Foreign men sound off on difficulties of having a Japanese wife

TOKYO —

As its society becomes more and more internationalized, a growing number of Japan’s citizens are choosing a spouse from another country. It’s not hard to see why, as an interracial relationship can be the deepest and most rewarding form of cultural exchange.

That said, there’s no such thing as a perfect spouse. Following are a list of difficulties foreign men have had in blending their own customs and traditions with those of their Japanese brides.

A common complaint from foreign men is a lack of overt affection from their Japanese wives. It’s well known that Japanese are less likely to utter the phrase “I love you” than their native English-speaking counterparts, but the lack of validation can seem all the more distressing when your wife has no problem showing her devotion to someone she’s only seen on stage holding a microphone.

“My wife is really into Japanese boy bands, like the guys in the Johnny’s production group.”

It’s not just verbal affirmation some men hope for more of, either. Like most of Asia, Japan has very different standards about casual physical contact from many Western cultures, and one person’s casual flirting can be another’s violation of personal boundaries.

“Sometimes, even though I hardly touched her, she asks ‘What are you groping me for?’ and shoots me a hard look.”

Still, at least some compatibility on this issue is a prerequisite for most marriages, and plenty of international couples are cozy enough to produce offspring. Of course, raising them brings with it its own issues.

“When I watch action movies with our kids, my wife says they’re too violent. But then she watches action shows from Japan like Kamen Rider with them when they’re still in preschool. What gives?”

Because early child education starts in the home, and it starts with cyclone spin kicks.

The home tends to be a frequent problem area. It can be particularly difficult convincing your spouse that something you’ve always had is a necessity when she’s gone her whole life without it, such as the men whose wives criticized their wasteful desires for fluffy, machine-dried laundry and the convenience of an automated sprinkler system. Home-use clothes dryers were extremely uncommon in Japan until the last 10 years or so, and automated sprinklers for private dwellings are still unheard of.

And then there are the topics of shoes and baths, two things Japan and the West have always had trouble seeing eye to eye on.

“When I come into the house with my shoes still on, she asks, ‘Do you have any idea how many bacteria you pick up just walking on the road?’”

“After a nice hot bubble bath, my wife gets mad if I don’t rinse myself off in the shower before drying off. She’ll even sit in our bedroom listening for the sound of running water, and if she doesn’t hear it before I start toweling myself off, she’ll shout ‘Shower!’”

Japanese society tends to be fastidious in general when it comes to grooming and taking care of your appearance, as illustrated by another man whose wife flips out and forces him to change immediately if she notices a hole in his clothing or socks. Of course, sometimes this phenomena is reversed, as in the case of a man living overseas with his Japanese wife.

“Her casual clothes are all old and beat up, but she says she won’t buy new ones until the next time she goes back to Japan for a visit and can go to Uniqlo.”

Yet another reason Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo needs to hurry up with their global expansion already.

This sort of shopping pattern seems to be common, and is likely a result of the huge amount of products Japan exports compared to what it imports. If the whole world is buying your stuff, it must be good right? Even still, some husbands are surprised at their wives’ dedication to buying from their birth country.

“When my wife goes back to Japan to see her friends and family, she always buys a bunch of salt. We have salt in my country, too, of course, but she doesn’t want to use it because ‘it tastes different.’”

All of this clothing and seasoning shopping apparently takes time, too, which can leave some guys feeling a little lonely.

“Whenever she goes back to Japan, she spends a month. It’s nice having some time to myself for the first three days or so, but after that…”

But hey, giving your spouse the time she needs to visit her relatives comes with the territory in an international marriage, just like language hiccups.

“Sometimes I ask my wife what something means, and she brushes me off with ‘I can’t explain it in English,’ even though we’re speaking in Japanese!”

“Recently, my wife’s English is getting worse, and when she gets angry, she just speaks in Japanese.”

Depending on how angry she is, not being able to understand her might be a good thing.

And even when spouses aren’t flapping their gums, they sometimes run into problems while stuffing their faces. For instance, one husband laments that his wife can’t understand the importance of potatoes as a staple food of his culture’s diet.

But while we can appreciate a tasty spud as much as the next person, we’re confused by some of these gripes.

“My wife always chows down on giant blocks of tofu.”

So your wife likes eating an inexpensive, low-calorie food that you have to do literally nothing to prepare? And this bothers you because….?

But most baffling of all is this man’s grievance.

“Whenever we have guests over, she makes too many different kinds of food.”

Yeah dude, that sounds terrible. Let us know the next time this happens, and we’ll rush right over and see if we can’t help you solve this tricky problem of too much home-cooked food.

Source: Naver Matome

Read more stories from RocketNews24.
Four things to think about before you and your Japanese sweetheart tie the knot
Why do so many Japanese spouses sleep separately?
10 simple ways to ruin a Japanese wife’s day

RocketNews24

  • 16

    JeffLee

    "When my wife goes back to Japan....she always buys a bunch of salt. We have salt in my country, too, of course, but she doesnt want to use it because it tastes different"

    It seems she misses the MSG and other additives. I have to check carefully in Japan that I'm buying natural pure salt, because most of the salt products contain artificial flavor enhancers. Japan is the home of Ajinomoto, after all.

  • 23

    Geoff Gillespie

    Yeah, the affection thing is a real kick in the slats. Didn't see that one coming, though I probably should have. My bad, I guess...

  • 31

    falseflagsteve

    Sounds like a load of oddballs if these stories are true. Don't have these types of problems with my wife. Possibly these people are unhappy, the things they complain about are very petty.

  • 20

    MJolette Meneses Guda

    Japanese are so cold when it comes to love❤️

  • 15

    cleo

    she watches action shows from Japan like Kamen Rider with them when they’re still in preschool

    Didn't Kamen Rider stop airing in like, the 1970s?

    their wasteful desires for fluffy, machine-dried laundry

    Waste of electricity. Sun-dried is best, and you don't need to be Japanese to think so.

    the convenience of an automated sprinkler system

    In a country that has as much rain in Japan??

    I come into the house with my shoes still on....

    Duh. This is Japan. You don't need to be married to a native for this to be a big no-no.

    when she gets angry, she just speaks in Japanese

    Duh. she's Japanese. What language do you swear in when you're mad?

    his wife can’t understand the importance of potatoes as a staple food of his culture’s diet.

    Take over the cooking at the weekend (if she's a sahl) or on alternate nights (if you're a double-income couple) . Problem solved.

  • 21

    Tamarama

    Yeah, that's a pretty marriage-lite set of complaints there. You aren't doing too badly if those are the worst things you can come up with by way of complaints about your spouse.

    My wife told me right at the start of our dating, waaay back, that 'you shouldn't say 'I love you'. This astonished me at the time, because I had not long broken up from a lengthy relationship with a western girl who demanded to hear it daily, which simply resulted in a cheapening the whole value of the phrase and experience of a partnership imo. My wife isn't a cold person either, she is warm, friendly, outgoing and affectionate.

    She went on to explain that Love should be something you show, feel, do, but that saying it was too overt, vulgar and unnecessary. I thought that was fabulous. We've been together for over a very happy decade and neither of us have said it, in fact, I never even think of saying it, and I don't miss it at all.

    So much of the joy of being with a Japanese woman are the quirks, and recognising that you have at least one for every one of hers. This is true of all relationships anyway, but often they can be culturally rooted in this case. These are to be celebrated and I think you need to be careful not to make them flash points. Communicating about them and acknowledging them in a lighthearted way helps to remind you that you are different and this is one of the things you like about each other.

    International marriages require mindfulness and care, and attention to some of the differences you have. But if you do that, they are wonderful. I couldn't think of anything better.

  • 13

    SimondB

    Problems listed are in many cases similar to any other marriage. Personally for me marrying a Japanese woman was one of the best moves of my life (provided I tolerate her obsession with doing laundry).

  • 7

    CrazyJoe

    A smart Japanese wife usually manages to be boss within the realm of her home. Papa-san takes it on the chin now.

  • 3

    justbcuzisay

    This sort of shopping pattern seems to be common, and is likely a result of the huge amount of products Japan exports compared to what it imports.

    Huh? This seems opposite of everything I've ever heard. Tried to look it up online, but couldn't find numbers. Anyone know if it is true?

  • 13

    Maria

    “Whenever we have guests over, she makes too many different kinds of food.”

    I can get this. She buys and prepares too much, spends too much time and money, gets all stressed out and irritable; the pressure is on the guests to eat and like everything offered, even if there's way too much, and you can't relax properly when you're surrounded by food. Having people over isn't about sitting and eating until you can't move, it's about sitting and catching up and having good conversation.

    Maybe he should take over the preparations one time.

  • 10

    Eric Mueller

    If your wife doesn't treat you like crap on occassion then I assume she's still treating you like a customer. To me smiles are too easily contrived, and while smiles are great for the outward appearance of a happy couple, I go to extra lengths to make my relationship a safe zone for emotional sparring. Sometimes I get dealt a low blow or two, but the result is an understanding of our strengths, weaknesses, boundries, and shared spaces..

  • 4

    SenseNotSoCommon

    The guy whining about his spuds is getting plenty of other carbohydrates.

    Whenever we have guests over, she makes too many different kinds of food

    Are these plates to share, Asian style? Maybe the guests are uncomfortable with the concept.

    Go to any Chinese restaurant in Europe or America and observe the non-Asians ordering and eating their own separate dishes.

    When I come into the house with my shoes still on

    This is plain daft.

  • 15

    Sensato

    Difficulties of having a Japanese wife in an intercultural (not necessarily interracial) marriage are exponentially greater when parenthood becomes part of the equation.

    The major grievance of the non-Japanese partner obviously is the looming threat of child abduction with no recourse for the non-Japanese spouse. Here, I see non-Japanese partners constantly walking on eggshells knowing that the possibility of this materializing could easily be just one argument away, with knowledge of this a source of extortion used by the Japanese spouse.

    Another that I often see with Japanese-other intercultural marriages is that of enduring the tiger mom killjoy mentality reflected in extremely uptight and obsessive parenting — verbal abuse such as in meltdowns bringing screamed insults at the children and spouse like ‘you are stupid/fat/filthy,’ while constantly comparing/pitting the children against their peers in terms of academic success, ability in extracurricular pursuits, height/weight.

  • 8

    Strangerland

    While westerners have effectively made the term "I love you" meaningless by saying it all the time, the Japanese don't use it enough. There is a happy balance. I say it to my wife on special occasions, and only on special occasions, so that it still had some weight. If you are saying it every say, and telling all your friends how much they love them all the time, then it really doesn't put your significant other at a level any better than your friends.

  • 10

    oikawa

    I think a lot of these complaints are from people not living in Japan, that's why they're surprised at the reaction to wearing shoes in the house and their wife speaking Japanese when she's angry.

  • 0

    pointofview

    Sounds like these guys have no backbone or they like to be babysat. Why anyone would put up with a control freak is beyond me.

    Using the dryer??? If you bought it, use it when you want. Waste? No worse than all the hot water Japanese use for hot baths everyday. Sounds like the heater/aircon issue, you know when everyone is cold or hot they just announce it but don`t fix the problem.

    Shoes in the house??? If it`s your dwelling, once again do what you want.

    Guys... don`t put up with controlling women.

  • 19

    Tim_Fox

    This article forgets to mention Japanese wives who suddenly decide they don't need to work any more, and then pressure their husband to get a part-time job on top of their regular job and then complain to their husband that taking care of the home is too difficult and demanding more days off to get take out food or go out with her friends...

  • 29

    choiwaruoyaji

    The single biggest difficulty with a Japanese wife is that she will more than likely decide to shut down sex after having kids and it will never restart.

    Unfortunately this is very normal in Japanese marriages, but for a Western guy it can be a huge shock.

    And, as noted above, any attempts at affection (hugging and kissing) will also be refused.

  • 6

    Strangerland

    The threat of having one's child kidnapped by their Japanese spouse is very real. I told my wife that if she ever did that, she'd live a life if poverty as I wouldn't give her a yen. And this being Japan, she is not particularly employable. I also told her that I'd put money in an account for my kids for when they reach the age of majority. Then I'd create a website with their names all over it, so they could find me and find out the truth when they started googling their names - which everyone eventually does. So while it's true that the Japanese can kidnap our children with impunity, there is a balance of power in that women very rarely can gain meaningful employment after raising children.

  • 3

    livinginnagoya1983

    There is an old saying that goes; to have a happy life live in a spanish house witha japanese wife...

    and thats all I have to say about that.

  • 25

    Jamie Paquin

    What kind of nonsense is this? Who are these :'Westerners'? No control group to compare these marriages. Sounds like a conversation with on guy.

    I am Canadian and have never worn shoes in the home. This kind of article really serves no purpose.

  • 12

    Maria

    If it`s your dwelling, once again do what you want.

    Well, it's a shared dwelling actually - you're living in it together. Compromise on all sides. Does it hurt you to take your shoes off, any more than it hurts her to have you buy a dryer she doesn't intend to use? If someone goes on with a relationship saying "My house my rules", that's not much of a relationship.

  • 6

    Strangerland

    It's just a human interest piece. It's not presented as a study.

  • 4

    maxjapank

    The differences between a man and a woman far outweigh the problems of culture.

  • 4

    Andeveron

    I've dated Japanese and Korean girls and I've found them to be similar in terms of the lack of affection and felt a certain 'coldness' and distance during the relationship. I'm assuming that this is cultural where emotions aren't really shown or overt even in our intimate moments.

  • 13

    nostromo

    The single biggest difficulty with a Japanese wife is that she will more than likely decide to shut down sex after having kids and it will never restart. Unfortunately this is very normal in Japanese marriages, but for a Western guy it can be a huge shock.

    all too true - I have heard this on many occasions..... one reason I am sure why the sex industry is so big in japan

  • 26

    JeffLee

    One common problem among my friends overseas is that their wives at some point insist on relocating to Japan, so that she can be close to and care for her elderly parents or so her kids become more Japanese, etc.

    That means the foreign guy, invariably the breadwinner, must give up his career, work, mortgage, etc. and become an eikaiwa drone on subsistence wages while living in a drab Japanese shoebox apartment. IT's called POJ ("prisoner of Japan") syndrome.

    I just got an inquiry from a friend of friend who's about to give up his engineering job at one of America's leading IT companies...about the prospect of teaching English in rural Chiba! My advice: don't go!

  • 5

    Himajin

    and automated sprinklers for private dwellings are still unheard of.

    Not really...they sell timer/control units at any home center, along with perforated hoses and all kinds of couplings, you buy two kinds of hose (perforated for around the trees, and regular hose to run between planters so you don't waste water) and there you go, an automated sprinkler system.

    It does rain here a lot, but July and August are very hot and it's cheaper to make your own system and use it then than it is to hire someone to water while I'm away.

  • 5

    Rei Saionji

    “Whenever we have guests over, she makes too many different kinds of food.” reminded me of Italian mamma...

    I personally think these kinds of problems can be easily happened also in Japanese x Japanese couples and in so-called "Westerners" x "Westerners" couples....

    I liked Tamarama's comment!

  • 4

    Slamdunk

    "If you want some love at night, you gotta show more love during daytime. " <--to your wife. Sometimes u gotta go out of your comfort zone, try new things... Dont always say No.

    Afterall, you only live once.

  • 28

    samwatters

    My advice to anyone deciding to marry a Japanese woman is to make sure that prior to marriage she lives on her own, away from her mommy and daddy for at least one year. Most Japanese children---especially the girls---- live with their family until the get married which results in emotional maturity capping at about the level of a 15 year old. The pouty-sulky-routine is fine when you're young but sucks when you're in your 40's and are responsible for the welfare of a family.

  • 9

    Reckless

    All I know is if you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, get an ugly girl to be your wife,,, whether she be Japanese or Swahili. You CANNOT go wrong following this advice.

  • 5

    warispeace

    It’s not hard to see why, as an interracial relationship can be the deepest and most rewarding form of cultural exchange.

    And I thought I married another person with shared intimacies and experiences and with 99.9% identical DNA, not a racial other.

  • 7

    Himajin

    These guys all sound like they're culturally overbearing, or at least culturally tone deaf....cripes, learn the language and the culture if you're going to marry someone from it and live there...how difficult a concept is it? Clothes with holes in them? Shoes in the house? Don't like their spouses speaking Japanese, what the hell?

  • -10

    ReformedBasher

    Hey, let's all generalize, shall we?

    Japanese spouses are cold? Um, sorry, my wife is very affectionate. And I think you know what I mean. (Suck it up)

    Totally get the thing with Uniqlo. Buying clothes back home that don't assume I have a beer gut and/or on my way to a party with 16 year olds was always a problem and my first stop coming here for holidays was always Uniqlo. Without fail. (To be fair, RM Williams trousers fit me better than most brands here though)

    That means the foreign guy, invariably the breadwinner, must give up his career, work, mortgage, etc. and become an eikaiwa drone on subsistence wages while living in a drab Japanese shoebox apartment. IT's called POJ ("prisoner of Japan") syndrome.

    Or you can show some backbone and get a better job if you're not satisfied. Caution: A little discomfort may be involved but you can complain on an Japan news site if it makes you feel better.

  • -5

    Fukuppy

    @Strangerland

    The threat of having one's child kidnapped by their Japanese spouse is very real. I told my wife that if she ever did that, she'd live a life if poverty as I wouldn't give her a yen. And this being Japan, she is not particularly employable. I also told her that I'd put money in an account for my kids for when they reach the age of majority. Then I'd create a website with their names all over it, so they could find me and find out the truth when they started googling their names - which everyone eventually does. So while it's true that the Japanese can kidnap our children with impunity, there is a balance of power in that women very rarely can gain meaningful employment after raising children.

    Isn't there now a fully ratified treaty in place now that stops this happening? I can't help feeling you sound rather unhappy at being married to a Japanese person. I hear this complaint a lot, i.e. that things aren't what the foreign husband expected after marriage.

  • 12

    Strangerland

    Or you can show some backbone and get a better job if you're not satisfied.

    Easier said than done. The Japanese still much prefer to hire Japanese over non-Japanese, even if/when the foreigner is technically more qualified. Though that's a little of a grey area, as lack of Japanese skills and not having grown up in a Japanese environment can be considered qualifications. Not that this is exclusively Japanese, many of us have ever had a taxi driver who used to be a doctor back in their home country.

    I've know English teachers who were qualified professionals in their home countries, but after months of searching for work ended up teaching English, as that is the only job they could find.

    Most English teachers in Japan would rather be doing another job, but the pool of jobs is few, and the applicants many. So many are regulated to it through no other viable options.

  • 2

    Meguroman

    Everyone has different expectations going into a marriage and that affects their satisfaction or lack thereof.

  • 11

    I'm a japanese

    Sounds like all Japanese womens are same. All of us have a different identity. Really sick of this.

  • 4

    Strangerland

    Isn't there now a fully ratified treaty in place now that stops this happening? No.

    I can't help feeling you sound rather unhappy at being married to a Japanese person. I hear this complaint a lot, i.e. that things aren't what the foreign husband expected after marriage.

    Wow, through one comment you think you can read into the satisfaction or lack thereof into my 15 year marriage?

    On the contrary, I'm very happy I married a Japanese girl. While it comes with its own set of challenges, compared to the challenges I see in the marriages of my friends back home who married (and as often as not divorced) someone from my home country, I am ok with the challenges I have had to face. But that said, most of those were earlier in our relationship. Once we had children, our marriage became much more stable, as we work together as a team, and a family to raise out children, which fuss formed a really strong bond.

  • 11

    Fukuppy

    Easier said than done. The Japanese still much prefer to hire Japanese over non-Japanese, even if/when the foreigner is technically more qualified. Though that's a little of a grey area, as lack of Japanese skills and not having grown up in a Japanese environment can be considered qualifications. Not that this is exclusively Japanese, many of us have ever had a taxi driver who used to be a doctor back in their home country.

    I've know English teachers who were qualified professionals in their home countries, but after months of searching for work ended up teaching English, as that is the only job they could find.

    Most English teachers in Japan would rather be doing another job, but the pool of jobs is few, and the applicants many. So many are regulated to it through no other viable options.

    This is SO true. Most foreigners will end up as English teachers in one form or another, and with salaries decreasing and fewer people willing to spend on eikaiwa, it can be quite a harsh reality. I'd advise anyone to think very carefully before taking a Japanese spouse, because you haven't only got the realities of an intercultural marriage to deal with, you'd got the added difficulties of understanding and conforming to Japanese-ness that come with it.

  • 5

    timbo

    I think it's easy to rattle off the stereotypes, some of which are valid, to an extent. The difference in food taste definitely is, but I am guilty of noticing it myself. Milk in Japan really does taste different. What got me about the gripes was the affection thing. I guess I'm just used to the self proclaimed virile foreign men boasting about 'satisfying' lonely Japanese married women. They aren't as cold as some of these guys claim. Perhaps THEY might not be showing love to their wives?

  • 6

    Fukuppy

    Wow, through one comment you think you can read into the satisfaction or lack thereof into my 15 year marriage?

    Yes. A rather intense comment it was too, wouldn't you say? "If you take my kids I'll see you in poverty and no-one will employ you." Hardly the sign of a happy marriage.

  • 8

    sighclops

    I'm surprised no one mentioned the issue of the wife being overly-attached to their mother - it's a well-known 'condition' in Japan. This can be a massive issue in a relationship and I've even heard of it being the reason behind some divorces. I have experienced this first-hand and it was one of the reasons I ended up calling off the engagement (among other issues, of course). The issue can snowball to the point where the mother (or mother-in-law to-be) ends up being involved in arguments (and eventually wins, of course).

    Also, what about the addiction to Japanese TV? Ridiculous 'talents', never ending boy bands - It's such a turn-off. Then there's the women that are obsessed with Disney. Seriously, this all goes on!

  • 4

    Strangerland

    Yes. A rather intense comment it was too, wouldn't you say? "If you take my kids I'll see you in poverty and no-one will employ you." Hardly the sign of a happy marriage.

    A strong marriage is one in which there is communication between the partners - even when the person doesn't want to hear it. Before we had children, we discussed it a lot. The Hague convention was being discussed on TV, and so we talked about it. As people in a strong relationship will do. And I told her the comments I posted earlier.

    As a result of that, and other conversations on the matter, we both went into having children with a clear knowledge of our respective expectations, and potential consequences for inaction. Which as I also mentioned above is why we have been a great team in raising our kids.

    On top of this, I didn't say I'd stop anyone from employing her. On the contrary she is the one that showed me the light as far as the employment prospects for women after having children. I had been discussing about 'when she went back to work' - something she showed me is not particularly realistic (with the exception of part-time and dispatch jobs).

    Let this be a lesson to you about playing the armchair detective with a tiny morsel of information, as so many on JT are prone to do. Sometimes you suspect one thing, and it turns out you have it completely backwards.

  • 7

    GW

    SWatters & Choiwaruoyaji both posted VERY good points, you wanna marry a Japanese lady, make sure she can & has lived on her own!

    And if you marry & have kids expect your sex life to basically disappear unless SHE wants another little one, in my younger days here it always amazed me about the size & scope of the sex industry here, after been married for close to 20yrs(thankfully no kids!) & looking around as I got older it become obvious a large reason for the huge sex industry is because of the LACK of sex life in the home, THAT is a sad one & young guys, consider yourselves warned haha!!!

  • 11

    Strangerland

    I'm surprised no one mentioned the issue of the wife being overly-attached to their mother - it's a well-known 'condition' in Japan.

    That's also a regular complaint from girls, both Japanese and non, who marry Japanese guys.

  • 0

    MumbaiRocks!

    i suggested one of my us coworkers get married to a JP lady, but he said "I am gay" so there you have it.

  • 2

    bookowls

    There are a lot of comments from people who are not married to Japanese and some from people who think the only jobs here are teaching English!

    I'm married to a Japanese woman, miserably and happily, for 14 years. Yes, there are quirks that just defy logic even Spock couldn't figure out, but you learn to live with them or work with them. As for jobs, they are there if you look for them. Both myself and my best friend here, work as managers in a car company. I don't miss teaching one iota, and my wife enjoys making my bento every morning before we both go to work. Still yells at me for leaving a wet towel on the table.

  • 3

    Sensato

    @samwaters

    My advice to anyone deciding to marry a Japanese woman is to make sure that prior to marriage she lives on her own, away from her mommy and daddy for at least one year.

    @bilderberg_2015

    make sure that prior to DATING she has lived ABROAD for at least one year

    Good advice both of you. I would add to that advice: 1. make sure she has healthy/positive relationships with her parents, her father in particular (Your marriage will most likely reflect her relationship with her father in many ways. A common thread I see with many disastrous marriages with a Japanese wife is that the woman also has a horrendous relationship with her father.), and 2. if you want to have children, see how she conducts herself around other children -- make sure that she does not seem put off by them and uninterested, but rather seems maternalistic toward them in a way that the children seem drawn to her.

  • 5

    Jimizo

    Taking off your shoes before entering a house is a problem? Me and my English partner thought this was a great idea and I'm sure we will do it when we return home. Common sense if you think about it.

  • 7

    Strangerland

    A common thread I see with many disastrous marriages with a Japanese wife is that the woman also has a horrendous relationship with her father

    Very true, but not exclusive to Japan. This is the human condition. It works the other way as well, men with a horrible relationship with their mother often have bad relationships with their wives as well.

  • 7

    interuni321

    A rather shallow article with some strange examples. I don' t know a single foreigner who has lived in Japan for more than a week that has a problem taking off their shoes in the house, indeed plenty of people in the UK and Europe always remove their shoes when they enter a house. This article just has more of the same old cliches about non-Japanese thinking and indeed Japanese thinking. Not impressed.

  • 6

    sighclops

    @JeffLee

    As I suggested, the destination is dictated to where the in-laws live, which among my friends include such international hotspots as Fukui, northern Ibaraki, Wakayama, etc.

    This made me LOL! Talk about smashing the nail on the head - I'd even go one stop further and say that in many cases the house of choice is built next to the in-laws, as they assume child care duties (and eventually move in - oh the hilarity that ensues with that!).

    This was the major factor behind me calling off my engagement - there was just no way in the world I was going to limit my own employment prospects by moving out to the middle of nowhere. Even if you speak the language reasonably well, rural parts of Japan are extremely conservative and you have basically zero chance of finding anything other than government school employment.

    There is so much weight that comes with a decision like this - you're basically away from your friends and family, limited in terms of employment, and basically your social 'circle' is limited to your significant other's family. This is all well and good, but by no means healthy. You get it a lot here, these guys just talk about nothing but their wife / wife's family. Not much of a life really is it?

  • -4

    555Book

    I didn't know that Japanese ladies are so cold, I know that they are quite friendly and definitely fussy.

  • 8

    Tamarama

    It always bemuses me when people post: 'Do your research on Japanese women before marrying them'.

    Isn't that just common sense? In the same way you would before you marry ANY woman or man? Why would it be any different for Japanese people?

    For what it's worth, my take is this. I've seen quite a few guys hook up with some pretty good looking women in Japan. The guys are stoked, they are getting action with an attractive women who dotes over them and says and does all the right things and their minds are blown. In more than a few cases you can tell it's somewhat of a first for the guys, which is nice for them, but leaves them vulnerable. They can't wait to tie the knot, seal the deal, bank it. And don't do their due diligence.

    Not everything that glitters is gold. People, even if you find yourself with a red hot little smoker who is blowing your mind, go slowly. Take your time, get to know her better, see what she is like in different circumstances. Meet her family, get the big picture. Then make your decision.

    In exactly the same way you would anywhere else. Then, you really can't have any cause for complaint.

  • -1

    Maria

    1. if you want to have children, see how she conducts herself around other children

    I would add to Sensato's advice, that you find out how she herself was disciplined as a child. Was she slapped, beaten, locked outside, shunned? This will certainly reflect in how she raises your children.

  • 3

    Strangerland

    I didn't know that Japanese ladies are so cold, I know that they are quite friendly and definitely fussy.

    Maybe not necessarily cold, but many wives not touchy-feely affectionate as many western men are accustomed to. It's not something they see between their parents growing up, so they don't have a model to follow when they get older, and this can result in a disconnect between husband and wife in marriages between Japanese women and western men.

    They also often don't have a strong interest in sex after kids are born. This is actually quite common in Asia, not just Japan. This is why, like it or not, trysts are often overlooked in Asia (at least East and South East Asia), as long as they don't have any direct impact on the family.

  • -2

    pointofview

    @Maria,

    Re: your comment about shared dwelling.

    I think you just proved my point. It is the women that seem to make all the rules about not using the dryer or stepping onto the floor with shoes or leaving a wet towel on the table etc. hence the two way street doesn`t exist. Thanks for that. In addition, mother in laws should be told to mind their business if they interfere. I do it. My marriage is a bicultural relationship not a Japanese arranged marriage type of relationship. Times have changed.

  • 6

    Sambhavo Patryck

    Sixteen year veteran in Japan . Came as a business agent importing and survived without language skills but eventually became an English teacher to get a working visa, big hassle back then! Better now but even having a permanent resident status does not eliminate ones gajin stigma! Married a JP woman that had 5 years overseas experience and great English skills. Seemed like an ideal partnership, the usual early passion and romance until family pressure about having kids created a huge conflict. I was all about family planning, research into the many issues of family life, long term financial, education, language, medical, housing , etc. Differences were HUGE and led to a disappointing divorce. No regrets but nearly all foreigner friends I have known here have divorced after having kids here and losing intimacy with their spouses. There are always a few exceptions. Communication and compromise are a given! Happy to be single and simple dating life in Japan is great! Need to meet women, get a cute fluffy dog to walk in the park! Having a car helps too! Good luck out there!

  • 21

    zichi

    For more than 20 years I've enjoyed the love, friendship and tenderness of my Japanese wife, and while all international marriages can have difficulties not experienced in same nation marriages there's no reason why all problems can't easily be resolved. We have had no major problems in our marriage.

    I don't have a single regret nor do I have a single regret about moving from London to Japan, except for missing family and friends. Our marriage and way of living is a mixture of both British and Japanese cultures. I enjoy the Japanese part and my wife, who teaches English, enjoys the British parts.

    My wife loves to be held and kissed which we do every single day and there's still activities in the bedroom which is good considering we are both 60 plus?

  • 9

    cleo

    point of view -

    It is the women that seem to make all the rules

    But you're not marrying 'the women', you're marrying one woman. Surely it's up to you to pick one you can at least live with, regardless of her nationality?

    Strangerland-

    "If you take my kids I'll see you in poverty and no-one will employ you."

    There is no way I would contemplate having kids with a person who said that to me. Not because I would be afraid of being thwarted in my plans to run off with the yet-to-be-born kids, but because I would be appalled at the idea of him seriously contemplating the complete collapse of the family before it even got started, and because of the total inconsistency of 'I love you, let's get married, have kids and grow old together' with 'I'll willingly see you in poverty if you cross me'. Maybe that's not how you meant it, but that's how it comes across. Scary.

  • -1

    Strangerland

    "If you take my kids I'll see you in poverty and no-one will employ you." There is no way I would contemplate having kids with a person who said that to me. Not because I would be afraid of being thwarted in my plans to run off with the yet-to-be-born kids, but because I would be appalled at the idea of him seriously contemplating the complete collapse of the family before it even got started, and because of the total inconsistency of 'I love you, let's get married, have kids and grow old together' with 'I'll willingly see you in poverty if you cross me'. Maybe that's not how you meant it, but that's how it comes across. Scary.

    Fair enough. For me it was better than having the living in fear kidnap of in the years to come. I would rather have had her leave me at the time, and not have children with her, than to have her suddenly pick up and kidnap my kids at some point in the future. And fortunately my wife didn't isn't one to be scared off by comments like that, as we now have kids, and a strong relationship together. And I'm not walking on eggshells concerned that she may kidnap my kids, which is a common situation among guys married to Japanese women.

    I will however add that if she were to leave, and still give me proper access to the kids, I'd definitely pay support to her, and I told her that at the time as well. The comments in question were in regards to parents who kidnap their partner's children and don't give them any access to the children at all.

  • 0

    sighclops

    Also, anecdotally (but almost 10 years here), there seems to be a clear distinction - it's either the 'kokunai' type (who has never spent an extended amount of time overseas, has very little interest in world and is very much 'pro-everything-Japanese') or the 'kokusai' type (has spent an extended amount of time overseas and is very much open-minded to other cultures and understands the differences).

    You can try all you want, but it is never going to work with the former ('kokunai' type).

  • 5

    Jimizo

    Moaning about crappy clothes? My coworker would say count your blessings that your partner is happy to wear 'beat-up' Uniqlo gear and not shoes and a bag which cost more than your entire wardrobe.

  • 3

    pointofview

    @cleo,

    A good number of women like to run the show. They get peaved at their guys when they don`t obey. For me, not the situation but it had to cleared in the beginning. Neither side should be telling each other what to do.

  • 6

    ReformedBasher

    Thanks Zichi for sharing your good experience. May you and your wife share many more happy years together.

    Love isn't always easy. I've married 3 times so I like to think I have a tiny bit of experience in this regard. Yes, there will be cultural differences and sacrifices need to be made. But in all honesty, some of the blame for my first 2 failures falls on myself. Older and wiser, poorer in money but richer in experience. The fact is, it's up to oneself to pick the right partner. 3rd time lucky for me.

  • 8

    Himajin

    I think you just proved my point. It is the women that seem to make all the rules about not using the dryer or stepping onto the floor with shoes or leaving a wet towel on the table etc. hence the two way street doesn`t exist.

    You're obviously not the one who wipes the dirt off the floor, tries to save electricity and keep the household on a budget, or the one who has to try to repair the ruined finish on the furniture from the wet towels...this is why wives begin to nag...living with thoughtlessness is very tiring.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    Thinking more on this comment:

    the total inconsistency of 'I love you, let's get married, have kids and grow old together'

    I think this line of thinking is one that causes a lot of troubles in marriages between Westerns and Asians. Traditionally, marriage in Asia has been much more pragmatic than in the west. It was more of an arrangement than a relationship based on love. This is why arranged marriages are still only a generation ago in Japan, and why even now much of pre-marriage consideration for Asians marrying each other is whether their significant other is the first or second son/daughter, what their job is, and their ability to provide for their partner into old-age.

    So while I can understand many Western women, due to the incongruity of the intention to live together full of love and romance into old age, would have troubles with the idea of discussing potential futures if the relationship were to go bad, many, if not most Japanese people don't have this same expectation of a romantic marriage until death, and therefore are more able to discuss things that would put off westerners right away. While Japanese do marry for love these days, the pragmatic thoughts behind it are still there. This can seem cold and calculated to many westerners as it doesn't fit in with their expectations of what a marriage is, based on what we grow up seeing around us, and in our media.

    And in all honesty, this is one of the reasons I'm happy to have married a Japanese girl rather than a western girl. I'm pragmatic myself, to a fault at times, but it makes it easier for me to deal with my wife who is also so. We have been able to have the difficult conversations, because she isn't one to freak out when discussing things that may seem 'unromantic', and which may make more sense for the strength of our family unit as a whole, over her own personal want/need to be told she is loved every day.

  • 0

    PitaHito

    Marry equally yoked

  • -3

    pointofview

    @Himajin,

    There we go another one going on about how men cant or dont know how to do anything around the house. Typical. You might as well stop taking hot baths if you want to save a bit of coin.

  • 6

    cleo

    A good number of women like to run the show.

    Duh! Course we do! When one half of the duo is running around with dirty outdoor shoes on indoors, making flagrant use of the electricity and leaving soggy towels on polished surfaces, someone's gotta take charge before the whole household falls into utter chaos! :-)

    Strangerland -

    What happened in traditional Asian marriages is neither here nor there. All I want is for the man I spend my life with to have enough affection for me to be unable to contemplate ever doing anything to harm me - and vice versa, of course. I wanted someone who was prepared - eager - to spend the rest of his life with me. Someone I could trust literally with my life. His nationality made no difference. If I seriously thought there was a good chance of the relationship going irreparably bad or thought that he thought so, we wouldn't make it as far as marriage in the first place. I don't need to be told I'm loved every day, but neither do I need to be told - even once - that I'm only here on sufferance so long as I behave meself.

    If your 'pragmatism' works for you and your lady, fine - just sayin', it's not what I would look for in a relationship.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    What happened in traditional Asian marriages is neither here nor there.

    Well, you're both right and wrong. Your own marriage will be your own marriage, as you are individuals in a marriage, not statistics . So if your husband is not particularly traditional and/or not particularly pragmatic about his expectations in his marriage, then you're right, it's neither here nor there for you and your marriage. But not everyone is married to (or to be married to) someone like that. My wife comes from a traditional family, and has a very traditional way of thinking. In this case, were I to not understand the history behind her way of thinking, I'd be very frustrated, as I'd be trying to understand her thoughts and actions based on my cultural experiences, and things wouldn't add up. This is what I am speaking of when I say many western-Japanese marriages have troubles due to the pragmatic approach of their partner. Or if you want to look at it from the other direction, to the non-pragmatic approach of their partner can be just as confusing to the Japanese trying to evaluate our thoughts and actions based on their cultural experiences. We are all products of our culture, whether we have embraced it or rejected it. Understanding your partner's culture will never hurt, while ignoring it may very well hurt your relationship significantly.

    All I want is for the man I spend my life with to have enough affection for me to be unable to contemplate ever doing anything to harm me - and vice versa, of course. I wanted someone who was prepared - eager - to spend the rest of his life with me. Someone I could trust literally with my life. His nationality made no difference. If I seriously thought there was a good chance of the relationship going irreparably bad or thought that he thought so, we wouldn't make it as far as marriage in the first place.

    Great! It sounds like you found someone who makes you happy. It's almost guaranteed that were you and I to have married, that it would have failed - as I say, I'm very pragmatic myself. So you can consider comments like the one I made to my wife as being a type of filter - if it had ended up in our breaking up, that likely would have been for the best, as we probably wouldn't have gotten very far raising children together. As such, I'd rather make comments like that, filtering out incompatible women, rather than suppress them in case I hurt her feelings, finding out later that having kids together was a big mistake.

    Not everyone is meant to be together, and sometimes the degree to which someone would have to change to make a relationship work is beyond the level that is reasonable to expect. Pragmatic me says it's better to break up in such a case rather than to try to force an unnatural relationship to work.

  • 2

    The Original Wing

    Strangerland: I think this line of thinking is one that causes a lot of troubles in marriages between Westerns and Asians. Traditionally, marriage in Asia has been much more pragmatic than in the west. It was more of an arrangement than a relationship based on love.

    I think this is true, and as a single Westerner living in Japan, it's actually one of the things keeping me this way. The romantic notions of love are very important to me when it comes to getting married, and I would very much need the same in return. Yet among many of my Japanese friends and coworkers here, it seems that the "I've decided it's time to get married now, so I'll just marry the first decent person who comes along" mindset is quite strong. I'm continually caught off-guard at how soon my Japanese friends get engaged to people after just beginning a relationship with them - and this is true of both genders. It makes me wary about trying to interpret people's intentions.

    Also, the disconnect between this common pragmatic approach to getting hitched and the Disney model of love and marriage (that so many Japanese girls and women seem to love) has always confused me.

  • 3

    cleo

    Strangerland - I get where you're coming from, and I do understand what you mean: but regardless of what country or what kind of family your wife came from, regardless of whether she's traditional in her thinking or not, surely you'd still need to understand the way she thinks or else find yourself frustrated? Until you start to understand her, you don't know whether she's traditionally-minded or not (having traditionally-minded parents is not a foolproof indicator). What I'm trying to say is that regardless of nationality, you need to look at the other person as a person, not as a representative of his/her country/culture/family.

    I imagine a lot of the problems mentioned in the article come from men assuming their pretty little unassuming Japanese wife will follow the stereotype of what they've seen in the films or read about, without bothering to look at the individual.

    It's almost guaranteed that were you and I to have married, that it would have failed

    I can categorically guarantee that if you came round courting with your 'pragmatic' filter, there is no way you and I would ever have married! :-) Be thankful you found the right person for you, I found the right person for me, and no mistakes were made!

  • -2

    Strangerland

    regardless of what country or what kind of family your wife came from, regardless of whether she's traditional in her thinking or not, surely you'd still need to understand the way she thinks or else find yourself frustrated?

    Sure, I'd agree with this. I just think that with an international marriage, the potential for larger misunderstandings is increases in proportion with the difference between the cultures of the two people involved. And Western-Asian cultures are very different.

    What I'm trying to say is that regardless of nationality, you need to look at the other person as a person, not as a representative of his/her country/culture/family.

    I think that you need to look at the person as a person, as well as a product of their culture. Failure to recognize the whole picture is setting yourself up for failure. That is to say ignore the person (seeing them as a stereotype), and/or ignore their culture (expecting them to act/think the way people in your culture do), at your own peril.

    I can categorically guarantee that if you came round courting with your 'pragmatic' filter, there is no way you and I would ever have married!

    I don't know, I'm pretty hard to resist ;)

  • 0

    blogster

    cleoJan. 20, 2014 - 04:48PM JST

    Spare me the sanctimony and self absorption. Men are now increasingly understanding that in marriage they generally have a great deal to lose from marriage than women. Many men from western societies are now all too familiar with the horror stories of divorce and the raw deal men get from family and divorce courts. I've read and heard of too many accounts of men's marriages being wrecked because of a wife being vaguely 'unhaapppy' and dissatisfied with the man, no matter what he does, or worse, 'trading up' when something better comes along.

    And before you say 'Not All Women Are Like That!' or try to re-direct the blame back on men, the reality is there are a sufficient number of cases for it to be a risk worth considering for a man before entering marriage.

    Stating your intentions up front is simply letting the other know where you stand. Laying a guilt trip on men for wanting to do so really only speaks of your self interest as a woman.

  • 2

    Himajin

    There we go another one going on about how men cant or dont know how to do anything around the house.

    I was addressing the points brought up in the article and in the comments-

    wife gets mad at shoes in the house wife gets mad at using the clothes dryer wife gets mad at wet towels on tables

    Many of these comments start out 'whenever I', meaning that these are repeat occurrences, which means that the issues are not being resolved, followed by-

    "I think you just proved my point. It is the women that seem to make all the rules".

    Well, it does seem that in these cases these individuals are causing the problems, and then griping when something's said to them.

    I did not say that all men do nothing around the house.

  • 2

    Thunderbird2

    @Strangerland

    The threat of having one's child kidnapped by their Japanese spouse is very real. I told my wife that if she ever did that, she'd live a life if poverty as I wouldn't give her a yen.

    Are you serious? You told your wife that? Great way to have a trusting relationship.

    The "I love you" thing I can agree with. I was asked not to say it so much, and certainly not in front of her son.

  • 3

    the_odeman

    My last girl ended our relationship because I wasnt a "Seishaiin".....even though I was in the process of changing jobs to become a Seishaiin, it wasnt quick enough for her :/

    Glad I found a girl who prioritizes love and affection over job status

  • 0

    Strangerland

    Are you serious? You told your wife that? Great way to have a trusting relationship.

    Yes, I'm serious, and yes, I did tell my wife that. And we have a very trusting relationship.

    If you'd like further details, see the 10 or so posts on the subject that have preceded this comment, since it would appear that you didn't bother to read the full conversation already had on this point. In particular this point:

    A strong marriage is one in which there is communication between the partners - even when the person doesn't want to hear it. Before we had children, we discussed it a lot. The Hague convention was being discussed on TV, and so we talked about it. As people in a strong relationship will do.

  • 3

    iLikeTurtles

    What a load of claptrap. My wife is Japanese and I don’t relate to a single one of these.

  • 2

    Vast Right-Wing Conspirator

    First of all, the vast majority of international marriages involve a Japanese man marrying a non-Japanese woman, so the article has a very small data set to work from. As others have said, if you expect an internationally-minded wife, choose someone who has international experience. You can't marry Tomoko from the back woods of Aomori and expect her to suddenly become Miss Kokusai. Unfortunately, all too many of the (western) men I know who have married local ladies have caught the rather non-international type. Their lives seem basically 100% Japanese, with little or no international flavor. These dudes really lack any sense of cultural confidence.

  • 1

    cleo

    I just think that with an international marriage, the potential for larger misunderstandings is increases in proportion with the difference between the cultures of the two people involved. And Western-Asian cultures are very different.

    Or look at it another way, when two people are from two cultures/backgrounds that are so obviously different, you'd need to be a total twerp not to expect there to be some pretty big differences. Isn't it the 'we're so alike' couples who are headed for trouble when they hit a previously unseen difference that one or other cannot cope with? If you expect there to be weird differences, discovering them is part of the fun of being together. And finding ways to cope with them is part of the fun of staying together.

  • 7

    inakaRob

    I have a Japanese wife. Been sleeping on the couch last 3 nights.....

  • 16

    albaleo

    "choosing a spouse"

    If that's what people do, I'm not surprised things go bad. It suggests they have expectations like when choosing a car.

    This year will by our thirtieth anniversary. On paper, we had little in common when we married, and probably still don't. But we share a similar sense of humor, enjoy a beer or glass of wine, and love each other's families (even the grumpy members on both sides). Our main dispute is where we should live out our old age. I'd prefer Japan while she'd prefer Scotland. (The kids might suggest we both go home to Mars.)

  • 5

    Tamarama

    inakaRob

    I have a Japanese wife. Been sleeping on the couch last 3 nights.....

    Ha! What'd you do Rob?

  • 0

    avigator

    The problem is that some partners, Japanese or not, already know that they would not last too long in a relationship with one of their own kind. So, they are clever and go for somebody from another nationality. And a lot of these can be insecure and selfish, thus making the relationship look like it is cultural problem. Not it is not. Some of them also feel like they married a foreigner just to live above and beyond their means and do not care about living within a budget. Think about it.

  • -1

    CrazyJoe

    It seems that from the standpoint of Japanese males, the foreign husband is a hobbled cavalier not to be turned loose on the town out of mama-san's sight.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    Bah! This is just people being people, and less about foreign culture than certain quirks amongst individuals. For example, I NEVER wear shoes in the house (and didn't back home), and when I watch a Hollywood movie when someone puts them up on the sofa or even the bed I feel disgusted, or take bubble baths (and if I did, I would shower off after), but I can understand the lack of affection (in terms of physical interaction after marriage, that is... not the wild-ride leading up to it!).

    One thing I was surprised not to see on the list of grumbles was the foreign man handing over all of his pay to his better half and received an allowance. Happens in many cases, though not all. We tried it at first in my family but it ended up being ridiculous when I passed her the money, she counted it, gave it back and asked me to put it in the bank the next day and pay the bills myself, etc. I decided to cut out the 'middle-man' and just made it a dual account.... for a while.

  • 1

    tendousouji

    cleo

    Didn't Kamen Rider stop airing in like, the 1970s?

    Kamen Rider didn't START airing until 1971, and no, it is still on air today.

  • -11

    kaimycahl

    @Tamarama It always bemuses me when people post: 'Do your research on Japanese women before marrying them'. Can a guy really do research on a women? Ok I better design my perfect girl if that’s the case and if there is ever a need. I've seen quite a few guys hook up with some pretty good looking women in Japan. The guys are stoked, they are getting action with attractive women who dote over them and say and do all the right things and their minds are blown. In more than a few cases you can tell it's somewhat of a first for the guys, which is nice for them, but leaves them vulnerable. They can't wait to tie the knot, seal the deal, and bank it. This I can agree you see guys in Japan with very beautiful women and I think the real reason they don’t get to know the women is because where they come from there is no way they could find a women on that level in terms of beauty, so they rush to marry. I have seen some drop dead beautiful women with men that look like hell and you wonder! Another thing is when they get married these beautiful women see other men see what they are stuck with and their life styles change drastically so it goes both ways! She is in awe of the foreigner and he is in awe of the beauty. About taking your shoes off before entering the home, that I can agree with, why bring germs in your home! My wife is Japanese and she has her ways of doing things and I have mine and we talk about them no problems. My wife was educated in the US and lived alone in Japan and ran her own company. Money for us isn’t a problem, affection isn’t a problem. I told her before marriage what I expected. I told her if you don’t take care or your husband another woman will and I told her the same if I don’t take care of her another man would meaning we would seek outside interest. My wife’s parent never gets into our business. I understand she is Japanese and she has a need to live and enjoy her culture I respect that and she respects my culture. We have a condo in Minato Ku Tokyo where we live and spend time and we also live in Maui where we met. I have no problem if she decides to jet out to see her friends. I think most of the guys here that are complaining or the ones that complained expected too much and both got very little! I wish everyone who married Japanese women feel the same as I do no foreign drama!! I’m good we have a son and that’s all she does it care for him fortunately our money worries are few so we can have the kind of lifestyle with less expectation.

  • 5

    Geoff Gillespie

    Japanese spouses are cold? Um, sorry, my wife is very affectionate. And I think you know what I mean. (Suck it up)

    You are both lucky and in the minority, mate!!!

  • 3

    Wolfpack

    I think this article is pretty interesting. It isn't a hard news piece but it has value in that many readers of this site can relate to it. I've been married to a Japanese woman for nearly 22 years and I can relate to some of the things that the guys in this article and some of the those commenting have encountered. When I first got married, my wife and I didn't really think much about the implications of international marriage (culture and race). Those issues are there and are important in their own way but not as important as many make them out to be. From my stand point, it comes down to whether or not you respect and are committed to each other. In other words, whether or not your spouse is Japanese or from your own country/race is a secondary issue that can be worked on given that there is respect/trust and commitment.

    I would like to agree with a comment made by "sighclops". He made the point that it makes a difference whether or not your wife is an internationally minded type of person or not (ie. kokusai). For those men living in Japan, it is typically a given that they are internationally minded. So if your wife is not so much experienced with your culture it may work best for those couples to remain living in Japan - at least in the short term.

  • 2

    FightingViking

    @choiwaruoyaji

    The single biggest difficulty with a Japanese wife is that she will more than likely decide to shut down sex after having kids and it will never restart. Unfortunately this is very normal in Japanese marriages, but for a Western guy it can be a huge shock. And, as noted above, any attempts at affection (hugging and kissing) will also be refused.

    Believe it or not, the "opposite" is just as true...

  • 5

    reywat

    Having been previously married to an American women (29 years) with constant drama, I can say without hesitation that my Japanese wife is the best thing that ever happened to me. Yes, some of the lack of affection and sex is a disappointment, but all in all she is fantastic. Living in Japan, I have learned to love the food, the culture, and our time together. She gives without expecting anything in return, is not emotional, loves beer, and enjoys all the things I do. Yes, I could find negatives like some of you have, but in seven years we have had only two arguments and they were settled immediately. Because of the cultural difference I have had to work harder at making this a good marriage, but I would not try to change anything about her. We say I love you to each other before we go to sleep every night and that is enough for me. My family back in the states constantly remind of what a gem she is and I fully agree.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    Believe it or not, the "opposite" is just as true...

    You read lots online about the Japanese wife shutting down sex after children (or even marriage), so for people who read a lot online, it may seem like this is the norm. But how likely are you to read a forum post/comment that says "Hi, I'm posting here because my wife still has lots of sex with me after children"? Not very. People post to complain online, either to vent, or get support. But people don't post when things are all good, unless directly asked.

    I've never found the sex to be lacking since I got married, and I would say that is more the norm than not in the international marriages I know of in Japan. Some of my friends do complain about the wife shutting down sex, but they are in the minority. Of course, this isn't a scientific study, it's just my own personal observances, but I'm a little skeptical when people say that you should expect that of the wife.

  • 1

    ReformedBasher

    @Geoff

    If both partners don't play their part, marriage is doomed to fail.

  • 2

    GW

    Glad I found a girl who prioritizes love and affection over job status

    Odeman,

    If this is your girlfriend or you have been married a short time all I can say is that EVERY guy who married a J-lady at the start thought the same LOL, over time for MOST it does change sadly.

    Now if you have been married a long time your lucky!

  • 2

    Strangerland

    If this is your girlfriend or you have been married a short time all I can say is that EVERY guy who married a J-lady at the start thought the same LOL, over time for MOST it does change sadly.

    Very true. After about 4-5 years of marriage I started getting the pressure to find a seishain job with a higher salary. Before that there was no such talk.

  • 1

    Kabukilover

    No, this is not a scientific survey but it has the ring of verity to it. Fortunately, this verity is alien to me. When my Japanese wife and I are together hardly an hour goes by when we are not exchanging words of affection. The passing decades have brought us closer. Her family is an affectionate lot. We are both professionals but put home life above ambition.

    I do need to add that we are not that unusual for our generation.

    Yes, there are the dreadful Japanese wives like those described in this article: petty, gossipy, status seeking and sexually cold--at least to their husbands. Add deceitful. The coming of children in not rare occasions only means the end of sex with the husband. After all, he comes home late at night when the wife is tired. Morning and afternoons, when the kids at in school, is another story. When discovered she first denies it and then blames her husband. It would not haver happened if he had done this and had not done that.

    Then there is the tight-fisted saver wife. What is she saving her money for? Her divorce. When husband comes home from his retirement party with his engraved solar powered Seiko watch the wife announces that she is leaving him.

    The keeping up appearances house wife may be the worst, talking forever about "good families" and "bad families" and wrecking the husband's friendships.

    Well, we have the same back in our vast Gaijinland.

    Now that we have raked the women over the coals, let's go after the men who are impossible at housework, adulterous, drunken an whose words to the wive are limited to "shut up."

  • 6

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Is it "no nookie 'til you're seishain", safe in the knowledge that you'll be too exhausted to want any?

  • -9

    captaincoolz

    One word; human capital. This explains why the japanese women go for the foreigner men, she up in class. While interracial marriages boomed in the 1970s and 80s in the US, a survey was conducted by a Stanford. Conclusion; minority women dates a white man, she gains class. When a minority man dates a white woman, HE gains class while she lowers a bit.

  • 1

    Bad2Dbone

    “My wife always chows down on giant blocks of tofu.”

    This gal seem lots of fun, I would like to meet her,

    Lots of great advices from the Experts, Thanks!

  • 2

    kaimycahl

    @tamarama you asked "Inka Rob what did he do to have to sleep on the couch"

    inakaRob

    I have a Japanese wife. Been sleeping on the couch last 3 nights.....

    Ha! What'd you do Rob? My questions is what makes you think Rob did something his wife could have done something and that was his choice to sleep on the couch!

  • 1

    Maria

    @cataincoolz:

    minority women dates a white man, she gains class. When a minority man dates a white woman, HE gains class while she lowers a bit.

    This isn't relevant in Japan though is it, only in 1980s USA.

  • 5

    Saxon Salute

    Quite a few non-Japanese I know give their entire salary to their wives, beg her for some pocket money when they want to go out, then complain about this state of affairs. When I ask them why they don't give her house-keeping instead of entire salaries, they ask me, "Do you have any idea how unpleasant my wife can be?" I then ask them why they are married to this woman if she is so unpleasant, and they tell me that if they attempted divorce, they would never see their children again. In the vast majority of cases foreign men can be happily married to Japanese women, but this is tested when children are involved. Japanese men tell me the same thng though. They wouldn't divorce because of their children and the social stigma, but they find their wives unpleasant the majority of the time. It sounds like most Japanese and non-Japanese men are unhappily married to Japanese women. The Japanese have the least sex of anywhere according to resent surveys and the most sexual dissatisfaction going. No wonder foreign spouses who weren't ready to be treated as ATMs and didn't want the sex button switched off so early have issues.

    http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/the-brazilians-might-do-it-more-but-sexual-satisfaction-in-india-tops-the-chart--the-new-international-sex-survey-155505635.html

  • -2

    Strangerland

    Quite a few non-Japanese I know give their entire salary to their wives, beg her for some pocket money when they want to go out, then complain about this state of affairs.

    To be fair to the wives, most of the guys doing this complaining don't make enough money to be able to get any more than they get for spending money. These wives are doing what they can with the limited paychecks they have. The guys I know on 'allowance' who have well paying jobs get enough spending money that they don't need to 'beg'.

    The problem is that because the guys have nothing to do with the money, they don't realize just how little they have, as all the money issues are entirely handled by the wife.

    It sounds like most Japanese and non-Japanese men are unhappily married to Japanese women.

    Well, only if you believe that what you read on the internet is the whole picture. People don't randomly post how awesome their marriage is on the internet, they post to complain or ask advice about issues they have. There are plenty of people happily married to Japanese women, both Japanese and non-Japanese, but you just don't read about them as much.

  • -2

    Neo_Rio

    I'm sorry but pretty much every relationship eventually goes to pot. Either it ends with them vanishing into thin air and never seeing you again... or it ends acrimoniously.... but either way, they all end, and in the cases where they don't end both people are made miserable.

    The thing is this: as men, our job is to go around and get laid a lot. It's not to let some woman domesticate you. As soon as you succumb to domestication, and a desire to establish a romantic relationship, suddenly you are not a "real man" anymore and she eventually loses interest.

    There are good Japanese women out there, and they're hard to find, but they will let you go out, get drunk, have mistresses, never fight, never argue, and will still cook for you and continue to enjoy sex with you, and let you do pretty much whatever you want as long as you love them..... BUT... if you don't marry those ones, they get broken hearted and will simply vanish on you and marry some other idiot.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Strangerland: "To be fair to the wives, most of the guys doing this complaining don't make enough money to be able to get any more than they get for spending money. These wives are doing what they can with the limited paychecks they have."

    Not true in most cases. I know couples who make quite a lot but the wife gives the husband something like 1000 yen for the day at best, while she goes out to a 3000 all-you-can-eat buffet lunch with friends, followed by a 7000 yen or more 'estee' experience, then goes and buys some shoes and magazines before ordering clothes on-line if not visiting a shop. Not the case with all, of course, but there is DEFINITELY imbalance in the majority of cases. And lest we forget the 'belly-button savings' (or secret account). But here's a question regarding the forfeiture of salary/pay if both people are working or if the man is the homemaker: do the women hand over the salary they earn to the man?

  • -5

    Strangerland

    Maybe we hang out in different circles. To be blunt, the only guys I know on 30,000/month 'allowances' are English teachers. The professionals around me are on significantly more, if they are even on an allowance.

    I also don't see the wives of the English teachers out and about spending money willy-nilly. Again, I only see that in the professional circles, and they are the ones who can afford to do that.

    I can't say much about heso-kuri money - by nature it's secret, and I've only ever read about it online.

  • 4

    pointofview

    @Strangerland,

    Then maybe the wives should get out and work if they are complaining about the guys income being too low.

  • -12

    Neo_Rio

    Then maybe the wives should get out and work if they are complaining about the guys income being too low.

    If you're a woman, what's the point of getting married if you have to go back out there into the woman-hostile Japanese workforce, and work some more? Isn't that what husbands are for?

  • 4

    Tokiyo

    Neo_Rio: Uh maybe to have children, for love, for companionship, for tax benefits? The "point" of marriage as you erroneously generalize is not simply to see it as a free ticket for the rest of your life. The Economic situation is not doing much help either.

    Plus, the "woman-hostile" workplace will never change if people just throw their hands up and give up.

    The 1900's called wanting their mindset back. I suggest you give it back

  • 4

    Onniyama

    A couple people here have mentioned walking on egg shells. I totally sympathize with that problem. You can't even be yourself for fear of losing your kids. These Japanese women marry a foreign guy supposedly because they want something different for themselves, not the humdrum life of being married to a salaryman. But then after several years of marriage, they expect the men to act and behave like said salarymen. And everything becomes about 'Japanese' being the only way to manage life. I know several very nice guys who are divorced now and have limited access to their kids. Why the heck do these women marry foreigners? If you don't want something different, if you don't want a man who complains about things instead of saying shoganai and shelling out money idiotically, if you don't enjoy sex, leave the foreign guys alone! Don't have kids with them and then ruin their lives by becoming a stubborn, Japanese obachan. Don't marry a guy speaking English and then expect him to suddenly learn Japanese. Go marry a Japanese drone who will mutter shoganai or say nothing at all.

  • 3

    Saxon Salute

    Strangerland, it's not just the reading, it's the meeting. In my 20 years in Japan, meeting someone happily married to a Japanese girl (Japanese or non-Japanese hubby) is something of a rarity. Most people I know earn a reasonable salary, 500,000 a month minimum I would think, but the wives still take it all and hand them a pittance, particularly the Japanese professionals I know. My best friend here is a Japanese doctor, and he doesn't even own a wallet. Mind you, he is very happily married, whereas most people I meet seem not to be. Some salaried workers I know earn 10-million-yen a year easily, but put up with a system of only having 30,000-yen a month for themselves. Lunch is a bento or a conbini sandwich and onigiri. It's their choice to be treated like this, but they say their wives are too unpleasant to discuss things with. If non-Japanese go the Japanese way, they end up very unhappy in my experience, and the complaints are not about wifey eating tofu, not by a long shot.

  • 1

    the_odeman

    AT GW and Strangerland

    Very true. After about 4-5 years of marriage I started getting the pressure to find a seishain job with a higher salary. Before that there was no such talk.

    That is why I have prioritized becoming a seishain before making it serious with a J-girl now. Sure some girls say they are not like that (this one actually has lived in Aus for about 6 months and therefore has a different way of thinking to most J-girls) but I still dont trust any of them and it is better for my peace of mind if I just do it first.

  • 0

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Saxon Salute,

    say their wives are too unpleasant to discuss things with

    What, unsupportive leeches who fly off the handle when asked to compromise or show empathy?

  • -3

    Kato_Koshiro

    In general, this is just another conflict between the "me me me" western culture vs the collective Japanese culture. If you're not ready to give up to this, don't marry a Japanese girl. Marry a western and raise the probability to get dumped to up to 50%. Lawyers and psychologists will thank you.

  • -1

    Strangerland

    Saxon Salute - I guess we just have different experiences. I've been here 15 years, started as an English teacher, moved into a professional role, and now own two companies. My wife and I are friends with a number of couples. I also know others through my private excursions (ok, drinking at the bar). The things I've written are anecdotal, so by no means are my observances anything other than my own. But they are what they are - the guys who complain about not getting enough money usually don't make enough money to spend more. And I do know a number of guys, including myself, who are in happy marriages with their Japanese wives. I've always thought that what I read on the internet doesn't seem to jive with what I've seen in real life.

    My point being to take what you read with a grain of salt. There are a lot of stories out there that don't make it to the net.

  • 1

    hidingout

    I don' t know a single foreigner who has lived in Japan for more than a week that has a problem taking off their shoes in the house, indeed plenty of people in the UK and Europe always remove their shoes when they enter a house.

    Its one thing to have that as a general rule. But its another thing altogether when, already running late, you forget your keys on the table, or your sunglasses in the vestibule. I'll be damned if I'm going to take off my boots to walk three steps across a hardwood floor to pick up what I can see just over there. 99% of Japanese will take off their shoes in that situation. To me, that's taking it too far, and it would make me nuts to live with someone who griped about petty stuff like that.

  • -1

    funny car

    I am not quite sure if I have anything to say really about the difficulties of having a Japanese wife. I have never had any other kind!

    But I seriously doubt the difficulties of having a Japanese wife could outweigh the difficulties of a wife from my own country! So I am not going to complain!

  • 7

    Yubaru

    When my wife and I went back to the states for the first time way back when, she took off her shoes at the door. My Mom and Dad were like "wtf", but guess what....my Mom loved the idea, no more dirty carpets, tracking in mud, etc etc etc.

    Now EVERYONE in my family in the US takes their shoes off at the door, and everyone who comes over does as well.

    So who is the daft idiot that still wears his in the house here?

  • 1

    ex-japan-visitor

    My ex-girlfriend wouldnt:

    Turn on the heat, because it was expensive, I wanted it to be warmer than 7 degrees Celcius in the house Told me that not wearing slippers in the house was dirty - I prefered to just wear socks and mop the floor once a week Didnt want to wear nail polish because she thought it made her look 'slutty' Wouldnt help me carry items downstairs because she didnt want to park the and pay for parking

    I challenged her by pointing out her odd ways:

    She purchased and consumed alcohol almost everyday - but couldnt afford to turn on the heat She rarely washed her hands with soap even after going number 2 in the bathroom She had 3 boyfriends in the previous one year time period before she met me - intimate with them all - but thought that wearing nail polish in public looked unbecoming She bought 'organic' food, costly 3 to4 times more than 'regular' food because it was healthier, but again, she drank alcohol almost every day and ate sweets at least twice a week.

    Of course, she told me I was disrespectful because I didnt follow her ways - the Japanese way.

  • 0

    ironmonkeyz

    Am I the only one who has the problem that their Japanese wife won't or at least isnt teaching out kids Japanese? We are living in the US but if I were still in Japan I would be teaching them English...?

  • -2

    Strangerland

    Am I the only one who has the problem that their Japanese wife won't or at least isnt teaching out kids Japanese?

    That's a shame. I've met so many nikkeijin (Japanese born outside of Japan) over the years who have come to Japan, and regretted that their parents didn't teach them Japanese.

    I only speak English with my children, and send them (well the older one) to English school as well. He's bilingual. It always pains me a little when I meet other kids with a foreign parent who hasn't taught them their mother tongue. It's a waste.

  • 7

    Genedude987

    Most of the men on here are either brainwashed or whipped.

    I am a true Japanophile. I was there from 1985 until 2003. I was married to 2 Japanese women. The first was a sneaky, conniving woman but she had her good qualities also. I met my wife in America because she was working here. Lived with her for 6 months. She went back to Japan to change her visa and then called to say she was pregnant. I sold my businesses and moved to Japan (mistake #1). Bought a big house and let her parents and sibling move in (mistake #2). I took off 3 years to raise my daughter, Made money in the stock market and doing consulting work part time for Japanese companies. Life couldn't be much better. I started traveling more on business but I was always home 2 weeks during the month. She made me happy until we had a child. Then life turned to the dark side. No more realtionship. It was just 2 strangers passing in the night. I would work the standard 12 hours in my business, get drunk at a hostess club, come home and go to sleep in the other room. Similar to one of the posts on here,After 6 months of working, while in London on business for a Japanese company she calls and says "you don't need to come back to Japan anymore". Of course I defied her. She transferred my house, bank accounts, and stocks into her familys' name. Left me penniless in Japan. I had money in other countries but that was besides the point. Well you can imagine what happened between my daughter and me. When I was raising her, I was teaching her English and my wife was teaching her Japanese. After I was forced out, Japanese was only spoken in the household even though my ex-wife spoke almost perfect English. What a shame! I couldn't see my daughter ever again.

    Second wife is almost perfect. Met her in Japan while I was there on business. I lived there with her for a year while I was tele-commuting with partners in other parts of the world. Brought her to America and have a good life now. Yes, we don't make love as often, My fault there. She still speaks Japanese to me even in front of people who don't understand Japanese. Her English is perfect. She makes me and my mother a mix of different kinds of foods (though secretly she enjoys Japanese staples such as rice, noodles, natto, and tofu) but she make a good combination of foods. Yes we still have problems about shoes in the house but with our guests not accepting our practices. She does a lot of shopping but she gets good deals both with Japanese and American products.

    We have been married for 13 years and still love each other as much as when we first met. Yes we say "I love you" each and every day and there is no diminishing of the words or feelings between us. I have never heard of not saying "I love you" but on special occasions. What is that special occasions? When you orgasm?

  • 0

    Ash Edwards

    The comments here by men and women married to Japanese are gold:

    <>http://www.stippy.com/japan-culture/is-japan-really-sexless/<>

  • 7

    cleo

    the problem that their Japanese wife won't or at least isnt teaching out kids Japanese

    That isn't a Japanese-only problem. My next-door neighbours are a Japanese man married to a Filipina, and their son speaks only Japanese. I read up on this a bit when I was raising my kids (like Strangerland I spoke only English to them, still do. Also the cat and the dog) and it appears that when a linguistically mixed couple live in a country where one of their languages is perceived to have a higher status than the other, the lower-status language suffers. Thus in the UK, US etc., English trumps Japanese, and in Japan Japanese trumps Filipino. There is also the widely-believed myth that teaching a child two or more languages at once will 'confuse' him and prevent him properly mastering either language. Not true,of course.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    Not only is it not true, learning multiple languages growing up has actually been shown to improve scores in other areas - maths and sciences in particular.

  • 3

    ironmonkeyz

    I just don't understand how it isn't unbearably embarassing for my wife when we visit Hspsb and my 7 yo, who was born in Japan, daughter doesn't speak any Japanese. We stayed this past august for 2 weeks and she quickly started picking Japanese up. But since returning home my wife still hasn't tried to teach her. She tells me I should teach her. Before we went in our trip I was the one teaching my Daughter as my wife wouldn't for some reason. Unfortunately my Japanese really isn't good enough to be teaching more than basic needs and greeting. I really want her to know more than that. I thought of sending her to her grandparents in a Japan during summers off of school but she needs at least survival Japanese abilities before I am comfortable doing this as my patent in laws basically speak 0 English.

  • 6

    TrevorPeace1

    I go with Zichi on this one. The Japanese woman I want to marry is my age (60-ish - but never try to guess a woman's age when a Japanese woman can easily look 15 years younger than she is!!). Our children from previous marriages are all grown and into their own lives, so for us, it's a matter of personal attraction, respect for our different cultural upbringings, a little work on language, a lot of trust, and of course, unrepentant love for each other. And then, there's the wrapping of arms around each other, which may seem a bit odd to some Japanese people, but most of those who have seen us do it, smile. And in the home, who cares what they think? We like the warmth.

  • 0

    TedJohnson

    Any single japanese ladies looking for a college student, I'm your man haha.

    "Because early child education starts in the home, and it starts with cyclone spin kicks."

    Man I wish I was taught like that growing up.

  • 1

    Flash Harry

    Only ever had one Japanese girlfriend, for about 18mths - we met on holiday in Maroc. She visited me a twice in UK and i visited her once in Japan.

    Most bizarre 'relationship' experience of my life. Wouldn't touch it again with a barge pole - mad as a box of frogs!

  • 3

    Ash Edwards

    • the guys who complain about not getting enough money usually don't make enough money to spend more

    Money problems affect most if not all marriages. You aren't saying anything that can't be applied to every married couple.

  • 1

    Strangerland

    I thought of sending her to her grandparents in a Japan during summers off of school but she needs at least survival Japanese abilities before I am comfortable doing this as my patent in laws basically speak 0 English.

    You'd be surprised at how well they will do. Kids are extremely flexible at languages, and she'd probably come back after a month chatting in Japanese.

    Maybe you can find some sort of Japanese lessons into which to put her. I feel your pain though, it must be very frustrating, such a missed opportunity.

  • 0

    Japanfriend1959

    Returning from the Veterans Hospital after a dental check up; i met a most beautiful flower ... it was at WalMart in Ashland Kentucky. She was so beautiful i stood at attention looking away so as not to make eye contact with her. i suddenly regretted i did not marry a Japanese Lady while on tour in Japan. As a child my Mom Ma's maid was Japanese and we were told we spoke so much Japanese our parents couldn't understand us. it was fun being Japanese ... We were just little children who arrived from Texas. My nephew is married to a Japanese Lady and they have two wonderful children. He served in The Australian Air Force and the Family returned to Australia. Now the Family blood line is crossed over with the Japanese ... What a beautiful Family ... The wife of my nephew is a gem.

  • -2

    Strangerland

    the guys who complain about not getting enough money usually don't make enough money to spend more

    Money problems affect most if not all marriages. You aren't saying anything that can't be applied to every married couple.

    We were talking about allowance, and men complaining that their wives don't give them enough of one. In the west, the allowance system is almost non-existent, and even in Japan not even all marriages are doing it, so I have to disagree with you that it's something that can be applied to every married couple.

  • 3

    Ash Edwards

    n Strangerland's defense there are news reports of Japanese women taking the kids and without a word to the non-Japanese husband going to the airport and returning to Japan. Then the gaijin husband makes his way to Japan and demands to see his kids ... and is promptly arrested.

  • 2

    Neo_Rio

    Uh maybe to have children, for love, for companionship, for tax benefits?

    You can do the first two without getting married, and if you get married for the third one -- you might want to reconsider your life priorities.

  • 1

    sfjp330

    What if Japanese women have a child with a foreigner in Japan and gets divorced? This is a real problem. In a recent years, Japan is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of international marriages between a Japanese and a non-Japanese. There is an increasing trend in other countries to shift to shared parenting and joint custody. Enforcement of custody orders is also an issue in those countries that usually award sole or primary custody, as it is in Japan. The law in U.S. provide for joint custody in divorce cases involving children, Japanese law does not provide for this arrangement. The practice of sharing child custody after a divorce is "alien" to Japanese and not found in Japanese culture or history, which may help to explain its absence from Japanese law. In Japan, when a marriage with children legally dissolves, full parental custody and authority is awarded to only one parent.

    The real difference lies in the two cultures diverging conception of social parenthood. The American parent remains a legal parent at least in part because he or she remains a social parent, while the traditional Japanese view is the opposite. In Japan it is seen as preferable that children make a permanent break with the non-custodial parent because creating a legal "right" for parent would cause conflict damaging to the welfare of the child. The typical 'deal' in Japan is that, upon divorce, the father pays nothing for the child's support, and he never sees his child. It is noted that the decision by family courts in Japan with regard to both visitation and child support are unenforceable. The view of the Japanese system of divorce is that it favors a ‘clean break’ so that the divorced parties have little or nothing more to do with each other after the divorce. It permits the spouse (usually the husband) keep most of his assets, avoid payment of alimony and provide little or no child support, but the price he pays is the abandonment of any relationship with his children, while the other spouse is punished economically, but keeps her children. So before you marry Japanese person, you have to understand the laws.

  • 3

    Kerry Le Blanc

    Big difference between born in Japan and of Japanese ancestry, and even where she comes from in Japan can make difference, a country girl is more likely to more traditional than someone who comes from a city like Tokyo or Osaka. As far as custodial kidnapping the same could said for all foreign marriages. My only advice would be not just learn the language but the culture, and date for awhile so that you feel each out, so neither one of you will get a rude surprise.

  • 4

    pointofview

    sfjp330 said,

    The real difference lies in the two cultures diverging conception of social parenthood. The American parent remains a legal parent at least in part because he or she remains a social parent, while the traditional Japanese view is the opposite. In Japan it is seen as preferable that children make a permanent break with the non-custodial parent because creating a legal "right" for parent would cause conflict damaging to the welfare of the child. The typical 'deal' in Japan is that, upon divorce, the father pays nothing for the child's support, and he never sees his child. It is noted that the decision by family courts in Japan with regard to both visitation and child support are unenforceable. The view of the Japanese system of divorce is that it favors a ‘clean break’ so that the divorced parties have little or nothing more to do with each other after the divorce. It permits the spouse (usually the husband) keep most of his assets, avoid payment of alimony and provide little or no child support, but the price he pays is the abandonment of any relationship with his children, while the other spouse is punished economically, but keeps her children. So before you marry Japanese person, you have to understand the laws.

    So... what does that tell you about Japanese?

  • 0

    Peacetrain

    "So... what does that tell you about Japanese?"

    It shows they have no understanding of the feelings of children and the importance of parents in the lives of children.

    Just witnessing a divorce between two highly paid professionals. It amazes me that the mother of the son is so resigned to the fact that she won't be seeing her granddaughter anymore. Sad. But to her it's "atarimae".

    Yes, the "clean break" is exactly right. No concept of still being friends as much as possible for the kids or just to be decent humans. And sad that the divorced parent usually won't be at the wedding.

    But things might change in 20 or 30 years.

  • 2

    Strangerland

    if you get married for the third one -- you might want to reconsider your life priorities.

    Why is that? It's a cold world out there, and forging a life with someone else as a partner, as a team, makes it a little warmer. My wife is an excellent companion, more so now than when we first got married 15 years ago. If something ever does happen between us, or to her, I know I'll go on and live my life, but I'll always miss that companionship.

    Not that I'm saying everyone should get married. For sure, many people who do get married never should have. But to say that wanting to get married to have a companion means that you should 'reconsider your life priorities', well that says a lot about the person who would make such a statement. You have to wonder what happened in that person's life to make them so cold.

  • 5

    FightingViking

    @Cleo

    There is also the widely-believed myth that teaching a child two or more languages at once will 'confuse' him and prevent him properly mastering either language. Not true,of course.

    Not only are you correct that it is not true but I read an article quite recently about people who are bilingual (or trilingual) having a MUCH better chance of NOT becoming senile or struck with Altsheimer !

  • 3

    Elbuda Mexicano

    For a Japanese wife there is such a thing as TOO much Sex! but no such thing as TOO much work for her husband, that is life married to a Japanese woman in a nutshell! Any questions??

  • -4

    DaDude

    “Whenever we have guests over, she makes too many different kinds of food.”

    and I have to wash too many darn dishes every night. It would be nice to have all food on one plate for a change.

  • 5

    rnauser

    “When I come into the house with my shoes still on, she asks, ‘Do you have any idea how many bacteria you pick up just walking on the road?’”

    This is not a "western" thing, too me this is a generalization from the writer. All Countries of Scandinavia takes there shoes of and a big part of northern Europe also does it.

  • 3

    JTDanMan

    I hate how my Japanese wife is loving, kind, intelligent, hard-working, conscientious, humorous, and supportive,

    Drives me absolutely bat sh*t.

  • -2

    Strigga

    It shows they have no understanding of the feelings of children and the importance of parents in the lives of children.

    Just witnessing a divorce between two highly paid professionals. It amazes me that the mother of the son is so ?>resigned to the fact that she won't be seeing her granddaughter anymore. Sad. But to her it's "atarimae".

    Yes, the "clean break" is exactly right. No concept of still being friends as much as possible for the kids or just to be >decent humans. And sad that the divorced parent usually won't be at the wedding.

    But things might change in 20 or 30 years.

    Coming from a Western society in which I have witnessed many divorces and seeing the Japanese "clean break" I would argue that the Japanese way is better most of the time, especially the younger the children are.

    You would be appalled at the amount of negativity and hate that surrounds families after a bitter divorce where the two parents have joint custody. I would argue that it's not in the benefit of a child to be in such environment. Even if parents end on amicable terms, I rarely see proper relationships between children and both parents, who try and raise the kid on different standards.

    Plenty of kids benefited from joint custody I'm sure, but to say it's totally backwards in Japan is a stretch. I think it should be case by case, but you can't have a judicial system that supports both systems in full strength.

  • 0

    genjuro

    We were talking about allowance, and men complaining that their wives don't give them enough of one. In the west, the allowance system is almost non-existent, and even in Japan not even all marriages are doing it, so I have to disagree with you that it's something that can be applied to every married couple.

    I'm curious if many foreign husbands in Japan turn over their paycheck to their Japanese wives, or if the husbands merely give enough to pay the bills and give her an allowance instead. No doubt some wives expect or even insist this, but perhaps this can be a point of contention later on especially when expenses increase when they start a family, etc. and disputes arise on who should be handling the purse strings.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    I'm curious if many foreign husbands in Japan turn over their paycheck to their Japanese wives, or if the husbands merely give enough to pay the bills and give her an allowance instead.

    I and a couple other's I know have given our wives an allowance, but we paid the bills.

    Now all our money goes into an account, and I put nearly all my expenditures on credit card. I get air miles that way, and it's easy to track the majority

  • 1

    DP812

    A lot of the complaints here don't seem like they're specific to Japanese wives, but more like they apply to people who married someone who wasn't right for them.

    If you're in a relationship, you need to communicate about any number of things, and one of the most important of those is your future. If you don't want to stay in Japan working as an English teacher for the rest of your life, then you'd better damn-well make sure the woman you're planning to marry knows that. If you expect your wife to work and the woman you're thinking of marrying expects to become a housewife after marriage, then that's something you should communicate.

    Are there Japanese women who are shrews and who treat their husbands like dirt? Absolutely. There are also Japanese women who are wonderful and treat their husbands great. Just like there are American women who treat their husbands poorly or properly, or English women or Canadian women or whatever.

    Look, if your marriage to your Japanese wife went sour, then I'm sorry about that. But if you start peddling stereotypes about all Japanese women because of your anecdotal experience, then you've lost my sympathy.

  • 0

    Tessa

    If you expect your wife to work and the woman you're thinking of marrying expects to become a housewife after marriage, then that's something you should communicate.

    You've raised some excellent points, DP812. However, I do think that in many cases it's the Japanese side of the couple who is poor at explaining expectations of married life. I know of at least two situations in which a foreign bride was utterly shocked when her Japanese husband suddenly moved his aged parents into the home and expected his wife to take care of them while he was out at work all day ... without any advance warning whatsoever. This would be extremely unusual in Western countries. Conversely, some Japanese brides probably get a shock when they discover that their handsome Prince Charming expects them to work at least part-time to contribute to the household coffers ... and an even bigger shock when they learn that they are expected to enjoy sex on a regular basis!

  • 1

    cleo

    her Japanese husband suddenly moved his aged parents into the home and expected his wife to take care of them while he was out at work all day ... without any advance warning whatsoever. This would be extremely unusual in Western countries

    Without any advance warning would be extremely unusual in Japan, too.

  • 1

    Tessa

    Without any advance warning would be extremely unusual in Japan, too.

    Not really. The husband probably did give some advance warning ... he just didn't give it in a way that any western wife would understand. Failure of communication.

  • 2

    cleo

    Tessa, you're talking about one instance of a man making a very major decision without any advance warning whatsoever. And now you're saying he probably did tell her, but she failed to understand.....I'm not sure what your point is.

    My point is that it is as rare for a Japanese husband to take such a step as it would be for a non-Japanese.

  • 0

    Tessa

    My point is that it is as rare for a Japanese husband to take such a step as it would be for a non-Japanese.

    No, I don't actually think it's that rare. As I stated above, I know of two cases where the western wives (one American, one UK) were tricked into living with in-laws. And I'm pretty certain that there are other cases where the wives were forced into living situations that they most definitely had not signed up for when they married, but their pride, or more likely lack of independent income, did not permit them to openly admit it. It's really not as uncommon as you fondly imagine.

  • 0

    bass4funk

    Spare me the sanctimony and self absorption. Men are now increasingly understanding that in marriage they generally have a great deal to lose from marriage than women. Many men from western societies are now all too familiar with the horror stories of divorce and the raw deal men get from family and divorce courts. I've read and heard of too many accounts of men's marriages being wrecked because of a wife being vaguely 'unhaapppy' and dissatisfied with the man, no matter what he does, or worse, 'trading up' when something better comes along.

    And before you say 'Not All Women Are Like That!' or try to re-direct the blame back on men, the reality is there are a sufficient number of cases for it to be a risk worth considering for a man before entering marriage.

    Stating your intentions up front is simply letting the other know where you stand. Laying a guilt trip on men for wanting to do so really only speaks of your self interest as a woman.

    In a nutshell you have summed everything up, couldn't agree more. Spot on.

  • 1

    kaimycahl

    Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here we go again, what one expects far exceeds what he gets! Like I have said before for me I have a Japanese wife. Drop dead gorgeous, we don't have the drama everyone here is talking about nor do have financial problems. WE look and take each other for who we are! I didn't marry a maid nor did she marry an ATM. WE dated 4 years before marrying and we talked about what we wanted and did not want! I read a lot of the post and what I am thinking and please correct me if I am wrong in most cases she the Asian women see the foreigner as an ATM the foreigner see the Asian women as his "Most beautiful women in the world" LOL! I think both are probably expecting far more than what they are getting so they complain about what they like and don't like. Well ladies and gents its all about the "supply and demand" in japan their is a great supply of beautiful women and for the men of course they have demands once the demands are met the supply diminishes and one or the other will complain or just move the gentleman looking for love and the Asian women looking for the ATM.

  • 2

    wanderer

    Women are the same world over,if you want to be happy find someone COMPATIBLE,,and honest.. There are gold diggers and swingers everywhere and then theres true love,,you have to find out the true personality of your spouse BEFORE you marry if you don't care to end up disappointed.. I understand that in Japan wife takes care of the house and finances and sometimes also cares for elderly parents,something that may come as total surprise to western guys..laying the cards on the table and discussing all the details of such customs and things expected from each other would no doubt help to have a successful relationship.. As far as lack of sex after children it happens to some western women also..deal with it best way you can. Whoever the dude is that doesn't remove shoes when coming into the house deserves to get kicked out, if you don't respect your wife's rules and local customs youre headed for disaster..

  • 1

    Peacetrain

    Basically these threads are just everyone speaking from their own experience.

    Seems to me that the best advice is that you should spend more time getting to know a person and what they are REALLY like, and finding out their attitudes to all the things that are important in marriage BEFORE you get married.

    That goes for if you are an American marrying an American.

    But, if you are a foreigner marrying a Japanese person then you probably need to spend 10 times the effort at understanding the person BEFORE you get married.

    Some people have had great experiences. That's probably due to them being a a decent person AND marrying a good person who is willing to work at it.

    It's hard to fix a marriage after problems and fights if one or both aren't willing to work at it. And the difficulties will be compounded if you don't share language, culture.

    An interesting comment was

    "Yes, some of the lack of affection and sex is a disappointment"

    That would be a bigger problem for some than others. A person who needs (or feels they need) lots of affection and sex would feel like they are trapped in hell in this situation. For others it's not so important.

    The hard part is that if you are dealing with a person who speaks another language and from another culture is that you are at a disadvantage.

    Most people realise when they get older that they wish they knew years ago what they now know about women/life/parenthood and their spouse.

    But for many of us it's "I wish I knew then what I now know about their spouse/Japan/Japanese society/Japanese language.

    Probably won't help anyone, but one thing I have learned is that getting angry and fighting with a spouse over sex/money/kids/in-laws/housework/etc etc doesn't help.

    Getting angry and nagging a wife about sex is probably about as productive as a woman nagging and yelling at a man complaining that he isn't romantic.

    But, I would tell any foreign woman or man marrying Japanese that while there are obviously some who are different (as you read from several people), GENERALLY speaking, Japanese don't seem to expect or want as much sex with their spouses as other people. And that is born out of every statistic I've read, and conversations with hundreds of Japanese.

    There isn't a culture of married couples maintaining romance and an active sex life. That will probably change though. Just like wedding and funeral customs and everything else. And even the way people deal with kids post-divorce. People just need to remember that western countries have radically changed in a few decades. We've had a generation of talking about feelings, sex, divorce, dealing with stuff like that.

  • 3

    FightingViking

    @Strangerland

    I have the feeling you "misunderstood" my post... In spite of my pseudo I am not a male and just wanted to point out that "no sex after the children are born" can also refer to the husband losing what little interest he may have had to start with...

  • 2

    TrevorPeace1

    Some very interesting comments here, and this 60-year-old Canadian who's in love with a 60-year-old Japanese woman and wants to be her husband will consider many of these thoughts. But, if I may add one - it all comes down to two people who will work on their relationship a little bit and trust each other a lot. Yes, sex is sweet and unlike candy won't rot your teeth, but it's not everything. A hug from behind at the kitchen sink, with a kiss on the neck and a soft-spoken 'I love you' is a powerful way to start or end the day.

  • 0

    Himajin

    I know of two cases where the western wives (one American, one UK) were tricked into living with in-laws. And I'm pretty certain that there are other cases

    So you know of two definitely. It sounds like bad communication all around, or not knowing enough about cultural expectations.

  • 2

    FightingViking

    "After a nice hot bubble bath, my wife gets mad if I don't rinse myself off in the shower before drying off. She'll even sit in our bedroom listening for the sound of running water, and if she doesn't hear it before I start toweling myself off, she'll shout 'Shower!'"

    Quite frankly, I'm surprised his wife allowed him to take a bubble bath in the first place... I was always taught that NO soap should ever enter the bathtub and that one should wash, with soap, either using the small basin provided or a shower and thoroughly "rinse off" all the soap before entering the bathtub itself. Times must have changed since I first arrived a couple of "centuries" ago...

  • 4

    Fandango Spoonmonkey

    My wife is Japanese and we have an 18 month old daughter. We haven't had sex since the wife was confirmed as being pregnant. That's 2, nearly 3 years now.

    That's it then gents? I think I'm going to pull the plug on this.

  • -1

    TrevorPeace1

    @Fandango Spoonmonkey, I trust you're joking.

  • 0

    Bear27840

    UGH!!!! I surrender already.

  • 1

    HonestDictator

    I've always been under the idea that one should never marry a person that still lives off their parents. Because if you can't even take care of yourself, how can you take care of others considering the responsibility of starting a family of your own? The only other exception is if the person actually desires to work and have a career beyond marriage/common-law relationship.

  • 0

    FizzBit

    All I can say is, I probably wouldn't be this happy if I married an American woman.

  • 2

    Peacetrain

    @Fandango.

    You have ever right to be depressed, disappointed, angry, confused.

    But, I know your daughter would love to have her Papa around.

    Get some help.

  • 1

    FizzBit

    Pull the plug Fandango. You have one life, if your wife can't understand what a man needs, she's selfish. She probably would be happier alone.

  • 2

    Tessa

    Fandango, if you haven't already, please go to this place to see that you are not alone:

    http://www.stippy.com/japan-culture/is-japan-really-sexless/

    More than a 1,000 comments and counting.

    You have my sympathy.

  • 2

    Fandango Spoonmonkey

    Thanks all. It's really appreciated. I guess I'll mosey on over to Tessa's link. No, I'm not joking for those who asked. Not the kind of thing I'd find funny, actually.

  • 2

    JTDanMan

    Fandango

    I don't know if you have tried to work with your wife on this. If you have not, please do. If not for you, at least for your family -- and your daughter.

    If you have, and I mean really have, then before you pull the plug, I recommend you talk with your wife about how the status quo aint gonna cut it. And find out what she wants.

    My guess is she is also not completely happy with going from a hot young thing, to a mommy, with all the responsibility and body changes. It is quite common for women to not feel sexy when they've had a baby, and their bodies and hormones are all wacked out. It is also possible that you do not look at her in the way you used to. And even if you do, she may think you do not.

    Its very possible she doesn't feel sexy anymore. With the pregnancy, and the baby, and the breast feeding. And though that was over a year ago, once that pattern sets in, ya got to work at restarting the flame.

    I guess my only adivice is to realize that your wife is your wife, and the sexual problem is your and hers problem. If you just "pull the plug" you may just find yourself in five or ten years with "the same kind of" wife.

  • 0

    1glenn

    My brother married a Japanese/American, and while they have stayed married for over 40 years, their sex life is far from perfect. More like almost non-existent. She is very hard working and dedicated to their children, but can be very cold and mean. Perhaps that is just a personal idiosyncrasy, and has nothing to do with her national background......I know very few marriages such as theirs.

  • 0

    Kevin O'Leary

    Westerners need to find more efficient ways to toss out their wives when they will help maintain the intimacy in their marriage. It is so sad to see couples as young as their late 20s to waste their lives that way. I got out of my first marriage but it took 14 years or more to escape.

  • -1

    pointofview

    If the wife stops putting out you have to either A. pack it in or B. go look elsewhere for some fun. Very simple.

  • 0

    joumultiup

    What is good wife, what is new rule for woman? I believe woman in Japan is getting the power. Woman sometimes use thier privilege to exploit man. This is because nomally, man have to protect and understand woman feeling and this will be considered as good husband, however, there are no rules or common sense for the woman. After growing recognition of the fact that woman should not only do house works, woman will have rights to do any other tasks and use thier time on thier own. However, without clear moral for woman, no rule can be applied, they are just enjoying their life saying " man should protect me". The question is what is good wife, what is new rule for you?

  • 2

    nailstickingup

    I've been watching this thread and got an account to comment and give hope to some men reading.

    I met my Japanese wife in Canada. We dated for a month and, when her visa ran out, I followed her here to Japan. We got married on our one year anniversary and have been happy as clams ever since. We hold hands in public, say "I love you" multiple times a day, and after the kids have gone to bed, I put my head in her lap and massage her calves while she rubs my back. We've never once yelled at each other.

    She never talks down to me, nor I to her. Our disagreements are solved by talking and listening. I don't remember our last argument.

    We have two kids and she makes the effort to have enthusiastic sex with me 2-3 times a week.

    She also makes a lot more money than me, though I'm no slouch. She would never accept being a housewife, and she treats me as often as I treat her.

    We'll have been married for nine years this year and together for ten. She's the best thing to ever happen to me and I couldn't be happier with her.

    There must be others like her out there, guys.

  • 1

    Peacetrain

    Or maybe, Japan can have a revolution where people think it's normal for married couples to have sex and not just exist as mama and papa or otosan and okasan.

  • 1

    KnowBetter

    The home tends to be a frequent problem area. It can be particularly difficult convincing your spouse that something you’ve always had is a necessity when she’s gone her whole life without it, such as the men whose wives criticized their wasteful desires for fluffy, machine-dried laundry and the convenience of an automated sprinkler system. Home-use clothes dryers were extremely uncommon in Japan until the last 10 years or so...

    Um was this article written in the 70's

    My inlaws in Japan all had clothes dryers back in the 80's and they are middle class average. Who writes these trips?!?

  • 1

    hokkaidoguy

    My wife is Japanese and we have an 18 month old daughter. We haven't had sex since the wife was confirmed as being pregnant. That's 2, nearly 3 years now.

    That's it then gents? I think I'm going to pull the plug on this.

    Serious question:

    Do you use protection, or does she?

    I've known a few couples who had the same issue, and it mainly came down to the fact that she wasn't on the pill and seriously didn't want another kid - and he refused to use a condom or have the Big Snip.

    Once condoms (and eventually surgery) became part of the equation, things got back to normal.

    (oh, and by the way - a dry spell after the kids are born is something that transcends all cultures)

    Just putting that out there..

  • -1

    GG2141

    I'm awesomely happy with my wife (Japanese; for the record) and our relationship. We have a great life, a great future, 2 great kids, nice house on the hill, the list goes on and on. Sex? We do OK. We have 2 young boys so not a lot of energy left over at the end of the day. But we do get our freak on reasonably often. Fights? Hell yeah. But we get over it and move on. Marrying a Japanese woman, or rather this particular woman (irrespective of nationality), was the best move of my life.

    I believe people create their own monsters.

  • 0

    HonestDictator

    So the issue with marriage to a Japanese woman is the possibility of a sexless marriage. If she isn't equating sex to a show of intimate love between spouses, then the man had better make sure he's doing good in bed in the first place. If she's not being aggressive, then you have to be more aggressive. If you're lucky enough to have her make the first move, even if you're not in the mood (its rare but it can happen)... do it anyways and try to please her. Marriage isn't about just slacking off. Its another full time job to keep the fire burning in a marriage regardless of children, regardless of work, etc. Most time off you get (with either spouse), should have some time split between spending time with your children, and... wait for it.... spending time away from your children with each other. Re-affirmation of a relationship doesn't always require sex, or constant "I love you's" Just taking time to spend alone with each other helps keep the idea that you're husband and wife fresh in your minds.

    Work harder, and the rewards will be a happier marriage. Don't allow yourself or your spouse time to slack off the relationship between each other. Sure there will be times when you'll both need "Me" time but it shouldn't be more than the time you'll want to have "Us" time as a couple.

  • 0

    Brett Norman

    I've been dating a 30 yr old Japanese girl for 6 months. She didn't have a great childhood and her parents are separated, but she's a level headed girl, has had a long term relationship in the past (which ended because the Japanese boyfriend expected her to be a housewife forever and she didn't want that).

    Sex / intimacy is fantastic and frequent. I've read countless times about sex / intimacy stopping after marriage/kids and have had a few long discussion with my g/f about this and what I expect. She agrees but exclaims she doesn't know what will happen because she's never been married. She even texted some of her friends and said their sex lives were fine even after kids.

    I desperately don't want to end up in a sexless boring depressing marriage - is the occasional discussion about future expectations really the only thing I can do at this stage?

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