The fear of appearing henpecked

As for Mike Wyckoff’s Sept. 26 letter, “The men that lack ‘life skills,’ ” from The Japan Times Online, let me tell you about my husband, who used to work for a general trading company. Since our married life began, he has helped me wash dishes after dinner so that we can enjoy the evening hours together watching TV, etc.

Though his company job was hard and busy, he helped me with chores such as cleaning windows — as the high places were beyond my reach — and housecleaning to welcome the new year. Since retiring from the company, he has enjoyed cooking almost every morning, saying he’s an expert on egg dishes.

I grew up in a family where my father and brother worked hard. When I was a child, they chopped wood or cooked when so inclined. I admit that compared with Western men, there aren’t many Japanese husbands who help their wives with chores or who are perhaps as skilled in expressing their love. Still, from generation to generation, many Japanese men cooperate in family matters.

Some Japanese guys tend to pretend to be domineering because of their fear of appearing henpecked. It’s a silly misunderstanding.

hitomi wakutsu

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.

  • blondein_tokyo

    I don’t see the point. Even if they are afraid of appearing to be henpecked, and not just lazy tw@ts, the end result is the same: they don’t help around the house, and leave the entire burden of taking care of children, house cleaning, bill paying, and cooking to their wives. Or, like the letter writer’s husband, they help occasionally and seem to think that washing a few dishes should earn them accolades.

    And, having been married to a Japanese man myself, I know very good and well that the attitude goes much deeper than just wanting to avoid the appearance of being henpecked. There absolutely is a cultural component to their attitude, of a sexist sort: a true belief in strict gender roles.

    If Japanese society wishes to move forward socially and economically, then both men and women are going to need to get out of the 1950’s and into the 2000’s.