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Poor Japanese men

The marriage rate in Japan is decreasing; at the age of 29, only 30% of well-educated women are married, as compared to 75% in 1980. And almost 30% do not want to marry at all. That leaves 40% who are still considering.. And the divorce rate has been rising steadily for decades.

Japan recently changed its pension legislation so that in a divorce the wife can claim and get as much as half of her exhusband's company pension. Japanese wives, since long frustrated with their husbands working long hours, spending most evenings drinking with colleagues and neglecting their wives, have done the maths and grabbed the opportunity - divorce filings have increased sharply. Alarmed, Japanese husbands nearing retirement have established an association, 'National Chauvinist Husbands Association' (the word chauvinist does have a slightly different meaning in Japanese, emphasising the role of a servant to the emperor ;-), to consider what can be done to save their marriages (and money) after they retire.

To be divorced, according to the chairman of this association, is the equivalent of being declared dead - because "we can't take care of ourselves". When his wife told him that she was thinking of divorcing him, the only things he knew how to do in the kitchen were frying eggs and pouring boiled water over noodles. Since then, in addition to learning how to listen and talk to his wife, he has learned how to take out the trash, clean the house and cook.

The situation is problematic also emotionally. A man that has for years financially supported but emotionally ignored his wife and children runs the risk of becoming an alien. When he retires he expects to return full time to his family. But for a wife gone cold after decades of marital neglect to accept this alien can be very difficult.