- Japan has begun offering classes and celebrating holidays that encourage men to appreciate their wives.
- Right now Japan is in the midst of a fertility crisis, which could be partly related to the lack of steady jobs for men and partly related to the all-consuming nature of work.
- The creator of “Beloved Wives Day, “the holiday that encourages men to appreciate their wives, says the “adoring husband” could be part of a traditional Japanese culture.
The Atlantic recently reported on Ikumen classes in Japan, or classes that teach men how to be better fathers.
The catch? At least in the session that Atlantic reporter Stephen Marche attended, none of the men in the class were dads or expecting dads. Some weren’t even dating anyone. The idea is at least partly to impress women with the fact that they have some fatherhood experience.
Men in the class practice bathing fake infants and wear weight suits to simulate a woman’s pregnant body – but they also learn other ways of being better husbands and fathers.
The teacher in Marche’s class recommended that the men compliment their wives (and potential future wives) with comments like: “This is delicious” or “Your outfit looks cute today!”
Those are suggested as alternatives to comments like, “Why did you sleep in so late?”
A more public spectacle of wife-appreciation is Japan’s annual “Beloved Wives Day,” in which men stand up in public and shout into a microphone how much they adore their wives.
Beloved Wives Day, which has been celebrated in January for about a decade now, is the brainchild of Kiyo Yamana, the founder of the Japan Aisaika Organisation. (“Aisaika” means “adoring husband.”)
JAO’s “5 Golden Rules of Devoted Husbands” are:
1. Go home early, before 8 p.m.
2. Create a relaxing atmosphere
3. Call your wife by her name
4. Look into her eyes
5. Listen to what she has to say
As Kiyo’s wife, Kimi, told Christiane Amanpour in the CNN series “Sex and Love Around the World,” she and Kiyo have abided by these rules since they got married – and they explain why the couple are so happy.
Ikumen classes and Beloved Wives Day may be efforts to stem Japan’s fertility crisis
Ikumen classes and Beloved Wives Day come at a time when Japan is facing a fertility crisis – or what economists call a “demographic time bomb.”
The Atlantic previously reported that a lack of job opportunities for men could be to blame. Japanese men are still expected to support their families, and both men and women may be reluctant to marry and have children if they know it will be financially difficult.
And as Business Insider has previously reported, work in Japan can be so demanding that young people often have no time to date or to start a family.
Meanwhile, JAO suspects that the Aisaika lifestyle could be an “unknown traditional culture of Japan.” The JAO website also reads: “The Aisaika group has been initiated by middle-aged men who had come to think that good and sustainable marital relationship may very well lead to the world peace and preservation of the global environment.”
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