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Do Japanese women make good wives?


16 Apr 2004
I'm interested in a Japanese woman, and, if things ever head in the direction of marriage, I'd like to know what I might be getting in for because I know very little about Japanese culture (something I'm trying to change). I'd appreciate the wisdom of anyone who might have some information on the subject. Thanks.
Do you have any particular concerns? A lot will come down to the individual and by the time you get ready to marry this gal, you should have all her quirks figured out. We can only leave the details to you.

There are very conservative women and yet others who would put most others to shame with all their exploits. Trying to classify the Japanese woman is a tricky slope to climb - just like for making generalizations for any group.

Any one issue in particular you are keen on?
This topic never has made a question across my mind but, now that you have asked I too would be interested in an answer. Although, I don't think that them being Japanese makes a difference in whether they are good wives or not, I think it would all come down to the traditions of her Japanese background.
I can only tell you what I've seen.

My Canadian and American white friends who have Japanese wives are very happy with them (some are even pround of that).

The following is a list of their most common comments (some maybe offensive to white women):

1. Japanese women don't get fat like American women.

2. Japanese women may not do all the housework but at least they cook. American women watch soap opera and serve hot-dogs with chips from Lays.

3. As much as Japanese women like shopping. They always put their kids and husbands first.

4. My J-wife rarely raises her voice at me like my ex-wife did.

5. My J-wife doesn't complain when I have to travel away because of work. She understands that the man has to earn a living.

Don't get mad at me, I am just telling what I have heard. I've never married to a J-girl so I can't tell you how true are the above statements.

But one time I went to a restaurant with my Japanese friend who had been married to her American husband for more than three years at the time. We each ordered a boiled lobster. My friend only ate the tail, the head and some of the claws and took the rest of the lobster home to her husband.

When her American husband was eating the lobster, he asked, " Which restaurant did you two go to ? They have very good lobster, lots of meat!" :giggle:
Of course, keep in mind, for each of the statements above, I could walk out my door this minute and find someone who would break some or all of those molds (well, not his minute as I am still in my pjs, but you get the idea).

I know Jean-Francois wasn't trying to paint all Japanese women as being like the wives of his friends - just telling us some of the things that are out there. Thanks! :)
I think all of those reasons were pretty superficial.

You know, what's odd is that a lot of Western guys think Japanese men are so terrible, because they think they treat the women bad. You know, force them to stay at home, force them to cook, force them to clean, suppress them, etc. etc.. Basically call them slave-drivers.

But then, what do most Western men give as reasons for preferring a Japanese woman? Because they claim they will cook for them, put them and their children first, they don't fight back, etc. etc. Just seems a little ironic to me?

Of course, not all Western guys are like that. Not all Japanese women are like Jean-Francois says. Not all Western women are like he says. Everyone should understand that something like this has to be taken on an individual basis.

And by the way. One thing I've learned from being around a lot of Japanese women. They might not fight back verbally, they might not yell, they might cook and take care of the kids, but they are smart. Very smart. By smart, I mean calculating. Just as calculating as the Western ones are, just not as open about it.
Some are smart and calculating, some are smart enough to know what's going on but too powerless or sheltered or illogical or naive to do anything about it. Fortunately I don't have to worry about marrying one, cause it's just something really, really hard for me to understand....
i think that the above comments where a decent stereotype...of course all it is, is a stereotype...
Thanks Maciamo! That's the kind of information I was looking for. I know you can't judge someone based on stereotypes of their culture, but it's good for me to try to understand what kinds of attitudes towards relationships, marriage, what's expected of you, etc she might have been exposed to through her culture. We all make choices about how we personally want to live our lives, but I think everyone is affected in some way by the attitudes of their culture. I disagree with some of the ways of thinking of my parents'/grandparents' generations, but I'm still affected by it because it's part of my culture. ✌️
As long as you share a deep commitment to each other, that's okay. It really doesn't matter what ethnicity she is, as long as your relationship is strong, and not...celebrity-like. :)
I am weary to reduce the love relationships in a country of millions of people into a few concepts that you express in your short bit on marriage in Japan. As you would probably admit, contains stereotypes that would not hold true for all japanese marriages nor create the problems inferred in Japan/Western marriages. (the "West" is a big place by the way.)

I do not want to spend this time arguing that you are wrong, but rather argue that your bit does more damage than good. When I first came to Japan I also found the loveless marriages and the husbands that would go to soap clubs without an afterthought. Because my command of the language was not great at the time, I was quick to generalize. More importantly, however, I found that type of relationship beacuse I expected to find it. I read about it in books and heard about it through friends. When I found examples of it, I confirmed the ideas in the books and wrote to my friends about the screwed up relationships in Japan. I then closed my mind; the cultural puzzle was solved, and I had controlled and understood my environment.

In case you have never noticed, the cultural books on Japan are more wrong than right. You do not have to take your shoes off in cars; you can look Japanese people in the eye (and they will look back); you can eat an entire dish at once (have you ever heard that one? You should do an a counterclock wise cirlce with your dishes). Books and people love to generlize Japanese society. The "West" loves the mystic quality that we assign Japan, but do you think these myths are true? Do you think they may be propgated by people that know a little bit about Japan and very willing to advise the people that love Japan but have little first hand experience? What do you think this does to the true nature of the culture and how outsiders look at it?

I have been married to a Japanese person for four years. So far, everything has worked out great. Yes, the cultural background of a person does affect the marriage; however, I am not ready to write about what it is about "The Japanese Culture" that influence the marriage for better or worse. I do not want to mislead people that would be all too eager to take my ideas as objective cultural facts.
I agree that a person's role models, values, and basic personality traits are far more important to examine when evaluating someone's intrinsic value as a potential spouse.

However, shouldn't Honto be asking himself what HE is bringing to the partnership? What makes him think he'd make a good husband? What are the arguments that he can use to convince her to marry him?

The compatibility (and willingness to communicate and work on a relationship) must be mutual - it's a two way street.

I am a Nikkei, and thus have internalized some traditional Japanese values, as interpreted through my parents (that's a key point). I'm married to an Irish citizen. But does that mean we fulfil even one stereotype of a mixed culture marriage? Not necessarily (in fact, probably not).

No matter how strong and influential societal values are (especially in a conformist, insular culture such as can be found in Japan, or even Ireland), ultimately the individual must decide whether they agree to practice those values, and to what extent. In that sense I agree with dayjp - it's easier for people to seek out examples that validate their preconceptions (and misconceptions) when they read convincing sources state "facts", rather than refusing to make assumptions and taking each person as an individual with their own set of circumstances and behavioural traits. That makes things like Maciamo's interesting (even fascinating!) articles into perhaps dangerous documents. Unless they're read in the proper context, of course.
I have to say that I agree with both dayjp and nekosasori. Why would you even limit your search for a soulmate to one specific ethnic group? I never went in search of a Japanese wife, but it just happened. To tell the truth, I was raised in a very closed minded (read as racist) small southern town. As a teen I would've never dreamed that I would have married anyone but a white woman...pretty sad isn't it. My first wife was white, but the marriage failed, not really anyone's fault, we just moved too quickly. I found my Japanese wife totally by accident! :p

I will argue a few things stated earlier: Yes Japanese woman can and will get fat (not all of them). I have met many Japanese women who can not cook! (mine does :D ), in fact you can purchase everything you need pretty much already cooked at the market and just take it home! As for the raising of the voice...yes it does happen, but usually never in public, and it is usually caused by some type of language barrier (lack of knowledge) on one of the parties involved! :? (did that come out right?) And as for never complaining when your work causes you to go away? Ask a Japanese woman married to a military man...they complain quite often, unless they are living in Japan at the time of deployment!

My point is: women are really the same no matter where you go. Don't select your wife just because you have a facination with her heritage. Please get to know the person first and make sure that you are right for each other.
I am married to a Japanise wife and many times I regret my decision.
She is nothing what I have thought she would be.
We've been married for little less than a year. I found out the other day that she's been exchanging emails with her ex-boyfriend.
She drinks way too much at night.
Oh! Did I mention that she is suicidal?

Since I married her, things has been going south.
She spends too much. I might go into debt soon.
I don't mean to scare the heck out of you but think hard before you decide to tie the knot. My advice goes to not only Japanise women but any women.

In my experience, I think there a lot of Japanise women who are materialistic.
I am screwed!
We'll overlook the fact that the thread has been in a coma for three years.

How long did you know this woman before you walked into the bonds of holy matrimony with your eyes wide shut?
I am married to a Japanise wife and many times I regret my decision.
She is nothing what I have thought she would be.
We've been married for little less than a year. I found out the other day that she's been exchanging emails with her ex-boyfriend.
She drinks way too much at night.
Oh! Did I mention that she is suicidal?
Since I married her, things has been going south.
She spends too much. I might go into debt soon.
I don't mean to scare the heck out of you but think hard before you decide to tie the knot. My advice goes to not only Japanise women but any women.
In my experience, I think there a lot of Japanise women who are materialistic.
I am screwed!
Ahhh.... Now I see where all these threads have come from, mental illness, the three "H's" and the Korean women thread.

So you must be very rich, well educated and very tall if she married you ,or are you the exception to the rule? And I believe all your wife needs to do is go and see a proffessional if she is indeed unstable. Don't put "all Japanese women" in the same basket, just b/c you are having trouble. Maybe you could talk to her and see what is bothering her to be this way, b/c you obviously had something there to begin with???
Good women exist in every culture, as do bad ones. GENERALLY speaking, Japan is a patriarchal culture so the male role is dominant and most traditionally-raised women are therefore a little more subserviant and resigned to working in the home as the mother and primary caregiver. They foster few career-oriented ambitions (they're encouraged to go to Colleges instead of Universities where they learn more practical things as opposed to business or sciences) and prefer to assist in the household by way of ensuring the man (traditional bread-winner) is well taken care of in order to continue winning bread. This is not really unlike the old-fashioned nuclear family of the Western 1950's.

That being said, Japanese women aren't docile or passive in their role, most do have strong ambitions surrounding travel, family outings, having interesting experiences, etc. and problems arise when they become neglected by their husbands due to heavy workloads and the prevalence of company drinking parties and such. This is the impression I got from a few frank and open conversations I had with my higher level students in Tokyo while I lived there. They took pride in keeping an immaculate household and having well-behaved children, but expressed disappointment that their husbands did not wish to move beyond 'winning bread' by encouraging weekend family outings and other extra-curriculars.

I think in general, behind every good man there's a good woman, and in Japanese culture this is still true in the traditional sense moreso than in any other 1st world nation. However I think in exchange for their reputation as excellent home makers and care givers Japanese women (rightly) expect a certain level of appreciation in return. The duties are different and unpaid but they wish to remain equal partners and not be neglected. Again, Japanese business culture lends itself to more neglect than the Western model so perhaps there's a reason why many Western/Japanese couples work out.

Just my observation and meager 2 cents.
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