- 14 Mar 2002
- Reaction score
Teaching Japan's Salarymen to Be Their Own Men
Like many social phenomena in Japan, the collapsing status of the corporate warrior has generated its own vocabulary. For younger women, the dark-suited company men seen everywhere walking two or three abreast, chain-smoking, their heads slightly bowed, are dasai (uncool) or nasakenai (clueless). For the wives to whom many of them return home in the evening, meanwhile, they are the nure-ochiba zoku (the wet leaf tribe) 窶 clingy, musty and emotionally spent.
"Eventually, I realized that the problems I was suffering didn't come from me, but rather from Japan's traditional patriarchy," he said. "Traditionally, Japanese men don't attach importance to their family life at all. I, for one, hardly ever had a proper conversation with my father."
"Japanese men have lost their vigor, and are not lively any longer," said Yoshihiko Morotomi, a professor of psychology at Chiba University and author of "Desolate Man," a popular recent book. "Our self-esteem has traditionally come from relationships in which we are paid respect, either in the job or from the wife. But our society is going through a model change, and nowadays men don't have anywhere to turn for respect anymore."