Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Culture of Marriage

Culture of Marriage

Post questions and answers about living or visiting Japan or the culture

Culture of Marriage

Postby Mercenary » Thu 03.22.2007 8:34 pm

I read a few conflicting things on the culture of marriage in Japan.
One article that I had read talked about how marriage was seen more as a business in which to have kids from. It also talked about that typically after the married people were done having kids that the man would lose interest in the wife and may very well pursue his desires elsewhere. It also was talking about how the man typically was obsessive with work and spent little time at home with the wife and the kids and that it was the wife that gave the children any kind of real attention.

Another article though said that while there were "business" marriages solely to have kids, such as arranged marriages, love marriages were much more common. It also talked about women being less subservient while the first article talked about them being very subservient and basically giving up any other kind of outside life.

Of course there would be all types, but I am just curious as to what is the common average in Japan. Are marriages more about love of the two people or more about a "business of having kids"? Do the two tend to lose interest in one another after they finish having kids? Are affairs really common because of this lost interest?

Thanks.
User avatar
Mercenary
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat 02.25.2006 5:59 pm
Location: Washington, USA

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby carlanox » Fri 03.23.2007 1:15 am

I think japanese people has a high ego about marriage. They should get marriage before their 30's or they will feel very very shame and ppl will look down on them. that's why without thinking, they just get married asap without enough time to knowing each other (or can say without love?). And is it because of that so many divorce ppl in japan?
carlanox
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri 10.20.2006 11:25 am

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby keatonatron » Fri 03.23.2007 3:03 am

carlanox wrote:
I think japanese people has a high ego about marriage. They should get marriage before their 30's or they will feel very very shame and ppl will look down on them. that's why without thinking, they just get married asap without enough time to knowing each other (or can say without love?). And is it because of that so many divorce ppl in japan?


Um, the divorce rate in Japan is very low.

I think the first part of what the OP described is old news. It used to be very important to get married early and carry on the family name, but things have changed in recent years. People are waiting much longer to get married, and arranged marriages have become quite rare.
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 03.23.2007 10:25 am

I believe that both cultured exist in Japan.. the traditional arranged marriages, as keatonatron mentioned are very now, but do still happen. And the current trend where marriage is more "westernized"

The divorce rate, while very low in Japan, has increased dramatically over the last 20 years.. It is still one of the lowest divorce rates that I am aware of even with the escalation factored in.
User avatar
two_heads_talking
 
Posts: 4137
Joined: Thu 04.06.2006 11:03 am
Native language: English

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby PsychoSP » Fri 03.23.2007 10:54 am

Japan is currently in the middle of a huge population crisis, and a big part of the problem is that young people aren't getting married. Arranged or otherwise.

The culture within marriage is changing, but not as fast as the ideals of young women. Many of them don't want to take on the woman's role in a Japanese family. Some find a career path more appealing, and others try to snag a foreign hubby.

As for love in marriage, it's often suppressed and usually fades quickly after having kids. In Japan, the 親子 relationship is more important than the 夫婦 relationship. Parents generally don't tell each other "I love you," at least not with words like 「大好き」 or 「愛してる」. My wife once asked a Japanese woman:

"Do you tell you husband you love him?"

The response: "Of course I do!"

"What words do you use to say it?"

"Oh.... [embarrassed pause] well, it would be too weird in Japanese, so I tell him in English. And when he tells me he loves me, he says it in German."
PsychoSP
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed 02.21.2007 3:02 pm

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby Mercenary » Fri 03.23.2007 11:52 am

Ah, so in a sense both were right. One was more how it was and the other how it is becomming. Sad though.

One element I liked was that it seemed they had more traditional roles with the man working and the wife taking care of the child. I like that, although I think both parents need to take care of the child rather than the wife alone. I liked the idea that the woman actually WANTED to stay home instead of feeling societal pressure to go to work like in the west. But it sounds it is getting bad as the west where having kids has no meaning since both parents are working anyway and passing off their kids onto a daycare. Although at the same time I wasn't fond of the concept of "arranged" weddings where there is no love either.

I think as it becomes more "westernized" the divorce rates will just continue to rise as people often marry for "love" when it is nothing more than infatuation, that dies off and they just want to pursue their own interests instead of putting the other first and of course divorce will result. It makes sense marriage is less common though since it is not just about a business arrangement to have kids anymore.

I'll never understand some of these things, regardless of culture I guess. I'll never understand how anyone would rather work than have a family or would put work before their family.
User avatar
Mercenary
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat 02.25.2006 5:59 pm
Location: Washington, USA

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby keatonatron » Fri 03.23.2007 12:42 pm

Mercenary wrote:
I think as it becomes more "westernized" the divorce rates will just continue to rise as people often marry for "love" when it is nothing more than infatuation, that dies off and they just want to pursue their own interests instead of putting the other first and of course divorce will result.


You're forgetting the influences of shame, duty, and various societal obligations.

In the west we have a common feeling of "you can have whatever you want if you just go out and work for it. If you aren't happy in your marriage, you don't have to sit there and put up with it. You owe it to yourself to find a new spouse so you can be happy!"

But in Japan, getting a divorce can have a negative effect on all aspects of your life, especially in ways that might not happen in the west. I think that's the biggest reason people don't get divorced here. If it was simply a matter of people not having true love, then the "victims" of arranged marriages would just wait until their parents kicked the bucket then get a divorce and choose their own mates.
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby caroline » Fri 03.23.2007 12:56 pm

But in Japan, getting a divorce can have a negative effect on all aspects of your life, especially in ways that might not happen in the west. I think that's the biggest reason people don't get divorced here. If it was simply a matter of people not having true love, then the "victims" of arranged marriages would just wait until their parents kicked the bucket then get a divorce and choose their own mates.

Of course; it's quite different to live in a country where the rate of divorce is one out of three (one out of two in Paris) and 50% of children are born out of wedlock and to live in a society where you have to fulfill your social duty including by marriage. In the first, it is no longer of consequence whether you are married or not, divorded or not (which is the case in one way or the other for the two foremost candidates for presidency) in France... in the second, you still better be married in order to be socially fit and make a carrier (for men, at least).
I agree that it is changing, but quite slowly, and not in the whole society...
As for love and marriage, they sometimes are totally unrelated matters.
User avatar
caroline
 
Posts: 345
Joined: Sat 03.11.2006 8:47 am
Location: Paris
Native language: Français

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby PsychoSP » Fri 03.23.2007 1:03 pm

keatonatron wrote:But in Japan, getting a divorce can have a negative effect on all aspects of your life, especially in ways that might not happen in the west. I think that's the biggest reason people don't get divorced here. If it was simply a matter of people not having true love, then the "victims" of arranged marriages would just wait until their parents kicked the bucket then get a divorce and choose their own mates.

I agree. Japanese people are more likely to not get married in the first place than they are to get a divorce.
PsychoSP
 
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed 02.21.2007 3:02 pm

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby spin13 » Fri 03.23.2007 6:37 pm

Mercenary wrote:
Are affairs really common because of this lost interest?


I have a few friends here in Japan who either admit to having a mistress or are themselves someone's mistress. There are a few others who likely do considering the way they talk about their wives, but I haven't actually heard them say it.

I have another acquaintance who lives in the same house as his wife but on different floors.

The ages of the married folks range from 36 to in their late 50s. The mistresses are as young as 22.

Sincerely,
-Eric
You're probably not as smart as you think.
Unskilled and Unaware
spin13
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Wed 04.06.2005 9:38 pm
Location: Tokyo
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby Shirasagi » Sat 03.24.2007 4:21 pm

One thing to keep in mind is that Japan doesn't have "no-fault" divorce, which serves to keep the rate low. I suspect that if it did, the divorce rate would skyrocket.
Josh Reyer
------------
頓ニ纜ヲ斬テ大荒ニ入レ。
長岡桃嶺房成
Shirasagi
 
Posts: 443
Joined: Wed 02.14.2007 10:50 am

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby Tajoumaru » Sat 03.24.2007 5:12 pm

I know that there's more emphasis in Japan these days on marrying for love rather than for familial obligations, but that's a trend found in all industrialized nations. The number of single persons in the 25-35 age range has shot up remarkably in recent years, especially in urban areas where women are more able to find good-paying work and live comfortably as a single person. I suppose this is Japan's version of "Women's Lib"; not nearly as radical on the surface as Western feminism but still radical in its overall effect on the society.

My girlfriend, who's 33 and from the Yokohama area, has only a couple friends in her age range back home that have become hitched. The majority of her friends are single women in their late 20s and early 30s who work full-time in good-paying jobs and spend a lot of their leisure time traveling. This is not something common in, say, rural Shikoku.
User avatar
Tajoumaru
 
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue 01.09.2007 9:22 pm

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby spin13 » Sun 03.25.2007 2:25 am

Tajoumaru wrote:
The number of single persons in the 25-35 age range has shot up remarkably in recent years, especially in urban areas where women are more able to find good-paying work and live comfortably as a single person.


To add to that, I know quite a few women slightly below that age range who have an incredible amount of expendable income. They've finished university, they've found themselves one of these good-paying jobs, and they've respected their parents' wishes and moved back home until they marry. Except they don't marry...

I suppose somebody's got to buy all those designer boots they keep making. How else are we supposed to keep Japan stylish and Southeast Asian poor? Oh...

-Eric
You're probably not as smart as you think.
Unskilled and Unaware
spin13
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Wed 04.06.2005 9:38 pm
Location: Tokyo
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 03.25.2007 6:53 am

Mercenary wrote:
It also talked about that typically after the married people were done having kids that the man would lose interest in the wife and may very well pursue his desires elsewhere. It also was talking about how the man typically was obsessive with work and spent little time at home with the wife and the kids and that it was the wife that gave the children any kind of real attention.


Typical modern female-centric self-serving men-are-bastards claptrap.

Does it talk about how from the moment of conception, practically, husbands are marginalized and neglected? Does it mention and explain the common Japanese expressions 亭主は留守で元気がいい and 釣った魚に餌をやらない? ("Husbands should be healthy and absent" and "You don't keep giving bait to fish you already caught")

Does it mention how so many women, once they become mothers, quit being wives?

I'm going to cut this off, because I feel like going on a full-blown rant and I can only do justice to it out loud.
Never underestimate my capacity for pettiness.
User avatar
Mike Cash
 
Posts: 2737
Joined: Sun 08.20.2006 3:38 am
Native language: English

RE: Culture of Marriage

Postby keatonatron » Sun 03.25.2007 8:06 am

Mike Cash wrote:
I'm going to cut this off, because I feel like going on a full-blown rant and I can only do justice to it out loud.


If you could post that here in MP3 format, I would be amused to no end.
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Next

Return to Culture and Info about living in Japan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests