work outside the home if that is what they choose? Feminism is not a dirty word, no matter how badly you'd like to make it one. Men and women are not the same and no one would dispute that but where equality comes into it is in the ability to chose one's destiny. I don't know any feminist who thinks otherwise and I don't know any feminist who doesn't value the role of a stay-at-home parent. If you want don't like the supposed judgement directed at stay-at-home moms then you'd do well to not judge women who chose to work.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

No hope for Japanese women to be someone other than being a housewife. No social infrastructure are available for Japanese women mobility. What do you expect from Japanese women other than being a wife? Their doors have been kept shut. They are smart enough to know this, and they do not waste their times on something they will not be able to become.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

sf2k: Come to Canada, we could use your education and initiative ;)

What initiative?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ambrosia

yes, feminists here have been saying a woman should work, please read others posts. Feminism is a dirty word when it comes to preserving the family unit.Feminism is not what women want but is pushed by the elite and big corporations who ensure this line is pumped to the public via media and the government. Feminism was pushed by the Rockerfella foundation and supported with millions of USD to get women into the work force to make more consumers, nothing more, nothing less and they care not for women's or men's rights.

I have never said any woman should not have the right to work, you must be confusing my posts with someone else.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Why do so many people condemn the lifestyle choices of others? If someone wants to be a "stay at home housewife" exactly what is wrong with that?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Personally-speaking, I think the percentage of would-be housewives to be higher than the poll suggests.

Increasing female participation in the workforce is only a temporary solution, as the female population is shrinking just as quickly the male.

The question which needs to be asked is "why is the population shrinking?". The answer is remarkably simple, people believe that they don't have the time or money to raise children. The cost of living in Japan is very high, the median income in Japan is mediocre at best. And even those who might have the money are full-time workers who spend more time working and commuting than they spend at home.

With the majority of Japanese jobs being located in the few metro areas, it is also hard to find a home with room enough for children. I live in the center of Tokyo, and there are more poodles and dachshunds here than there are children. Dogs take up much less space than children. If companies were to diversify the locations of their factories and offices throughout the country, they would be able to provide higher-paying jobs in areas where the low cost of living would allow people to have more children. But in a country where appearance is everything, a company's letterhead must have "Tokyo" on it, and many companies operate offices in Ginza and other prestigious areas of the city, even if the cost of these offices generate a heavy loss.

If Japan wants its population and economy to grow, it should permit people to work reasonable hours. Many Japanese work 10 or more hours a day, and many have to commute to work for an hour or more each way. The ironic thing is that though many Japanese are at the office for 10 or more hours a day, they don't do more than 8 hours of real work. My wife's company received a new CEO from the UK. This new CEO was amazed at how much time people spent in the office relative to the amount of work which was actually done. He then made a rule which required all staff to leave by 7pm. Most staff members worked until from 9pm to 11pm. The staff panicked, thinking that there was no way they would be able to complete their work. This turned out not to be the case. In time, the same number of tasks which had been completed under the old schedule were completed under the new one.

Lastly, an entire parasitic class of middlemen, sosha-gaisha, take a cut of nearly all goods sold in Japan, which significantly drives up the cost of living. Most of these are divisions of the big-name companies in Japan. Collusion between service providers and retailers to set minimum prices at higher levels also increases the cost of living, while encouraging poor/inefficient business practices. These activites are strictly illegal in all other developed countries throughout the world. Collusion and price-fixing among Japanese companies operating in foreign countries is frequently uncovered in these countries, and these companies are strictly fined and punished, but in Japan this activity is cultural, and accepted by regulators (who themselves likely profit from it).

This "increasing female participation in the workforce" may only end up perpetuating the current broken and corrupt system, at least until there aren't enough men or women to keep it going.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Regardless of whether you work or sit on your bum at home, your kids will go to school unless you choose to home school them. You are simply making the assumption that all kids whose mothers choose to work are little babies put in child-care. That is an inaccurate assumption. Many mothers who choose to return to the workforce do so AFTER their children have entered Elementary school.

I'm making no assumptions at all. When my kids were in elementary school they could come home any time between 2 and 5:30, depending on the day of the week, the time of year and/or the whim of the teacher - and even the weather. Good luck trying to arrange a work schedule that fits those irregular hours. At some point the child is going to end up in the 'after-school club' because Mum won't be home for another hour or so. Having someone at home when he comes in from school is a big thing for a child. Most mothers where I live tended to get jobs when their youngest entered junior high, not elementary school.

they should be buying pesticide-laced "fresh" vegies from the supermarket.

And the frozen stuff is magically pesticide-free? lol

Growing your own is a good way to avoid the pesticides, but it takes time....Like I said, you choose for yourself whether you use your time to solve your money problems, or your money to solve your time problems.

I take issue with women who complain and whine about how hard being a housewife is

I don't see anyone whining about housework here. A strawman argument? Does mamasmurf whine?

I wholeheartedly agree that regarding preschool age kids, where economic circumstances allow, parenting should be a full-time job.

We're on the same page.

What "feminists" here are "insisting it is a woman's duty to work"?

who wouldn't want a free ride? It would be so easy to drop out of workforce and leech of a partner....Get realistic girls

With women like this the future of Japan isn't looking particularly bright.

People with no kids should go out and work

You think they should sit around until 3:30 for their kids to come home?

There is no necessity for the mother to be at home, and I think it is only fair that.....she also go out and earn her keep

Feminism is not what women want

Oooer, I'm a woman and I'm all in favour of feminism - so long as it stresses the right of men and women to make a choice together, to decide what's right for them and their family. Insisting that all women must engage in paid work (whether they want/need to or not) is as bigotted as insisting that all women should stay home, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

It should not surprise people that many J-women want to stay at home, just look at their options in life in Japan, its pretty damned limited!

Heck even for J-guys the life as a salary drone for the majority is life sapping!

If I was a Japanese woman, I would NOT want to do most work in Japan that women typically do, so yeah staying at home would certainly look more appealing to me!

But given as I from else where if I suddenly turned in to J-woman I would be looking to get the hell out of Japan, its incredibly dismal & boring if you happen to be female for the vast majority, but by being Japanese that same majority are basically trapped in Japan, SO marrying some guy & staying at home looks pretty damned good, hence their thinking that way, makes perfect sense if you look at things from a J-womans point o view!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's Real Anecdote Time.

My wife works for a major insurer (3rd largest in Japan, 8th in the word). Recently, the company began an initiative to create and promote the expansion of "Salary Person" positions, as opposed to "Salary Man" position. In other words, they said they were looking to provide a career avenue similar to what men in Japan enjoy, both in terms of job responsibility and financial compensation, to the women in their company.

In order to accomplish this, the company mandated that the Office Ladies in the company immediately begin to learn the Salary Men's jobs, from paperwork to client relations to sale techiques. Basically the entire gamut of what the men do, including going out on sales calls to clients and potential clients in the area.

Here's the rub. It's fully expected that the women in the company not only learn and do the Salary Men's jobs, but also complete their own OL work within the proscribed time of a regular workday. In the meantime, they get no pay bump whatsoever for this extra workload. None at all. This initiative is now in its second year.

Here's the other rub: The Salary Men? While their work load has decreased, thanks to the OLs taking over much of it, their pay has not decreased in the least. And they have in no way been tasked with learning the OL side of the company operations.

My wife's overtime has spiked sharply in the last two years to the tune of three hours of unpaid overtime per day.

It's my honest suspicion that this "initiative" is designed this way solely to force the women in the company to complain, giving the company a pretext to revert back to the status quo because the women in the company can't "handle" the extra responsibility.

6 ( +6 / -1 )

Cleo: The posters who wrote what you quoted are either all male, or have not identified as male or female. And to the best of my knowledge, neither have they identified as feminists which pretty much confirms what I wrote to falseflagfsteve.

People with no kids should go out and work -

Said by pukey2 who seems to be a guy since he also said

But I sure as hell wouldn't want to marry someone who just wants to stay at home or go out for lunches with their friends, attend ballet classes, and gossip all day when there are no kids in the family while I work all day

who wouldn't want a free ride? It would be so easy to drop out of workforce and leech of a partner....Get realistic girls

Said by marcelito, which is generally a guy's name.

With women like this the future of Japan isn't looking particularly bright

Said by livedintokyo who, as far as I know, has not identified as male or female.

You think they should sit around until 3:30 for their kids to come home?

Said by papasmurfinjapan who has identified as a male in past posts.

There is no necessity for the mother to be at home, and I think it is only fair that.....she also go out and earn her keep

Also said by papasmurfinjapan

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Funny, I think the same thing about housewives that complain about household chores being a full-time job.

I'm sure it's in response to years of catty comments about eating bon-bons and watching the soaps all day!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

yes, feminists here have been saying a woman should work, please read others posts.

No, they haven't. I can't find one comment by a poster who identifies as a woman saying any such thing.

Feminism is not what women want but is pushed by the elite and big corporations who ensure this line is pumped to the public via media and the government

You're not a woman so please don't tell us what we want. We're intelligent enough to sort it out for ourselves and if some of us want to work outside the home there are a myriad of reasons for that, none of which can be boiled down into something so simple as anti-liberal rhetoric.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

...social pressures to play the homemaker remain strong.

I think these "social pressures" on Japanese women to play the role of homemaker mainly emerge when married Japanese women who work see their housewife peers living the life of Riley.

Just think about it. Japan has the smallest houses of any developed economy, Japanese couples have by far the fewest children on average, and Japanese schools, cram schools and club activities occupy longer hours of children's time than anywhere else (including Saturdays and Sundays). This translates to very little time spent with housekeeping/homemaking on the part of Japanese wives, and with the kids rarely home minimal time spent parenting.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My husband works for a large Japanese corporation. The one woman who has made managerial level goes home at 5.30 at the latest to pick up her children, whilst the men at a similar grade of responsibility and pay have to work until the small hours, picking up the work she has left behind, because it is "her right" to work AND have children. You cant have it both ways, something, somewhere has to give. Her poor children are dumped at daycare all day, they lose out. Her company has to carry her unwillingness to work after 5pm, they lose out, and I don't get my husband home until much later because he and others have to finish her work.

I might be a homemaker, but at least I don't inconvenience anyone, and my children get my attention.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

@Koiwaicoffee

Some Japanese girls still love the dream of having a non working life with plenty of housewife activities; Gym, flamenco dance, English lessons, golf... and a husband that shows up just to sleep on the weekends. Just like their mothers did. However, the salary of men these days is nowhere as high as it was on the golden 80s.

My words exactly. Japanese girls have a huge misunderstanding of what being a housewife is. They think they can lounge around all day watching variety shows and dramas, or going shopping and spending their husband's money while the husband is off to work and the kids go off to school. Its this kind of simpleton attitude that leads to depression, divorce, and sometimes domestics abuse, when real life doesn't meet their expectations.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The one woman who has made managerial level goes home at 5.30 at the latest to pick up her children, whilst the men at a similar grade of responsibility and pay have to work until the small hours, picking up the work she has left behind, because it is "her right" to work AND have children.

The real problem with that situation is what are they doing all day? If one person can leave, then I have to ask why are the others still there? If they can't get the job done in 8 hours, then either they are not very good workers, or management is not effective in realizing that and not hiring people.

It takes two to have children, and as you say, your husband is a man and we are part of that process. So if you are settled for him to work long hours into the small hours then that is a choice you both have made. If you don't like it, find another source of employement.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

More than 40% said they wanted a moderate, but stable lifestyle, and would be happy with a household take-home of 200,000-300,000 yen a month to live off after marriage.

So they don't want kids. Well, probably 80% of Japanese people don't want any these days.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This new CEO was amazed at how much time people spent in the office relative to the amount of work which was actually done. He then made a rule which required all staff to leave by 7pm. Most staff members worked until from 9pm to 11pm. The staff panicked, thinking that there was no way they would be able to complete their work. This turned out not to be the case. In time, the same number of tasks which had been completed under the old schedule were completed under the new one.

@sangetsu03: Exactly what I was saying in my post. A lot of time from what I have noticed is that people often choose to stay in the office and do work because somehow that makes them feel like they are doing something. Outside of doing major surgery, why would one have to stay in an office environment for over 8 hours? I understand that things happen and overtime is required, but it amazes me that these same people will stay in the office for long hours on one day, and then when a week long holiday like Golden Week arrives, everyone can just leave. If things were that important, then why take more than a day off?

The attitudes about work and home life are what needs to be changed in Japan if they want to see an increase in children and population. If a woman (or a man these days) wants to stay at home and raise children, then more power to them. But there needs to be a work life balance that will allow them to do so.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

LaWren: I might be a homemaker, but at least I don't inconvenience anyone

Well, some might argue that point since housewives do not have to pay premiums but yet receive pensions paid out of a pool of kosei nenkin contributions. Since the entire pension system has been under-funded and over-extended for years, at least a third of these payments are now coming from tax revenues, which means everybody pays for designated homemakers. Additionally, a wife can earn up to ¥1.03 million (approx. $13,000) a year and still remain a dependent, meaning she doesn't have to pay income taxes. -

I'm not in any way trying to say that you should be forced to work or that as someone who is raising children, you are not contributing to society. I'm simply saying that there are a variety of ways of looking at the situation and that is one of them.

And as you complained about the woman above, I work with a man who does the same thing. I don't see the point in complaining though because first, Japan needs children and second, it all comes around. Stay-at-home-mos don't pay into the pension system but will benefit from it. The woman is going home at 5:30 to attend to her children so she is paying taxes which contribute to society, raising children, who will hopefully contribute to society and contributing to her company. It seems that your complaint ought not to be directed at this woman but at the company your husband works for. In all likelihood, there is no realistic reason all of the workers can't go home at 5:30 but due to a manager who thinks it looks better for them to stay, inefficient working styles or workers too scared to say they are done and want to go home, people stay late and are miserable for it. In most countries leaving at 5:30 wouldn't be considered "early".

5 ( +5 / -0 )

ambrosia, since when did a feminist have to be female?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

cleo: They don't, but again, to the best of my knowledge, not one of the posters who you quoted to try and disprove my comment have identified themselves as feminists, as I said in my initial post regarding that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Alphaape

The attitudes about work and home life are what needs to be changed in Japan if they want to see an increase in children and population.

Japanese used to work longer hours and had more children. I do not see anything real between work / home life balance and population growth.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

They didn't ask the men? Sexist!

I want know what percentage of men want to be housewives.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This article "crax me up!" The defenders of the JP are grabbing at straws.

The women are so desperate to marry that they subscribe to the "OMIAI" directory in search of a husband. The men are also looking for a wife. Things like these are destined for doom. I personally know of a wench that confessed to me about finding her husband "Koji," through this service. Both she and her mother laughed so hard about it - as they told me the story.

He had to be a successful salary man with a substantial income, and a savings of XXXXXX amount of yen saved up. Then they proposed that he have a house, or plan to have a house built. Another catch was that her mother would be able to live with them.

One afternoon, the mother and her daughter the wench has us over for dinner. Koji came home and we were introduced to him. I can certainly see how they targeted him. His appearance was of an extremely shy (dorky) man. We sat at the dinner table, and they gave him his plate and sent him upstairs to his room - while we chatted. After he went up the stairs, they laughed about how much control they have.

Needless to say, I was completely disgusted!

From my own personal experience, I was married to a JP leech myself. She would literally "scream and bitch," and demanded to have 200,000 YEN minimum - for spending money, per month. And cried out loud saying, "I want diamonds and bangles!" Luckily the psycho and I are no longer together.

So, my heart goes out to the men who are overworked, and come home to some "fake-faced thang" that's squeezing him for everything that he's got.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm making no assumptions at all. When my kids were

Cleo, you always make the assumption that everybody lives as you do or they should. Who said mothers had to cook ? to supervise homework ? to give the bath to children ? to be home when we came back after school ? Mine has never done any of that. A mother it's not a cook. It's not a teacher . It's not a house cleaner. Unless kids are heavily disabled (which happens) they don't needing to be groomed and fed till the age of 20. . We had to clean our sh*t ourselves, even do the garden to grow organic veggies. We had no wish to go home directly after school, having outdoor activities or going to entertainment places, visiting other relatives and friends, studying in nice libraries. There are millions of possibility beside Cleo's boring model.

Her poor children are dumped at daycare all day, they lose out. Her company has to carry her unwillingness to work after 5pm, they lose out, and I don't get my husband home until much later because he and others have to finish her work.

You husband doesn't work more than she does, otherwise her company would cut her pay. After 5 pm , or at the cheapest hour for love hotel or drinking bar, he goes partying with his buddies. He doesn't want to do house chores and spend time with you and children.

my children get my attention.

Theirs get a Mum and Dad's attention maybe.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I wonder how many of those who want to be housewifes want to have kids?

While I do kind of think "each to their own", I also cant help but agree with Tessa - many Japanese women are just lazy and want a free ride from their husband. If these women are sitting at home all day, many of them with out children is it not a massive waste of talent? (Of course wanting to stay home to raise your own children while they are pre-elementary school is a COMPLETELY different kettle of fish)

One may argue that whether these women have kids or not is none of anyones business, I disagree. It will be the young people of today and their children who are picking up the tab for pensions when these "stay at home childless housewifes" are needing their money.

Personally I think those women who leave the workforce to become housewifes and never have kids or contribute taxes, should not be given a pension at all. Why should others pay for them to stay home and eat chocolate?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Given how workers rights are being dismantled and permanent, well-paying jobs are on the slide, the seemingly modest ambition of staying at home and living off a stable, middling income may not be so modest after all. I'm not sure how many of this 34% will have that choice a few years down the line.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The working environment sucks for women, there's no social support for mothers with children, so why not.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I was married to a JP leech myself. She would literally "scream and bitch," and demanded to have 200,000 YEN minimum - for spending money, per month. And cried out loud saying, "I want diamonds and bangles!" Luckily the psycho and I are no longer together.

I suppose she was a sweet little shrinking violet wearing patched clothes and making tea in an office until you put the ring on her finger? Pity you didn't suss her out before then.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

My large JP company requires to me attend 8+ hours per month of baloney meetings about explaining what I am doing to others who have no relation to my job. That is just a taste of why people are in the office so long, because they try to make up meetings and tasks that are relevant to the ultimate goal of the company to remain relevant.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's probably a sign of progress. A decade ago it would have been 2/3 and three decades ago, 90%. Four decades close to 100%. But Japan will still need to do better than that if it is to keep the economy chugging as the population ages. Not to mention if it wants to match the rest of the world in standards of women's progress and human rights.

As for the modest combined household income desire of 200-300,000 that just shows that most of these young women live at home and have no idea of the cost of living or raising a family.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

LaWren,

Clearly your hubby should be looking for a new job, the woman who leaves at 1730 is the problem, shes the SMART one!

Alphape nailed it, until Japanese learn to get their damned work done by 17-1800hrs each day they deserve their miserable lot! Sad thing is most still cant even see/recognize their sad situations

But hey if they don't care why should I! Till they realize they only have one life, its their fault they waste their years at an office & on the trains, no thx I say!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Who said mothers had to cook ? to supervise homework ? to give the bath to children ? to be home when we came back after school ?

You can pay others to do it all for you I suppose, but if you really aren't involved at all with ensuring that your kids are properly nourished, kept in a reasonably hygienic state, and have someone to keep an eye on them and be there with a hug, a kiss and a sympathetic ear when needed, are quite happy to delegate it all, then you really cannot seriously call yourself a mother. Just providing the ovum isn't enough, any more than being the sperm donor makes a bloke into a father.

they don't needing to be groomed and fed till the age of 20.

No one said they do. Do you equate someone who has just started school with an adult?

We had no wish to go home directly

I'm not surprised. It sounds like you had nothing to go home to or for.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It's Real Anecdote Time....

LFRAgain, it's refreshing to read a comment from someone else who understands just how Japan works. Great anecdote.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You can pay others to do it all for you I suppose, but if you really aren't involved at all with ensuring that your kids are properly nourished, kept in a reasonably hygienic state, and have someone to keep an eye on them and be there with a hug, a kiss and a sympathetic ear when needed, are quite happy to delegate it all, then you really cannot seriously call yourself a mother.

Err, there are, believe it or not, competent fathers out there too. I agree that someone has to do this, but the responsibility shouldn't automatically fall solely upon the mother. I work full time, and manage to find time to spend with my child every night including bath time together, hugs, kisses, story books, and heart-to-hearts about what is troubling him etc. On top of that I do the washing, vaccuuming and various other chores around the home. I admit my circumstances differ from the norm in that I work from home, but I actually know quite a few Japanese dads who don't work overtime, and are really, great, supportive fathers to their kids (of course I know quite a few of the opposite as well).

I'm not surprised. It sounds like you had nothing to go home to or for.

That's pretty mean. Some parents believe kids are actually better off playing with other kids after school, rather than going directly home to mummy. I'm not saying you are wrong in your choices, just that everyone is different. There is really no need to belittle a person because their life choices are different to yours.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@ bigwavedude: That is an amazing story! I wonder in these types of polls are the women thinking along these lines. I would also like to know what all of the questions were. The way they phrase the questions can skewer the results and get answers like the ones in this article.

I also wonder what the school and income levels were for the women who responded. Women who may not see any bright economic future on their own would tend to want to get married for economic reasons.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

there are, believe it or not, competent fathers out there too.

Yes, indeed there are! I didn't mean to suggest that only mothers can be 'proper' parents. My point was that a woman who takes no interest in her child's day-to-day upbringing cannot really be considered a mother (any more than a man who takes no interest can be considered a father, which I did touch on).

Some parents believe kids are actually better off playing with other kids after school, rather than going directly home to mummy.

Go home, check in, throw your schoolbag on the genkan floor then by all means go off and play with other kids. But .... it doesn't matter if the kid comes home from school or not? The parent doesn't need to know/isn't interested in where the kid is? That isn't a life choice, it's indifference.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Given how workers rights are being dismantled and permanent, well-paying jobs are on the slide, the seemingly modest ambition of staying at home and living off a stable, middling income may not be so modest after all. I'm not sure how many of this 34% will have that choice a few years down the line.

With the corporate tax in Japan being among the highest in the world, in addition to the company's requirement to pay a share in the government pension and medical schemes, it's becoming less and less possible for companies to offer stable, full-time jobs. With government spending far more than it takes in in revenue each year, the costs become heavier and heavier.

Once again, most companies pay more in tax each year than they do in payroll. When your tax burden is your largest expense, and is nearly always increasing, you have to make up for it by reducing costs in other places. Since the second biggest expense is payroll, you usually start here. It is illegal not to pay your taxes, but it is legal to downsize or outsource. Were both illegal, there would be no companies left in Japan to hire anyone.

The workers with the most rights, most benefits, and most stable full-time jobs are government workers, but their security comes at the cost of everyone else's.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@papasmurfinjapan

I'd love to have the choice to be a full-time house husband too. (I'm already a part time one.)

@falseflagsteve

I think you're grabbing the wrong of end of papasmurfininjapan's stick, and are beating about the bush with it.

Being a house-parent is a noble, worthwhile job. Plus you're your own boss and can make time for yourself. In the interests of equality, I think men should have that career choice too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

himajin wrote...

I'm beginning to think that those who accuse housewives of doing nothing all day either don't know how to clean a house properly, shop or cook

I know how to do all of these things (you should try my break), and I do them in addition to my job and freelance work. No-one is seriously proposing that housewives do nothing all day long, but let's break down Mrs. Suzuki's day, assuming her children are elementary school age or older.

  • Bento-making: 45min

  • House cleaning: 75min

  • Shopping: 45min (or 90min every other day)

  • Cooking: 75min

  • School-related and miscellaneous: 75min

That comes to just over 5 hours of work per day, or just under 37 hours of work per week.

Now let's assume Mr. Suzuki spends 9 hours working and 1 hour commuting, which probably underestimates the average commute and doesn't include semi-mandatory enkais, overtime and the odd weekend of work. That's a 50-hour work week, or one-third more work hours per week than the missus.

There are downsides to the wife's life. She will have an earlier start, a later finish and fewer days off. She might be stuck with a decrepit in-law. And all bets are off for mothers raising small children. But it's not as if most women are cleaning Versailles every day. But for the average mother without preschoolers, in terms of hours worked, it's no comparison.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

sorry; bread, not break

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As usual I am rolling my eyes at some. Lots of comments about those nasty working moms who leave their poor kids in the care of strangers. Um, is this not the country where practically every child is in kindergarten if not in daycare? So we have non-working moms leaving their poor, unloved kids in the care of strangers - and grabbing a free pension on top...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The usual working women (in Japan) come here moaning about the women at home and having an easy life, whose liberated then? lol!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Err, there are, believe it or not, competent fathers out there too.

Exactly. And grand-parents. And siblings, And extended family, And acquaintances. And yes, many educated and interesting strangers. Plus the kids that do their share in the house and don't consider the mother as their servant.

You can pay others to do it all for you I suppose,

Why not ? And if some of that could be done by someone else than a parent, in what the kids will be neglected ? When my grandma invested in the first washing machine available in town, for the old witches of the town, she was not as good as a mother whose hands get red from cold water from hand-washing the dear ones' socks with pure soap. That's the level of your logic Cleo, If some parents have the groceries delivered, that would be terrible for kids ? If the family uses the services of helpers that clean their house twice a week, their kids will suffer that the place was not motherly vacuumed and moped ? You could even go backward and say the real Mum has to plant cotton or linen, then to make fabric and clothes instead of "delegating".

Do you equate someone who has just started school with an adult?

For house chores in a modern house, an average kid is able to do 95% at the age of 7. That's under supervision when they are very young, but they grow up quickly. If one cleans the bath, another does the laundry, the hubby gets the dinner ready while you make the shopping list and budget book, the mother (working or not) has not the huge weight you suggest. But if she insists, the mother can decide to do it all, and get super busy. I heard a woman doing a whole lecture on how she was training her son at operating a rice-cooker, throwing a miso soup (from instant), making a basic bento. Montessori school ? Nope, the dude was 18 and soon going to uni. Obviously, so far, Mum had made him to pretend to be as needy as a toddler. It's a possibility and I don't care if some women want to spend their time that way. Just don't ask us to be fascinated.

are quite happy to delegate it all, then you really cannot seriously call yourself a mother.

If my mother had been a cook-cleaner-teacher, I'd consider myself like an orphan raised by the maid. Hopefully, I grew up sharing with her many more interesting activities. I've more memories of going to shows and sharing books with her than bringing her my notebooks to check I had done my maths. Also, she's helped a lot of acquaintances, sick, aged, with problems and I'm biased but I find that beats getting up at dawn to design a kyaraben.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Nessie A most astute breakdown of a stay-at-home mother's day. But I must take issue with some of it:

-- there are any number of books with titles like "Quick and easy 10-minute Bento" and most veteran housewives will know how to whip one up in minutes using leftovers from last night. Besides, the number of weary looking salarymen taking their lunches at those stand-up joints (you know, with the 300-yen noodles, etc) would suggest that not all married men have devoted wives dedicating themselves to preparing healthful lunchboxes for their hardworking hubbies.

-- the average housewife is blessed with a plethora of labour-saving devices, the likes of which our grandmothers, who raised very large families on very little money, could only dream of (it is an utter mystery to me that my grandmother managed to raise seven kids on a shoestring, grow her own vegetables, work as a dinner lady, and still keep a spic-and-span house). Cooking, cleaning, and laundering are no longer onerous tasks at all. And Japanese homes tend to be so small and compact that they are an absolute breeze to clean. Vaccuuming my 3LDK apartment, for example, takes me only 5-6 minutes. Sometimes I do it twice a day just for fun!

-- suburban or rural wives almost always have complete control over the family car during the week. Sure, they have to do a lot of pick-ups and drop-offs (at train stations and cram schools, etc), but I'd be surprised if it took more than an hour a day in total. Hey, it sure beats sitting on a stinky, crowded commuter carriage for two or more hours every single week day. Now that's what I call work.

-- you may be surprised to learn that about a quarter of my adult students are actually housewives with kindergarten-aged children. These mums enjoy eikaiwa lessons (yay me!), hula dance classes, and near-daily coffee klatches with their other mum friends, along with regular visits to the beauty salons to have their hair and nails done. Does all that exhausting activity count in their supposed 37 hour "working" week, or is it separate?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

More jealousy. Oh, my wife just came back from her trip to town with her friend after a nice afternoon out, glad she i happy and never moans or puts down other people.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@falseflagsteve

No-one's moaning, they're just pointing out that being a house-parent is rewarding and enjoyable, which is probably why 1 in 3 Japanese married women wants that lifestyle. Unfortunately, not every family can get by on only one salary, so perhaps a little consideration for them might be in order.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

You can pay others to do it all for you I suppose, but if you really aren't involved at all with ensuring that your kids are properly nourished, kept in a reasonably hygienic state, and have someone to keep an eye on them and be there with a hug, a kiss and a sympathetic ear when needed, are quite happy to delegate it all, then you really cannot seriously call yourself a mother.

Exactly how many hours a day does it take to do all of the above, when the kids are in school and/or extra-curricular activities for most of their waking hours anyway? Are you advocating homeschooling, or something like that? Because if you are - and I really have nothing against it - then you are not in touch with the average Japanese mother at all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@taiko666

Don't know why, Japan is full of opportunities for any foreigner, a person can easily make enough to support their family in Japan on their own. I left school at 16 unlike most here, but i am doing it, hard work is all it takes, Japan is a business friendly country. For Japanese it is of course harder as they are the locals but there is no excuse to not be well off enough to support a family in Japan.. The opportunities are endless and starting a business is so easy and there is little red tape. If some of those that complain all the time decided to work harder instead of moaning they would do much better and have happier lives.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The opportunities are endless and starting a business is so easy and there is little red tape.

If starting a business, and supporting a family, is so easy in Japan, then why aren't more women interested in doing it? Because they're lazy, that's why. My point exactly.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Tessa

As a teacher, i would expect you to read my post in a more thorough manner, sorry if i used long words or something that caused confusion. I said " it is of course harder for the locals" which includes women of course. Though i would agree that foreign women or men who complain about poor pay in Japan could be called lazy as it is so easy to make riches here as many have done including me i am glad to say.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@falseflagsteve

My mistake, I thought the topic was about non/working women in Japan, not about foreign men.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I met my wife (she is Japanese) in America and we were mariried and both working for the five years before our first child was born. After she did become "with child" , she felt a need (stigma) to be a housewife. In 10 months she was completely bananas. 15 years and two children on and my wife is still too bad ass to settle for anything less than conquering the market and making money. She scoffs at girly teas or English circles. If they only wrestled.....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese demography is changing while many seniors are retiring. This is not a good news for a long term Japanese economy outlook. Also the LDP's anti immigration policy is not helping you either I guess Japanese seniors need to depend on a Robot Helper for their long term care along with poor quality health care that is in trouble.

One in three young Japanese women wants to get married and be a full-time housewife, a government survey has showed, despite growing calls for increased female participation in the workforce

-3 ( +2 / -6 )

@cos

It's not a teacher

It? Well, I think you are off the mark here. Mothers AND Fathers ARE teachers. If they weren't , who would teach them right from wrong? Who would give them the moral substance they need to be good citizens? You want to outsource that to others? Parents have a moral obligation to actually raise their children, and that doesn't mean enslavement of Women, it means intelligent choices in life at times when children are at their most vulnerable. Just curious, are you a parent?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

For Japanese it is of course harder as they are the locals but there is no excuse to not be well off enough to support a family in Japan

Good grief... it's amazing that such a wonderfully successful and hard-working businessman as yourself can be so socially niaive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No-one is seriously proposing that housewives do nothing all day long

Well, yes they are, every time there's a thread like this.

These mums enjoy eikaiwa lessons (yay me!), hula dance classes, and near-daily coffee klatches with their other mum friends, along with regular visits to the beauty salons to have their hair and nails done.

Really? Where is this magical place that women can go out or have people over for coffee every day? I'll move there...

Since when is getting one's hair done some kind of luxury? That's just basic grooming, isn't it?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@taiko666

Please give more substance to your comment than a personal attack. I stand by what i say, so easy to make a decent living in Japan, more so for those with English language skills. Japan is the easiest country to make money that i have resided in. I have no qualifications nor does my Japanese wife who stays at home but is 50% owner of the business so for those who complain i guess she pays more taxes than most of you.

Get so sick of the jealousy here, no wonder many Japanese women prefer to be with a successful man rather than work in a bitter environment.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Exactly how many hours a day does it take to do all of the above, when the kids are in school and/or extra-curricular activities for most of their waking hours anyway?

Little kids come home not long after lunch and there are few to no extra-curricular activities until they hit junior high.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

(you should try my bread)

That would be cool! I love to make bread! What kinds do you make?

75 minutes is optimistic. For an apartment maybe, but not a house and land(I hesitate to say 'yard' ;-P) although not American size, it still has to be taken care of.

These mums enjoy eikaiwa lessons (yay me!), hula dance classes,

I had another thought about that snippet. That mothers at home have the nerve to take classes and have some kind of recreation, and a past thread where someone was really pissed off, saying that mothers at home have no right to use any kind of frozen food in an obento if they're home all day really makes me wonder what you people are thinking (you know who you are). You yourself, have no hobbies, down time, never go to a gym, never go out to coffee, because you work? Only working women can take housekeeping shortcuts? Only those who have a 'career' have the right to enjoy hobbies or coffee with friends? I mean really, what the heck are you thinking?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i agree with all those here who find nothing wrong with a women choosing either a career or to be a stay-at-home-mom.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I often think the women who decide to be full time housewives are smarter than the ones who don't, because they probably see how stressed out and tired their salaryman fathers are, and realized it isn't as glamorous as politicians, feminists, and the liberal agenda portray it to be.

95% of the people on this planet only work because they HAVE to and not because they want to. The ultimate goal of working is so that you can save up money, to retire and not work. So maybe women who want to be housewives realized this and didn't want to join up in the rat race?

I am all for the traditional housewives. Just as long as they don't take it for granted, put in the effort at home, and take care of the husband and kids. If they do all that, then I have no problems with my wife going out with her friends for starbucks, shopping, and lunch, because the happier she is, the happier I am, and generally the more she appreciates and supports the long hard hours I put into my business.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Good on them. I don't want to go out to work either, I want to stay at home and get on with what I want to do, and sponge off my wife.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Once again we have people getting their knickers in a twist over other folks' lifestyle choices."

That's just it, isn't it? Personally, I respect others' choices to be housewives, full-time employees, or both (alternating). However, there IS no choice in this country. The entire system is stacked against females who attempt a career.

Hard facts aside, we have our anecdotes. Mine involve Japanese female professionals working in the west. I know quite a few professors, scientists, and artists who became permanent residents of other nations to advance their careers. There's even one in my family; she creates TV special effects.

Sure, they could have JOBS in Japan, but would never be able to advance in their chosen fields (or be paid a decent wage an any field). These women make huge sacrifices in order to follow their passions, raise their children well, and make serious money. The fact that they must say goodbye to their friends, family, and country in order to do that is sad. I can't see this situation remaining like this forever, though. Things are going to change.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I just had a baby last year, and after my maternity leave went back to work. I like working, getting to use my brain in different ways, having a meal by myself, being able to go to the bathroom without worrying about the baby who's crying because you put him down for one minute...but I felt guilty. And not because he was in daycare - he loved daycare! And anyone who tries to make working parents feel bad for having a nanny/sitter or having their kids in daycare doesn't understand that having multiple caregivers is actually beneficial for children. But I felt guilty because I was only spending a few hours each day with my son, so I found a part-time job in my field that's only three days a week.

The problem is that most people don't qualify staying home (with or without kids) as work. Count out the hours as much as you like, but the truth is for most households whether the wife is stay-at-home or not, she does the majority of the housework. Working mothers also do the majority of the child-rearing as well. So if you were a young Japanese woman, faced with either a lifetime of work, housework, childcare, and no time for yourself, versus a life of housework, childcare and some time for yourself, which would you choose? I don't blame them. This isn't a problem of women being "lazy," but a product of a culture with a very low glass ceiling and a poor work-life balance.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"More than 40% said they wanted a moderate, but stable lifestyle, and would be happy with a household take-home of 200,000-300,000 yen a month to live off after marriage."

BS, they would! Especially once a baby comes along (if one does). What these women see are the older women who spend all their time eating lunch at the top hotels, shopping at the richest department stores, and travelling on expensive tours with their other female friends and just living it up. They then compare this with women in their thirties and middle-aged who are raising kids but also working, and they want to be like the former group. While housework is no walk in the park, nor is child-rearing of course, these are things that have to be shared by both partners, along with income -- it's not practical in this day and age unless the family is rich before marriage and/or the husband lands a plum job.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

However, there IS no choice in this country. The entire system is stacked against females who attempt a career.

And stacked against people (male or female) who don't want to slog their guts out working in order to be able to afford to stay alive.

A few days ago I was watching a documentary about the 19th century Pacific north-west Indian tribes. "They only needed to spend a few hours each week tending their crops or catching food". Yes, until westerners came along and thought "slackers! must make them spend 16 hours a day slaving away in order to eat".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You can pay others to do it all for you I suppose, but if you really aren't involved at all with ensuring that your kids are properly nourished, kept in a reasonably hygienic state, and have someone to keep an eye on them and be there with a hug, a kiss and a sympathetic ear when needed, are quite happy to delegate it all, then you really cannot seriously call yourself a mother.

Interesting. So ele schools have kyushoku so mummy isn't the one ensuring anything during the day. Hygienic, you mean like how teachers are in charge of ensuring the kids have PE clothes, washing their hands and face and the like during the day? Keep an eye on them? Like the teacher who are either at school or kindy? The university juku teachers? Sympathetic ear? Again, like the teachers who listen to the tales of the horrible relationship mom and dad have? The friends that listen to this stuff? Delegate? Sorry, but where are all these homeschooling moms in Japan? I don't see them. What I do see are SAHM who are handing their kids over to a teacher - kindy, ele, JHS, HS, juku, coach... for a large chuck on the day when husbands and others are working. The notion that women are with their kids and attending to them 24 hours a day here is a joke.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Add in that kids really only need help with things like getting a lunch/breakfast together, packing their school bag, getting to juku until they are about 10. If you've raised a kid who can't pack their school bag, can't get a decent breakfast/lunch together, can't wash their face on their own... you fail as a parent. Unless your kid has special needs and frankly, I am beginning to think that many kids here are raised to believe they are helpless and can't do anything on their own. Mind you, moms want that don't they? They don't have much else going for them in terms of "jobs" so I guess need to feel wanted and needed. Clearly hubby doesn't need them judging by the number of men I see eating breakfast/lunch/dinner out, picking up cleaning and visting red light areas.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Man, when I suggested that "feminists who lost their minds" might be behind this article, I did not mean all feminists. I meant only "feminists who lost their minds".

Looks to me like one third want to be housewives, one third are undecided and one third want to work. It does not get much more balanced than that.

However, I do question if the push to have more women work has something to do with the results and I do question if having more women working rather than homemaking is actually going to be better for society. What I am sure of is that greedy global capitalists see more money in the prospect and that female supremacists see more political power. But will it be better for children? Families? Society? I have serious doubts. Even as a liberal I can see that traditional male/female roles did not spring up out of some misogynist's utopian dream. They sprung up from human nature and human reality. That said, no man should even be prevented from being a homemaker if he wants, and no woman should ever be prevented from working if she wants.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

First, the work a woman does at home is easily substituted. You can hire a silver service cleaner for next to nothing and she will clean your place better in two hours than eight hours of your own work. Those women are pros. Second, regarding caring for kids if you have access to daycare for working couples the cost is minimal as well. And the kids are far better off being in a social environment than spending time with an overbearing stay at home mother who has to prove her worth by hovering over her kids like a hawk. So add it up, if a woman is able and chooses to work the out of pocket costs are minimal for taking care of the home and the kids better than most mothers can do on their own. Even a low level job will gain the family income and contribute to society over staying home, making work for yourself and setting your kids up for therapy down the road. I often go to my kids events, like swimming today, and I really feel sorry for the women who basically due to lack of adult stimulation slowly disappear into the woodwork. They dress drably, talk about the most trivial matters with others like themselves and seem to be letting life just pass them by. Of course for some that is their choice, for some, lets be honest, they could not hold down a job if their lives were depending on it. Lots of men are hopeless too when it comes to holding a job, but they do not have stay at home dad option in this society. Last, for the guys carping about the bonbons, you want your wives to work then the trade off is you pick up the slack with the kids and the work around home when she works. Otherwise it is you all that are the lazy ones.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

ControlFreak

And I just cannot believe that only 1/5 of men would like to have a wife at home. What are the 4/5ths thinking? No kids? No house? Playboy life in an overpriced one room apartment with Mac for dinner until they die (young)?

Pure idiocy.

Would you like to know what I am thinking?

1: My last girlfriend (almost 3 years ago), who still remains close and a potential marriage partner, was making $200,000 per year, and was the “bread-winner” at the time. She also had a 4-year-old adorable daughter.

Firstly, I didn’t quit my jobs (yes, plural) just because she made enough for a very comfortable lifestyle. Why is it that I could have been the one who quit my jobs and been a house-husband yet I would be shunned or considered weird.

This is meant to bring to light that you bat an eye when the roles are reversed but you think it is just fine if it is the female who is home with the child while the male works. The child needs to be breast-fed for a while, but this is obviously not about women who want to be temporary housewives but those who want to be “professional” housewives.

2: A wife at home is required to have a house and/or kid?

Excuse me but I was born into poverty to a single mother 18 years of age. We always had a house, and apparently she had a kid too, and no college education on top of it. Are you serious? She had to drop me off somewhere to make ends meet, but without her being at home neither a home nor kids are possible? We were so poor that at one point she sold our vacuum cleaner for some amount below $10 to bide time.

3: What is wrong with being sent to a babysitter or daycare? Prior to preschool (and yes I remember those days very well) I spent my time with a babysitter (whose name I forgot but I remember where she lives, and the first time we wrote the alphabet with crayons and I had to wait on her to release the red crayon so I could color my “A” red (because most with synesthesia know that is the correct color for “A”)) until mother or my step-father got home.

After 4, I would return from school to my mother’s workplace, though that didn’t mean she actually spent time with me. I was off playing until she got off work. It would be the same in a daycare center.

Which goes into #4…

4: And how did I turn out? After dropping out of high school, I’ve lived in 4 countries, Japan being the last. I live in my favorite country doing both of my favorite jobs: Video-game programming and acting in Japanese media. I work in R&D on games such as Final Fantasy and not only do I appear weekly on Japanese TV I occasionally play piano on NHK’s ららら♪クラシック. Somehow along the way, despite my terrible childhood in which neither parent was around, I found time to teach myself piano. And programming. And thanks to a bit of luck (and practice) I took 1st place in the 1997 American national chess championships. Indeed, despite working a full-time job my mother was able to teach me the game when I was 5. I guess working mothers really do get to spend time with their kids!

So who are you say what is right for every household and who are you to judge every man who thinks his wife should be working instead of staying at home? Sorry, I guess you are only judging the 80% who did not necessarily agree with you, some of whom may not have any decision at all.

To be quite frank, here is how it is. My single 18-year-old mother worked her ass off, and continued to do so after remarriage, while I had to stay in the care of a babysitter or school. So it’s obviously not necessary to have a stay-at-home mother for a child to be successful.

And because of that, I learned from a very young age to appreciate women. I never agreed with gender roles. As a result, I am perfectly willing and happy to help around the house. Clean up my own messes, help with dishes, share the load 50/50. On top of working 2 jobs! Sure there are roles that lean towards genders. She can decorate the place and sew my clothes. I can handle the electrical wiring needed for all of our electronics and handle her PC issues (and she has a lot). It’s even and balanced.

If I am going to do half of the house work, she should at least show an effort in bringing in some of the money. It doesn’t need to be a lot; it’s the effort that counts. And I want her to enjoy her work as much as I do mine so that neither of us builds stress. I’d be fully willing to tide her over until she got that kind of stress-free job. Honestly, it is not about how much money she is bringing in but the gesture that counts.

No, I am not a playboy.

My last girlfriend agreed with me that we should both keep working and combine our money to provide a better lifestyle for us but also for her daughter. Perhaps that is what the non-20% of males were thinking? Because how could I have learned to play piano if I did not have a piano? How would I learn to program if I did not have a PC (or TI-81 calculator, etc.)? If my mother did work continue to work even after she married another man who was also working, we would not have been able to afford these things.

If you think a kid is hopeless without a mother, you are in for a very rude awakening. A kid needs resources to learn and grow on top of anything else. A mother’s tender touch at night is all the mother needs to do. I speak from experience.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Regardless of personal aspiration or household economical need, Japan has no choice but supporting strongly the female workforce to sustain its aging population needs. Or to open to immigration, but that's another story!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I really feel sorry for the women who basically due to lack of adult stimulation slowly disappear into the woodwork. They dress drably, talk about the most trivial matters with others like themselves and seem to be letting life just pass them by.

Interesting. I feel sorry for their husband, kids and the tax payers who subsidized such a sad lifestyle choice.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Most women can't handle being a mother full time. Rather than admit it, they choose a career and claim that is what they really want. Everyone knows it's not true though and laugh at them when they try to act like someone they aren't.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@cleo Okay, that's just creepy. Would you get a real job, please?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting readdoll as there is a large number of working mothers and judging by daycare wait lists, even more who would like to work and have kids.

Everyone knows it's not true? Just because you believe that doesn't make it correct. A very odd comment to make.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Regardless of personal aspiration or household economical need, Japan has no choice but supporting strongly the female workforce to sustain its aging population needs.

I agree, but with women as lazy as that, the situation doesn't look good.

Yesterday I had lunch with two former students, both highly educated and eminently qualified women (one a former pharmacist, the other an ESL teacher) who dropped out from the workforce after marriage. We talked about tips and tricks for getting through housework as quickly as possible, and both admitted that they do the bare minimum, for example only bothering to clean up when visitors are expected, or doing a quick runaround when hubbies are on their way home. They also admitted to only vaccuuming once a week, or even less. And as for cooking? Heat up a of slice of toast for hubby in the morning, that's it. No lunchbox, and hardly ever any dinner (why bother with dinner when he gets in after midnight anyway?).

What, oh what are these women doing for the rest of their waking hours? I don't know for sure, but it sure isn't "gainful employment."

Just think how much women like that could contribute to Japanese society, if only they could be bothered to get off their arses. The sheer waste of talent in this country is astounding.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Most women can't handle being a mother full time.

Of course they can. Duck to water for most women. What many can't handle is doing her best to raise the kids as she and hubby have decided is the right way, only to be looked down on and sneered at because she's not in 'gainful employment'.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

And tessa is なにさま? The problem is the men are not inspired to work, and keep a family because wages are so low, and they can barely keep one person let alone a family. Thus men need rather than perhaps want their wives working so that they dont have to do all the overtime. It is about time Big business pay up. Encouraging men to be satisfied with their work and income, would all save us a mouthful of Tessa and the like, who are oh so good at fluffing up everyones feathers but make no sense at all. Its like as if the whole world is a salarymen to her and co. No talent.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

First, the work a woman does at home is easily substituted.

That's actually a good point. Almost all of so-called "women's work" can easily be outsourced. In fact, we now do it all the time. Where does the milk for our morning cereal come from? Certainly not from the cow we keep in the back yard. Who makes our clothes? People we don't know in China. Who spends more waking time with our children after they reach school age? Their school teachers, that's who.

As for the role of breadwinner, that can't be outsourced so easily. That's work, real work.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm a married guy with a stay at home J-wife/mum for 15 years. I/we have been fortunate to earn a salary that supports this. It is difficult to articulate but I feel my wife serves as an anchor or secure and reliable point for the children and even myself. I work/commute the typical 12 hour days but my wife works equally hard to ensure the home and family is taken care of. In fact, when she has been sick and I have had to take over, I found it much tougher than my own (but also more rewarding re: time with children). I sincerely appreciate her hard work and never consider her lazy or a leech. And I think our children have enjoyed a happier, closer, more secure childhood because of her always being there for them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is difficult to articulate but I feel my wife serves as an anchor or secure and reliable point for the children and even myself.

I won't argue with you there. I think that the constant, stable presence of at least one adult in the home is vital for the wellbeing of a family (speaking as a former latchkey kid who wasn't always happy about coming home to an empty house and notes on the fridge). But it doesn't have to be the mother or grandmother. It can be anyone, even a mere male.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nothing wrong with wanting to be a housewife but for the 66.6% who want to continue working there should be better options. In fact like many pointed out above, if Japan doesn't want to shink as an economic power they have to let the women in or the dreaded immigrants.

And women need to consider the following if they want to be a full-time housewife:

  • does her husband make enough money to support a family, and what would happen if he loses his job.
  • is there a back-up in form of life insurance for example when the husband passes away or gets ill.
  • what happens in case of a divorce, will she be able to receive enough financial support and will she be able to re-enter the workforce. Sorry that it's about money not love, but housewifes are a group at risk to slide into poverty if one of the above things go wrong.
3 ( +3 / -0 )

When do children start kindergarten in Japan? Around three or four years of age? In other words, most mothers can justifiably say that they are full-time mothers for four years at the most, or six to eight years if they have a second child (which increasingly few do these days). So, eight years out of a projected life span of eighty-plus years? That's a mighty short time to be out of the workforce.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

At three. Before that many are shipped off to play groups, eikaiwa, piano...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Who spends more waking time with our children after they reach school age? Their school teachers, that's who.

Would you argue that a couple isn't really married because the husband spends more waking time at work than he does at home with his wife? Or is it only sahms you expect to have super-powers?

Let's see now; teacher gets the kids from 8 till 3 (on average). That's 7 hours five times a week, 35 hours. Yes, it's a lot. Mum has the kids for an hour before they go to school then from 3 till 8-9 (bedtime) five days a week, and all day Saturday/Sunday. That's well in excess of 50 hours a week, assuming the kids sleep 12 hours at the weekend and not factoring in kids who wake up in the night for whatever reason and need to be seen to. Granted a lot of the kids' time 'at home' will be spent out playing with friends and following other pursuits, not hanging on to Mum's apron strings; but the constant, stable presence you apparently recognise the importance of can't just up and off to do a shift at the office because Taro happens to have gone to play at Jiro's house for the afternoon.

I think that the constant, stable presence of at least one adult in the home is vital for the wellbeing of a family (speaking as a former latchkey kid who wasn't always happy about coming home to an empty house and notes on the fridge). But it doesn't have to be the mother or grandmother. It can be anyone, even a mere male.

Then why get so upset if the mother decides she wants to be the constant, stable presence? Your constant sniping comes across simply as envy that they seem to have things easier than you.

most mothers can justifiably say that they are full-time mothers for four years at the most

Again we have the childless tell us what child-raising is all about. You haven't the faintest idea. First, walk a mile in the shoes.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

All readers please stop bickering. Focus your comments on what is in the story and not at each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's true. Once kids start school, the parents have less and less to do.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Is no one going to address that only 20% of men are happy to support a SAHW? It seems that there are issues with what people want in the future. Seems men are willing to help out home more than the women are to help with the bills. Doesn't bode well.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I am really surprised it's just one in three....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Dracpoo. There is also the one in three that want to stay with mommy and daddy, never get married, and spend all their money on themselves. It's hard to beat free rent, nice okaasan made bentos, and getting your laundry done for you. It's no wonder women here don't want to get married...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Many women want another option apart from joining the rat race and all power to them fro doing that. The rat race ain't too nice, most of those in it are not too happy which is why they can't stand those opting out and have a more carefree life.

I love my Japanese wife enough not to try and make her part of the rat race. I want her to be happy and that is my choice. If she wanted to go to work she would be free to do so but has never mentioned wanting to do so. She has always worked hard keeping the place good and caring for the family which is what she loves doing. I earn plenty enough to keep the family, i'd be a bit of a selfish pig trying to force her to work.

Guess it takes all sorts, lol!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Don't forget that 60% of Japan's STAHM (stay at home Mrs) are childless, lifelong. And that will probably be more for the next generation. The discussion is not about mothers, but jobless women, The articles say they don't want to work. That doesn't say they plan to raise kids, help a family business or do whatever for others. All i say to these ladies is good luck to find good sugar-daddies as there is a rarefaction of the animal in Japanese woods.

Is no one going to address that only 20% of men are happy to support a SAHW?

I'm crying... Men's lib campaigns have created that disaster !!!

Mum has the kids for an hour before they go to school... from 3 till 8-9 (bedtime) five days a week, and all day Saturday/Sunday. etc

Life of a socially isolated psycho married woman whose paycheck hubby hardly enters her house, scared of violence if he stole a minute of attention from her little ones.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@tmarie

You may be right in some cases. Luckily in our home we share the house duties and looking after the kids as i mostly work from home.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I personally just feel it should be balanced. My previous reply was to ControlFreak who states judgmental concepts as impossibilities—that any man who does not want a stay-at-home wife does not want kids or a home, and just wants to be a playboy.

Let me be clear that I aimed to provide proof that this is simply ridiculous (cleo, Google “L. Spiro” for all you need to know about me), but my views only express how I would feel in my own typical relationship.

No matter what the case, I expect things to be balanced. Since I am the type who is willing to help with the dishes and clean up after my own messes, I would expect that my wife show a simple gesture and provide help with the income, even if it is not as much as I make. It’s the thought that counts. Lower salaries and career opportunities are no excuse to an understanding man who does not expect any more than the gesture itself.

If the man, however, does decide to just work all day and come home, eat, sleep, and repeat, then of course it is fair for the woman not to work.

That may be fine for some households, but let me tell you from experience that it wasn’t my mother who taught me piano, nor did she teach me computer programming. Nor Japanese. She did however teach me chess when I was 5, with did aid in my later 1st place in nationals. After spending time with the babysitter or at school for a day, her touch at night was all I needed to learn what I needed to learn from her: Compassion, respect, responsibility, etc. And the fact that she still had time to teach me chess shows that even working mothers still get to spend time with their kids.

However, I am a pianist on TV because we had a piano. I am a computer programmer because I had my own computer. Because she married into wealth later on (since then she divorced and didn’t take a penny from him; it was never about the money).

In other words, a kid needs money more than he or she needs the mother to be there all the time. Sad fact of life: Money gives children advantages. Even if my mother played piano well enough to teach me, she would still need to have enough money to buy a piano.

When you have 2 people, one of whom is making money and the other spending it, you have a losing situation. When you have 2 people, both of whom are making money and using their own shares, you and your children will win.

In the end, I am not judging either party in a house-wife situation. Mainly, it’s about balance. But if the man is only making enough for them to “get by” then they both need to adjust the balance, and that means an effort on both of their parts.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

tmarie -

I'm lumping them together because they ARE what jobs women are "suppose" to do when they are a housewife, no?

No. Cooking and cleaning are jobs. Helping a baby grow into a fine young adult is a joy and a privilege.

LSpiro -

cleo, Google “L. Spiro” for all you need to know about me

I googled “L. Spiro”, found nothing about the 1997 US National Chess Championship. I googled "US National Chess Championship", found nothing about L. Spiro.

Since I am the type who is willing to help with the dishes and clean up after my own messes, I would expect that my wife show a simple gesture and provide help with the income, even if it is not as much as I make.

I understand totally what you're saying, and up to a point I agree; both sides in a marriage need to give 100%. But I wonder if you've thought about when your wife has a baby? It will be physically impossible for her to work at all for at least a couple of months, much longer if the pregnancy/birth are difficult, and breastfeeding will make full-time work difficult/impossible for at least six months to a year. Are you going to feel hard-done-to then because she isn't providing 'help with the income'?

And no matter how many dishes you're willing to wash and dry, your efforts are never going to equal a single childbirth. :-)

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Of course they can. Duck to water for most women. What many can't handle is doing her best to raise the kids as she and hubby have decided is the right way, only to be looked down on and sneered at because she's not in 'gainful employment'.

As opposed to women who work and according to you then fail at both working and being a mother . . .

The world is filled with horrible mothers and I would guess that most of them are the stay at home types. Being a mother does not come as you say like a duck to water.

And of course raising kids is work. Who are you cleaning and cooking for mostly if you have kids? Your kids, just in case you cannot answer the question.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

And some moms don't see it as the joy you did/do Cleo. Hence why we have unfit moms and abused kids. A shame that the world doesn't work the way you think it does.

Zurcronium, great post.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

When the wife gives a baby, she needs to take time off from her job and breast-feed it. When I talk about balance I don’t see any point in which I am unreasonable. When she needs to make sacrifices for the baby I will need to sacrifice my time at home. If not, then I need to make more use of my time at home.

My only point is it needs to balance out.

And no matter how many dishes you're willing to wash and dry, your efforts are never going to equal a single childbirth. :-)

Sure, if dish-washing was meant as a form of currency.

But it’s just like I said.

I’m not expecting her to make as much as me, since it is really the thought that counts.

Likewise, I know how long she has to endure 9 months of pregnancy followed by a painful birthing process.

All I am saying is that both sides have their unique hardships, and both sides should try to make those hardships roughly equal, even though sometimes equality only means “gestures”. If she can’t earn as much as I do, fine, as long as she tries.

When she is pregnant and I can’t take any of her burden, I hope she feels the same way about breakfast in bed etc. It’s a gesture. It shows I am trying to help within my limited capacity.

This is how it should always be. We obviously cannot share the birthing process, so we do what we can. What we can do is to show each other we are always there for each other always.

I reiterate: A house-wife who does not play piano cannot teach piano to the child. She can use the father’s money to buy a teacher. A house-wife who is not a programmer cannot teach her child how to program. She can only use others’ money to make it happen.

I know exactly what valuable things I learned from my mother. Respect for women being one of them. She’s not a house-wife, she’s an owner of her own sign shop and soon graduating at the top of her class in nursing. I’m sure I would be proud of her anyway, but it’s not possible to be more proud of her for being just a housewife than for being a business owner and nurse.

However, as far as my growth is concerned, while she helped me learn chess at the age of 5, which later lead to my 1st-place trophy, it was ultimately the money that allowed me to learn piano, programming, etc.

I’m just saying that having a stay-at-home mother is of no virtue over a part-time home mother. A mother is important. A father is probably important (though I don’t know mine very well). It’s just that the idea that sending a child to a babysitter or daycare will ruin the child because the child must absolutely be with its mother during its young ages is absolutely ludicrous.

I hope you can understand that I am trying to say that without diminishing the value of the mother’s presence in the child’s life. There are of course tons of things a mother has to offer. I am just saying she doesn’t have to be there all day every day to offer those things. I already mentioned the gentle touch of my mother at night. She was there on weekends too. She was there on my 4th Christmas Eve in which I climbed out of bed, walked down the hall, saw her taping up presents that were meant to be from Santa, and watching her turn her head to bark at me, “What are you doing out of bed??” I replied that I was sick and she was the one who helped me barf into the toilet.

Mothers will have plenty of chances to be mothers. They don’t need to be housewives to do it.

It’s just about balance.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I wonder what percent of young Japanese men want to get married and be a fulltime househusband...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

LSpiro -

OK, so it was a chess competition for schoolchildren, not the real national chess championships with grand masters 'n everything. Still impressive, well done.

My only point is it needs to balance out.

I think much of what a lot of people are saying here actually boils down to the same thing; the problem is that folk latch on to just one aspect and blow it out of proportion. Say you think that if possible babies and toddlers should have the undivided attention of a parent, and they accuse you of forcing all women to stay in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant; say you enjoy being a sahm and they accuse you of being lazy and cheating because you're not milking your own cow to make cheese, homeschooling to post-grad level and weaving all the family's clothes out of homespun; say that you're all in favour of women going out to work if they want to, and they accuse you of abandoning new-borns to minimum-wage baby-minders. In the real world things are, as you say, more balanced. People do what they think (hope) will work best for them; no one gets it 100% right.

zurc -

women who work and according to you then fail at both working and being a mother . . .

Never said that. You're reading what you want to read, again.

The world is filled with horrible mothers

filled? No. There are bad mothers, just as there are bad fathers. When those bad parents do bad things to their kids, it's news - because it's not normal. Normal is not news.

I would guess that most of them are the stay at home types

Because that suits your favoured stereotype.

And of course raising kids is work. Who are you cleaning and cooking for mostly if you have kids?

The cooking and cleaning is the least of it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

im still convinced a declining birthrate is actually a good thing in the long run. Increasing birth to the next baby boom means the same problem will rear its head x many years from now, only worse since obviously with automatisation and what not, slinking resources for all i can see that means more people to divide less jobs on so in places where this happens and they can bite it through until the grey-scale dips down again i think it will be beneficial. I am ofcourse not a certified social engineer. Japanese women ... low adultery rates, Low housewife rate ... whats not to like ? :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! Again such cliched vitriol amongst conversationalists! Actually, adversaries would be more appropriate. I'll go with InControl's opinions. Good politician, there, and honest to boot!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A couple cannot live on only 200-300,000 yen per month in Japan, most single workers struggle on that amount as it is.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

American, perhaps they expect mommy and daddy to continue to help pay for their lifestyle? Lord knows many "adults" are still give money from their parents on a regular basis.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

@cos

In these days of equality, when feminism has killed chivalry, there is no logical reason why a man should be expected to support a woman (If there are no children involved that is.)

I'm crying... Men's lib campaigns have created that disaster !!!

You mean that disaster for women who can't be bothered to get a job.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Taiko666

Any real man will make sure he can provide for his family whether his wife works or not. A house is a home not a hotel or bed and breakfast.

Progress, pah!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@ falseflagsteve...

You said it... "A Real woman can do everything all on her own, but... a REAL man won't let her !!"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@falseflagsteve

Yes, in a chivalrous world. That's already gone in the west...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@The Chronic too many people only thinkl of the now, an average Japanese family certainly cannot save enough for retirement off the husbands (average Japanese salary) salary alone. when it come to retirement dont be fooled into thinking the Jgov pension is going to be enough for you to live on. my wife and I both work, we will have our houses paid off and children through school/college and enough money to see us comfortable in retirement. cannot be done with one salary alone nowdays.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very clever women. The government needs to lower tax, shrink old age pensions, then walah

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Feminism did not kill chivalry. The ranaisance did.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In these days of equality, when feminism has killed chivalry, there is no logical reason why a man should be expected to support a woman (If there are no children involved that is.)

I think that is Cos' point. A "real" man should be supporting his wife - be it her choice to work or stay home. Just as a "real" woman should support his.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

1 in 3 women wants to be a housewife, which means 2 in 3 women do not. To each their own. Some work, some stay at home, some do both. There's no cookie cutter answer for what's best for everyone. No need to pass so many generalizations and judgements around.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No, what it means is 1/3 do not want to stay home and 1/3 haven't really given much thought to their futures - which is rather shocking when you look at the ages they polled.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I think it's great that there are that many. In some families both parents work not because one does not want to be a housewife but because of necessity. It took two incomes for us to get by.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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