Sunday, July 10, 2011

Japan May Be a Man's Country, But the Women Dominate

Japan is often thought of as a heaven for men. Japan is thee Man's Country. There's lots of things here that are very, for lack of a better term, "beneficial" for men. Just a few off the top of my head are the fact that it isn't unusual at all for a 45-year-old or 50-year-old man to have a 20-something-year-old wife; while it is frowned upon, it is also often allowed, that married men have affairs with various women and having a mistress is still common. It is also not considered as "having an affair" by many women when her man goes to a sex parlor or so called hostess club and has his frustrations, er, "relieved."

In my old age, I've come to realize that these types of frivolities are not a benefit but a curse. They just cost money and surely, one woman is trouble enough. Also, at my house, even though I am the boss and Lord King of all I survey, my wife is chief financier and she controls the money and budget.

But I digress...

So, in this country, that has the image of a man's paradise - paradise where a man's virility is often showcased; where the women walk two steps behind the men, it makes me chuckle whenever I see a Japanese men's team getting beat in any world sports game. It doesn't matter if it is baseball, soccer, volleyball, whatever, I've always take secret pleasure in seeing the Japan men's team get beat.

It must be some sort of psychological screw-up in my brain. It's been that way since I was a kid. I've always loved Japan, but I always wanted the Japan men's teams to lose. It didn't matter what it was, but it was usually the Olympics, and the Japanese men's team would consistently come in as an "also ran." I was happy when they lost. 

Which is weird in one way, I always wanted the USA men's and women's teams to lose too, but that wasn't because of the way society is, it's because I want to always cheer for the underdog, and the USA is never the underdog... Ever! I mean, how could you possibly be the underdog when you have all the money, the best facilities, the best trainers, dietitians, drugs, er, I mean, "sports rehabilitation techniques."

But this always wanting the Japan men's teams to lose confused me inside. I mean, if I loved Japan so much, then why did I want their men's teams to always lose? 

I concluded it was because my mom was Japanese and I had this idea that Japan is a very chauvinistic country and that the men dominate the women. I'm sure that I am not the only one with that image in my head either. It must be that everyone thinks so.... Especially us half-Japanese kids who have a Japanese mother that we love dearly...

I guess growing up with the image of a Japanese man treating women as second rate citizens leaves a bad image in the minds of us kids. It isn't always true, of course, I have to deal with my phobias and stereotypes on my own I suppose.

So, it's been OK cheering against the Japanese men's teams because they always lose anyway. Sometimes, I've even felt sorry for them... 

But there is a Japanese team who I always cheer for and I always am extremely happy when they win. Can you guess which team that is?

It's the Japanese women's national team. It doesn't matter what the sport is, I always want the Japanese women's national teams to win. And they do! Last night they knocked out two-time defending champion  Germany out of the World Cup 1 - 0! It was the German Women's Team's first World Cup defeat since 1999! Woo-Hoo! Go Japan! 

Japanese forces penetrate deeply into German territory!

The Japanese national women's teams win and they win often. Recently, just to name a few, they won at Olympic Softball, Volleyball, Marathon, and they've done OK at other sports like table tennis and synchronized swimming (arguably not a sport!)... So I enjoy it when the women's teams win.

Perhaps it is a twisted satisfaction that I get from watching these poor ladies, as representatives of the female half of their society, actually showing the guys how to win.... Something that the guy's teams rarely do (excepting the two times they lucked out in baseball). Perhaps it is because I feel a sort of revenge for my mother.

I don't know what it is. But, when the Japan women's teams win, it feels good just because I get some sort of childish feeling of revenge or satisfaction (even though I don't really care about any sports).

So the Japan women's teams showing the men's teams how to win is great fun. It proves that times they are a changin' and that women are taking their place, slowly but surely, in Japan.... 

That, and the fact that in 80% of all Japanese households, the wife holds the purse strings and controls all the money and finances it makes me wonder if this really is a man's country or is it that the men are all children and the women are the adults and are de facto controlling them!

Of course, that is nonsense and poppycocky. In Japan, men are king. The wives merely win all the time and control the money.

That's all.


Anonymous said...

Well done, Japan's women's soccer team.
So the Japan women's teams showing the men's teams how to win is great fun. It proves that times they are a changin' and that women are taking their place, slowly but surely, in Japan....

ha-ha-ha! Women have traditionally controlled the purse strings in Japan. This is not a new trend. And most women I know in Japan have not been fooled by Western feminist BS slogans. "Let the men take the heat and think they run things!" That's power using its intelligence.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Japanese women become strong because the men won't carry their luggage for them. ;)

Anonymous said...

Great entry. It's really how you view gender equality that creates friction between the Japanese and Western feminists. Whoever generates the income in the West has the right to spend his/her income, and the glass ceiling for women in the average Japanese workplace leads many to decry Japan as a sexist place to be because of the consequent economic dependence on the husband. But as you so aptly pointed out, women control the finances of the family and all income goes directly to her for management.

On a tangent, but semi-related: there was this report in the WSJ a couple months back on women and the Japanese workplace, and how Japan's GDP would go up by X percent if they had greater economic freedom and opportunities and such. Just really got me thinking: do you think Japan will ever give greater opportunity to women in that sense for the sake of economic growth?

Anonymous said...

do you think Japan will ever give greater opportunity to women in that sense for the sake of economic growth?
What more opportunity could be given? Women are not banned from any jobs, as far as I know. Or are you suggesting government force businesses to pay women more? Yeah. That would sure fix the economy. Please don't give the idiots stupid ideas.

Anonymous said...

do you think Japan will ever give greater opportunity to women in that sense for the sake of economic growth?
What more opportunities could be given, other than forcing businesses to do things they otherwise wouldn't? And while GDP as a measure of the value of an economy is simple enough for pols to understand, it's not a reliable one. More students in higher education, for instance, and the GDP zooms up, even tho they're not producing anything for 4 years.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Although it is true that there are still lots of barriers to women getting hired at the top tier companies, in reality - the gender inequality in Japan appears to be of a different brand than Europe/USA, rather than something that is necessarily worse.
Having lived in Europe for nearly a decade now, I don't believe the gender equality over here is as straightforward as the media make it out to be.

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