A Western woman’s perspective


Denny Pollard, in his Jan. 24 letter, “Men to decide the demographics,” states that “Japanese women don’t want to marry a man who looks down on them, treats them with disrespect and tells them they should only do as they’re told.”

In my opinion, this type of statement smacks of the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s syndrome,” a reference to the movie’s portrayal of Japanese men as grotesque with buckteeth, thick-rimmed glasses and an unforgivable Asian accent. These are offensive, derogatory and hateful stereotypes, indeed.

Pollard’s stereotype of the Japanese male would be no different than labeling all Japanese women as spoiled princesses who spend all of their time shopping, as “ladies who lunch” and refuse to work, or as feeling entitled to their husband’s entire salary before they, in turn, dole out a tiny allowance to him. I know that this is not the case and that there are plenty of educated, sophisticated and worldly Japanese women who contribute greatly to Japanese society whether they work in or outside the home.

As a Western woman who came to Japan to teach almost 15 years ago and who has been married to a Japanese man for more than a decade, I can certainly offer a much different perspective, taking into consideration that the majority of teachers who arrive from Western countries are male.

I am grateful to be able to walk by a construction site without having to endure sexist remarks and catcalls. I am able to walk on the streets of Tokyo, anytime, day or night, without fear.

On a much more personal note, I watch in admiration as my Japanese husband, who is the oldest son, takes care of his elderly mother with pride and diligence and respect, how his patience and kindness toward his loved ones is unbreakable, and how his soft-spokenness and gentleness guides him in his everyday life.

As a Western woman who lives in this great country, I declare that my Japanese man does not look down on me, nor does he treat me with disrespect. And he certainly knows better than to tell this little lady to do as she’s told.

kathleen kano

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.