Gaijin Stories

These short stories are a collection of my experiences while living in Tokyo. I hope people wishing to learn more about Japan and gaijin in japan wishing to compare experiences will find them interesting. I also hope some Japanese people will find a gaijin's perspective interesting reading as well.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Housewife (12)

I think native English speakers don't use the word housewife, or atleast Australian people don't. Maybe in the 60's and 70's when Skippy (the pet kangaroo) and The Brady Bunch were on tv, people often used the word but slowly the word's meaning lost its value. For my Japanese readers - I would define `PC` as the use of words which promotes a good and fair society. PC stands for `political correctness` not `personal computer`. The phrase `I'm a wife` creates an image of a lady who needs a man (her husband). Housewife, a lady who stays in the house and is dependent on a man.

Feminists in the 70s wanted all women to have more power in society. If more politicians and company presidents were female than male, they would have been very happy. If a mother's job was considered more important than an office workers job, they would have been happy too. The job of `raising children` is an important job - I agree. The word `housewife` has been replaced with words like `home-maker` and `mother`.

During my first year in Japan, I heard many Japanese people use the word `housewife` and I tried to convey my feeling about the word.
However, over the years I've learnt that
1-`mothering` IS considered an important job in Japan
2-there wasn't a need for a feminist movement
3-the kanji (the Japanese writing sytem adopted from Chinese characters) for housewife in Japanese is also like a compound word which means `inside` and `house`.
4-many young Japanese people still consider being a good mother and a good wife to be more important for females than having a career.
5-Even if I could accurately describe the modern day image of the English word `housewife` Japanese people would still think it's a suitable word to use.

In Japan, many women try to be as feminine as they can be. They compete for men, not with men.
They don't overpower men with muscle or talk, but they have a lot of control of Japanese men.
Japanese men spend more money on girls, tolerate tantrums better, and respond to their demands more than I first thought. Japanese ladies have more spending money to go shopping to buy fashion and make up. They have more free time for hobbies and meeting friends.

The pros and cons of feminism is a long debate but I definetely find it interesting living in a country which wasn't changed greatly by the feminist movement. And I wonder if that female American feminist who is trying to promote feminism in Japan is really helping Japanese women or not?
Is she helping Japanese society? or not?


  • At November 03, 2005 3:04 PM, Blogger Kayne said…

    Hi. I quite enjoyed your stories. I am thinking of taking a break from uni here in Brisbane and coming to Japan in January to work and play. Interesting place.

  • At December 09, 2005 11:16 AM, Blogger David said…

    Hi Keyne,
    I wish you all the best.

    I'd say finish your uni first, then come over and teach English.

    Once you get here, the years pass quickly.


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