A new divorce policy in Japan highlights the different outcomes when women are not dependent on men but interdependent with men. It’s scaring the hell out of Japanese men:
A change in Japanese law this year allows a wife who is filing for divorce to claim as much as half her husband’s company pension. When the new law went into effect in April, divorce filings across Japan spiked 6.1 percent. Many more split-ups are in the pipeline, marriage counselors predict. They say wives — hearts gone cold after decades of marital neglect — are using calculators to ponder pension tables, the new law and the big D….
“The fact that a wife can now get 50 percent has ignited guys to think about their fragile marriages,” said Shuichi Amano, 55, founder of the association and a magazine publisher in this city of 1.3 million in western Japan. The word chauvinist in the group’s name, Amano says, is not intended to refer to bossy men. Instead, it invokes the original meaning of the Japanese word that today translates as chauvinist, kanpaku, a top assistant to the emperor.
Men near the end of their corporate lives, he said, are especially edgy. “To be divorced is the equivalent of being declared dead — because we can’t take care of ourselves,” Amano said.
When his wife told him eight years ago that she was “99 percent” certain she was going to dump him, Amano said, the only things he then knew how to do in the kitchen were to fry eggs and pour boiled water over noodles.
Since then, in addition to learning how to listen and talk to a wife he had ignored for two decades, Amano said, he has learned how to take out the trash, clean the house and cook.
I think this explains a lot (italics mine):
He is Yoshimichi Itahashi, 66, president of a concrete company here in Fukuoka. He has been married for 38 years and has two daughters and a son.
For almost all of that time, he behaved coldly and selfishly toward his wife and children.
“I think my generation especially has grown up in a very feudalistic era,” he said. “I never said I was sorry. When I came home from work, I would say I want to eat dinner, I want a bath and I want to go to bed. I had no time to talk to my wife.”
While Itahashi is trying to change his ways, some of the younger ones aren’t doing so well:
Motoharu Kitajima, 30, married over the summer. He runs a local beauty college and said his work requires that he spend a lot of nights out drinking with colleagues. He joined the association as a preventive measure, he said, to help alert him to strains in his marriage.
He is going to try to leave boozy dinners early and get home, he declared. Asked whether he has yet mastered the art of telling his wife that he loves her, he replied: “I can say, ‘I love you,’ if I am drunk.”
Mrs. Kitajima, run. Seriously, when men can’t treat women as maids and flesh-and-blood blowup sex dolls, we, women and men, are better off.