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THE SILENCE OF THE WIVES: NARRATIVES AND AGENCY

MARVIN FONTANO CALMA

Submitted to the
Department of Communication
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND COMMUNICATION
University of the Philippines Baguio
In partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN COMMUNICATION

December 2014

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APPROVAL SHEET

This thesis is titled THE SILENCE OF THE WIVES: NARRATIVES AND


AGENCY, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts
in Communication, is given a grade of ______________.

Ma. Rina G. Locsin-Afable, Ph.D.


Adviser

Jimmy B. Fong, Ph.D.


Department Chair
Department of Communication

Accepted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of


Arts in Communication.

Dean Anna Christie V. Torres, Ph.D.


College of Arts and Communication

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

To my family, especially to Mama and Papa, thank you for giving me the chance
to return to school despite an almost decade-long hiatus.
I would like to express my gratitude to my thesis adviser, Prof. Ma. Rina LocsinAfable. This page would not be big enough if I were to write about all your help.
To the Beta Sigma Fraternity and the Beta Sigma Ladies Corps, my second
family in Baguio, thank you for the support.
Arlene Otod, you are an awesome friend and transcriptionist.
To all the Japanese friends who provided great help and served as the subjects of
my study, especially to ,domo arigato gozaimasu.
I want to thank a lot of people, but I am afraid this space will not suffice. You
already know who you are.

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To my little brother

ABSTRACT
Calma, Marvin F. The Silence of the Wives: Narratives and Agency. Bachelors
Thesis, University of the Philippines Baguio, 2014.

My research reads the messages behind the narratives of Japanese housewives,


and shows how these stories are a form of agency. I used the topical edited life history
method in interpreting the narratives of seven (7) women in the English as a Second
Language (ESL) classes I teach online. Five of these women are my students and the
other two are parents of my child learners. My study describes the matters they discuss in
relation to their personal lives, and uncovers the messages behind their stories. I used
Cheris Kramaraes Muted Group Theory as a guide in interpreting their narratives, in
addition to the concepts of structure and agency as defined by Mustafa Emirbayer and
Ann Mische. My findings show that while the gendered structure of Japanese society
renders housewives mute, they use the Internet to subvert this structure. The different
dimensions of agency are evident in the stories that they relate online.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE
Title Page ......................................................................................................................... i
Approval Sheet ............................................................................................................... ii
Acknowledgments ......................................................................................................... iii
Dedication ...................................................................................................................... iv
Abstract ........................................................................................................................... v
Table of Contents ...........................................................................................................vi

CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study .......................................................................... 1
Statement of the Problem and Objectives .................................................. 2
Significance of the Study .......................................................................... 2
Scope and Delimitations ........................................................................... 4

II. RESEARCH FRAMEWORK

Review of Related Literature .................................................................... 7


Framework for the Analysis .................................................................... 25
Definition of Terms ................................................................................ 33

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III. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY


Research Design and Methods ................................................................ 35
Concepts and Indicators.......................................................................... 35
Units of Analysis and Sampling .............................................................. 36
Data Gathering ....................................................................................... 37
Data Analysis ......................................................................................... 37
Research Instruments .............................................................................. 38

IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


Overview of Online Classes .................................................................... 40
The Housewives ..................................................................................... 41
Sanshoku Hirune Tsuki: Free Meals a Day, Plus Sleep ........................... 44
Rysai Kenbo: Good Wife, Wise Mother ................................................ 49
The Times, Are They Changing? ............................................................ 52
Japanese Housewives: An Oppressed Species? ....................................... 54
Hail the Minister of Finance ................................................................... 58
Changing Life Patterns ........................................................................... 62
Women and the Net ................................................................................ 71
Dimensions of Agency in the Narratives; Structure and Muting .............. 75

V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

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Conclusion ............................................................................................ 80
Recommendation .................................................................................... 89

Bibliography ...................................................................................................... 92
Appendix ........................................................................................................... 96

Chapter I. Introduction

Background of the Study


In my more than seven years in the English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching
industry, I have trained students from South Korea, Japan and China. Of all these
students, I have the strongest affinity with my Japanese learners. This is perhaps because
my great grandfather was Japanese. My rapport with my Japanese learners was the
motive force that encouraged me to embark on this research, which aims to uncover the
narratives that Japanese housewives relate to their ESL online tutors.
A 2013 poll conducted by the Japanese government shows that 34 per cent or
roughly one out of three women in Japan prefer to become full-time housewives when
they get married. The same poll also shows that once highly educated women have
children, they stop working to devote their time to their families. 1
Most of us know that devotion to family is one characteristic that defines
Japanese housewives. The media promote images of them as meticulous homemakers
who possess skills in cooking, cleaning, gardening and crafts. Apart from these social and
cultural constructs, we seem to know so little about them.
For this reason, my study looks at Japanese housewives and their narratives. I am
interested in their narratives as a form of communication, as well as these narratives
happening over the Internet, in a second language. English is a second language to both
1

. 1 in 3 Japanese women want to be housewives: poll, Japan Today, September


26, 2013, Accessed December 1, 2014,
http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/1-in-3-japanese-women-want-to-behousewives-poll.

my learners and me. Although our levels of proficiency may be different, my housewife
learners exert their best efforts in making themselves heard and understood. We exchange
a lot of ideas about and opinions on numerous topics. Some of these topics are new, some
old, but many of them are connected to their roles and identities as housewives. Social
and cultural constructs play a major role in the way Japanese women define themselves
and perform their roles.

Statement of the Problem and Objectives


The problem, therefore, that my study wishes to answer is: What stories do
Japanese housewives tell their ESL online tutors?
The general objective of my study is to uncover the narratives that Japanese
housewives relate to their ESL online tutors. My specific objectives are:
1. To provide a brief background of online ESL tutorial lessons;
2. To describe the subject matters Japanese housewives discuss during ESL online
sessions, in connection with their personal lives;
3. To read the messages behind the stories Japanese housewives relate during ESL online
sessions; and
4. To show how their stories are a form of agency.

Significance of the Study


My study of the narratives that English-learning Japanese housewives relate to
their ESL tutors hopes primarily to benefit researchers in women studies. It seeks a
further understanding of the power relations between housewives and husbands in a

particular cultural environment. Japanese feminists and researchers have conducted many
studies in Japan but most of these are quantitative in nature. These studies are usually
commissioned by the government to provide the Japanese public with figures on postnatal employment status; salary inequality between men and women; inequity in job
opportunities and career growth; and marriage and other issues concerning women.
Rarely have qualitative researches on female narratives been conducted. These narratives
are published as individual books with themes such as the plight of Japanese women after
World War II and the changing roles of Japanese women in a modern Japanese family.
Also, studies about Japanese housewives learning ESL are almost non-existent. Thus, I
hope that this research will spark interest in the narratives of English-learning Japanese
housewives and develop into a much more in-depth qualitative research on power
relations between Japanese housewives and husbands in the 21 st century.
To the readers of this research, I seek to impart the discourse of power relations
between housewives and husbands from a non-feminist perspective. I am not a feminist
myself. But to argue that my predisposition hinders me from conducting such research
defeats the purpose of allowing the voices of a muted group to be heard a theme at the
heart of many feminist issues. Many people, especially non-members of the academe, are
unconscious of the muting of women or even worse, think it is non-existent. My research
makes a valid claim on the existence of the muting of women.
All forms of media print, broadcast, online perpetuate the muting of certain
groups in society, women included. My research shows how Japanese housewives use the
same medium that helps promote their muting to subvert that very same muting. In some
of the narratives of my subject participants, the muting that happens is very

imperceptible, but it is muting nonetheless. The use of narratives, therefore, may in some
cases provide more information than what can be derived from statistical data. My study
becomes significant in the light of its contribution to research on muting especially since
it comes from an outsiders point of view that of a male and non-Japanese.
This research will also help fellow ESL tutors who deal with married Japanese
female learners. Since flexibility is one of the keys to being an effective tutor, it is
advantageous for one to know where these housewives are coming from. Conversation
classes, whether they are online or face-to-face, are two-way streets that require the
exchange of opinions, ideas and culture. The cultural knowledge that a tutor possesses
can serve as an effective tool in conversation classes. Engaging conversations rarely exist
without stories. Narratives can be very useful tools for teaching English as a second
language since they are drawn from real life experiences.
The participants of my research have been learning English as a second language
for at least two years, and it is possible that they may have shared their stories with other
tutors, too. But narratives never go stale. They just take on different forms and are told
from different perspectives, to different listeners. The dynamism narratives possess can
spawn other researches on this topic, through the life history method.

Scope and Delimitations


For my study, I gathered narratives from seven subject participants, all Japanese
women. Five of the subject participants are students in the online ESL course I teach.
They represent the total number of students who fit the criteria my study requires:

Japanese, female, married. The other two subject participants are mothers of my students
who offered to provide narratives as well.
A maximum of 25 minutes per session is allotted for each student of Eigo de
Syaberitai. A student will, at most, book two to three sessions a week or, in some
instances, within a day. For the recorded sessions, my subject participants booked two
consecutive sessions within a day. Thus, one session lasted for approximately 50 minutes
or more. Because our schedules are flexible, they sometimes had to cancel some sessions
when they had to attend to more pressing matters. This is the reason why it took me
almost two months to gather narratives from my subject participants. As to the mothers of
my students who agreed to contribute to my research, the same limitations applied.
I could have started data gathering much earlier but the computers in my
workplace have low specifications and are not compatible with the MP3 Skype Recorder
needed for recording the sessions. Thus, I waited until I was able to purchase my own
computer with higher specifications. Also, while I was able to gain comprehensive
narratives from my subject participants, I was not able to do this within the time frame I
projected owing to instances of poor Internet connection.
I mention narratives as the sole method of gathering information. This is because
the subject of my research calls for the topical edited life history method. The
information I gleaned from my subject participants narratives respond to the objectives
of my study that I earlier mentioned. My main objective, which is to uncover Japanese
housewives narratives, can only be met through the conduct of a qualitative, and not a
quantitative, method.

As to the framework that guided my analysis of the data I gathered, I used the
muted group theory and the concept of agency. In using such, I was able to clearly
interpret my findings.

CHAPTER II. RESEARCH FRAMEWORK

Review of Related Literature


Will you be my housewife?
Anata wa watashi no tsuma ni narimasu? These Japanese words, translated into
English, mean: Will you be my wife? Another Japanese marriage proposal is: Anata
wa watashi no shufu ni narimasu? It means: Will you be my housewife? Replacing
the word tsuma with the word shufu spells a big difference in the world of the Japanese
married woman. The term shufu, or housewife, conjures an image of a master woman. 2
Politics and gender studies professor Robin M. LeBlanc has explained that while the
Japanese word shufu may be literally translated as housewife, it means much more than
that.
Shufu was used to describe noblewomen of the Japanese feudal era, where
household management was more like a sort of mastery over other workers3
According to LeBlanc, the term shufu has earned a pejorative connotation because it is
associated with housewives who are completely satisfied with being just housewives.
The just-a-housewife identity is a manifestation of a cultural construct that has
been created by patriarchy. Our patriarchal society has defined gender roles that we play
out: masculinity that is expected from the males, and femininity that is expected from the
2

. Robin M. LeBlanc. Bicycle Citizens: The Political World of the Japanese


Housewife (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1999), 30.
3

. Ibid.

females. These gender roles have become normalized that they become difficult to
challenge. Specific to Japan, LeBlanc cites the work of social psychologist Kunihiro
Yko:
the label of shufu remains inescapable for most married women because the
basic sexual divisions of labor undergirding societys view of women as homecentered have not changed. Even women who devote most of each day to
employment outside the home are not likely to forsake a housewife identity. 4

I Man, You Woman


Once they start families, Japanese women forego their professional careers and
are expected to concentrate on child rearing and household duties. In his book, The New
Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater Inequality, economics professor
Tachibanaki Toshiaki stressed six general points in relation to the marginalization of
women: (1) Men have bearing on the discrimination of women; (2) The gender gap
plays a large role in the discrimination of women; (3) The unequal treatment of women
can be traced to the paths women themselves choose; (4) Marriage and childbirth have to
do with the unequal treatment of women; (5) There are inequalities of result; and (6)
There are inequalities of opportunity. 5
In explaining why men have bearing on the discrimination of women, Toshiaki
said that in Japan, the social status of the wife is always tied to her husbands social
status. The money the husband earns defines the number of children a couple may have,
or the necessity of the wife having to find a job, to augment the family income.

. Ibid., 31.

. Tachibanaki Toshiaki, The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice,
Greater Inequality (Japan: International House of Japan, Inc., 2010), 265-272.

The gender gap that Toshiaki mentioned in his second point refers to the
traditional view of college courses meant for women, or of jobs that are for men. For
instance, Japanese men usually enroll in courses that will lead them to management
positions. Women, on the other hand, are inclined to enroll in courses related to
homemaking or the arts, disciplines that are not very relevant in the working world. 6 If
a woman is considering a professional career, she will probably enroll in a college that
will hone her secretarial skills. This gender gap extends to the working environment,
where men can aim for top management positions but where women have to content
themselves with being secretaries through their entire working lives.
However, it is also sometimes women themselves who make clear choices as to
the professional careers that they envision. Toshiaki has divided Japanese women into
three groups: the ultra-educated, the highly educated, and the lesser educated. 7
Ultra-educated women usually study in leading universities because they intend to land
high-paying jobs. Highly educated and lesser-educated women may either have college
degrees or high school education and while they want to have professional careers, they
do not earn as much as the ultra-educated.
In explaining the above, Toshiaki referred to Miuras categories of women: (1)
the Oyome-kei or the homemaker group, whose members may have university degrees,
come from the middle class and marry men with backgrounds similar to them; (2) the
Mirionze-kei or the career women, who are devoted to climbing up the career ladder and

. Ibid., 266.

. Ibid., 267.

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who marry men sharing their goals; (3) the Kamayatsu-onna-kei or the artistic career
group, whose members learned skills in a vocational school, and are indifferent
towards marriage and financial stability; (4) the Gyaru-kei or the young marrieds, whose
members have high school diplomas or dropped out of college and are dedicated to
fulfilling the traditional roles expected of housewives; and (5) the OL-kei or the office
ladies, who cannot be classified in any of the previous categories, owing to their diverse
views on marriage and career. 8
Toshiakis fourth point makes clear the fact that there are no professional choices
available to Japanese women once they decide to marry and have children. Giving up
their jobs comes as a matter of course and is a default position only for them; no such
crisis happens to Japanese males who choose to start their own families. Toshiaki has
mentioned that the number of women resigning from their jobs after marriage is
decreasing, but this figure is going down very slowly. 9
With regard to his fifth and sixth points, Toshiaki differentiated inequalities of
result from inequalities of opportunity. 10 Inequalities of result refer to the salary,
properties and assets one has, or a couple may have. Inequalities of opportunity are
conditions that define a persons chances up the career ladder. These may be ones
educational background, the kind of job one is engaged in, or the number of times one
has been promoted.

. Ibid., 62-63.

. Ibid., 268.

10

. Ibid., 268-270.

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A report from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, available at
the online library of University of Hawaii at Manoa Japan Studies on Gender and
Women section, outlines the change in the employment patterns of Japanese women. 11 I
did a rough translation of the report with the help of my Japanese friends, Natsumi
Sakamoto and Taro Kakehashi. We found out that many housewives living in key cities
in Japan (e.g. Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka) have lesser chances of keeping their jobs after
childbirth because of the lack of government-subsidized nurseries in the areas where they
live. On the other hand, women from the rural areas (e.g. Gifu, Shibukawa, Numata) have
more opportunities at postnatal employment. The main reason for this is the family
support system, where grandmothers assume child-rearing responsibilities to allow
mothers to work outside the home. Apart from this, there are private and governmentfunded nurseries where children can be deposited while their mothers are at work.
The literature I cite here point to the disparity in the choices or opportunities
available to men and women. While these seem to be phenomena that describe the
interconnection between men and women in general, I pay special attention to studies that
focus on the unequal relationships of Japanese men and women, owing to the subject of
my study. Toshiakis six points, in particular, reflect the muting of women, or women as
a muted group. The concept of the muted group, first posited by anthropologists Edwin
and Shirley Ardener, believes:
that women, due to their structural positions, have models of reality that differ
from the male dominated societal modelBeing unable to express their
11

. Shusseizengo no shugyohenkanikansuruhokoku, (A Statistical Report on Preand Post-Natal Employment Changes), The University of Hawaii at Mnoa Library,
Accessed December 8, 2013,
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/jinkou/tokusyu/04/5.html.

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structurally generated views in the dominant and masculine discourse, women are
neither understood or heeded, and become inarticulate, muted, or even silent. In
such cases, women may talk a lot, but they do not express their own, different
social reality.12
The unequal relations I discuss stress the muteness of Japanese women because
while some of them, to use Toshiakis words, may be ultra-educated, there are still those
who are confined to traditional roles as defined by society. For example, being a
housewife is a fulltime job expected of women.
The Third Shift for Distance Life-long Education
In 1989, sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild introduced the metaphor of the
second shift to describe the housework women did after they came home from
workplace. 13 Hochschilds second shift is to be distinguished from the shifts in
professional work, which are measured by the hours employees log in at the office.
Second shift here refers to work done in the domicile, to serve the needs of the family.
Feminist Cheris Kramarae has taken Hochschilds concept a step further by
introducing the phrase third shift.14 According to Kramarae, the way women manage to
balance family life, professional work and their own education is a third shift. Her third
shift lays emphasis on womens need for self-improvement through education. Kramarae

12

. Susan Gal, Between Speech and Silence: The Problematics of Research on


Language and Gender, in The Women and Language Debate: A Sourcebook, eds.
Camille Roman, Suzanne Juhasz, Cristanne Miller (USA: Rutgers. The State University,
1994), 419.
13

. Cheris Kramarae, Third Shift: Women Learning Online (Washington, D.C.:


American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 2001), 3.
14

. Ibid.

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is particularly concerned about the ways women use distance education for selfimprovement.

The concept of distance education originated in England in 1940, when teacher


Isaac Pitman offered what he called correspondence courses. Four years later, Wesleyan
University in Illinois offered degrees that could be earned outside the traditional
classroom setting, through correspondence. 15 From then on, distance education advanced,
utilizing new media as soon as these were developed. In early distance education, course
materials and examinations were sent by post, and it took some time for one to complete
an entire program offered by a school. Much later, audio and video technology were
incorporated in distance education modules. At present, distance education makes use of
the Internet. Kramarae uses the terms distance education, online education and distance
learning synonymously, to refer to the ways by which students and teachers engage in
real time learning activities despite being spatially separated.

From 1999 to 2000, Kramarae conducted a study for the American Association of
University Women Education Foundation (AAUWF), with regard to distance learning.
The subjects of her study were 481 women and 53 men coming from different
workplaces (e.g. businesses, schools, the home), with diverse backgrounds (e.g.
administrators, teachers, those re-entering the academe). In looking at the possibilities
and constraints of online learning, Kramarae conducted in-depth interviews and focus
group discussions (FGDs), in addition to asking subjects to complete online survey

15

. Afsaneh Towhidi, Distance Education Technologies and Media Utilization in


Higher Education, International Journal of Instructional Technologies and Distance
Learning. Volume 7, Number 8 (2010), http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Aug_10/Aug_10.pdf.

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questionnaires. Among her findings are the factors that led to the development of distance
education, and these are the growing interest in obtaining lifelong education and the
possibility of establishing online businesses after being taught the basics through online
classes. Also significant is the finding that women identify as critical certain issues
related to distance learning: their future goals; family factors; personal experiences and
the cost of education. 16
The Internet is generally thought of as a space that makes opportunities for
learning accessible to everyone. The results of Kramaraes study, however, calls into
question this thinking. Most of her subjects said that they had to deal with age, ethnicity,
cultural, financial and gender issues. Maternal duties was also one of the constraints that
her subjects mentioned, that came in conflict with the possibility of enrolling in distance
education courses. The results of Kramaraes study also shows that most online surveys
consider household computer users as a family unit and overlook gender differences such
as work and family responsibilities connected to the purchase, maintenance and use of
computers. 17
I have not found literature that show whether the distance learning constraints in
the United States that Kramarae mentioned, are experienced in Japan. In Japan, distance
learning seems to be given the same interest and support as courses taught in the
traditional classroom setting. Hiromitsu Ishi, president of the Japanese Open University,
has stressed the very strong support for lifelong learning in his country, citing Article
3 of the Fundamental Law of Japanese Education:
16

. Cheris Kramarae, Third Shift, 5-6.

17

. Ibid., 43-45.

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Realize a society for lifelong learning in which each and every person, in order
to be able to polish his or her character and pass on a rich quality of life to others,
shall be able throughout his or her lifetime, to learn at every possible opportunity,
in all types of places, and appropriately apply the fruits of that learning. 18
Giving credence to the seriousness with which the Japanese take Article 3 of the
Fundamental Law of Japanese Education are the results of a 2009 poll by Ribingu
Kurashi Hau Kenkyujyo (literally meaning Lifestyle Institute) translated by Itsuka
Hiraishi. Of 900 married Japanese women surveyed, 48.5 per cent were engaged in
learning; 13.9 per cent of those engaged in learning were studying a language apart from
Japanese.19 If what Ishi has said is true, to some extent then, enrolling in online
conversational schools provides Japanese housewives opportunities to go beyond the
confines of the second and third shifts. They get the chance to interact with people of
other races, from different cultures and with different experiences. The third shift may
not only mean taking college or university courses for bigger chances at promotions or
for more promising careers, but also for self-improvement in terms of acquiring facility in
a second language. I stress second language here, as the Japanese take pride in their
Japanese-ness, and their use of their language is a manifestation of their sense of
nationalism.
English for Japanese
18

. Hiromitsu Ishi, New Trends in Lifelong Learning and Distance Education in


Light of Japanese Experience, RTVU ELT Express, Fourth Quarter (2008),
http://www1.open.edu.cn/elt/23/13.htm.
19

. 2009/ (2009 Survey on


Housewives Hobbies in Tokyo Area), Ribingu Kurashi Hau Kenkyujyo (literally
meaning Lifestyle Institute), Accessed November 22, 2014,
http://www.kurashihow.co.jp/admin/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/d2f9407d-f63ff8471.pdf.

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English as a second language is evident in the hybrid words that have become part
of the Japanese vocabulary. The Japanese subscribe to the Hepburn Romanization
System, where the English spelling or the Latin alphabet is used in place of the katakana,
kanji, and hiragana writing systems.20 Take, for example, the English word Christmas.
The Japanese word for it, written in the Latin alphabet, is Kurisumasu. In fact, English
(referring to the language) is spelled as Ingurissu.
Japanese nationals have started to learn English because it is advantageous to their
careers or plans. Globalization has much to do with this. For instance, a Japanese
employee wanting to be posted in an English-speaking country sees the value of learning
the language. While English is not officially recognized as a second language, learning it
has become a must for those who want to study abroad, engage in business abroad, or to
travel to other countries.
Interest in learning English as a second language has opened a market for English
as a Second Language (ESL) schools. In the Philippines, the biggest home-based online
English tutorial school catering to the Japanese clientele is Rarejob. It was established in
2007 by Tomohisa Kato.21 In Baguio, from where I am doing my study, I am a tutor at
Eigo de Syaberitai Club.

20

. University of Hawaii at Manoa Japan Collections, Romanization History,


Accessed December 1, 2014, http://www.hawaii.edu/asiaref/japan/online/rom_hist.htm.
21

. Satoshi Morotomi, RareJob's online success built on trust with Filipino


teachers,August 9, 2014, nikkei.com, Accessed November 26, 2014,
http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/RareJob-s-online-success-built-on-trust-withFilipino-teachers.

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Eigo de Syaberitai Club was started by Masafumi Taki in 2005. Eigo means
English, followed by the connector de then Syaberitai meaning conversation. The name
of the business therefore means English Conversation Club. It is an online conversation
school that caters to Japanese, Chinese and Korean clients. It has branches in different
locations in the Philippines such as Baguio, Tagaytay, Cebu and Leyte. The club
normally creates partnerships with already existing ESL academies. The tutors in those
academies are invited to apply as online tutors for the club.
The club offers flexible classes for ESL students of all ages and level. Students
can choose from the existing pool of online tutors from any branch using a point system.
Each tutor is assigned a certain point range. For example, a student has to use 55 points
for a 25-minute class with me. Ten points costs ten US cents. The more experienced and
skilled the tutor is, the higher his/her starting point will be. Students can then choose any
tutor on the official Syaberitai webpage depending on the availability of the tutor.
Educational materials may be purchased from the club, by the student themselves or
provided by the tutor. For example, parents of kid learners send their study materials via
Skype in PDF or JPEG format. As for adult learners, I usually provide the materials from
online resources. Many of them want to practice conversing, discussing and explaining in
English. Some need exercises for English proficiency tests like Test of English in
International Communication (TOEIC), Test of English as Foreigner Language (TOEFL),
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and EIKEN, an English
proficiency test only available in Japan. Others seek to develop English communication
skills for deployment in an English-speaking country. Classes conducted at the Eigo de
Syaberitai are conversational courses. Written English is rarely used, and only in

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instances when a student wants to clarify the spelling of words or to ask for a copy of a
pronunciation guide. In my nine years as an ESL teacher, I have noted that the
differences in the way of speaking of my male and female Japanese students, in relation
to the content and tone of conversation. My male students speak less, i.e. fewer word
count; and in general terms, i.e., less details. They have more pauses in the course of their
conversations, and they tend to speak gruffly, in even tones. My female students, on the
other hand, speak more and provide more details for every topic discussed. They have
fewer pauses during our conversations, and sometimes speak in higher and uneven tones.
Voice in voice?
The Japanese have this specific term for womens language: joseego. Joseego is
regarded as the ideal form of Japanese female communication, which reflects their
subordination. Anthropologist Hillary Brass, in her paper, Japanese Womens Speech:
Changing Language, Changing Roles, has provided an examination of the relationship
between the changing roles of Japanese women and the fast disappearing practice of
joseego among the younger ones.22 According to Brass, Japanese women carry over the
characteristics of joseego even while communicating in English. A section of her work
identifies the components of Japanese Womens Language (JWL). First, women should
speak in a much higher voice, which is called the service voice. The service voice calls
for the use of more honorifics and grammatically correct sentences, in order to evoke
femininity. Blass, however, has noted that Japanese women speak in lower voices when
22

. Hillary Brass , Japanese Women's Speech: Changing Language, Changing


Roles, Journal of Undergraduate Research, University of Notre Dame College of Arts and
Letters, Accessed January 28, 2014, http://www3.nd.edu/~ujournal/archive/05-06/print/,
1,4.

19

using English as a medium of communication. This is because female English speakers


are not expected to speak in high-pitched voices. 23
In my personal experience, I have noted that when the expectation of joseego is
absent, my female Japanese students are freed from the conventions of language and are
more able to articulate their opinions and feelings. They feel freer in narrating their
experiences in English, without the constraints that joseego imposes.
The concept of joseego is not exclusive to the Japanese, but is also present in
other cultures. Way back in 1975, linguistics professor Robin Tolmach Lakoff put
forward the idea of a womens language characterized by the choice of words,
grammar and intonation, among others. 24 Linguistics scholar Teun Adrianus van Dijk has
described Lakoffs womens language as one that avoids direct and forceful statements,
and relies on forms that convey hesitation and uncertainty. 25 Additionally, he links
womens language to the linguistic variables identified by Kramarae, which are the use
of: (1) fillers (e.g. you know, uhm); (2) intensifiers (e.g. quite, so, such);
and terms of endearment (e.g. sweetheart, honey, dear). 26 Further, citing Lakoff,
Kramarae and co-author Nancy M. Henley describe women as disadvantaged relative to

23

. Ibid., 4.

24

. Robin Tolmach Lakoff, Language and Womans Place: Text and


Commentaries, ed. Mary Bucholtz (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2004), 15.
25

. Teun Adrianus van Dijk, Discourse as Social Interaction, in Gender in


Discourse, eds. Candace West, Michelle M. Lazar and Cheris Kramarae (London: Sage,
1997), 127.
26

. Ibid., 128.

20

men by a basically inferior, less forceful womens language which they learn through
socialization.27
The Lives of People
Brass has mentioned that the concept of joseego is fast disappearing among the
members of the younger Japanese generation. Why, then, would it be of interest for
research, or, of what value is it to research? Historian Fernand Braudel is credited with
developing the three tiers of history that has become the trademark of the Annales
School. The first level, which he termed the longue dure, is the practically
imperceptible level of humans interaction with the physical environment. This pertains
to history in relation to geography. The second level is concerned with the formation of
social groups, and the economic and political factors as constituent parts of these groups.
The third level takes into account the lives of people. 28 The Annales School believes that
the writing of history is complete only when it takes into account all these three levels,
thus the term histoire totale.
A 1979 study by Luisa Passerini has illustrated the way historians are slowly
changing the way by which they look at history. Passerini studied the daily experiences
of Italian working women during the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini. Using Freuds
concept of repression, Passerini paid attention to what we may consider the insignificant

27

. Nancy M. Henley and Cheris Kramarae, Gender, Power, and


Miscommunication in The Women and Language Debate: A Sourcebook, eds. Camille
Roman, Suzanne Juhasz and Cristanne Miller (USA: Rutgers. The State University,
1994), 385.
28

. Ian Buchanan, Dictionary of Critical Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press,


2010), 20, 68.

21

details of these womens lives: their small stories, their jokes, and even moments of
silence. She found out that her subjects left out painful memories from their conscious
minds through self-censorship. This collective amnesia reflected the psychological
scars inflicted by political regime. 29
Passerini used the edited topical life history method in drawing out narratives
from her subjects, in helping to constitute their history. I use the same method in my
research, where I focus on how the narratives of Japanese housewives constitute their
own histories. What these all point to are the importance of personal stories and oral
material in the formation of a peoples history. This is called historicity, where the value
of a peoples knowledge and personal experience has bearing on the creation of history.
This is different from traditional history that only focuses on the chronological
progression of events that have bearing on how countries develop or change. This kind of
history is called historicism. Historicism overlooks the importance of oral material or
stories that define a culture. These stories do not only contain literal narrations of events
that happened, but also contain dimensions of memory, ideology and subconscious
desires.
Passerinis description of the subjects of her study and their lack of voice finds
similarity in the Ardeners concept of a muted group. Edwin Ardeners observation in
the 1960s was concerned with anthropologists preference of interviewing male subjects
in order to know the cultures they were studying. Ardener said this masculine bias
was the case because women were more difficult subjects; because they are subjective
29

. Luisa Passerini, Fascism in Popular Memory: The Cultural Experience of the


Turin Working Class, trans. Robert Lumley and Jude Bloomfield (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2009), 69-86.

22

and emotional, the women do not meet the requirements of empirical or objective
research.30
Individuals who constitute a muted group are inadequate at expressing their
feelings and views because there are more ascendant individuals or groups that
marginalize them. Passerinis subjects had been muted because their narratives were
considered trivial in the context of historicism. Then, too, their quasi-silence may be
attributed to their painful memories.
I emphasize Passerinis study and Ardeners idea of a muted group because both
find commonality in my study. The subjects of my study are Japanese women bound by
the concepts of the shufu and joseego. These dominant structures have defined them and
limited their identities.
For these Japanese housewives, speaking in English opens a gate to a new world
of self-expression that is not bound by high-pitched speech and overwhelming honorifics
that measure womanliness. In an online, English-speaking world, their narratives are free
to be expressed and heard without the many restrictions present in the Nihongo empire
where they were raised. As a respondent of Kramarae, on the anonymity of online
education, said, Because we could not visually see each otherwe did not have
preconceived ideas about backgrounds [or] abilities. I found that to be interestingMost
did not know that I was 55+ unless I told them. 31
Actors and Agency
30

. Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss, Theories of Human Communication


(Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008), 117.
31

. Kramarae, The Third Shift, 28.

23

The activities the Japanese housewives engage in, outside the confines of
maternal and domestic duties, may be attributed to their desire for self-improvement. Of
course, this literally does not go without a price. But since housewives in Japan have
control of the familys finances, they have a choice to spend a fraction of it for
themselves. Here, I emphasize Japanese housewives control of family finances and their
choice to spend part of it on themselves as reflecting agency. In particular, this is what
Emirbayer and Mische call the practical-evaluative element of agency, where individuals
or actors make choices in their lives in response to emerging demands, dilemmas and
ambiguities of presently-evolving situations.32 I accentuate this one from the other two
constitutive elements of agency defined by the same authors: iterational and projective. In
the first, actors present actions are determined by their past and result in the maintenance
of social structures, thereby giving stability and order to the social universe, and helping
to sustain identities, interaction and institution over time.33 The second pertains to the
creative[ly] reconfigu[ring] of actors thoughts and actions with respect to their hopes,
fears, and desires for the future.34
Additionally, Scott Waring highlighted actors capacity to make things happen
as a means to achieve and end.35 In relation to the Internet, Waring, pointed out its

32

. Mustafa Emirbayer and Ann Mische, What is Agency?, American Journal of


Sociology, 103 (1998): 971.
33

. Ibid.

34

. Ibid.

35

. Scott M. Waring, The Agentic Power of the Internet, International Journal


of Social Education 21, Issue 1 (Spring/Summer 2006), 60.

24

global and decentralized nature, that enable[es] actors to have agency at a distance or
from anywhere in the world. 36
Gert Biesta and Michael Tedder, as part of their research for the Learning Life
Research Project of the UK Economic and Social Research Council, also tackled the idea
of agency in relation to learning. Biesta and Tedder look at learning and agency from two
directions: how learning impacts on agency, and how agency impacts on learning.37
In how learning impacts on agency, the concern is on how the process of learning
influences the capacity of individuals to give direction to their lives. The opposite
happens in how agency impacts on learning, where actors consciously decide to engage
in forms of learning to give their li[ves] a new direction, or at least create conditions
for doing so. 38 Having control of family finances and having a choice to spend part of
that money for themselves, the subjects of my study choose to subscribe to the latter
direction Biesta and Tedder cited. The idea of agency having impact on learning is also
related to Toshiakis inequalities of opportunity, which I earlier explained. The
circumstances that establish my subjects choices in life influences their decision to
engage in lifelong learning.
The literature I cite share similarities with the issues that my study covers, and the
method with which I approach the gathering of data. To recapitulate, the literature
36

. Ibid.

37

. Gert Biesta and Michael Tedder, How is Agency Possible? Towards an


Ecological Understanding of Agency-as-Achievement, Working Paper Number 5.
Learning, Identity and Agency in the Life Course, Accessed December 5, 2014,
http://www.tlrp.org/project%20sites/LearningLives/papers/working_papers/Working_pap
er_5_Exeter_Feb_06.pdf.
38

. Ibid.

25

foreground the traditional roles assigned Japanese women, stress gender differences and
raise issues of the inequalities between men and women. They also point to how muting
of women occurs, and more important, how women can voice out this muting with the
inclusion of their narratives in the making of history, a form of agency.
Framework for the Analysis
The Muted Group theory was developed in the 1960s by couple Edwin and
Shirley Ardener, who noted the difficulty of anthropologists in getting the worldviews of
women, compared to men. In 1975, Edwin Ardener published his essay, Belief and the
Problem of Women, where:
The methods of social anthropologyhave purported to crack the code of a vast
range of societies without any direct reference to the female group. At the level of
observation in field work, the behaviour of women has, of course, like that of
men, been exhaustively plottedWhen we come to the that second or meta
level of field work, the vast body of debate, discussion, question and answer, that
social anthropologists really depend upon to give conviction to their
interpretations, there is a real imbalance. 39

E. Ardeners concern was the tendency of anthropologists to rely on data from


men, rather than from women. Women, therefore, ended up being muted because their
views could not be heard. He also presupposed that women needed to translate their
thoughts into mens language, for them to be understood in the public sphere. 40

39

. Edwin Ardener, Belief and the Problem of Women. In Perceiving Women,


edited by Shirley Ardener. (London: Malaby Press, 1975), 1
40

. Em Griffin, A First Look at Communication Theory, Seventh Edition,


International Edition, (Singapore: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 455.

26

Feminists later took on the Ardeners concept of women as a muted group. One of
these feminists is Cheris Kramarae, who has said that language is literally man-made. In
explaining man-made language, Kramarae underlined that it defines, devaluates and least
prioritizes women in the formation of language itself. 41 Also, Kramarae has argued that
women are not given direct access to public modes of communication because of the
dominance of men in society.42 One good example of this dominance is Kramaraes
identification of 200 words in the English lexicon that refer to sexually promiscuous
women (e.g. slut, prostitute, whore); there are only 22 words for men who are sexually
promiscuous (e.g. gigolo, player, Don Juan). This clearly shows how men dominate the
power of naming experiences. As Kramarae herself has underscored, The muted group
theory points that the language does not serve all its speakers equally. 43 Further
illustrating Kramaraes point is her 1974 study on how female comic book characters are
portrayed. Her findings show how women appeared less often and conversed minimally
in comic books; most of the time they were just in the sideline. 44 To Kramarae, this
traditional mainstream communication is malestream expression. 45

41

. Ibid.

42

. Ibid.

43

. Cheris Kramarae on Muted Group Theory, interview by Em Griffin, January


29, 2014, Accessed December 1, 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKkM1adp5Uo.
44

. Em Griffin, A First Look, 457.

45

. Ibid.

27

The work of feminist Julia Penelope also touched on male-dominated language


and discourse, which she called the Patriarchal Universe of Discourse. To Penelope, any
universe of discourse
is a cultural model of reality that people use daily to decide how to act and what
to say in specific contextsIt is the same thing as consensus reality, and those
who accept its terms assume that it is an accurate description of reality. 46
When women challenge this status quo, they are at a clear disadvantage because it
is the men who have created the language. Thus, the conversations of women are
confined to the smaller world of the home, in contrast to the public debates of men that
take place in the larger world, where they are the leaders and creators of ideas. 47
The theory has evolved to encompass other groups whose members are muted.
Any other group whose members are unable to express their views can be a muted group.
According to Shirley Ardener, [It] includes the question whether everyone in society has
participated equally in the generation of ideas and their encoding into discourse. 48
Muting in the muted group theory does not mean always being silent. A muted
group is composed of people with little power and have trouble giving voice to their
perceptions because they must re-encode their thoughts to make them understood in the
public sphere49 It is also about relationships that arent symmetrical, arent equal. 50 In
46

. Julia Penelope, Speaking Freely: Unlearning the Lies of the Fathers Tongues,
(New York: Pergamon Press, 1990), 36-37.
47

48

. Em Griffin, A First Look, 455.

. Shirley Ardener. Extended Abstracts of the Presentations and Discussion.


Muted Group Theory: Past, Present and Future. Colloquium at George Mason University.
March 20, 2005. Accessed December 8,2014, www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1141493522.html

28

other words, the muted group theory is all about power. Dominant members of a group
take possession of the public sphere and drown out the voices of the others, consequently
muting the latter.
The muted group theory works across all levels and sectors of society. For
instance, there is weak enforcement of the law with regard to the rights of children.
Minors who are not sent to school by their parents, or are physically and emotionally
abused and do not know where to seek help, belong to a muted group. Senior citizens
who are not granted the 20 per cent discount on purchases, as stated by law, are muted,
too, as well as disabled persons who experience the same. In the realm of politics,
candidates who are qualified to run, but are constrained by finances or association with
political parties, become muted. Em Griffin has also provided an example of how the
communication media operationalize the muted group theory by pointing to
gatekeepers or arbiters of culture who decide what materials are best for the public to
consume.51
Worth mentioning here is another study conducted by Kramarae, with regard to
the use of the Internet by boys and girls in schools across the United States. 52 Her studys
findings show that boys who wanted to gain access to the Web easily intimidated girls
into leaving Internet rooms. Girls who found the boys behavior offensive complained

49

. Em Griffin, A First Look, 455.

50

. Cheris Kramarae on Muted Group Theory, by Em Griffin, January 29, 2014,


Accessed December 1, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKkM1adp5Uo.
51

. Em Griffin, A First Look, 457.

52

. Ibid., 458.

29

about these in online forums but did so anonymously, pretending they were boys so as to
avoid further conflict. The girls were muted, but sought to overcome this muting by
taking advantage of the anonymity the Web provides.
The girls in Kramaraes study exercised what is called agency. Agency is
generally defined as our capacity to act autonomously or independently. In the
aforementioned example, the girls posted their protests in the Internet, thereby acting
autonomously. While they were able to post their protests, however, they were limited to
some extent because they had to pretend they were boys in the online forums, i.e.
intimidation from the boys motivated them to pose as boys. This is what is called
structure.
Agency is always examined in the context of structure. Structure here refers to
factors that determine the nature of our existence. Structure may be defined as the rules,
traditions and norms that we subscribe to, the roles that we act out and even the resources
that to some extent restrict or permit us to do what we want to do, e.g money or the lack
of it. The relationship between agency and structure is a dialectical one, meaning the
social structure shapes us, and we in turn, shape the social structure; a change in one
necessitates change in the other.
Mustafa Emirbayer and Ann Mische, on agency:
the temporally constructed engagement by actors of different structural
environments the temporal-relational contexts of action which, through the
interplay of habit, imagination and judgment, both reproduces and transforms
those structures.53
53

. Emirbayer, M. and Mische, A, What is Agency? American Journal of


Sociology, Vol. 103, No. 4, January 1998, 970.

30

Emirbayers and Misches definition designate three categories of structure that


have a reciprocal relationship with agency. 54 The first is cultural, where we use language
to communicate with one another. Narratives and other discourses belong to this
category. The second, social-structural, describe our connections with one another, be it
on the interpersonal or group levels, or on a global scale. The third, social-psychological,
refer to our emotional faculties. All three categories have bearing on agency, and may
overlap in our exercise of the latter.
Further, Emirbayer and Mische identified the three dimensions of agency:
iteration, projectivity and practical evaluation. When we exercise iteration in the present,
this is actually the result of schemas or embodied practices that have become part of
our nature.55 The concept of iteration finds similarity in Pierre Bourdieus habitus, where
what seem to be our natural behaviors are in reality learned behaviors that have been
constituted in practice. 56 On that account, when we act in the present, our actions may be
consciously or unconsciously tied to the habits or traditions we have grown up with.
When, for example, we defer to our parents as they choose the university degree we
should earn, we exercise iteration; our parents are supposed to know best.
Projectivity consists of our ambitions, goals, hopes, fears, desires and the like, all
of which direct our life trajectories. 57 Any of these define the actions we take. If we have

54

. Ibid.

55

. Ibid., 975.

56

. Bourdieu, P, The Logic of Practice (Stanford, California: Stanford University


Press, 1990), 53.
57

. Emirbayer and Mische, What is Agency, 984.

31

driving ambitions, we set out to fulfill these. In the same manner, our fear of uncertainty
or fear of failure prevents us from taking any action. The practical-evaluative dimension
consists of our capacity to gauge any situation that presents itself to us. The authors also
call this practical wisdom 58 This is associated with the cognitive dimension of our
being, where agency is anchored on reason. When faced with an ambivalent situation we
need to resolve, we use the power of reasoning to assess the pros and cons of that
situation.
To sum up, Emirbayer and Mische underscored how:
actors are always living simultaneously in the past, future and present, and
adjusting to various temporalitiescontinuously engag[ing] patterns and
repertoires from the past, project[ing] hypothetical pathways forward in time, and
adjust[ing] their actions to the exigencies of emerging situations. 59

In essence, we all are capable of exercising agency, and agency is inherent in us.
Cultural historian E.P. Thompson, in The Making of the English Working Class,
maintained that men and women are not passive prisoners of social and economic
conditions. Rather, people are active agents who use popular ideas and traditions to
understand work experiences and challenge oppressive relationships. 60An example I
propose to concretize this is that of a student who is expected to enter a small community
college because of financial constraints. But he, being an active agent of his own history,
may change things and enter a prestigious university on scholarship because of his
58

. Ibid., 994.

59

. Ibid., 1012.

60

. John Storey, Cultural Theory and Popular Culture, (Essex, England: Pearson
Education, Ltd., 2006), 38-39.

32

intellectual capability. This is an exercise in agency where the student challenges the
structure that has determined him ineligible.
The muted group theory and the concepts of agency and structure laid the
groundwork for my analysis of the narratives that Japanese housewives relate to their
ESL online tutors. In my study, I looked at married, female Japanese online students as
members of a muted group.
These housewives or shufu play out the role that has been ascribed to them by the
patriarchal society to which they belong, and in the process, become subjects of
malestream expression. In being housewives/shufu, they attend to the needs of their
husbands and children, manage the household and take care of family finances. As such,
they are muted because they have to conform to the social behavior that is expected of
Japanese wives. They are confined to the smaller world of the private sphere, where
their capacity to express their own world views, verbally or through action, is impeded.
Following Ardener, the muting of Japanese housewives encompasses both their lack of
voice and their difficulty in having to convert their thoughts into mens language so they
can be understood.
The idea of the muted group guided my description of the subject matters
Japanese housewives discussed in relation to their personal lives, during our ESL online
sessions. Apart from this, I also looked at the messages behind the narratives that these
women shared, and explained how these illustrate agency.
In dissecting their narratives, I looked at the breadth of their agency. To explain,
some of their expressions of emotions or ideas, together with their actions, reflect the

33

habits that have been ingrained in them, i. e, iteration. In relation to the life decisions they
made, big or small, i.e., rejecting a marriage arranged by parents or enrolling in an ESL
online class, I looked at whether their desires, ambitions or fears were major driving
forces of the paths they chose. This indicates what Emirbayer and Mische call
projectivity.
Practical evaluation or practical wisdom is shown in the instances where my
Japanese students looked at their actions from an objective distance. My premise is these
women have the agency to challenge the male-dominated naming of experience
dominated by males. In sharing their narratives with me, these women have shown that
they are active agents who have the capacity to resist the muting that is foisted upon them
in so many ways. They find the means to comprehend their circumstances and challenge
the male-dominated public sphere of the naming experience.

Definition of Terms
1. Japanese housewives married Japanese women who are either employed or fulltime homemakers or both. In this research, I used the terms housewives and
homemakers interchangeably to mean the same.
2. ESL English as a Second Language; acquisition of the English language
secondary to ones native tongue.
3. ESL tutor - an individual employed to teach and facilitate online or face-to-face
ESL classes

34

4. narratives stories or collection of stories; in this research, narratives are the data
from collected from the participants during the recorded classes and interviews.

35

CHAPTER III. METHODOLOGY

Research Design and Methods


I conducted a descriptive study of English-learning housewives and mothers of
children taking English classes at the online conversation school Eigo de Syaberitai Club.
I focused on the narratives of these housewives using the life history method. A life
history is an account of a life based on interviews and conversations. It may be personal,
edited, topical or complete.61 For my research, life history was in the topical and edited
form. It is both edited and topical because it only looks at a specific topic in the life
history of individuals, and screens out or edits other portions unrelated to the topic. I used
this method because the central points of my study are the roles and identities of Japanese
housewives. The method is applicable to my research because my subject participants
usually answer questions in ESL sessions by drawing and re-telling their experiences.
These experiences may be reflective of the power relations between housewives and
husbands in Japan. In addition, my qualitative study looks at these narratives as a form of
agency.

Concepts and Indicators


In this research, the narratives of Japanese housewives learning English served as
the indicators of agency in power relations. In the previous chapter, I discussed the way
Cheris Kramarae theorized women as a muted group in various aspects and levels of
61

. Norman K. Denzin, Interpretive Biography, Qualitative Research Methods Series


17, (California: Sage Publications Inc., 1989), 48.

36

society. The muting is interconnected to power relations between men and women in a
certain cultural or economic sector and environment. Thus, by uncovering these
narratives, I delved into the concepts of power relations, their connection to the muting of
women, and how they are changed and maintained.

Units of Analysis and Sampling


My research utilized a purposive sampling method. I chose my five subjects from
my pool of current students at Eigo de Syaberitai Club from July 2013 to the present.
They are my only female learners who are housewives. In addition, two mothers of my
child learners agreed to be my interviewees. All housewives are Japanese, residing in
different parts of Japan, except for one. The main determinant of the subjects in my
sample was English proficiency. They are classified as intermediate and advanced level
students. As intermediate and advanced level ESL learners, they are skilled at expressing
ideas and opinions using a relatively wider range of vocabulary compared to beginner
students of English.

Data Gathering
Data collection was conducted from September 2014 - October 2014. To gather
the narratives of my participants, I relied mainly on recorded classes and interviews. The
recorded classes were unstructured although the material used was sent in advance by email after my subject participants granted permission for me to do so. As for the
interviews, I employed the same strategy to simulate the online class setting. Should the
reader listen to the recordings, she/he will note that some parts of all sessions include

37

corrections in the use of preposition, subject-verb agreement, and word usage, which is
what happens in class. However, I kept my corrections to a minimum so as not to distract
my subject participants. I acted as both tutor and interviewer in the recorded classes. With
regard to the interviews, I took only the role of the latter.
The material used for the sessions is a Microsoft Word file of excerpts from books
about or related to Japanese housewives (Appendix A.). All sessions were unstructured,
and no questions were sent beforehand. All questions, varying from participant to
participant, were asked during the sessions. Prior to these, I asked the participants all to
read the article, and think of as many experiences as they can, related to the article. I
then recorded the sessions using software called MP3 Skype Recorder, which
automatically records Skype calls as they start. A session lasted approximately 50
minutes or more.

Data Analysis
I first transcribed the recordings with the use of software called InqScribe for easy
rewinding and forwarding of MP3 files. I also did technical editing for some parts of the
sessions. The participants and I do not use English as our first language. Hence, to ensure
accuracy and fluidity in the transcriptions, I performed minor corrections in grammar.
Second, I organized the responses based on the themes in the material. The first
section contained three Japanese phrases about marriage. The second contained two
excerpts from a book: one is about a western perspective on Japanese housewives, and
the other about the financial power/duty of Japanese housewives at home. The third

38

section is composed of mixed views on married life in Japan. Lastly, section four is about
the use of the Internet to empower women.
The third step was to relate the responses and additional findings to the
relationship of agency, structure, and muting of women. Since I utilized the life history
method in the topical and edited form, I focused mainly on experiences that the Japanese
housewives related during the sessions. I first transcribed each session to understand the
contents. Next, I grouped the responses thematically to find out if specific responses
occur repeatedly. Elements of the interview that could not be classified under a particular
theme were reviewed for further interpretation. Since I conducted a topical edited life
history, I connected each interpretation with the concepts discussed earlier to come up
with a conclusion.

Research Instruments
The recorded classes and interviews were conducted in an unstructured manner.
No questions were sent in advance. All questions I asked did not follow any specific
order because the sessions were conducted as thematic free-talking classes. I call it
thematic since I provided an article to be used as a platform for conversation. In a nonthematic, free-talking class, random questions are asked in the absence of a text material.
The questions varied from one respondent to another depending on responses. To
facilitate a smooth flow of the sessions, a compilation of excerpts from different books
about Japanese housewives and women were sent beforehand.
Through e-mail, I told the respondents to read the article in advance. The first
section is composed of three Japanese concepts about marriage and being a housewife.

39

The second is a western perspective on being a housewife, and Japanese housewives


accounting and bookkeeping duties in the household. The final part of the article is about
feminist activism in Japanese cyber culture, or the Internet. After my subject participants
read the article, I instructed them to relate as many experiences as possible, in connection
with the excerpts they read.

40

Chapter IV. Results and Discussion

Overview of Online Classes


I am currently employed at Eigo de Syaberitai Club, an online conversation
school catering to Japanese ESL learners. Eigo de Syaberitais online sessions aim to
develop learners confidence in using English as a way of communication; widen their
vocabulary so they can use the precise words in saying what they mean; and sometimes
to improve their pronunciation and neutralize their Japanese accent. By neutralize, I mean
the use of standard American pronunciation as a benchmark. Since English is not an
official language in Japan and seldom used publicly, most learners want to exercise
English in verbal communication.
In our online conversation school, classes are booked based on the learners
preferred tutors and time. I teach English to Japanese children ages five to ten years,
junior high school students, male and female professionals and housewives. My students
are classified as mid-intermediate and advanced learners who have already been trained
in the foundations of ESL (Sample of a Student Karte, a portion of a tutors Syaberitai
webpage in Appendix B). In our sessions, we usually have discussions and the occasional
thematic free talk. A typical discussion starts with small talk, followed by an oral reading
of an assigned article available online or earlier e-mailed to the student in Microsoft word
format. Tutors in our conversation school rarely use images. During or after the oral
reading, unfamiliar words are defined for better comprehension of the article. After this,

41

learners are asked their opinions about the assigned article to help them develop
proficiency in expressing themselves and skills in thinking critically.
Thematic, free talking classes center on a single topic around which I ask a set of
related questions. For example, if the topic is family, I ask general questions such as,
How many members does a typical Japanese family have? I follow these up with more
specific, experiential questions (e.g. Would you agree with your husband if he decides to
have your mother-in-law live with you?). Depending on the topic, Japanese housewives
learning English in our online school tend to relate stories about their personal lives in
line with the content of a given reading article. In fact, among all my students, the
Japanese housewives are more inclined to share stories about their personal lives.
Online ESL classes allow for flexibility. The class flow depends on the physical,
mental and emotional condition of the student. Let us say a learner is tired and is not in
the mood to read an article. He or she may choose a free talking class over a discussion. I
have observed that ESL-learning Japanese housewives tend to deviate from the typical
format of a session that involves: an oral reading of an article, the answering of questions
to test comprehension, a vocabulary review and opinion sharing. They prefer the sharing
of personal stories and opinions.

The Housewives
It is imperative that I introduce my seven subject participants to the readers of this
research, as they are the main characters of the narratives I discuss. Moreso, to

42

acknowledge them, even just by their first names, is to show respect. They are Yoshino,
Emiko, Chie, Kyoko, Reiko, Kimiko and Eiko.62
Yoshino
Yoshino is the mother of Dai, a sixth grader and is one of my regular learners. She
and her family lived in the United States for 5 years. She met her husband at a wine
trading company. In the past, she learned English by taking Bible study lessons. Later on,
she became an exchange student in Hawaii. She graduated from an American university
in Japan. Currently, she is a full-time housewife with two children: Kei, a fourth grader
and Dai. She does all the housework every day. Twice a week, she takes and fetches Dai
to and from soccer practice.
Emiko
Emiko is the mother of Kentaro, my seven-year old learner. She majored in
Russian but worked as an accountant. She lived in Canada for two years. When she was
young, she started learning English under the tutelage of a Japanese tutor educated in
Great Britain. Presently, she is a full-time homemaker. Akiko, her sister, is also one of
my students.
Chie
Chie is the only participant currently living in another country France. She
works as a freelance, self-employed translator and events coordinator for trade shows and
product exhibitions. Most of her clients are European and Japanese business people

62

. All seven subject participants said that I could identify them by their full names.
Since my research, however, deals with personal narratives, I decided to use only their
first names.

43

selling products in France. She is practicing her English for her job. Currently, she is
married to a French national. They are childless.
Reiko
Reiko is a former full-time English teacher at an elementary school. She takes my
classes at least once a week. She has two sons who are both in college. Her husband is
also a teacher. In high school, she stayed in the United States for a year as a part of a
student exchange program. Currently, she spends her days as a homemaker.
Eiko
Eiko and her husband own a small kitchenware shop. She has a son who lives in
another city. In college, she majored in English. She worked as a secretary in a Catholic
school ran by Dutch missionaries. She maintains a blog as one of her hobbies on top of
taking English conversation lessons.
Kyoko
Kyoko has been working as a receptionist in a clinic for almost 20 years now. She
has two daughters, one of whom is married. Her husband works in the government and
now lives in a different city. Aside from her full-time job, Kyoko is also the head of the
neighborhood association. She also enjoys taking English conversation classes, running
marathons, watching movies and taking kimono lessons.
Kimiko
Kimiko is a full-time homemaker. In her free time, she joins English conversation
groups to practice her English, attends book club meetings and takes English lessons
online. She has a married daughter living in another city. Kimiko visits her old mother in
the nursing home and takes her to weekly check-ups.

44

Except for Yoshino and Emiko, the other five participants are my regular learners.
In order to focus on their role as housewives, I gave the subject participants
material on the three traditional concepts of marriage in Japan: sanshoku hirune tsuki,
tama no koshi and rysai kenbo. These concepts define the roles of married men and
women in Japan and while they are not openly discussed, couples tacitly subscribe to
these. Just to what extent, however, is unknown.

Sanshoku Hirune Tsuki: Free Meals a Day, Plus Sleep


The post-World War II Constitution of Japan recognized the role of women in
society and granted them status equal to that of men. While such status was provided by
law, it was not the case in practice.63 New sayings that came about during that time
reflected the status of women as still inferior to that of men. One of these phrases, related
to marriage, is sanshoku hirune tsuki. San in sanshoku refers to the number three (one
and two being ichi and ni); shoku means meal. The word therefore, means three meals.
Hirune tsuki means to take a nap. The phrase sanshoku hirune tsuki refers to a privilege
accorded women who marry, women who rel[ies] on a wage-earning husband to provide
her with three meals a day and free her from the need to work. 64 The phrase is usually
associated with affluent housewives who can afford leisurely lifestyles. It also refers to
married women for whom work is a breeze because they have the latest appliances at
home.
Emiko: You can have free meals and then you can take a nap whenever you
want.
63

. Hiroko Storm, Women in Japanese Proverbs, 175, accessed December 5,


2014, hirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/1729.
64

. Ibid., 176.

45

Eiko: So, the sanshoku hirune tsuki describes the typical full-time
housemakers daily lifeSanshoku hirune tsuki just, you know, the
housewives status having breakfast, lunch, supper and even taking
a nap, and using the husbands salary, wage, salary.
Emiko stresses that the sanshoku hirune tsuki was in practice during the Bubble
Economywhen everything was going up and the living standard [was] going up.
While she says that it is a thing in the past, she also clarifies that it still holds true for
women who have husbands that are really rich and busy.
Reiko and Kyoko express a kind of amusement when the stock phrase is
mentioned:
Reiko: So if you marry, you can have three meals and a nap for free (laughs).
Kyoko: Homemaker, yeah. Some people said that they dont need to work.
And sanshoku hirune tsuki, yeah, they could eat good food and can
sleep anytime (laughs)Aha. If their husband[s] are rich, if their
husband[s] earn a lot of money every month, that time the
homemaker can do like that.

The word privilege does not sit well with Kimiko, who says sanshoku hirune tsuki
comes from an absolutely mans viewpoint that does not see the housewifes job as a
responsibility. To her, Housewives multitask by juggling child rearing and housework,
switching from one task to another throughout the day. Even an afternoon nap is virtually
impossible. Yoshino says as much: So this means, basically, housewivesmost of the
time their husband[s] may think that their wives always have free time if they cook for
them or the family. This one has got not a good meaning. While husbands assume that
modern appliances make life easier for housewives, this is not true: [The drier is]
convenient, but its not good for the clothingmost of us, we hang dry outside the house.
We have a big, long pole and we hang it, or clothing pin, we pinch to let it dry.

46

Eiko and Kyoko, on the other hand, explain that women married to highly paid
professionals can enjoy sanshoku hirune tsuki since they do not have to worry about
family finances.
Chie mentions how sanshoku hirune tsuki dated back to her parents time, where:
Chie: maybe in my parents generation, its true. But my mom was, has been
very busy. Of course, she has sanshoku and maybe hirunebut she also go
outyeah, just for herself maybecooking class, or artificial flower class, the
ikebanashe had the time for her to enjoy.
Eiko talks of sanshoku hirune tsuki as part of the good old days. An interesting
story is that of her mother, who she says was a stay-at-home for roughly 20 years. Her
mother sometimes complained about her status because [of the] lack of ties with the
society, which, to her, was kind of boring. She had told Eiko she envied the working
women. The family business collapsed when Eiko was in college and her mother had to
help her father in a new venture. Her mother had to work what Hochschild called the first
and second shifts. Balancing the two shifts was heavy work for her mother, who
complained about it, too. Of her mothers experiences of sanshoku hirune tsuki and a fulltime job, Eiko says matter of factly: Grass is always greener [on the other side of the
fence]
According to Emiko, sanshoku hirune tsuki is a thing in the past,

Tama no Koshi: Cinderella Story


I checked the dictionary, it says Cinderella Story, explains Eiko, when asked
what tama no koshi means. As Yoshino says, it means marrying into money. According
to her, the easiest way to marry into money would be to enter into an omiai, or what is

47

called an arranged marriage. She grew up in a traditional Japanese household, and her
mother believed that an arranged marriage secures a daughters future:
Marvin: So, let's get back to before you got married, did you have that kind of
thinking? Or you never really cared? You just wanted to get married?
Yoshino: Actually, I didnt care but my parents did. Most of the parents in my
age maybe---especially their daughters, they want to be, they make them happy
without any problem or any happening in their life, you know.
Marvin: Did you like that kind of thinking by your parents?
Yoshino: No, no. I thought it was a very old-fashioned way of thinking. So I
didnt care. Have you heard about omiai? Like blind date.
Marvin: Blind dating in Japan?
Yoshino: Not blind dating. But you know, the parents want to make their
daughter marry a good man.
Marvin: I think we call them arranged marriages.
Yoshino: Yeah. Arranged marriage. So, (pause) my parents also wanted me to do
that but I said no.
She did not, and went on to marry a man for love and had two children, Dai and
Kei. Dai is one of my regular learners.
For one participant, Emiko, marrying into money is not only common in Japan,
but is in fact a universal aspiration:
Tama no koshi is probably will be, has been and will be forever and ever as
long as there are rich men in the world. And as long as women are looking for
somebody who are rich enough to make them happy. Probably, this is not only in
Japan but all over the world.
Emikos observation appears to be true. Each of us may know of acquaintances or
friends who have married into relatively well-to-do families, in order to have a secure
future.
In one of our classes, Chie roughly translated tama no koshi as the English word
gold-digger. Gold-digger has a negative connotation in the English language. In a later
Skype chat, she corrected her earlier definition and said tama no koshi means marrying
into a wealthy family. Chie also understands tama no koshi as a goal in marrying.

48

Kyoko, like Yoshino, rejects the idea of tama no koshi if she herself were the
party involved. While agreeing that money is a means to have a comfortable and stable
life, she says it should not be the primary reason for marriage. An inconsistency,
however, lies in her response to a hypothetical situation: what if her daughter wants to
marry a financially unstable man? Kyoko says she would have to resort to omiai to
ensure her daughters future. In this case, engaging in omiai becomes the practical thing
to do.
In explaining the practicality of tama no koshi, Kyoko talks about some of her
friends who are between the ages of 30 and 40, who are still single. These people have
devoted themselves to full-time careers and earned enough to travel abroad and buy
expensive things for themselves. If they were married, she says, they would not be able to
afford the things they want for themselves. If they want a stable life, they think about
tama no koshi. As Chie says:
If we get married with a rich man, I think well be happier maybe, because we
will have enough money to spend for clothing or shopping or whatever you want.
So probably, its our kind of aim, I think. That means our aim, of Japanese
women, I thinkTama means goal, sometimes treasure.

According to Kimiko, omiai has a male equivalent in the gyaku tama or gyaku
tama no koshi. Gyakutama refers to the marriage of a Japanese man to a wealthy woman.
Gyaku means opposite. Kimiko says gyaku tama is true for some young women in
Japan. Note that while the word gyaku means opposite, tama means money, jewels, or
prized possessions.
Interesting is Reikos comment that tama no koshi is something to be envied.
When a woman is married to a wealthy man, other housewives envy her: Women from

49

ordinary famil[ies] or poor famil[ies], they marry [to] a rich man, she can have a
luxurious life. It seems though, while tama no koshi will work for women, it may not
work for men. Reiko predicts a breakup soon, because she earns more money or shes so
rich and he has to obey her.

Rysai Kenbo: Good Wife, Wise Mother


Rysai Kenbo, meaning a good wife and a wise mother, is the ideal image of a
Japanese married woman. Rysai kenbo was an ideology instituted during the Meiji
period of Japanese history. In the late 1800s:
Wives and girls were regarded as servants of the male head of household. They
were assumed publicly to be incompetent persons. However, though legally
incompetent, they had to be extremely competent and industrious in their
household management. They were expected to become, in this sense, a good
wife and a wise mother (ryosai-kenbo). Thus, it was in the 1890s that the idea of
ryosai-kenbo was proposed as a fundamental principle of womens higher
education. 65
To Eiko, to practice rysai kenbo means that having a career is not an option for
Japanese women. For most of my participants, however, rysai kenbo is a dying ideal
that written about sparingly in newspapers and is rarely spoken of by the older Japanese
generation.
In the interview with Yoshino, an extra character her daughter, Kei interrupted
her mother to answer some of the questions I posed. Yoshino did not mind my asking her
daughter the qualities of a good mother:

65

. Etsuko Yasukawa, Ideologies of Family in the Modernization of Japan, in


East Asian Cultural and Historical Perspectives: Histories and Society, Culture and
Literature, eds. Steven Ttsy de Zepetnek and Jennifer W. Jay (Alberta: Research
Institute for Comparative Literature and Cross-Cultural Studies, University of Alberta,
1997), 194.

50

Marvin: So going back to rysai kenbo, you said something about being a good
wife. What is a good wife? How would you define that?
Yoshino: As a mother Kei: Care about your kids.
Yoshino: First of all, you have to be very patient. You dont need to complain
about anything that you cannot get. So, first of all you have to be very careful
no, very patient.
Kei: Care about Yoshino: Of course, care about family. I dont think I can do it but [I have to]
obey the husband.
Marvin: Up to what extent?
Yoshino: Like rysai kenbo. Basically, the man is strong. Man [the husband] is
the best, not the wife. So usually, a woman should obey their husband.
Kei: But for us it's the opposite.
Yoshino: No. I dont think so. Im not rysai kenbo. But wife should be
supportive of the family, of course. That is the concept of rysai kenbo
Chie says that it is what every married Japanese man expects of his wife. The
housewife is required to spend most of her hours at home, to cater to every need of her
husband.
Chie: Rysai kenbo. Rysai, rysai means good wife.
Marvin: Okay.
Chie: Nice wife. Kenbo, at the same time, mother.
Marvin: Okay.
Chie: Being a nice woman, a nice wife, and as well as, yeah, mother.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Nice mother, yeah, at the same time.
Marvin: Okay, being an ideal mom and an ideal wife.
Chie: Yes, ideal mom and ideal wife. Thats a kind of goal of maybe for all of the
Japanese guys, maybe.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah. And we would all like to be rysai kenbo. Yeah, for Japanese
women, or both, both sides, ideal situation, I think, rysai kenbo.
All of the subject participants look at rysai kenbo as part of the order of things,
possibly unaware of the historical origins of the ideology. 66 To them, rysai kenbo is a
66

. The training of women to be ideal housewives took place in all-girls schools.


The concept of rysai kenbo was later incorporated in the social policy of the Japanese
government. See Kararzyna Cwiertka, How Cooking Became a Hobby: Changes in

51

tradition that has maintained for so long and has remained unquestioned. Emiko says
rysai kenbo offers a very idealistic image of a housewife. According to her, this term is
seldom used and is almost dead, perhaps because it is unachievable. Kimiko holds the
same opinion by saying it is virtually impossible to be a good wife and a good mother at
the same time. Even the matter of time allotment, for household chores, for childrearing
and for attending to the husbands needs, is a very difficult task to accomplish. Any of
these has to be sacrificed for one to be perfect in other respects.
Kimiko: Ah, rysai kenbo literally means good wife and good mother. But I think
there is no such person among Japanese women. Its ideal, ideal image for, of
Japanese men. Japanese men created this word, I think, because its beneficial for
men she is clever mother and also she is good wife for him. Its very idealistic
women, but there is no such personI think all wives are good mothers. Clever
mothers. But I dont think all of them are good wives for their husband[s] because
if we focus on our children, we treat our husbands not well.
By saying that rysai kenbo is unachievable and a difficult task, Emiko and
Kimiko underline the almost herculean expectations from married women that have been
defined by a patriarchal society:
The phrase describes a woman who has mastered the housewifely arts cooking,
sewing, household management and devotes those skills and all her energy to
maintaining a husband in fit condition for long days at the company, and to
fostering children who, if boys, will succeed academically, and if girls, will
become, in their turn, good wives and wise mothers.67

Attitude Towards Cooking in Early Twentieth-Century Japan, in The Culture of Japan


as Seen Through its Leisure, eds. Sepp Linhart and Sabine Frhstck (New York: State
University of New York Press, 1998), 43.
67

. David Cozy, Three versions of the good life in Japan, The Japan Times
Online, August 10, 2013, Accessed November 23, 2014,
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2013/08/10/books/book-reviews/three-versions-ofthe-good-wife-in-japan/#.VIVZc4vN7dk.

52

Kyoko understands rysai kenbo as an obligation: Old people, yeah, said to me,
said to us. Rysai kenbo, its very old word. I think its a duty. Her mother and she never
discussed the concept of the rysai kenbo, but her mother had repeatedly reminded her of
the duties of a good wife and mother: 1) never complain about the husbands drinking; 2)
never complain about money; 3) never complain about parents-in-law; and 4) always
keep smiling. In relation to the concept, Kyoko also mentions that the kitchen is a space
in the home created solely for the wife. Interesting here is the fact that one other
participant, Eiko, trained her son to be skilled in the kitchen, which appears to be the
domain of the Japanese housewife.

The Times, Are They Changing?


Sanshoku hirunetsuki (three meals and taking afternoon naps) seems to have been
revived of late, partly because of the gloomy economic climate Japan is experiencing. As
of this writing, Japan has slipped into recession, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
delaying a sales tax hike and calling for a snap election.68 Given this situation, the most
practical choice for women who refuse to accept the challenge of joining the workforce is
to marry a wealthier man (tama no koshi) and be ensured of the benefits of sanshoku
hirunetsuki. Tama no koshi is an option to improve a womans economic status. As Reiko
says:

68

. Leika Kihara and Linda Seig, Japans slip into surprise recession paves way
for tax delay, snap poll, Reuters, 17 November 2014, Accessed December 8, 2014,
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/17/us-japan-economyidUSKCN0J00X820141117.

53

So, this phrase, I think is used now, to, among mothers, if some, if a woman, a
girl, is marrying to a rich man,"Oh! She's tama no koshi" or something like that
It sounds like a good thing. We usually have the connotation that she's lucky.
In saying, It sounds like a good thing, and the connotation that shes lucky,
Reiko suggests that the present economic condition of Japan has some bearing on the
choices Japanese women make. When she also says that the phrase is used nowamong
mothers, she displays the practical nature of Japanese housewives Whether or not tama
no koshi is related to arranged marriage or omiai makes no difference; the important thing
is mothers feel more secure about the future of their daughters when they (the mothers)
themselves handpick the prospective financially-stable spouse. Kyokos opinion reflects
the same sentiment.
With regard to the rysai kenbo, most of my subject participants agree that this
concept has almost disappeared. As Kimiko points out, it is too idealistic that it is almost
unreal: ...its a very idealistic woman, but there is no such person.
In articulating the above, Kimiko bring to mind Penelopes patriarchal universe of
discourse and the latters supposition that language has been created by men, for their
own advantage. By saying that not all women can be good wives if they have children
to take care of, Kyoko affirms the standards set by men as a yardstick against which
Japanese women should be measured.
The preceding discussion point to the expectations Japanese women feel they
need to meet, in order to be the so-called ideal housewives. While some of them think

54

that these expectations are irrelevant in this time and age, the others believe that these are
requisites for marriages to work well.
The second section of the material contains two excerpts. One is about Japanese
housewives as oppressed, from the point of view of the West and the other is about
Japanese housewives as ministers of finance in the home.

Japanese Housewives: An Oppressed Species?


a typical question posed by a Westerner is, How can any woman tolerate a
husband who returns late practically every night? Isnt that simply treating a woman as a
domestic servant? On the Western scale, yes. However many Japanese women resent the
Western interpretation of their role as a wife of an oppressed species. 69
When a Japanese woman asks her friend, Hows your husband? in Japanese,
she would say: Anata no goshujinwa? Goshujin means master, lord and husband.
Therefore, that woman may actually be asking: Hows your master? or Hows your
lord? This is exactly why Eiko resents the usage of the word since it means the she, as
the wife, is subordinate not only to her husband, but to someone elses husband as well.
She instead prefers to use otto, which literally means husband.
Eiko speaks of connotations here, or the deeper level of meaning that a text may
hold. To use the word goshujin is to place the Japanese husband on a pedestal; to call
another person master or lord automatically puts one in a position or class lower than
that of the position or class of the person referred to. The fact that goshujin is standard in
current usage is reflective of the muting of women because they have to subscribe to the

69

. George Fields, From Bonsai to Levis When West Meets East: An Insiders
Surprising Account of How the Japanese Live (New York: Mentor, 1985), 61-62.

55

terms created by males. On the other hand, in expressing her objection to the use of
goshujin, Eiko, in a sense, wants to subvert the male-created language. By preferring to
use otto, she becomes an active human agent who defies the standards that structure
presents.
Husband-coming-home-late and stay-at-home-wife-waiting-for-him is a common
scenario in Asian cultures, and as Field says, many Westerners would consider this as
oppression. When asked what they thought about this, all the subject participants of my
study said that wives staying up late to wait for their husbands are not oppressed.
To wait for a husband who comes home late is an exercise of rysai kenbo. This
is not a problem with Yoshino, who feels burdened by her husbands other expectations:
His idea is a rysai kenbo. Wife has to be his (inaudible) so if possible he doesnt
wanna do it, but he has to, so he'll do it. Thats kinda idea he has. So, of course he
helps me but he have to complain something by doing that. So for me if you
complain, don't do that, right? So you dont need to do that if you say something.
But, yeah, that's my opinion. Yeah.
Yoshino speaks in relation to housework, which she believes should be shared by
both husband and wife. Her husband, children and she lived for five years in California,
and the sharing of housework with her husband was an issue they had at that time. She
recalls that her husband did share housework with her, but grumbled as he was doing so.
It got to a point where she had told him to stop helping her if he had to complain. She
compares her friends husbands in California to Japanese husbands. For her, American
husbands do not mind sharing housework, unlike Japanese husbands who rely heavily on
their wives to perform household duties.
Chie, who has been residing in France for 23 years, notices that Japanese
housewives are treated differently than their Western counterparts. For instance, based on

56

her observations of married French couples, it is common to bring wives to corporate


parties; the same does not happen in Japan. However, Chie also notes that the bad
economic situation in Japan has changed the women and couples attitudes towards
work. She points to the younger generation whose members have to work to earn
money, much more money, for the family. Chie calls this collaboration, where both
husband and wife work jointly to keep afloat economically. I prefer to call this cooperation, where couples equally share the same economic objectives, as well as
household chores. The household, therefore, is no longer the exclusive realm that has
been assigned to the woman, and both husband and wife work the first and second shifts.
Traditions die hard, and this is reflected in the problem that Yoshino encounters
when her husband does his share of the housework. Of her Americanized husband, in
whom the concept of rysai kenbo is ingrained, she says, So, of course, he help me but
he have to complain something by doing that. His grumbling tests her patience: So for
me, if you complain, dont do that, right? So you dont need to do that if you say
something. In confronting her husband, Yoshino challenges the role that has been
assigned to women and in effect, is actively practicing human agency.
Women with experiences of working outside the home are more accustomed to
the Japanese work culture, specifically the usual overtimes and drinking-after-work
shifts. Two of my subject participants, Reiko and Emiko, have a down-to-earth attitude
towards this culture. Reiko is a former English teacher at an elementary school. Emiko
worked as an accountant before being a full-time homemaker. When asked if she has ever
complained about her husband coming home late:
That's what I'm interested in when Im watching movies. The housewives are
always complaining that their husbands are late. But they're not late from like

57

drinking, having party outside. They're working. So I don't understand why they
[wives] think that's wrong. They are not working [overtime] at their [own] will.
They're working [overtime] because the company demands them to work Well,
if he went out drinking often, then I would complain. [Because] that's not his job
(laughs). His job is coming home and taking care of our kid and me.
Emikos acceptance and rationalization of the above illustrates what Naoko
Takemaru calls the gender-based role division that is widely practiced among married
couples in Japan, where the perception of a good marital relationship [is] based on the
relative autonomy of wife and husband in their respective areas of responsibility.

70

Takemaru explains this belief by pointing to the saying, Otoko wa shigoto, onna wa
katei, meaning men at work, women at home. 71
The delineation of roles of husband and wife has adverse effects on the stay-athome wife. Kimiko talks of a phase of loneliness and solitude married women go
through, in particular, her experience during the early stage of her marriage, after
childbirth: We -- after we got married -- just right after we got married, we sometimes
feel lonely if our husband return late every night.
When the children start coming and more household chores have to be done,
wives learn to reconcile with the fact that that husbands have to come home late.
Kimiko: After we have children, we are usually glad husband to return late.
Because Japanese husband usually dont help their housewife. So, we think if
husband return early, (pauses) we have to take care of him and our children. We
feel Japanese husbands are just like our children. So, we feel children will
increase one more. So, we think husband return late every night is a welcome
situation.
Kyoko has been conditioned to accept it:
70

. Naoko Takemaru, Women in the Language and Society of Japan: The


Linguistic Roots of Bias. (USA: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010), 37.
71

. Ibid.

58

My husband is absent the whole dayand I dont have a time to talk to my


husband about my life and my kids. I only serve the meal to him, yeah. So that
time, I felt
alone. But, yeah, the same life is continuing for a long time. I'm
accustomed to that life. One day, my husband came home early. I thought, "Why
did he come back early (laughs)? Actually, at that time, I hadnt finished
preparing dinner yet. I hadnt prepared the bath yet. So, I asked him, What
happened today? Easy day? It's only 5:30." My husband getting home late became
usual for me.

Hail the Minister of Finance


In Japans old agrarian society, the housewife had to ensure that the family had
enough to eat. And as the male could not be bothered with the nitty-gritty of budgeting,
the housewife had to have control of the familys finances. Even as the country moved on
to develop other industries, the housewife was still relied on to budget the household
money. This tradition, maintained to date, has led husbands to call their wives in jest the
uchi no kura Daijin, or the household Minister of Finance. 72
The minister of finance label presumes that Japanese housewives hold economic
power in the household: the fact that the husband is the one bringing home the money is
superseded by his wifes control of the purse strings. 73 Emiko, on being the minister of
finance:
Housewives who got a lot of control over budget, the money that husband
makes, their husband makes. So you know what, they have power. If you have
money, you have powerA lot of husbands do not have any power when it
comes to moneyThey have like allowance given, from their wives.
Reiko, in describing her own experience, says:

72

. Sumiko Iwao, The Japanese Woman: Traditional Image and Changing Reality,
(New York: The Free Press, 1993), 85.
73

. Ibid., 85-86.

59

Japanese wife is virtually the minister of finance and thats true. And she
even allocates her husbands, his daily pocket money. Thats true. So the husband have
to, has to plead or say to his wife that. Please give me more money (laughs). So, its true.
And theres always a poll that says, how much do you get from your wife? (laughs)
Housewives are in charge of accounting and budgeting the husbands salary.
Husbands receive their pocket money or okozukai from their wives, like schoolchildren
do. But for one of my subject participants, this so-called power conceals the real picture.
With a baby in one arm and a laundry basket in the other, the housewife still has to carry
the additional burden of making the money fit, so to speak. In addition, there are the
family insurance and health care payments to make. Kimiko says:
but maybe I feel there is something wrong because we have whole his salary
every month but we have to pay for supporting our family and we have
responsibility to spending our money we have. I, housewife usually have
responsibility for spending money. I think Japanese husband lead a very easy life.
He just have his monthly pocket money and he just think of his life but housewife
have to think about many things in present time and in the future how much
money we need if our husband will be sick or how much money I have to save for
our daughter's school. Everything housewife's responsibility.
When Kimiko speaks of the future and the savings needed for unexpected crises,
big or small, she refers to what is called hesokuri. Hesokuri is the secret savings the
housewife sets aside on top of the money she allocates for food, utilities and other
household expenses. The classic example of hesokuri benefitting the family is the story of
the impoverished 16th century samurai Kazutoyo Yamanouchi, whose wife Chiya spent
her secret savings to buy him a horse; the horse helped him win battles so that
Yamanouchi later became a rich warlord.74 The literal translation of the word is belly
74

. Miki Tanakawa, Out of the dresser and into the bank, The New York Times,
August 4, 2003, Accessed October 4, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/04/yourmoney/04iht-mmanage05.2390040.html?_r=0.

60

button savings, to point to the manner by which women used to keep money inside the
obi, which covers the belly.
The extent to which a housewife is minister of finance varies, depending on the
household. For example, Yoshinos details her experience:
In my case, on the payday, he withdrew the money from his bank and he gives
that to me. So this is the money for this month and, of course, its not enough. So,
I have a credit card, which is my card the name is mine but the money is
deducted from his accountthe grocery shopping, if I can use the credit card, I
pay with the credit card.
Eiko and Chie, both working women, talk of their own circumstances and contrast
these to that of their mothers.
Eiko: It depends on each familyI am the minister of finance of daily expenses.
And as far as big ticket items is concerned, of course, we talk a lotI am proud
of, I have been working for over 30 years and yes, I can have my own
money...But my, and I know the exact, you know, the numbers of incomes of my
husband, of course, and mine. But my mother didnt know. Yes. My father, every
month, handed the monthly expenses for money And within the ranges she
managed to do, go shopping, to buy groceries sometimes she lacks the money,
she asked my father. And my father handed the extra, yes, so she, she has no
problem.
Chie: In the generation of my mom, yes, yes, she gave, she used to give envelope
for monthly pocket money for my dad. And my dad, well, for him it was normal
for him to do that, like that. My mom just control their saving money and theyre
just spending money. So my mom know everything about like, yeah, saving
money or spending money alone. But my dad, they didnt know at all, not at
allI think its very strange for me. So I didnt want to do like them in the future.
So I dont do that exactly with my husband, for example. I dont do that, I dont
know exactly how much he has extra money in his bank account. He doesnt,
either, about me.

When the money the husband hands over to the wife is more than enough to cover
household expenses and hesokuri, the wife can afford to seek little pleasures that provide
temporary comfort to her worried mind. Eiko mentions that restaurants are full of
housewives enjoying lunch with their friends while their husbands are at work and the

61

children in school. It is the perfect time for these housewives to socialize with others.
Personally, I have also observed that many married female learners take my class in the
afternoon, which is hirune tsuki time.
There are two opposing views on the practice of hesokuri. The first is housewives
who keep extra money for a rainy day are selfless women who have the familys future in
mind. The second touches on housewives less noble side because it is a fund they
maintain for themselves, to go out for lunch with their girfriends or to buy something for
themselves.75 Philip Brasor and Masako Tsubuku have noted how the Japanese Civil
Code is partial to men because it does not allow couples to hold joint bank accounts;
wives who need money withdraw from their husbands accounts. 76
Eikos recollection of herself as new wife, when she decided to open a bank
account to hold money for the payment of household utility bills: And I made a bank
account on my own name (laughs). Wow, I surprised a lot of people. Why wasnt the
name your husbands? This experience of the invisible wife is also evident in customs
such as gift-giving. Eiko says when the family send a gift to a friend, the senders name
is only the husbands name, only the husbands name represent the family.
The thinking that hesokuri has a less noble side is rooted in the laws delineation
of possessions. As Brasor and Tsubuku emphasize:
The idea of joint property is, in a legal sense, non-existent. If the husband is the
one making the money, that money belongs to him, so technically hesokuri is

75

. Philip Brasor and Masako Tsubuku, Okozukai vs. hesokuri: An alternate view
of home economics, The Japan Times Online, July 5, 2011, Accessed September 30,
2014, http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/yen-for-living/okozukai-vs-hesokuri-an-alternate-viewof-home-economics/.
76

. Ibid.

62

illegal since it could be interpreted as a form of stealing. However, the Civil Code
also stipulates that there is no such thing as theft within a family unit.77

The last statement in the above quote suggests the equivocal approach of the law
towards hesokuri. We can imagine the thoughts that run across the minds of Japanese
husbands: Is she stealing my money? But isnt she the perfect housewife, saving for a
possible need? It also affects the wife as well: Am I to be trusted?
Kimiko: Its a good one. Trust. Yes. He usually doesnt check. I dont know
whether he trusts me or not, but usually husband trust, I hope trust his wife.

Overall, young Japanese couples nowadays split expenses because it is the more
practical thing to do. According to my subject participants, their daughters and their
respective spouses share expenses; this practice relieves their daughters of the burden of
accounting. One of my subject respondents notes that with todays couples, collaboration
takes place with respect to family finances.

Changing Life Patterns


In the sessions with my subject participants, I shared with them four statements
that briefly describe the changes that are said to be taking place in Japanese marriages.
The statements and their take on these follow.
Statement No. 1: Many women do engage in such activities as part-time jobs,
sports , consumer movements, and arts and crafts , but only as long as they do not
interfere with the care of the family. 78

77

. Ibid.

63

All of my subject participants, except Eiko, agreed that married women engage in
such activities. Eiko and her husband run a small kitchenware shop so it is almost
impossible for her to have time for herself. She envies women who are married to highly
paid professionals and who have extra time at hand. As a full-time worker, she can only
take online English classes at night.
Kimiko notes that many housewives in her area use their free afternoon time to go
to language schools. She explains the need for self-improvement that Hochschild outlines
in the third shift:
We need some friends. We want to get to know other people. So we want to
belong to some community we prefer to be together with someone. We dont want
to watch TV at home or we dont want to do ourselves at home. We need to talk
with somebody and recently women have some enthusiasm to learn something.
And we are not satisfied with just talking with somebody. We want to learn
something and also talk with somebody. So many people join some English club
or art club. We want to do something - something to (What shall I say?)
something to make us improve. I think recent women think that way.
Kimiko goes on to say that the women of her generation are far luckier that the
women of her mothers generation, who were very busy with household chores, and
whose time was always ruined by house job. This can be explained in part by the
opportunities at education provided younger Japanese women. The more educated they
are, the more they become aware of the world outside the confines of the home. When a
window of chance opens, they grab it and use it for their own furtherance. As Kimiko
says, We are interested in many things and our life is long so we can do something after
getting married.

78

. Sumiko Furuya Iwao, The Feminine Perspective in Japan Today, Japan Today
edited by Kenneth A. Grossberg, (Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues,
1981), 22.

64

The last three statements in this section are all about marriage:
Statement No. 2: Marriage in Japan is like taking a tenured post, in the sense that
both husband and wife have a tendency to take the relationship for granted.79
Statement No. 3: Communication between Japanese couples, except for
newlyweds, may be minimal. 80
Statement No. 4: The common expression A good husband is healthy and
absent accurately reflects the attitude of many Japanese women toward their
husbands. 81

The first of these three statements likens marriage to a job that becomes mundane
once one performs the same routine day in, day out. Because they have grown familiar
with each other, both wife and husband view marriage as a dull task to perform until
retirement. With the use of her Japanese-English electronic dictionary, Kimiko succinctly
puts it: They have become tired of their married life. Yoshino supports the same
statement, while bemoaning the romance that has withered in her own relationship:
Before marriage, of course, he talks. But after we get married, I found hes very
quiet. He doesnt talk much. He does only if he complains something to me. So,
uhm, like anniversary stuff, you know, the birthday or Christmas. We used to
have a Christmas gift exchange. But after the marriage, nothing. Because, you
know, Why should I after we got married why should I?, he thought, I
think.
They have become tired of their married life?, Kyoko asks. She compares
Japanese couples to American and European couples, where I heard the wife will always
want to say from their husbands I love you or I miss you. And pointing to the stoic
character that is expected of the Japanese wife:

79

. Ibid., 23.

80

. Ibid.

81

. Ibid., 24.

65

Kyoko: But Japanese wives dont need that exactly. Thats right, I think. But I
think that its very important to talk to each other.
Marvin: But you dont have to say it all the time.
Kyoko: Ah, you dont need to, its Japanese style. I dont know about young
people or another man, but I don't need to.
Her continuing spiel betrays her ambivalent feelings:
But I like the love story on movies. And sometimes think its they are very
romantic or I want to hear the words I miss you or I love you. Hmmmbut
maybe for married couples, we dont need the words, yeah, I think.
For Reiko, as long as the husband is a good guy, the marriage can still work.
She adds that the statement reflects the common thinking about marriage in Japan.
Marriage, according to Emiko, is a tenured post in that the parties stop working at it, just
like being in a permanent position where one reaches his level of incompetence because
there is no more job security to aim for: Theres nomovement in a job market, so
itsonce you work for one company, you stay there for the rest of your lifeOnce you
get in, you stay there foreveronce you get out, you cant get in [emphasis mine].
In saying the above, Emiko tells us that Japanese housewives are stuck in the
tenured post that is marriage, but cannot get out of their relationships because there are no
other options open to them. Japanese tradition dictates that all property within the
marriage is not conjugal; everything belongs to the husband. A wife who decides to get
out has nothing. Where will she to go? Chie sums up this problem by saying, As we get
older, it would be difficult to find jobs. The situation is different for younger Japanese
women, who, if compared to employees, are still in the market. Divorce, to them, is still

66

an option. It is interesting to note that as of the 1990s, among young people, the marriage
rate in Japan has fallen considerably, with the divorce rate inversely rising. 82
The comparison of the attitude toward marriage to that of a regularized employee
is connected to the third statement in the section: Communication between Japanese
couples, except for newlyweds, may be minimal.
Go to a restaurant, Eiko says, and you can easily spot new couples because they
talk a lot to each other. When marriage grows on Japanese couples, it is as if they have
exhausted everything that there is to talk about. The males do not seem to realize that
conversation is essential among couples in a relationship. To Kyoko, whose husband is
usually not home, talk is reserved for the weekends. She illustrates what she calls
minimal communication in a conversation she had with married co-workers:
But my co-worker sometimes tells me, "My husband talks about food," or Yeah,
Ill take a bath now," or "Good night." But sometimes their husbands don't even
say, "Good morning" (laughs) or Good night. Maybe that's right minimal.
To Yoshino, communication between her and her husband is a one-way thing,
always involving her husbands gripes:
Hes such a kind of character. Complaining. The person who has to complain
something. He finds something to complainingIn his heart, he doesnt think that
well he doesnt think that much. He just comes out from his mouth. Even
though he doesnt think from his hearthes such kind of person. If he finds
something, he has to complain about it.
In Kyokos observation, Western couples are more vocal about their feelings than
Japanese. She is reminded of this when she watches romantic Hollywood movies. But she

82

. Ana Micaela Arajo Nocedo, The good wife and wise mother pattern:
gender differences in todays Japanese society, Critica Contempornea. Revista de
Teoria Politica, No. 2 (2012), 3.

67

accepts the fact that in her culture, expressiveness is not evident. What Kyoko describes
is the way romantic love turns into filial love through the course of marriage.
Chie attributes the lack of conversations to the lack of time on the part of the
husband. If the husband comes home late from work, he has no time to have dinner with
the family, let alone talk with his wife. Work takes the husband away from the family,
and the couple cannot even have dinner dates where conversations may take place.
Weekends are reserved for activities that involve the entire family, so there is hardly any
time left for couple talk.
Kimiko says that the lack of long talks among couples may describe her
generation, but not the present generation: In my generation, its true. But maybe our
daughters generation, its not true. Communication between couples are more deep. And
they talk a lot, but all housewives think a good husband is healthy and absent.
Teishu genki de rusu ga ii means a good husband is one in good health and away
from home. Chie recalls that an insect repellant manufacturer once used the popular
saying in a TV advertisement. In that commercial, a womens association is having a
monthly meeting, where the slogan for that month is Teishu genki de rusu ga ii.83 In
2013, the Asahi Shimbun reported that the expression has been listed in the Nihongo
Daijiten: The Great Japanese Dictionary.84

83

. The saying and the commercial have been immortalized in YouTube. Accessed
December 1, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Sk88hpvGGw.
84

. Vox Populi: Long-surviving buzzwords become part of national lexicon, The


Asahi Shimbun, November 15, 2013, Accessed November 28, 2014,
ajw.asahi.com/article/views/vox/AJ201311150054.

68

To a foreigner, Teishu genki de rusu ga ii is another of the peculiarities of the


Japanese. All wives want healthy husbands, yes, but why would Japanese wives want
their husbands to be absent from the home? Why does absence make for a good husband?
Kimiko points out that the presence of the husband at home means having one
more child to take care of:
We think husband is in good health is quite good and if he transferred to other
place by himself, in our house, our children and me is [in] quite good condition
because housewife just take care of their children. And so, what shall I say, I think
its same, almost the same idea, husband, it is good for husband to return home
late. Husband is a kind of for housewifethe situation of family is very peaceful
condition without husband.
Chie recalls that her mother totally agree[d] with the advertising slogan, and
now my friends are saying the same thing. Of a friends experience, she relates:
Because husbands bring salary, money to the home, to the house, and for
everythingfor all the members of the family. And when he stays, for example,
for two or three days, one of my friends, yes, she told me that she was tired
because she has to prepare three mealsand apart from that, of course, she has to
take care of him.
Kyoko has a different view on the absence of her husband:
[A good husband is] healthy and absent. This is sentence for you, my friend
sometimes says to me. She envies me. But can you imagine that when my kids
were very small, he wasn't always home. I had to do everything. I took a bath
three times a day. Everyday! (laughs) One for my elder daughter, another for my
younger daughter and after they went to bed, I took a bath for myself. I wanted to
wash my hair. I took a bath three times a day. Everyday! Because my husband
was always absent.
Emiko also has a conflicting idea when it comes to the husbands absence:
It is [true]. The husband is healthy and absent. Yeah (laughs). Maybe even for
Americans with a trophy wife, maybe. It reflects the relationship that if you don't
really love [your] husband anymore, then that would be true. But if you love your
husband, then healthy and absent is not really fun. So it's how you see your
husband in a way.

69

She goes on to explain that the lack of communication between husband and wife
does not cut across age. Emiko tells the story of an old couple in her apartment complex
who look[ed] so happy together. When the wife died, the husband was devastated:
Every day we meet him, he looks so sad. On the other hand, her parents-in-law are
really quiet to each other. To Emiko:
Families are differentMy dad talked a lot and my mom and dad, they all talk
to each other all the timeSo its more about relationship. Its special so you
cant really generalizeEven in Japan there are people who really, their marriage
work really wellTheres a lot of communication in the family.

Kyoko and Emiko may think differently about Teishu genki de rusu ga ii, but
overall, Japanese women get used to the idea of the absent husband over time. In
discussing the role of women in Japan, Naoko Takemaru underlined the division of
gender-specific roles [that] became firmly established during the period of Japans
unprecedented economic growth from the 1960s to the 1980s. The author added: As
described by the phrase, Otoko wa shigoto, onna wa katei (men at work, women at
home), husbands worked longer hours Thus, The perception of a good marriage is
based on gender-specific role division [is] reflected in a number of Japanese phrases, out
of which one of the most well-known is Teishu genki de rusu ga ii (It is good when a
husband is healthy, and is away from home). 85
Emiko calls to mind the time when the Japanese economy was booming, where
the husbands were always at work but had a lot of money. They had more money to
spend on drinking or weekend golf, leaving their wives at home. Now that the economy

85

. Naoko Takemaru, Women in the Language and Society of Japan: The


Linguistic Roots of Bias. (USA: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010), 37.

70

is down and the husbands are leaving the work force, they cant really rebuild their
relationship, so that this phrase that husband is good when hes healthy and absent.
Another problem presents itself when the husband retires after years of working.
The housewife would by this time, also have retired from mothering duties and
therefore has more time to attend to personal leisure. As Reiko notes, after 15 to 20 years
of marriage, the wife would be happy when the husband is away since she can have
more free time (for herself):
They, women, want husbands to work and so they want husbands to leave in the
morning and come back at night. And during the daytime, so during the daytime
wives can have their free time (laughs)So after the husbands retire, there are
some problems that occurLike wives get sickmentally sick because husbands
are always at home doing nothing.

She goes on to say that retired husbands cannot seem to get lives of their own and
annoy their wives with questions such as Where are you going? or What time do you
come home. The retired husband syndrome has caused a womens mental disease the
wives call fugen biyo. An amused Reiko remarks: That means the cause of the sickness
is your husbandbecause husband is always there. He doesnt know what to do. Yeah,
its a very popular (laughs) among us. Fugen means husband and biyo, disease.
On a more serious note, Reiko dissects fugen biyo. She describes the way women
with absent husbands bond: Women are usually talkative, so they talk to each other and
solve the problems not with the husband but with other mothers. The dilemma has roots
in gendered roles. The husband works to support the family, and in doing so, becomes
detached from his wife and children. Emiko explains, If he thinks the house, the home is
important, he can show his sympathy to her and to the children. But if he thinks that hes

71

great outside, and the things, the problems within the home and at school, are not, if he
thinks thats not for his, not his problem, but his wife would solve all the problems.
When he has earned enough to assure his wife of a life of comfort in old age, he
can no longer bridge the distance between them that work has caused. Through the years,
the wife has built a life of her own, which does not include the husband. So she has her
own world. But he doesnt know about that. And he thinks hes great but at home, hes
like a child and he doesnt know what to do. And he doesnt have friends around. So,
maybe hes lonely and he doesnt get enough respect maybe from neighbors, his wife.

Women and the Net


Japanese feminist Matsuura Satoko enthuses about the way the Internet has
become an enabling medium for Japanese women, allowing them to air parts of
themselves that have for so long been repressed:
I was astonished to see that various womens voices are heard and visible on the
Internet. These are very different from ordinary conversations among women,
which usually have to be modest, self-effacing, and settled privatelyTheir
voices are lively. They are trying to hold real communication and relationships on
the Internet, leaving behind secure and soothing conversationsWomen who
were confined at home to private issues such as child-rearing, care of the
elderly, domestic violence, sexual harassment and other discrimination, are now
stepping out. It's as if Pandoras Box has been opened in Japanese society. 86
Kyoko opens up to me and tells me how she can easily talk about things to me
that she will normally not share with other people. It has to do with using the English
language.
86

. Junko R. Onosaka, Challenging society through the information grid: Japanese


womens activism on the Net, Japanese Cybercultures, edited by Nanette Gottlieb and
Mark McLelland (London: Routledge, 2003), 96.

72

When I talk to you, I always speak in English, you know. So, I feel when I speak
English, that time, I feel I talk a truth. I talk to you about my life or something
its true. But its not how should I say if when I talk to my friends in Japanese
and same story, it sometimes became too sadBut when I talk to you in English,
I sometimes feel not so sad or something. But its good for me. I talk to you, yeah,
uhm, with relax how do I say?..In English, yeah. So the most important thing is
in English, not in Japanese. So maybe I can talk to you in Japanese, uhm, maybe I
find different feeling. Do you understand?...Im just Kyoko-san. Individual.
Kyoko-san. Yes, its good for me, yeah.

In saying the above, Kyoko illustrates the real communication Satoko refers to.
Further, in reiterating that she becomes just Kyoko-san, an individual, my subject
respondent emphasizes the fulfillment derived from the use of the Internet to learn the
English language.
The same is true with Kimiko. Below is an excerpt from a session of ours:
Kimiko: But I try to be more cheerful or more clearly when I speak Japanese.
Marvin: Clearly? You mean more precise? More detailed? Kimiko: Say
something more clearly.
Marvin: Oh. You mean specific?
Kimiko: Specific, yes. Because Japanese is kind of vague.
Marvin: It's a vague language
Kimiko: Vague. Vague words. We usually dont say clear conclusion or clear
decision but when we speak English we have to say our idea clearly.
In my earlier discussion, I mentioned joseego, a way of speaking among Japanese
women that indicate their subservience to men. Kyoko says the same stories she relates to
me in English take on a different meaning when spoken in Japanese. This may probably
be because of the constraints that joseego imposes, in addition to her use of the Internet,
as opposed to face to face communication.
Most of my subject participants would rather communicate face to face than over
the Internet. Emiko says one of the drawbacks of Internet communication is that it puts

73

people at the risk of being misunderstood: Id like to speak in person or at least have a
video discussionso I can deliver and communicate precisely and without any
misinterpretation, like Skype. Yoshino, too, says that she likes to do face to face
communication if she has the time though the Internet is an advantage when she is busy.
The literature I cite in the previous chapter includes Kramaraes concept of the
third shift and the use of the Internet for self-improvement. While her concepts are not
part of the framework of my study, I include these here because I find similarity between
Kramaraes study and my research.
Kramarae has noted that the Internet does not actually level the playing field with
regard to offering opportunities for learning. Some of the constraints that Kramarae has
mentioned are age, ethnicity, financial capability, gender, maternal duties and other
cultural factors. At the same time, Kramarae also looked at the advantage the Internet
offers in relation to online learning. Both parties are unfamiliar with each others personal
circumstances, and therefore are freer to talk about themselves. 87
Reiko lends truth to Kramaraes position, saying, At my age, Im not so familiar
with those discussions on the Internet. I usually talk with my friends face to face, and I
prefer that much more. And I dont use the Internet to communicate like that.
Kimikos use of the Internet is limited to surfing websites and the use of
applications such as Skype and Line; she is not fond of social networking sites (SNS).
She looks with disdain at the way young people nowadays argue on SNS. The problem
with younger people, she says, is that the think everything they get from SNS are
87

. Cheris Kramarae, The Third Shift, 43-45.

74

absolute truths. They think they know people inside out even if these people are just
Facebook friends. They imagine that virtual relationships are real.
Kimiko likes the anonymity the Internet offers, an example of which are her
lessons using Skype. Learning English online has become very convenient, with women
increasing their ability to express themselves especially since subordination of the wife,
by the husband, is a common complaint online. But anonymity has a drawback, she says.
Some women tend to exaggerate their personal situations when they interact on the Net
so Kimiko is wary that they are really expressing their true sentiments.
A case in point is a story Chie tells me, of a Japanese woman living in France.
The wealthy woman with a sanshoku hirune tsuki lifestyle is practically living on
Facebook, constantly uploading photos and conversing with friends in Japanese. Yoshino
says she can feel the womans loneliness, but finds it difficult to reconcile the latters real
persona with her Facebook identity.
Chie, however, believes a wifes online persona, separate from that of her
husbands, gives women a sense of identity. More so, accomplishing anything in life
provides housewives a sense of identity as well. She also thinks that women who are
more vocal online are more interesting people.
Eiko believes that people should not hide behind the veil of anonymity on the
Internet when they want to express their opinions publicly. This, to her, is a form of
irresponsibility. To the housewife, however, it is beneficial to remain anonymous when
sharing experiences online. Although she is not a member of any SNS, a friend tried to

75

persuade her into buying a smartphone for privacy. This is because e-mails viewed on the
PC can be read by her husband.
For Eiko, the Internet provides everybody the opportunity and space for selfimprovement, especially to women. She states:
I met a lot of good speakers of English, housewives. But all they said is that
they have no opportunities except on the Net and their daily life? So, maybe, yes,
(laughs)
Since English is not widely spoken in Japan, ESL learners like her take online
English classes. I met a lot of, you know, fluent English speakers, housewives so I
think they should have a chance to use their English in a society.
Does the Internet help in the emancipation of Japanese housewives? Chie says
yes. I imagine what she were to think of Yoshino, whose demeanor changed and whose
voice became softer when her son and husband arrived home in the middle of our
interview.
Dimensions of Agency in the Narratives; Structure and Muting
The Japanese home has a structure of its own. The husband (goshujin or master of
the house) is the breadwinner of the family. The wife is responsible for the household
chores and childrearing. They work together to ensure the stability and order of the home,
like cogs in a clock. However, as humans, the husband and wife are conscious actors in
this structure. They have free will. They have agency to maintain the current order, defy
it, and even change it. EmirBayer and Mische assigned three categories of structure that
have reciprocal relationships with agency: cultural, social- structural and social-

76

psychological. 88 Among the three, my research focuses on the cultural category of


structure where narratives belong. Despite the dialectical relationship of structure and
agency, it is difficult to measure changes in one that affect the other. These changes,
however, or the lack thereof, can manifest themselves in narratives.
The major aim of my research is to show how the narratives of Japanese
housewives are a form of agency. I instantiate sections of our learning sessions and
interviews to show how agency is present in narratives, and how these narratives subvert
structure. I presented them in terms of the three dimensions of agency outlined by
Emirbayer and Mische.
The first dimension of agency is the projective evaluative dimension. It means the
ability to access the pros and cons of a presented situation and to be able to act on it using
reason. It is also called practical wisdom. 89 Fragments of life history in the sessions are
reflective of practical wisdom. These housewives are dissatisfied with certain aspects of
being housewives. To a certain extent, they desire to change the norm of the wife as
subordinate to the husband, which is embodied in structure. For instance, Eiko spurns the
use of the word goshujin to refer to husbands. To call her husband and the husbands of
her friends the master of the house is to put them on a pedestal, above their wives.
Instead, Eiko uses otto, a direct, non-hierarchical term for husband. She uses her
linguistic knowledge to challenge the use of a term that puts her and other housewives in
a lower societal position.

88

. Mustafa Emirbayer and Ann Mische, What is Agency?, 970.

89

. Ibid., 994.

77

Another dimension of agency is iteration. Our present actions are consciously or


unconsciously defined by the past; to act in the moment is to reprise the past. In repeating
these actions, we maintain the status quo. The stories I gathered plainly show that my
subject participants exercise iteration. In the household, everything runs like clockwork:
husband works, wife does household chores and childcare, husband comes home late,
wife serves their meals, they sleep. The pattern runs for many decades until the husbands
retirement. In the narratives, the word complain appeared several times in different
contexts. When she was young, Kyoko was told not to complain about her fathers
drinking habits, his inadequate financial support at times, and his other bad habits. She
was told to smile and maintain the facade of a satisfied housewife. Emiko never
complains about her husband coming home late; she complains about Japanese work
culture that pushes men to work overtime. In our session, Eiko states point blank that
after all these years, she is tired of household chores an act she will not do in front of
her husband. The participants express acceptance of the gender role assigned them.
The last dimension of agency is projectivity. Projectivity consists of our
ambitions, goals, hopes, fears, or desires that direct our paths in life. The participants take
English lessons online for one goal: to speak English on a native level. By native level, I
mean possessing the English proficiency of an American, British or Canadian.
Theoretically, to speak English like a native is impossible among adults learning a
second language. In an interview, University of Tokyo linguistics professor Mike

78

Handford mentions that one can achieve native level in a second language if he or she
learned the language before the age of 12. This is especially true with pronunciation.

90

However, this does not hinder Japanese homemakers learning English from
ceaselessly practicing. Eiko has an ambition:
Eiko: Uhm, I honestly - speaking the pronunciation - I think Japanese
pronunciation or accent, yeah, is okay if they can, uhm, express their opinion in
English. Yes, the French speak their own English; Germans speak English. And
Chinese, yeah. They have - but most important thing is how to express, yes what
we think. And there are - I met a lot of good speakers of English housewives.
But all they said is that they have no opportunities except on the Net, their daily
life? So, maybe, yes, (laughs).
Marvin: So, more opportunities to use their English, for housewives, right?
Eiko: Housewives (laughs). I dunno (laughs). Yeah, my dream is to welcome
foreign students or free guests to my house. Yes. Problem is how to persuade my
husband.

Eiko hopes for a future with more opportunities for housewives to use English.
She dreams of her household as being a host family, to invite foreigners to stay in her
domicile. However, her husband who we call Mr. Micromanager as a private joke
was raised in a traditional, patriarchal family. His words are the law. Without his
approval, Eikos dream will not materialize. Another participant, Yoshino, acts out on
one of her desires shopping. She knows that the items she buys are needless purchases.
But as the wife, she holds the purse strings the economic power. She takes action on her
desire to shop. All these narratives encompass aspirations and desires that my subject
participants satisfy in the present or simply relate to me. Big steps, small steps either

90

. Kris Kosaka, Could the Lingua Franca approach to learning break Japans
English curse?, The Japan Times, August 17, 2014, Accessed September 3, 2014,
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2014/08/17/issues/could-the-lingua-francaapproach-to-learning-break-japans-english-curse/#.VH_7TzGUftY.

79

way, their actions are unsettling to structure. These portions of my participants life
histories clearly indicate the different dimensions of agency.
Along with the concepts of structure and agency, my research also uses the muted
group theory as a framework. A muted group may result from power relations in gender.
Kramarae has theorized that since English is a man-made language, discourses about and
by women are silenced. Ironically, English is the medium used in my subject
participants recorded sessions. How then can I say that they are muted when, in fact,
they use the very language that Kramarae claims mutes women? Perhaps, assuming that
the subjects of the narratives my participants and I talk about rarely or never come up in
their conversations with their husbands, I can they say they are muted. However, through
other activities such as learning another language or going for other hobbies, they express
themselves in other ways that may be interpreted as a cure for their muteness. The
sessions I have with them are an example. With the exception of my interviews with the
mothers of my child learners, all my other sessions with the housewives are real classes.
As adult students, they have the will to refuse to discuss and share with, and narrate their
stories to me, regardless of the material I give. Also, they can choose to focus on the
language acquisition aspect of our classes despite my instruction to recall relevant firsthand experiences or the experiences of others. Instead, they retold stories, commented on
and discussed their lives as housewives, using the material I gave them. It is true that they
are bound to a structure that, to some extent, renders them mute. However, through their
exercise of agency, they trigger the unmute button, giving back to themselves the voice
they lost when they chose to be housewives.

80

Chapter V. Conclusions and Recommendations

This is a qualitative research on the narratives that Japanese housewives learning


English online share with their tutors at the Eigo de Syaberitai Club. My primary
objective was to uncover the narratives that Japanese housewives relate to their ESL
online tutors. The other objectives were: 1) to provide a brief background of online ESL
tutorial lessons; 2) to describe the subject matters Japanese housewives discuss during
ESL online lessons, in relation to their personal lives; 3) to read the messages behind the
stories Japanese housewives relate during ESL lessons; and 4) to show how their stories
are a form of agency
I purposively chose my participants based on their English proficiency (midintermediate to advanced level), their nationality (Japanese), and their civil status
(married).
The Ardeners concept of muting and its expansion, the muted group theory by
Cheris Kramarae, served as the framework of my study. In addition, I explored the
relationship between agency and structure to interpret the narratives I gathered. My
interpretation in the previous chapter provides the explanation of how my subject
participants narratives are a form of agency.
Each of us has a story to share. We just have to search for a good listener, or at
least for someone who can stand listening to us. I have been in the ESL industry for
almost a decade. I have listened to countless stories of my learners, even becoming a
character in some of their stories. My experience has taught me to appreciate other
peoples stories. I conduct my online classes in an untraditional manner, allowing my

81

students to indulge in chit-chat. I find that they learn much faster when they are allowed
to freely talk about their experiences.
When I re-entered the academe, I entertained the idea of studying Japanese
housewives tendency to share their personal stories in my online classes, a subject matter
that my professor in Communication Research found interesting. What do their old
wives tales say about their lives as housewives? Are these stories just mere quirks of
lonely married women who need good ears that listen?
History is composed of stories. Stories are the cells of history. Each validates the
others existence. Fernand Braudels Annales School has this term histoire totale, that
emphasizes the necessity of three levels in the creation of history human interaction
with the physical environment, formation of social groups and individual lives. 91 Thus,
personal narratives and life histories are significant components of a societys history.
The absence of the two makes for an incomplete history.
A society is made up of structures such as family, laws and religion. These
structures seek to preserve order, in varying levels and degrees. However, humans are not
mindless machines who act upon the bidding of their masters. Humans have agency, or
the ability to act independently on their volition, to shape their own history. We have free
will. Because of this free will, relations are formed and conflicts emerge.
It is out of free will that my relationship with my participants developed. It is out
of free will that we were able to talk about aspects of their personal lives, with them
becoming subjects of my research. More important, it is out of free will that they, as
Japanese housewives, were able to share their narratives as a form of agency.
91

. Ian Buchanan, Dictionary of Critical Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press,


2010), 20, 68.

82

Feminist scholars look into gender relations from different angles. I used the
muted group theory by Kramarae. The theory is an elaboration of Edwin and Shirley
Ardeners concept of muting, where the males set the parameters of discourse, effectively
marginalizing women. Feminist Susan Gal, however, says muteness is only one of the
many theoretically possible outcomes of gender relations. 92 The results of my study
conform to what Gal says because while I initially focused on my participants muting, I
found that I could not separate this from the backdrop of the Japanese society around
which their lives revolve.
Kramaraes studies have looked at muting from the perspective of the English
language as a man-made language.93 Unexpectedly, this language gave voice to my
subject participants. To them, English is a language that allows them to speak freely
about their experiences, without the constraints imposed by the Japanese language.

Desperate Housewives of Japan


The American TV series Desperate Housewives, which ended a couple of
years ago, was set in the fictional suburban community of Wisteria Lane. Here,
everything seemed perfect until one housewife committed suicide. The once utopic
neighbourhood became shrouded in mystery, crime, betrayal, and death. The former ideal
residential area turned into a setting of a comedy-drama-mystery series that ran for eight

92

. Susan Gal, "Between Speech and Silence: The Problematics of Research on


Language and Gender,"Roman, Camille, Suzanne Juhasz, and Cristanne Miller, eds. In
the Women and Language Debate: A Sourcebook (USA: Rutgers: State University,
1994), 419.
93. Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss, Theories of Human Communication
(Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2008), 117-118.

83

years. 94 I only watched two seasons of Desperate Housewives. It may sound exaggerated,
but I imagine Japan as Wisteria Lane. On the surface, everything is squeaky clean,
impeccably organized and blindingly bright. Everyone follows the law and everyone is
content with the order in their lives, housewives included.
In my online sessions with the housewives, I came to learn about how they feel
shackled by this order. Their thinking is this order has relegated them to a status inferior
to that of their husbands. For example, three all agree with the literal meaning of three
Japanese phrases: sanshoku hirune tsuki (three meals and afternoon naps), tama no koshi
(marrying into money) and rysai kenbo (good wife, wise mother). Their sentiments
about these, however, differ. They view sanshoku hirune tsuki as both negative and
positive. For some of them, sanshoku hirune tsuki is a privilege enjoyed by married
women. For the others, the phrase has a bad ring to because it connotes laziness and
suggests that housewives are beholden to their husbands. A few of them say sanshoku
hirune tsuki is an ideal as housewives never have enough time to take a nap.
As I write this research, the idea of tama no koshi seems to be facing a revival
because of Japans current economic depression. One of my subject participants, Emiko,
calls tama no koshi a Cinderella story, because marrying into money is a sure-fire way for
women to improve their economic status. However, in many cases, tama no koshi is
connected to omiai or the arranged marriage. All my subject participants rejected the idea
of tama no koshi for themselves, although some of them said that because of the hard
times, they would feel more secure if their daughters found rich husbands.
94

. Matthew Jacobs, 10 Years Later, The First Season Of 'Desperate Housewives'


Is Still A Television Touchstone, The Huffington Post, October 3, 2014, Accessed
December 4, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/03/desperate-housewivesseason-1-anniversary_n_5793322.html.

84

Rysai kenbo, or good wife, wise mother was a model used by the Japanese
Empire after World War I and during World War II to secure the roles of women in the
society as baby-making machines, and to keep the wives inside the home. 95 All of my
subject participants are unaware of the historical underpinnings of the saying. The
definition of the term rysai kenbo has evolved through the years because there are more
women who have joined the labor force, mostly as part-timers. In other words, a good
wife and a wise mother need not be a full-time homemaker. I relate rysai kenbo to the
concept of the second shift in Chapter II

The Minister of Finance on Third Shift


Being the household minister of finance, Japanese housewives have control over
the familys expenses. Or should I say the responsibility of accounting for the household?
My participants have mixed views on the matter. Evident in my findings is the fact that
this control over the familys money has a clear advantage because it allows housewives
to have secret savings or hesokuri. I can only deduce that my participants have hesokuri
(It would be unethical, in my opinion, to ask them about it. After all, it is a secret). I have
known them for more than a year and through our exchanges of stories, I know that some
of them quit their jobs after marriage.
In Chapter IV, I discussed a part of Japans civil code which states that men work
for the money, and therefore own the money. Wives merely budget the money. Hesokuri
may be viewed in two ways: as mad money the wife scrimps for eventualities or as

95

. Ana Micaela Arajo Nocedo, The good wife and wise, 4-5.

85

money the wife filches for herself. Many think more of the latter, but the same civil code
says no theft exists within the family.
Because of their control over the family finances, housewives can use part of the
money for self-improvement. In my participants case, they take English lessons online.
Other housewives engage in other activities outside the home such kimono classes,
ikebana or flower arranging classes, sports and the like. This is an application of the third
shift that Kramarae described in her research for the AAUWF. In the same research,
Kramerae looked at distance education as an option for married women (also for men), in
terms of self-improvement or further education.96 For my participants, online drills in
English conversation are the equivalent of enrolling in a masters degree over the
Internet.
My participants use their monetary power as a form of agency as well. Though
they do not be explicitly say it, my subject participants are relatively affluent. They do
not earn nor own the money they handle, but this has been entrusted to them. In enrolling
in ESL online classes, they use their role as keepers of the money to subvert the same. In
other words, in using money that is technically not theirs, they use the same structure that
limits their agency to exercise agency.

And the Vine Unwinds From the Pine


Otoko wa matsu, onna wa fuji is Japanese saying that means A man is a pine
tree; a woman is a wisteria. Wisteria is a climbing vine with white or purple flowers,
native to some countries including Japan. The most common interpretation of the saying

96. Cheris Kramarae, The Third Shift, 3-6.

86

is a woman depends on a man, just like wisteria. 97 This could also mean that women are
opportunistic but beautiful. In some countries, wisteria is used as an ornamental plant.
What would happen if the wisteria tires of being dependent on the pine tree?
What if the vine is no longer satisfied with being mere decoration?
Yuko Tanaka recalls how the traditional gender expectations of women
disadvantaged her when she was still starting in the academe. In 1974, while she was
applying for entry into a graduate studies program, a male professor from the panel of
interviewers joked about her being a woman and her intent to pursue a masters degree:
Three meals, a nap, and grad school, right? The fact that she was not married and the
fact that sanshoku hirune tsuki was expected of her both surprised and insulted her. 98 But
the mockery did not discourage her. Today, Tanaka is the first female president of Hosei
University, one of the most traditional private universities in Japan.
Karen Kawabata graduated from the University of Tokyo, Japans finest
university. However, her intellect, talents, and skills may be not be enough to ensure a
prosperous career at Mckinsey & Company Japan, a firm she joined last April. She has to
face long working hours and after work drinking with co-workers (nominication, a play
on the Japanese word nomu meaning to drink, and communication) to expand network
and build reputation. On top of that, she is implicitly pressured by her future father-in-law
to have children someday. 99

97

. Naoko Takemaru, Women in the Language and Society of Japan: The


Linguistic Roots of Bias (USA: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2010), 3.
98

. TanakaYuko-General speaks at Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, we


conducted a panel discussion, Hosei University, August 8, 2014, Accessed December 8,
2014, http://www.hosei.ac.jp/gaiyo/socho/NEWS/140808_02.html.

87

Yuko and Karen are classic examples of women with dreams, who are being held
back by the patriarchal society to which they belong. During Yukos interview, a male
professor ridiculed her desire to earn a masters degree. That professor may have been
raised and educated in a society adhering to traditional post World War II values. He felt
insecure, if not threatened, by Yukos aspiration for more advanced education. In
addition, the professor belittled Yuko as a woman, imagining her as a mere future stay-athome wife. Karens story shows slight improvement in how women are treated in the
corporate world. However, she should still work like a Japanese male, enduring overtime
work, and after-work drinking.
What happened to Yuko and Karen could happen to any woman pursuing higher
education or a career. On one hand society encourages women to join the labor force
(largely because of the current economic situation), but on the other, existing government
policies still give preferential treatment to men. For example, it dangles a tax deduction
of 380,000 ($3,700) before the goshujin (the husband or master of the household), but
only if his wife earns less than 1.03 million a year. At present, working women are
allowed 18 months of maternity leave. Government has proposed that firms lengthen this
leave to three years, and companies are complaining.100 My participants must have faced
this ambivalence when they had to choose between raising a family and continuing a
career. During our sessions, when I asked them directly if they feel oppressed as

99

. Japanese women and work: Holding back half the nation, The Economist,
March 29, 2014, Accessed December 8, 2014,
http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21599763-womens-lowly-status-japaneseworkplace-has-barely-improved-decades-and-country.
100

. Ibid.

88

housewives, none of them said yes. But their narratives belied their answers. And current
laws, government, and corporate policies say otherwise.
Then, the wisteria was left baffled. It had nowhere to go and had to keep on
clinging to the pine tree. If strangling the pine tree were a choice, can the wisteria do it?

Watashi mo kono story no toujou-jinbutsu no hitori desu


(I am a character of the story, too.)
From a traditional researchers point of view, I am not qualified to conduct this
research. First, I am my subject participants teacher. If my classes were conducted in the
conventional classroom setting, I am above my students in the classroom hierarchy the authority figure. But online classes at Eigo de Syaberitai are unconventional. As tutor,
I have full control over most of my classes. The choice of learning materials and the
teaching methods are my prerogatives. There is a limited time for each session, but I can
exceed this time limit as long as it does not interfere with succeeding classes. More
important, as long the learners (or clients) are satisfied with my classes, they prefer me as
their tutor. This is the reason why my five regular learners have been taking my classes
for more than a year now. The same goes for my child learners whose mothers have
chosen me to be their online tutor. Two of those mothers even volunteered to become
subject participants in my research.
Secondly, many traditionalists in the quantitative research field may also argue
that I should be detached from my participants. By being so, I can be a professional and
objective researcher. However, for narrative inquiry (a closely similar data collection
technique to the life history that I utilized) to be effectual, The inquiry should be mutual
and sincere collaboration, a caring relationship akin to friendship that is established over

89

time for full participation in the storytellingboth voices are heard. 101 This proves that
in certain researches, a bond is necessary.
In the course of ten months, I have come to appreciate the importance of creating
bonds with people if we want to tell their stories. I had hoped to talk to my subject
participants merely to gather information for my research. I did not expect to learn from
them as well.
Had I been detached from or merely civil towards my subject participants, their
narratives may never be told. I am sure there are other stories from other online ESL
tutors that are waiting to be told as well. I am only one of the many who played the role I
that I played in this research. The stories I listened to may possibly be the same stories
other tutors heard. They may probably even have more stories to tell. Should other tutors
be given a chance to conduct the same research, I am sure they will come up with equally
interesting narratives.

Some Recommendations
Japanese society has always been an interesting subject for researchers embarking
on different kinds of inquiry. It is easy to focus on the social, political, cultural and
economic spheres of Japanese society because of its racial homogeneity. I think of
Japanese society as a complicated web woven by only one immortal spider. Thus, the
complexity behind its homogeneity is its most attractive feature, especially for
researchers.

101

. Catherine Marshall and Gretchen B. Rossman, Designing Qualitative


Research (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc., 1995), 87.

90

This life history study of women is most useful to ESL teachers. It can give them
an insight on the lifestyle, ideals, sentiments and culture of Japanese housewives. Just as I
mentioned in my introduction, possessing cultural knowledge of students benefits
teachers in many types of classes, e.g. discussion classes. Also, an understanding of the
learners culture facilitates the development of a teacher learner relationship. Learners
always appreciate what teachers know about their culture, especially when they have
sessions for the first time.
Researchers from the humanities and social sciences who are interested in the life
history research method can use my research as a resource for online interpersonal
communication between Filipino ESL tutors and Japanese ESL learners. A friend who
majored in journalism, and helped me in transcribe some of the recorded sessions tells me
that every single one of my sessions holds numerous possible topics for research in the
areas of communication, linguistics and economics.
My research can be used as a jump-off point for studies on cross-cultural
communication. One of my subject participants is a Japanese woman married to a
Frenchman. Her husband and she currently live in Paris. It would be interesting to do an
inquiry on how Japanese women married to non-Japanese males define their roles as
wives, especially if they grew up in a culture steeped in their own traditions. Perhaps, in
the Philippine context, it can be a study on how Filipino women married to non-Filipino
men define their roles as wives.
Another recommendation is to adapt the study to Philippine setting, i.e. Filipino
housewives utilizing the Internet for self-improvement. Distance education has existed in
the country for quite some time now. The University of the Philippines Open University

91

(UPOU) offers a number of online courses.102 It would be interesting to interpret statistics


of married women, single mothers or middle-aged housewives enrolled in those courses.
In addition, narratives behind their pursuit of higher education or the continuation of
interrupted education may also be another possible field of inquiry.
Based on my observation, there are a few undergraduate qualitative researches on
different aspects of Japans culture, economy and society in the UP Baguio library. Most
of the researches done are on Japanese animation and comic books. I hope that
undergraduate researchers will try to conduct more researches about Japanese people, and
not just representations of them.

102

. Linda Bolido, University without borders, The Philippine Daily


Inquirer,September 5, 2009, Accessed December 8, 2014,
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/learning/view/20090517205549/University-without-borders/.

92

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APPENDIX A. DISCUSSION MATERIAL

This was the material given to the subject participants for the sessions.
(THESE ARE EXCERPTS FROM VARIOUS BOOKS ON JAPAN AND JAPANESE
WOMEN.)
Sanshoku hirunetsuki
Tama no koshi
Ryosai kenbo
Source: To Become a Full-Time Homemaker: A Womans Dream of
Yesteryear, The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater
Inequality, Tachibanaki Toshiaki
, a typical question posed by a Westerner is, How can any woman tolerate
a husband who returns late practically every night? Isnt that simply treating a woman as
a domestic servant? On the western scale, yes. However many Japanese women resent
the Western interpretation of their role as a wife of an oppressed species.
.the Japanese housewife was virtually the minister of finance and had very
wide discretionary power over the husbands pay envelope that was in the great majority
of cases, handed over to her in its entirety. This happens to be a fact, not a conjecture, and
has been verified by repeated surveys by banks. The wife allocates funds, which includes
handing her husband his daily pocket money. While there may be protestations and
pleadings in some cases, on all accounts she tends to hold firm, like any good secretary to
the treasury or minister of finance.
Source: From Bonsai to Levis When West Meets East: An Insiders
Surprising Account of How the Japanese Live by George Fields.
Many women do engage in such activities as part-time jobs, sports , consumer
movements, and arts and crafts , but only as long as they do not interfere with the care of
the family.
Marriage in Japan is like taking a tenured post, in the sense that both husband and
wife have a tendency to take the relationship for granted.
Communication between Japanese couples, except for newlyweds, may be
minimal.

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The common expression A good husband is healthy and absent accurately


reflects the attitude of many Japanese women toward their husbands.
Source: THE JAPANESE TODAY: CHANGING LIFE-PATTERNS, The
Feminine Perspective in Japan Today, JAPAN TODAY, edited by Kenneth A.
Grossberg.
Communication on the Internet, however enables women to take part in the public
discussion while preserving their privacy and anonymity; that is, they have no need to
engage in face-to-face debate or to use language appropriate to hierarchically-ordered
direct discourse. Thus the anonymous character of the Internet has provided space or a
variety of new interactive forums for women. For example, one housewife relates that:
As a housewife, I was always treated as subordinate to my husbandMy opinion
was often treated not as mine but my husbands wifes. The only place I was
treated as an individual was on the Net, probably because I didnt reveal that I am
someones wife.
On websites for Japanese women:
As early as 1996, Matsuura Satoko found that a diverse range of womens voices on Web
sites for Japanese women:
I was astonished to see that various womens voices are heard and visible on the
Internet. These are very different from ordinary conversations among women,
which usually have to be modest, self-effacing, and settled privatelyTheir
voices are lively. They are trying to build real communication and relationships
on the Internet, leaving behind secure and soothing conversations Women
who were confined at home to private issues such as child-rearing, care of the
elderly, domestic violence, sexual harassment and other discrimination, are now
stepping out. Its as if Pandoras Box has been opened in Japanese society.
Source: Challenging Society through the information grid: Japanese
womens activism on the Net, Japanese Cybercultures, edited by Mark Selden.

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APPENDIX B. STUDENT KARTE (Students Profile)

This is a screenshot of a Student Karte. In Eigo de Syaberitai Club, tutors use it as


a basis for preliminary evaluation of a students English level. It contains real scores or
predicted scores from different English proficiency tests. In addition, it contains some
basic information as well as requests from the student. However, in some cases the
Student Karte is inaccurate. That is why the evaluation of the students proficiency still
depends heavily on the tutor.

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APPENDIX C. TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDED SESSION

Participant: Emiko
Date: October 13, 2014
Time: 2:11 PM
Duration: 00:45:13
Emiko: Hello!
Marvin: Hello, Emiko-san!
Emiko: Hi!
Marvin: Yes, good afternoon!
Emiko: Good afternoon! Kentaro is away
Marvin: Yeah.
Emiko: but he may be back in half an hour, so better do it quickly.
Marvin: Yes, let's try to do it as quickly as possible.
Emiko: Okay.
Marvin: So, well, technically, you are not one of my learners, but Kentaro is Emiko: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: - who is your son, right?
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: But I got interested in interviewing you or this session. Oh, sorry. Yes, I got
interested in having you for this session because basically of your English skill. And I'm
wondering how did you start learning English?
Emiko: Oh.
Marvin: Or when did you start?
Emiko: Okay. Let me think. It was--I started learning English when I was 5th Grade, 5th
Grade at elementary school.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And that was--I think it was--I wasn't really interested in--look back--okay, yeah.
In Japan, you're supposed to learn romaji.
Marvin: Okay.
Emiko: Which is like a Japanese way of importing English from--English and then
translate it in Japanese, so.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And then I didn't learn it because I was sick at that time, so I had a disadvantage.
I couldn't read alphabet. And my mama was worried because I couldn't read alphabet, and
then because I was going to the Junior High. And in Junior High, English is mandatory.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

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Emiko: And everybody could at least read the alphabet around the fifth grade, and I
wasn't. I didn't learn it.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So Mom sent me to an English school, more like a private school.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: One-on-one basis. It's once every week.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And the teacher was English--the teacher was Japanese, and she studied abroad,
in England, actually, Great Britain. She got a British way of teaching things.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Actually, she gave me textbook that's used in junior high.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So it's very,very basic stuff, starting from ABC, and then she taught me how to
write just like very basic one. And then she told me to speak loud, read aloud. Every time
I learned English, I'm supposed to read aloud.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That's her style.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: And by doing that, I picked up the pronunciation.
Marvin: Nice.
Emiko: It's not really like from English--uh, from Japanese, so it's not a native English
but at least I learned how to pronounce.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And then by, let's see, by sixth grade, I learned all the textbooks that you're
supposed to learn at junior high for the first grade. So in English term, it's seventh grade.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So the entire year worth of textbook, I learned.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So that gave me an advantage-Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: --of learning English when I went to Junior High. So everybody started from
ABC, but I already learned the textbook.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So I was pretty good at, like, learning English in the class. So I was more like a-let's see--because you learned and you are at least better than others, so that makes you
like the subject.
Marvin: Ah.
Emiko: So that's how I started. Because I'm better than everybody else, so I could learn
more, I'm better than anybody else.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

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Emiko: So that's sort of an incentive.


Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That's where I picked it up.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And also at that time everything was imported from America, officially. It's very,
very new and very sort of good.
Marvin: Hmm.
Emiko: I was born in 1965.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So when I was in junior high, when I was little, everything was made in Japan.
Importing stuff is really expensive.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: You know the exchange rate is 360 Yen to a dollar.
Marvin: Wow.
Emiko: So it's really expensive. Everything is expensive. So everything imported from
America is really, really nice. It looks nice and good. So I was really attracted to the stuff
in America.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And the movies and books. I started to learn English and also reading English
and listening to English. But it's really hard to get textbooks.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Anyway, it's not--it's not Internet basis. Everything is analog.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So I have to get like the magnetic tape or even if to watch movie, I have to go
out to the theater.
Marvin: Oh, wow (laughs).
Emiko: (laughs) No, no. In Japan, there's no bilingual broadcast at that time.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So I have to go to the theater and I just sit through and just watch movie.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. With no subtitles or subtitled ones?
Emiko: Subtitled.
Marvin: Subtitled movies. Ah.
Emiko: Imagine to watch, American television at home, it's dubbed in Japanese, so I
can't really listen to original English. So I have to go to the theater. Like that. So in a
way, it's hard to learn. So because it's hard to get textbooks, all those things--actually, it's
a motivation to just learn.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And also at that time not so many people can--could speak English, so that is
also an *incentive.
Marvin: Uh-huh. Interesting.

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Emiko: So what I did was read aloud the textbooks I was given at the junior high. And
also listen to the radio that is broadcasted in Japan. It's based on American staying in
Japan, Far East Network. Have you ever heard about that?
Marvin: Not exactly.
Emiko: It's actually for Navys stationed in America--in Japan. And they have a special
frequency that's allocated to them, so they can broadcast their own news and music and
stories.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And it's for free. So I listen to it almost every day about half an hour whenever I
had a time.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That's the only thing I did. Listen to FEN and read aloud the textbook I was
given.
Marvin: I see. So pretty much after those one-on-one lessons with the tutor, you did
everything by yourself?
Emiko: That's right, self-educated.
Marvin: Amazing!
Emiko: Yeah. You know what, it's really hard to get like native teachers in Japan at the
time I was born, when I was raised.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: It's so expensive. Everything is so expensive. You have to find a way to get it for
free.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: Which is just the textbooks and also like free radio program.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Well, going to the theater if I had any money.
Marvin: Yeah.
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: Exactly. I heard that even going to the movies in your country is quite
expensive, right?
Emiko: Expensive, yeah.
Marvin: Even until now, even until now (laughs).
Emiko: (laughs) Yeah. Well, everything is really cheaper compared to the past that's still
very expensive. And then, the other thing was--by the time I went to university, I was
very--I can--I could speak English very well and also I could read very well, and then
write very well. And so I started teaching English out for elementary school kids and high
school kids or junior high kids as a tutor.
Marvin: Oh. But did your major have anything to do with English?
Emiko: Well, my major was Russian, so nothing to do with English (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs) Interesting.

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Emiko: Something in common like grammar.


Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And in some ways they're from--well, like interconnected in a way.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Russian is really closely related to European language which is _____. So that's
the only thing that's common.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Yeah, but teaching somebody English, you learn a lot from them. Because you
have to teach--you have to learn more.
Marvin: Yes.
Emiko: And they give you questions, so you have to research, and study.
Marvin: Exactly.
Emiko: So that was my motivation to keep studying.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Even if you learn English and you kinda get really to the level that you can
speak, if you don't speak every day or use it, you lose it.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So being a tutor for kids is really a good thing.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And right now teaching Kentaro is also good for me. I have to always use
English to him.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So you just have to keep learning _____ if it's just a second language to you.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: It's not a native language, so keep using it.
Marvin: So can we say that your household, your home, is bilingual home bilingual
household? Like-Emiko: Yeah, Kentaro.
Marvin: --all of you speak English?
Emiko: No, I talk to Kentaro in English.
Marvin: Yes.
Emiko: And my husband talk to me in Japanese.
Marvin: Okay.
Emiko: And I talk to him in Japanese. It's just Kentaro in English.
Marvin: Hmm.
Emiko: But lately-Marvin: So your husband does not exactly like talking in English?
Emiko: Not exactly, no. He can--he can understand.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. I see, I see.
Emiko: Yeah.

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Marvin: Thank you very much for that. I'm really surprised.
Emiko: Oh.
Marvin: I was expecting that you would say that you went to another country, stayed
their for a few years, that's how you got the skills.
Emiko: Oh, yeah.
Marvin: But no.
Emiko: You know that I went to Canada for two years?
Marvin: Yes, you mentioned that before.
Emiko: I was actually--after--after I learned English, I was actually thinking about
immigrating to Canada because I like the country so much.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So I wanted to be very good at speaking English before I went to Canada.
Marvin: MM-hmm.
Emiko: Otherwise, you can't get any job. Well, it was really tough to get a job even if I
was able to speak English well. But it was really hard to get a job. So let alone if you
can't speak English at all, then it's almost impossible to get a job.
Marvin: Exactly. Wow. Wow. I don't know. I just found out those things now and I'm
pretty surprised (laughs).
Emiko: (laughs)
Marvin: Now, let's go to the article that I sent.
Emiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: These are all excerpts from different books-Emiko: Yes.
Marvin: --that I'm currently reading about Japan--changes in Japan from a long time ago
until now. Most probably since the World War and then the current century.
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: And most of them are Japanese women, Japanese family.
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: Yes. So the first three, you have the copy now?
Emiko: Yes, I do.
Marvin: Yeah. The first three are--I'm not sure if they're concepts or ideas but they are in
phrases, or maybe Japanese sentences.
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: Could you try briefly to explain each one?
Emiko: Oh, briefly explain?
Marvin: Yeah, the first one.
Emiko: Okay. Then I have to open up the file.
Marvin: Yes, please. Yes, please.
Emiko: I read it but--sorry. Okay. This has three words.
Marvin: Yes.

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Emiko: I can't open it up. So, "To Become a Full-Time Homemaker: A Womans Dream
of-Marvin: --Yesteryear. That's the source. And the first three phrases says, Sanshoku
hirunetsuki, Tama no koshi-Emiko: Oh, yes. Okay.
Marvin: Yeah. So, let's start with the first one.
Emiko: Sanshoku hirunetsuki is a--that must be a--if you're a housewife, then you can-you just--you have a free meal.
Marvin: Okay.
Emiko: You have free meals and then you can take a nap whenever you want.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. All right.
Emiko: You have a lot of free time. And Tama no koshi is a--actually, there's a same
phrase in English, too.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: You hitch on somebody really rich.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: And you get rich as well because you're married to that person.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: And Ryosai kenbo is you're really good wife.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: In the eye of your husband.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. So do you think-Emiko: Yeah, Or more of a subservient.
Marvin: --that these concepts have already changed through time or do they still ring
true until now in the 21st Century?
Emiko: Well, Sanshoku hirunetsuki is a 21st Century word, I think.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: But it's more--maybe ten years ago or twenty years ago before Bubble Economy.
Marvin: Oh, okay.
Emiko: Or during the Bubble Economy. During when everything is going up and the
living standard is going--is going up.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And economy is really booming so everybody is busy especially husbands are
busy. They've got a lot of workload, and they have to work until very late. They won't be
home until very late.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That means being a housewife, you don't have anything to do except eating
meals and having--taking a nap.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That's sort of the word in the past.

106

Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: After the economy declined, then that means that there aren't so many things-well, jobs to do at work. And husbands are always--they can't earn a lot of money.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: They can't bring home a lot of money. So housewife has to pitch in--had to pitch
in. That means that they have to go out and look for work and get some money to make
up for the loss that husbands couldn't make.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So looking around me, I don't see any housewife that stay at home doing
nothing.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: They have to stay at home because they have to take care of their children when
they are little.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So they are busy when they are little, their kids are little. But after their sending
their kids to elementary school, they start going out for work, looking for work.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Start with part-time jobs because it's really hard to get full-time when you start
looking for a job.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Start with part-time job and getting some experience.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: You have to start anew when you are away from the work for more than three
years, you have to--you have to start anew.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That means if you go out for--looking for work, nobody wants to hire you
because you don't have an experience. So you start with a part-time job and after a couple
of years or several years, you get full-time.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So I don't see anybody who's really have anything to do at home than taking napMarvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: --right now.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Sanshoku hirunetsuki is a thing in the past.
Marvin: Yes, a complete obsolete thing, maybe we can say that.
Emiko: Yeah, but not completely--maybe not completely when you have a husband
who's really rich and busy (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs)

107

Emiko: So, Japan is not as extreme as United States, but things are getting like going to
extremes. One are getting really rich and the other are getting really poor.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And families are like separate. Oh, door (doorbell rings).
Marvin: That's fine.
Emiko: [Hi, _______.] In some families housewives can afford going out for lunch, a
really good lunch.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And having friends and parties, and they can do anything they want with the
money and the free time they have.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: But normally if you have like middle-income families, they could be--raising
kids is so expensive and currently everything is getting expensive. So really have to
work.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Once you raised your kids and then they're in the elementary school, then just
looking for work, start looking for work. So that word is a thing in the past.
Marvin: I see. What about the other two? Tama no koshi.
Emiko: Tama no koshi is probably will be. Has been and will be forever and ever.
Marvin: (laughs)
Emiko: As long as there are rich men in the world. And as long as women looking for
somebody who are rich enough to make them happy. Probably this is not only in Japan
but all over the world.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So, I would say this is the word for today, too.
Marvin: Okay. Universal, we can say.
Emiko: Universal.
Marvin: And third one, Ryosai kenbo.
Emiko: That's--Yeah, pretty much a thing in the past.
Marvin: Ah.
Emiko: Yeah, Ryosai kenbo is usually for women [doorbell rings]
[interruption]
Emiko: Okay. For women staying at home and doing everything for husband--to
husband's will or to cater to their husbands.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Though I don't see anybody doing that right now (laughs).
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: But there was--this word is used for--used sometimes in the newspapers or--it's
the word that--not one that would die out but will stay.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

108

Emiko: And everybody thinks that Ryosai kenbo is a really good thing.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: A good person.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: But it's not really achievable right now (laughs).
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: You can't really stay at home and cater to your husband.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Very idealistic, right?
Emiko: You have to work.
Marvin: This is a very idealistic concept.
Emiko: That's right, idealistic. Yes.
Marvin: Okay. So now let's move on to the second part.
Emiko: Okay.
Marvin: This is from the book called "From Bonsai to Levis When West Meets East:
An Insiders Surprising Account of How the Japanese Live" by George Fields. So he was
an Australian who used to work and live in Japan.
Emiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: And basically what he wrote are observations on how Japanese consumers
think, okay?
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: And these are about housewives, and how housewives have kind of control or
they have the control with the family or the household's money. But the first one is all
about a question asking, "How can any woman tolerate a husband who returns late
practically every night? Isnt that simply treating a woman as a domestic servant? So he
says, "On the western scale, yes. However many Japanese women resent the Western
interpretation of their role as a wife of an oppressed species.
What is your opinion on that one?
Emiko: Well, I understand that they are a lot housewife--housewives who got a lot of
control over budget, the money that husband makes--their husbands make. So, you know
what, they have power.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: If you have money, you have power.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So on that point, I think that what's written is wrong. A lot of husbands do not
have any power when it comes to money-Marvin: Do not have, right?
Emiko: --and they have allocated--do not have.
Marvin: Do not have. Okay.
Emiko: They have like allowance given, from their wives.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

109

Emiko: That means that there are more--they are more subject to their housewives, I
think.
Marvin: So that's the second part. That's what the second part is saying, that the wife is
like the minister of-Emiko: Of finance.
Marvin: Yeah, of finance, or the secretary of treasury or to the treasury-Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: --right? What about, you know, just staying at home and basically waiting for
the kids or the husband to come home-Emiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: --almost every night? I mean, the husband goes overtime.
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: From a Western perspective, they will think that, "Oh, God, this wife is being
subservient to the husband waiting for him every night and day."
Emiko: Yeah, but-Marvin: But Japanese--Mm-hmm?
Emiko: --that's what I'm really interested in when I was watching movies and there--the
housewives are always, always complaining that their husbands are really late. But
they're not late from like drinking, having party outside.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: They're working. So I don't understand why they think that's wrong.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: They are not working at their will. They're working because the company
demands them to work.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And if they don't work, they'll be fired.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So if the housewife starts to complain that means that husband cannot work,
continue work.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So it's not that we are tolerating--women are tolerating husband's--what do you
say?
Marvin: Coming home late?
Emiko: Yeah, not tolerating husband's willing--willing to coming home late. But
husband wants to come home early, but the company makes him work.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So it's the different--we were--we were--what do you say? It's not the husband
we are complaining about. It's the company that we're complaining about.
Marvin: Okay. So not to the person but to the company?
Emiko: Company. And to the society, I would say.

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Marvin: The whole system itself.


Emiko: Because he cannot do anything if he stops working late. He can't have his job.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And it's more like a whole Japanese society that's really, really wrong. And I
understand--I think the same tendency happens in Korea, too.
Marvin: So I heard, yeah.
Emiko: A lot of companies are so demanding. And husbands are really late home--late-working late and coming back home late.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And it was--all the society are like totally, totally it's like it's set in that way.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That doing something different is more of a rejecting work.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: It's not. So you can't do anything about it, and how can you complain?
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: It's more like stop--stop living-Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: --if you don't do it. Or otherwise, you just have to leave the country and look for
other life in other country.
Marvin: Got it, got it. So, have you ever complained about, you know, your husband
coming home late like not having time for the family sometimes?
Emiko: Well, if he went out drinking often then I would complain. Because that's not his
job (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs)
Emiko: His job is coming home and taking care of our kid and me.
Marvin: Oh, interesting. Let's now go to the next 1, 2, 3, 4 lines.
Emiko: Okay.
Marvin: Now these are about the changing life patterns.
Emiko: Sure.
Marvin: Yeah, it's from the book called "Japan Today" from the section "The Feminine
Perspective in Japan Today". These sentences or these excerpts are basically made in
comparison to what the trend was during the World War or after the World War, okay?
Emiko: Hmm.
Marvin: So it says here that women engage in different activities and--well, some of
them, I'm not sure if this is still true, especially the second one. Can you see the second
one?
Emiko: "As a housewife, I was always treated as subordinate"-Marvin: Ah, no. The one that says "Marriage in Japan is like taking a tenured post".
Emiko: Oh, that one.
Marvin: Yeah.

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Emiko: Tenured post, yeah, okay.


Marvin: Yes.
Emiko: "... in the sense that both husband and wife have a tendency to take the
'responsibility' for granted."
Marvin: Relationship, "take relationship for granted".
Emiko: Oh, relationship for granted.
Marvin: Yes.
Emiko: Tenured post?
Marvin: Like a permanent job, a regular job.
Emiko: Well, yeah (laughs). Well, it's just that around me there are so many professional
women.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: My friends are mostly professional women so they keep working even after they
married.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So in a way, taking a tenured post is a little bit different.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: They don't think they have--they took a tenured post. And husbands really help
them out when they work really hard and late.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So in a way, this paragraph is more of my mother's generation.
Marvin: Okay.
Emiko: When they usually stop working after they're married , and take a tenured post,
in a way. And they--also in my mom's generation, once you stop working, you'll never be
able to find another job.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: There's no move--in a way, movement in a job market, so it's--once you work for
one company, you stay there for the rest of your life.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That means that the company would not hire anybody who quit the job before.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Once you get in, you stay there forever. Once you get out, you can't get in.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That's the path. Right now, you can get back to the company if you finish raising
kids. As long as you have some kind of professional certificate, like you're a doctor or
you're accountant. Some kind of professional job you have, then you can always get back
to the market.
Marvin: Hmm. I see.
Emiko: So, it's different.
Marvin: So, this one is true in your mom's generation, but not anymore?

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Emiko: That's true. And some people--some women who do not have any professional-professional job, all they can do is waiting--waiting--cash register or--if you don't have
any professional knowledge, then it's really hard to get back into the market.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So you can't get a job, then it's more of marriage is a tenured post (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs) A tenured post. Got it. And the last two--the last two in this section are
kind of related. "Communication between Japanese couples, except for newlyweds, may
be minimal." And the last one says, "The common expression A good husband is
healthy and absent accurately reflects the attitude of many Japanese women toward their
husbands."
True or not true anymore?
Emiko: Hmm. It is--the husband is healthy and absent, yeah (laughs). Maybe for--even
for Americans with a trophy wife, maybe.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: It reflects the relationship that if you don't really love husband anymore, then
that would be true.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: But if you love your husband then healthy and absent is not really fun.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So it's how you see your husband in a way.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. What about minimal communication? It says here Japanese couples
normally have minimal communication. There is a big difference in my culture and your
culture, so I don't know what minimal means-Emiko: Oh, yes.
Marvin: in the context of your culture.
Emiko: That minimal communication is more of my mom's generation or my husband's
mom's generation.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Like, you know, families are different. My dad talked a lot and my mom and
dad, they all talk to each other all the time, and there so, like, together-Marvin: (laughs) Close?
Emiko: --all the time. They look so happy.
Marvin: Pretty close, right?
Emiko: Yeah, so it's about how you see your marriage.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And, yeah, come to think of it, my husband's mom--well, their parents are really
quiet to each other. So it's more about relationship. It's special, so you can't really
generalize, yeah, the relationship. Even in Japan there are people who are really--their
marriage work really well and functioning. There's a lot of communication in the family.

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And I see that even in my parents' generation, there are neighbors on our floor, and they
are both in their 60s or 70s and they look so happy together, the husband and wife.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And one of them husband--no, one housewife died on this floor and then the
husband looked so sad. Every day we meet him, he looks so sad.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Emiko: So it's just how you work at the relationship, and how the communication is
going in the family that makes the difference.
Marvin: Hmm.
Emiko: And probably, when this was written, it was about the economy is really
booming and it's really busy time. And when husbands are always working and busy and
never comes back home, and of course, they have a lot of money. And company, and also
husband, got a lot of money, they went out drinking all the time.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And on weekends, they play golf or they have some kind of a gentleman's
together.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: That means that they left the housewives at home and communication is more
like nonexistent. Over the years that they can't really rebuild their relationship, so that
this phrase that husband is good when he's healthy and absent.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So it's more like when booming, more like 1970s or '80s.
Marvin: Yes, late '70s, early '80s.
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: Around that time. And I think that was the time when the book was written.
Emiko: Right.
Marvin: Yeah, because there were no--there's not so many books, actually, about
Japanese studies in our library, so I have to make use of what we have.
Emiko: Oh, I see. Okay.
Marvin: So I went through all books that has something to do with Japan and I picked
them all up, and I was able to find these. And some of them are pretty outdated, but they
could still be used as materials, somehow.
Emiko: I see. Mm-hmm.
Marvin: More of like archival materials.
Emiko: I think that economy had a big impact on our lives.
Marvin: Yes.
Emiko: Currently, economy is so bad that everybody--almost--most people cannot make
enough money.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

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Emiko: That means that the companies are not making a lot of money, so they don't
really give like entertainment expenses to their employees.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So employees cannot really go out and drink at restaurants or bar. They usually
come straight home.
Marvin: Okay. You actually raised an interesting point. Is it possible that when the
economy is bad, relationships are better (laughs)?
Emiko: Maybe because they spend so much at home (laughs). And also, because we
don't have a lot of money that means we have to work together. If both of us work really
hard, that means in your relationship, you bond, like we all work hard. Not one party is
working hard, but both of us are working hard.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So making a stronger bond. When you are in a poor families, more like things
work out better rather than when you are in rich family.
Marvin: Hmm.
Emiko: Don't you think that relationship is so much closer?
Marvin: Well, in my country I can't really tell if the economy is bad or good because,
you know (laughs).
Emiko: (laughs)
Marvin: Changes are very minor, you can't even feel it (laughs).
Emiko: (laughs)
Marvin: But in Japan's case, it's the opposite, right? You know if it's really bad. You
know if it's really good. So you can automatically feel the impact of that on your family
or-Emiko: The bad situation lasted for 20 years, so it's really like norm to us (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs)
Emiko: Maybe we never see anything better from now.
Marvin: Well-Emiko: Considering *population is decreasing and the worldwide economy is not really
good.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So, yeah. In a way, things are getting smaller and smaller and families are getting
back to a tight-knit family.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Not each person is going out and enjoy themselves, but more like a tight, work
together environment.
Marvin: Hmm. I see. Okay. So let's go to the last part, because I think Kentaro wants to
play with you now. Hi, Ken! I'll see you tomorrow.
Emiko: Well, he doesn't have anybody to play with him right now (laughs).

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Marvin: The last part talks about how women use the Internet. Okay. And the first one
says, "Communication on the Internet, however enables women to take part in the public
discussion while preserving their privacy and anonymity; that is, they have no need to
engage in face-to-face debate or to use language 'appropriate' to hierarchically-ordered
direct discourse."
Emiko: Hmm.
Marvin: Would you say that you communicate better on the Internet rather than, you
know, face-to-face, or it doesn't actually make a difference? Because based on what one
housewife says here, she says she's often treated not as her own self but her husband's
wife, just her husband's wife.
Emiko: Hmm. Okay.
Marvin: But on the Internet she was treated as an individual. Because she does not have
to reveal that she is someone's wife. What do you think of that?
Emiko: Well, I don't feel any difference between--actually, communication in the
Internet is really, really hard because you're not face to face. And often, misunderstood.
They have to write--trace what you're saying very carefully, so I don't really prefer
Internet as a means of communication. I'd like to speak in person or at least have a video
discussion.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So I can deliver and communicate precisely and without any misinterpretation,
like Skype (laughs).
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Yes, like Skype (laughs).
Emiko: Anyway, so. Maybe the person who said that is--she is non-existent and she only
exist because her husband's title.
Marvin: Okay.
Emiko: But things like that are only--I only hear from wives from financial institutions.
Marvin: Hmm.
Emiko: I heard that and I know that the financial institutions in Japan is very, very rigid,
and also a kind of unique environment. And also trading houses, too.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: They have a very traditional Japanese hierarchy. And if husband is working for
that company, it's almost like their housewives--their housewives are working for that
company, too.
Marvin: Wow.
Emiko: Because they have to participate in the event carried out by the company as
family.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So, all these people know each other as family.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So, boss' housewife knows their company's families very well.

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Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So they go out together and they spend a lot of time together.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: In that case, husband's title represents their housewives' position.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Maybe that person's housewife--husband is working for that kind of very
traditional Japanese hierarchy company. Usually, we don't see that kind of situation.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: It's more--other Japanese companies are more Westernized by now. And they
don't really see titles.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And also--none of us--we don't really care about husband's title anymore.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: So can we say that housewives are being more individualistic to some extent
rather than, you know, feeling oppressed or feeling like they're overshadowed by their
husbands?
Emiko: Yeah. And also, probably those--those statements are related to each other.
When housewives do not have any job or work that they can't express themselves as
______ [00:42:02.2] then the only thing that they can refer is husband's position or how
much their husbands are making.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And with that, they can say that I'm better than you because my husband is
working for that particular company at such a position with that earning.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: So it's totally depending on what kind of--if wives themselves have positions or
job or work, they have. If they don't have anything at all--anything except home, then
that's the only place or position that they can refer themselves as.
Marvin: Uh-huh, interesting point.
Emiko: Yeah. So probably if I interview me, it's a bit different because I worked as an
accountant when I was working, and I have a title in a way. So my friends also have
titles-Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: --as accountants, so they're more considered as professionals. They are as much
as their husbands.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And they are more independent.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: And my university's friends--friends from my university are like lawyers and
doctors. They are all professionals. So in a way, it's different. Because they do have their

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own titles and positions, higher earnings, sometimes better than their husband's, so. If
they wanna go free and independent or just be themselves, they can. Economically
independent.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: But they are married to their husbands because they still think that their
relationships work, and they have happy time together.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Emiko: Otherwise, they will just go separate ways.
Marvin: Hmm.
Emiko: And they can.
Marvin: Hmm. I see. So, before we end this conversation, do you have any last words,
any other points that you want to raise before we end the session?
Emiko: Well-Marvin: And before Kentaro runs out of patience (laughs).
Emiko: I don't know why he is doing this but--he's a bit bored (laughs).
Marvin: Yeah, I can see that.
Emiko: Well, maybe we should wrap it up because at 4:00 he's going to take a Hope's
lesson.
Marvin: Oh, yeah, exactly. So, thank you very much again for your time.
And, Kentaro, I'm sorry, I need to borrow your mom's time just for a bit. It won't happen
again (laughs). Okay? It won't.
But, yeah, thank you very much. Thank you very much for your time.
Emiko: Thank you!
Marvin: And I'll see you tomorrow, Kentaro. Okay?
Emiko: Yeah.
Marvin: Bye, Ma'am Emiko! Bye, Kentaro!
Emiko: Bye!

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APPENDIX D. TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDED SESSION

Participant: Reiko
Date: October 19, 2014
Time: 2:01 PM
Duration: 00:57:12
Marvin: Hello?
Reiko: Hello!
Marvin: Good afternoon, Reiko!
Reiko: Good afternoon! Sorry it took time to answer you. My--my son was using this
computer and he--he made it mute.
Marvin: (laughs)
Reiko: So, I was wondering why the sound didn't come.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: But I--I made it correct. Okay.
Marvin: Okay. No problem with that. Your son is there so that means it's a vacation
from the university?
Reiko: No, no. He was here in the morning and he was using my computer because this
works better than his, he said.
Marvin: Ah.
Reiko: I wasn't using it. He is now out for working.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: He went out for a part-time job.
Marvin: A part-time job?
Reiko: Yeah.
Marvin: Do you mind if I ask what he does?
Reiko: This is only work for one day, and I think there--there's a--a--I'm not sure. It's--It's
related to animation.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Cool.
Reiko: And I think they invite somebody or they show the new shows or something and
he helps them for--he'll do just anything he is asked to. Like get people in line or just take
tickets.
Marvin: Oh.
Reiko: So, he's working from 12:00 to 9:00 (laughs)
Marvin: More like a production assistant?
Reiko: Oh, yes, yes.
Marvin: Yes, just for one day.
Reiko: Yes.
Marvin: Cool, cool. I would love to have that if I would had the chance. And you were
on a trip, as far as I know, based on our email exchanges.
Reiko: Oh, yes, yes.
Marvin: Was it a vacation?
Reiko: Oh, yes, it was a nice vacation.
Marvin: Nice.

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Reiko: Yeah, but the typhoon was coming and I was wondering what would happen. But
typhoon just passed during the night, so the next day it was clear from the morning--in
the morning, but it was very windy in the morning. And I'm not sure but with the wind,
the raindrops-Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: --came from the sides (laughs), not from the top.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: There was a blue sky.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And some nice white clouds but because it was so windy and there are so many
trees around, maybe the wind just picked up those rain--rains. And it was like raining
from the sides.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And I didn't have an umbrella, so (laughs) I got wet.
Marvin: Uh-huh. And you went sight-seeing?
Reiko: Ah, no. I just went there for relaxing and we didn't have any--we didn't--we didn't
think about anything to do because the typhoon was coming. Maybe we need to stay
inside for a whole day, I thought. We didn't make any plans. So we just went out for
cycling in the afternoon. That's all, and some shopping.
Marvin: Yeah, that sounds relaxing enough.
Reiko: (laughs) Yes, yes.
Marvin: I hope you don't feel any stress by now.
Reiko: No, no, no.
Marvin: (laughs)
Reiko: No, no. I am really relaxed. I don't feel any--I'm not tired at all. I had a good time.
Marvin: Okay. Good. No pains on your back or something?
Reiko: Oh, well, I--just a little bit. Just a little, tiny. But it's okay.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And you're on vacation, too, right?
Marvin: Yeah, I was on a quite long vacation. That was around two weeks, I guess.
Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: It was originally for my birthday. One of my Korean friends came to town,
came here to the Philippines. We've been planning to have that vacation for, I don't know,
the last two years or three years, but it never happened.
Reiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: And then finally, he was able to book a ticket to come here because he is going
to be moved to a different country for work.
Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: Which means he had a one-month vacation.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: And the last lap, or the last days of his vacation he decided to spend it here-Reiko: Oh, good.
Marvin: --in my country. I went to Manila, which is kind of far from this city. And we
spent time together. We drank a lot, of course (laughs).
Reiko: (laughs)
Marvin: Ate a lot of seafood.

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Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: And, yeah, something else (laughs).
Reiko: I see.
Marvin: And other stuff.
Reiko: Was he your student?
Marvin: Yeah, he was. He was a good student of mine a long time ago, back in 2008, I
guess.
Reiko: Oh, I see.
Marvin: And we became really close.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: He stayed in my apartment before he left for Korea. That was before.
Reiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: Yeah, we can say we're like brothers.
Reiko: Oh, wow. Nice.
Marvin: Yes, yes. He was really, really nice. And you know how it feels when you see a
person that you haven't seen for a long time?
Reiko: Ah, yes, yes.
Marvin: Right?
Reiko: Yes, you have a lot to talk about.
Marvin: A lot to talk about. And your faces are different.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: But, I don't know if it's fortunate or unfortunate, but his face never changed. I
envy him.
Reiko: Oh, wow.
Marvin: And-Reiko: How about-Marvin: Yes, go ahead?
Reiko: From my experience, men don't change so much.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. But he's--I looked different now.
Reiko: Oh. Better, you mean?
Marvin: Well, he says I look more mature. A long time ago when I was his teacher, he
said I looked like a kid.
Reiko: Oh, I see.
Marvin: (laughs) I don't know if that's good thing.
Reiko: Hmm. Well, (laughs) I don't know what to say.
Marvin: Yeah, because--I think probably it's the facial hair. I didn't use to have facial
hair a long time ago.
Reiko: Facial hair?
Marvin: Beard, moustache, facial hair.
Reiko: Ah. Facial hair, oh.
Marvin: Yeah, you call that facial hair. I didn't have that before.
Reiko: Oh, you do now?
Marvin: I do now (laughs). A lot.
Reiko: Oh, I see.
Marvin: It grows really fast. So maybe that's one reason. He says I kinda look scary
(laughs).

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Reiko: Oh (laughs).
Marvin: I like that. Scary is good.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: Sometimes.
Reiko: Yes.
Marvin: Okay. For today's class, it's kinda different. The usual articles that we have are
from the Internet.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: But this time I got them from books.
Reiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: They're from my university library.
Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: And I sent them to you, right, in advance?
Reiko: Yes, yes, yes. Yes. Thank you for sending me.
Marvin: No problem. So the first part of this article has three concepts and-Reiko: Yes.
Marvin: --I think they're all related to marriage or wives or marrying.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: And could you try to explain these to me? Let's say for example sanshoku
hirunetsuki.
Reiko: Yeah, sanshoku hirunetsuki and tama no koshi and rysai kenbo. The words I
often heard when I was young.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Yeah, sanshoku hirunetsuki. So, you want me to explain this?
Marvin: Yes, please.
Reiko: Okay. sanshoku hirunetsuki, sanshoku means "three meals"; hirune is a "nap".
Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: So if you marry, you can have three meals and a nap for free (laughs).
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, hmm, so that means women should marry, I guess.
Marvin: For those reasons?
Reiko: Yeah, for those--those reasons.
Marvin: Ah. And the second one, tama no koshi?
Reiko: Ah. Tama no koshi is a woman marrying a rich man.
Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: Yeah. Women from ordinary family or poor family, they marry to--with a rich
man, she can have a luxurious life for life (laughs).
Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: So, this phrase, I think is used now to--among mothers if some--if a woman, a girl
is marrying to a rich man,"Oh! She's tama no koshi" or something like that.
Marvin: Is that a bad thing?
Reiko: No, it's--it's a-Marvin: It's not? Uh-huh.
Reiko: It sounds good thing. We usually have the connotation that she's lucky.
Marvin: Oh, I see.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.

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Marvin: So let's say for example a group of wives are talking among themselves and one
wife says to another wife that she is a tama no koshi, it's not a bad thing?
Reiko: No, no, no. With some envy, I think.
Marvin: Oh, I see.
Reiko: To me, yeah. To me.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: I don't know about young people now how they consider this phrase, but to us, I
think, we think that she's lucky and we envy her.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Yeah, that's the image we have.
Marvin: I see, I see. But is there a male counterpart? Because tama no koshi you said is
for housewives or wives. But for men who marry, you know, women who are richer than
them, is there a term?
Reiko: Hmm. I don't know. I don't think so. I can't think of any now.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: In that case, it's usually considered--the connotation (laughs) is that maybe they
can broke--they will broke up.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. They will break up soon.
Reiko: Ah, break up soon. Because she earns more money or she's so rich and he has to
obey her.
Marvin: (laughs) Okay.
Reiko: (laughs) And he has to--he has to do what he's told to do.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And he has to always respect her family and her parents. So, a little bit of feelings
coming to me was that we're a little sorry for him.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Because he married to a rich girl or a rich family.
Marvin: Ah.
Reiko: That means he--does he have a freedom to do what he wants to do (laughs).
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Reiko: So, I don't think there's a specific word for that.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Wow.
Reiko: (laughs)
Marvin: Maybe we can do some Googling after this and we can find for the male
counterpart-Reiko: Oh, yes, yes. Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: -- of tama no koshi.
Reiko: Yes, if you find it, please tell me.
Marvin: Yes. And the third one, rysai kenbo.
Reiko: Rysai kenbo is a typical good wife. Rysai is "a good wife"; kenbo is "a good
mother. So, this is a typical married woman's image.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Or the image the married woman should be.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: That's all I can say now.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Could we say that they are ideals?

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Reiko: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, before.


Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: (laughs) I don't know about now. I don't think rysai--the word rysai kenbo is
used so often now.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. And just like what the article says at the bottom of the section, the
source is "The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater Inequality"
by Tachibanaki Toshiaki.
Reiko: Ah, excuse me. Excuse me.
Marvin: Yes?
Reiko: Where?
Marvin: At the bottom of the section, it says "Source, right?
Reiko: Oh, yes, yes, yes.
Marvin: So this is where it came from, from the book "The New Paradox for Japanese
Women" under the section "To Become a Full-time Homemaker: A Woman's Dream of
Yesteryear. So we could say that yes, these were ideals that were very much true a long
time ago.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: So, let's try to look back. Before you got married, did you think of those
concepts? Or you just heard of them?
Reiko: Oh, well-Marvin: Did you feel that they're actually, you know, having an effect on you?
Reiko: Ah, I think so-Marvin: I have to be this.
Reiko: --because I have a--I have heard of these phrases over and over and over again
from when I was growing up.
Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: So, yeah, in some way, I was affected, I guess. But I went--I went to the United
States when I was a high school student for one year.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, that experience made me realize there's another perspective, another way of
living for women, too.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, I can't say I was affected but after I began working, maybe I had a feeling that
I really didn't like those ideas.
Marvin: Hmm.
Reiko: (laughs) So, I wanted to deny those ideas.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And maybe the *pendulum went too far and I wanted to be independent.
Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: And I--maybe at that time I looked down on the women who just search for good
men.
Marvin: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
Reiko: To be sanshoku hirunetsuki and want to get on tama no koshi and want to be
rysai kenbo. Maybe I just--yeah, looked down on them-Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: --in a way. I hope I didn't show it (laughs).

124

Marvin: Mm-hmm (laughs). But did those things change when you got married? Or you
still kept some of them intact?
Reiko: Umm. I, umm, well, after I got married my--maybe my ideal was that I work and
at the same time I raise my children. I have--and in Japan, marriage is like not individual
but house to house sometimes. And I didn't think about it at all and I thought marriage
was like individual relationship. And after I got married, I realized that I--I'm married to a
Japanese guy and he has the image that we should visit parents' house. We have to follow
the traditional things like that.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And I realized that working full-time and raising children are so hard. And at that
time, working full-time means working full-time like a guy, like a men--like men. So,
sometimes it was taken for granted that women should work from morning until maybe,
you know, like 7:00, 8:00 at night. But women--some women--I was a teacher so, some
female teachers just rejected and said that they have to pick up their kids so they are
leaving at 5:00.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And I--when I didn't have kids, I thought that is it okay just to say goodbye at
5:00 (laughs).
Marvin: Automatically to say goodbye (laughs).
Reiko: While everybody is still working.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: But now I think the things should change.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And raising children and working full-time are impossible to some people.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: It might be possible to--to some people but it depends on their work--working
conditions.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And it's not good for children. I thought that women working like men and have
something to--if they have something to contribute to the company or society, that's
beautiful, I thought.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: But later, maybe 20 years later, I realized that their children are having--were
having time--time that they felt so sad. They were not good---taken care of.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And so it's not--now I think that it's not good for both--for mothers and children
to work like that. And husbands have to change to. In Japan, not long time ago, men like-in this article, men worked so long in Japan, so that means they don't help or they don't
contribute or they don't take part in rearing their children.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And that's bad (laughs).
Marvin: Hmm. So, wives are not getting enough support from husbands because
husbands have to work full-time.
Reiko: Yes.
Marvin: But wives on the other hand would sometimes have to work part-time and at the
same time work full-time as housewives.

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Reiko: Hmm, yeah.


Marvin: I see.
Reiko: So yeah, both are working full-time. Maybe their parents are--the grandmothers
for the children, I think grandmothers are helping the couple a lot in this.
Marvin: Grandmothers. But would that be true in big cities as well? I think it can be
possible in let's say not-so busy town.
Reiko: Hmm. Well, I think it depends because I can't think of the--two of my friends just
came to my mind. One is working part-time, and after the part-time job, she takes trains
to go to her daughter's house. And her daughter has two elementary kids, elementary
school kids and she just send them to swimming pool or cram school and she makes
dinner for children and their mother. That means her daughter. And comes home by
taking trains and arrives at her house, she said, around 9:00. And then she prepares her
own dinner for herself and her husband, she said.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And the other woman, around my age, she is taking care of her son's children, I
guess. But she's not working.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: But she said she's busy (laughs) taking care of children.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So I think it's possible. And the one who goes to see--goes to her daughter's
children--she lives in the middle of Tokyo. So it depends, I guess. And it's possible.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. I see. So at least they're getting some help.
Reiko: Oh, yes, yes. A lot of help, I guess.
Marvin: Yeah. So let's now go to the next section. And the next section has something to
do with money and how some Westerners actually see Japanese housewives. And it's
from the book called "From Bonsai to Levis When West Meets East: An Insiders
Surprising Account of How the Japanese Live" by George Fields. George Fields was an
Australian, who had a business in Japan a long time ago.
Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: And he wrote a book about how Japanese people as consumers behave.
Reiko: I see.
Marvin: So, many of his ideas had something to do with buying and the economic--and
economics or the economy. And he observed a lot of good things, actually.
Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: He tried not to be biased to his roots because he's a Westerner.
Reiko: Yes.
Marvin: But instead, he is trying to tell Westerners or the rest of the world that, Hey, we
can learn something from Japanese consumers or Japanese marketing and Japanese
advertising-Reiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: --and this is what I observed.
Reiko: Yeah.
Marvin: So the first part is from an article that he wrote, and he posed a question. It says
here, "a typical question posed by a Westerner is, How can any woman tolerate a
husband who returns late practically every night?"
Reiko: Mm-hmm.

126

Marvin: "Isnt that simply treating a woman as a domestic servant?


Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: "On the western scale, yes." Or from the Westerners' perspective, that would be
a yes.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: "However many Japanese women resent the Western interpretation of their role
as a wife of an oppressed species. So, according to Mr. Fields, Japanese women
disagree, We don't think that way.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: Do you believe what the book says, what he observed?
Reiko: Uh, yes, yes. I think wives are having good time (laughs) being like that.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And the next part, it says Japanese wife is "virtually the minister of finance" and
that's true.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And she even allocates her husband--husband's--his daily pocket money. That's
true.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, the husband have--has to plead to--or say to--say to his wife that, Please give
me more money (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs) Like a school kid.
Reiko: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That happens. So, it's true. And there's always a poll that says,
How much do you get from your wife? (laughs)
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: There's a graph (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs)
Reiko: And the average. Every year. Every year I see the graphs, so.
Marvin: Is it from the government or some TV shows made it?
Reiko: Not TV show, some insurance company or something. I don't know. I'm not sure
which company, but it's a by a private company.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Maybe not from the government.
Marvin: I see, I see. But where do you think that came from? It says from the Western
perspective, if a husband come home late every night, there must be something wrong or
they feel that they're not given enough attention. But in Japan, it's different. What do you
think caused that, caused that difference?
Reiko: Hmm. It's like a custom, I guess. It's changing, but the custom is like they work
long and after that they go to a bar or something and talk with their colleague, which
makes them easier to work together.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, usually women worked before their marriage, so they know how the company
men, I mean, salary men work, and the situation in the company, so she can tolerate, I
guess.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: It's a custom.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. It's a custom.

127

Reiko: Yeah, I guess.


Marvin: I see, I see. And when your husband comes home late, it's fine with you, right?
Reiko: Oh, it's fine, yeah. Yeah.
Marvin: Like you don't see it as a negative thing?
Reiko: No, I don't think so. Usually--he was a teacher, too, so I understand. Sometimes
he has to stay late.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, it's okay.
Marvin: Ah. Wow, basically you're in the same field?
Reiko: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: I see, I see. Hmm. That's quite understandable.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: Okay. Let's now go to the next one. This one is from a book called "Japan
Today", not the Japanese newspaper.
Reiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: It says, "Changing Life Patterns". Now, this is from the section called "The
Feminine Perspective in Japan Today".
Reiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: These sentences or these ideas, these concepts, were made based on how they
changed from after the World War.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: Okay. So, a few decades after the World War, they did some research and this is
what they found out about women or housewives in Japan.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: First one, they engaged in more activities, part-time jobs, sports, consumer
movements, arts and crafts, "as long as they do not interfere with the care of the family."
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: And the second one, the second observation, is that "Marriage in Japan is like
taking a tenured post, in the sense that both husband and wife have a tendency to take the
relationship for granted."
Reiko: Yes.
Marvin: The second one it says, "Communication between Japanese couples, except for
newlyweds, may be minimal."
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: And the expression A good husband is healthy and absent.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: But first, let's have with--let's have changes. Activities that married women
usually do.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: Aside from part-time jobs, of course, sometimes they need that. Any other
hobbies that are popular among housewives or married women?
Reiko: Hobby, you mean?
Marvin: Yes, to spend free time.
Reiko: Free time? Talking (laughs).
Marvin: Oh, talking. Okay. That's one.
Reiko: Having lunch with other mothers.

128

Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And sports clubs are very, very popular.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And going to, yeah, arts and crafts. Yes, language school, too.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: If I go to a language school in the afternoon, most of the students were
housewives.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And, well, they do many kinds of things. There are so many schools for those
women. Like--like they make something like a list, like a Christmas list.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Like a list of something to do?
Reiko: Something--some ornaments or flower arrangements. Some take--take up some
musical lessons.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: One of my friends is deeply into social dance (laughs).
Marvin: Wow.
Reiko: Oh, they do many kinds of things.
Marvin: I see. And do their husbands know that they're taking those lessons?
Reiko: I think so, yes.
Marvin: Do you think it's okay-Reiko: They are using husband's *money (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs) Yeah, exactly. But just like what the earlier section says, they're the
minister of finance.
Reiko: Oh, yes, yes.
Marvin: Right? They can easily, yeah, get away with it.
Reiko: Hmm. And as long as they prepare dinner for her husbands, it's okay.
Marvin: I see, I see. Okay. What about the second one. "Marriage in Japan is like a
tenured post."
Reiko: Yeah.
Marvin: A full-time job. What is your take on that, your opinion on that one?
Reiko: Well, the atmosphere is like that and like social--social atmosphere is like that.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So we can take for granted and if husband is not a bad guy, he just (laughs) he's
just an ordinary guy, a good guy, we just continue to be married. And this is very--very
typical, I guess.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, yeah, this is true. This is true (laughs). This is true.
Marvin: A tenured post. Hmm.
Reiko: Yeah, yeah. Something like that.
Marvin: Yes. And what about the last two concepts? I think they're pretty connected to
each other. "Minimal conversation between Japanese couples, except for newly-weds"
and "a good husband is healthy and absent".
Reiko: Oh, this phrase is very, very famous (laughs). And many wives think that way.
Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: After many--maybe 15 or 20 years, after they got married, they think this way.
They--Women wants husbands to work and so they want husbands to leave in the

129

morning and come back at night. And during the daytime--so during the daytime wives
can have their free time (laughs). And the conversation, it may be minimal. Maybe, yeah.
So, after the husbands retired, there are some problems occurs--occur.
Marvin: Hmm. Like what kind of problems?
Reiko: Like wives get sick because some--sometimes mentally sick because husbands
are always at home doing nothing.
Marvin: Oh.
Reiko: And when he--when women--wives wants--try to go out, husbands ask where are
you going?
Marvin: Oh.
Reiko: Who are you meeting with? Or what time do you come home? Or something like
that, so. We have a name for that.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. What is it?
Reiko: I think that's fugen biyo something.
Marvin: Fugen... Can you type it for me?
Reiko: I'm not sure, sorry. That means the cause of the sickness is your husband. That
means (laughs).
Marvin: Oh. So, it's like--not a husband's disease but-Reiko: No, no. Women's mental disease.
Marvin: Yeah, yeah. It's a mental disease for women but it's because of the husband?
Reiko: Yes, yes. Because husband is always there. He doesn't know what to do.
Marvin: Interesting. Let me go look for that (laughs).
Reiko: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I just said fugen means "husband".
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Biyo means "disease".
Reiko: Yeah, biyo is "disease". Gen is "originated from".
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So I'm not sure about the Japanese word. Something like that.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Yeah, it's a very popular (laughs) among us.
Marvin: Hmm. Okay. Because of the time that they don't usually spend time together,
when they get older, it turns into kind of a paranoia?
Reiko: Hmm. Excuse me, could you repeat that sentence again?
Marvin: Because wives and husbands don't spend a lot of time together, when the
husband retires and spends more time with the wife, them being together turns into a kind
of paranoia, especially for the wife, or the husband.
Reiko: Para--what does paranoia mean here?
Marvin: Paranoia, you're afraid of something that you could not see.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: Like--just like your example earlier. Where are you going? Who are you
meeting with? That's a kind of paranoia.
Reiko: Ah, I see.
Marvin: You don't trust the person anymore.
Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: Which did not happen when--when the husband was still working, I guess.
Reiko: Yeah. I don't know if its paranoia or not.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

130

Reiko: Like, I mean, wife--a wife looses her freedom. That's the main point, I guess.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Uh-huh.
Reiko: (laughs)
Marvin: And it happens after the husband retires?
Reiko: Yes, yes.
Marvin: I see. Interesting. I never heard of that before.
Reiko: Oh. Because the husband is so busy working outside and he didn't care about the
problems inside, so women--women--women are usually talkative, so they talk to each
other and solve the problems not with the husband but with other mothers. So she has her
own--own world. But he doesn't know about that. And he thinks he's great but at home
(laughs), he's like a child and he doesn't know what to do. And he doesn't have friends
around. So, maybe he's so lonely and he doesn't get enough respect from maybe---from
neighbors --her--his wife.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So that causes problems. So they have different worlds by the time he retires.
Marvin: Ah.
Reiko: (laughs)
Marvin: Because, of course, the article says something about minimal communication.
Reiko: Yeah.
Marvin: Given the work schedule of a Japanese husband, do you think that it's possible
that they can actually increase the time of communicating with each other?
Reiko: I think that's--I think if he--he thinks the house--the home is important, he can
show his sympathy to her and to the children. But if he thinks that he's great outside, and
the things, the problems within the home and at school, are not--if he thinks that's not for
his--not his problem, but` wife should solve all the problems, I think they're--it depends
on the person, I guess.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, it's possible that man can just have--be--have the sympathy for his wife or not.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: That's vital, I guess.
Marvin: Hmm. Wow. So, that being the case, don't you think that the burden is heavier
on the men's shoulders?
Reiko: Men's shoulders?
Marvin: I mean they have more pressure to be better because they have to work harder-Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: Plus they have to maintain the relationship they have with their family.
Reiko: Hmm. I'm not sure. I don't know about the real situation for those men who are
working very, very hard.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: But he--he can do something I guess. Some guys just quit their jobs and have
another job (laughs), easier job.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: When they realize that they are losing very important thing. So I think it depends.
It's not very popular now. I think the number is still small, but that--that mental disease or
that disease, which originated from the husband, that's--that's really common, I guess.

131

Marvin: Mm-hmm. I see. Oh, by the way, to make it easier for me to look it up on
Google, because I couldn't find. Could you type the kanji or the katakana or the hiragana?
Reiko: Oh, I'm not sure but (typing)
Marvin: Romaji.
Reiko: (typing) I can't find the--wait a minute.
Marvin: Or in simplest Japanese characters. Maybe I could just Google it and translate.
Reiko: Oh. (typing) Hmm. I'm not sure of this.
Marvin: Okay. Wow, it's long.
Reiko: No, it's--the kanji is fugenbiyo (insert characters here).
Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: Hiragana is how it is read. I'm not sure about this. I mean-Marvin: Are you more sure about the hiragana? Or maybe the hiragana-Reiko: Oh, this is--hiragana is how to read this kanji.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And I don't know if this is the right word or not.
Marvin: Maybe we could find it. So, I'm looking for it...Hmm.
Reiko: You can't find it?
Marvin: Hold on. Let's see.
Reiko: Well, maybe I'll look it in the dictionary here.
Marvin: Yes, please. Thank you. When I looked it up I found some pictures, hmm. Well,
I--no.
Reiko: No, it's not in the dictionary (laughs). My Japanese--Japanese dictionary. I can't
find it.
Marvin: Hmm. Maybe because it's a concept.
Reiko: Yeah, maybe. Yeah.
Marvin: Like--more like karoshi or something.
Reiko: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: It's not in the dictionary.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: But I found--what do you call that? I found some images and they might quite
be connected to--to fugenbiyo.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: And maybe you can understand this. Because the picture looks like a mad
husband and a depressed wife (laughs). It kinda looks like that.
Reiko: Umm.
Marvin: It's a blog. Maybe you can--here you go. Look it up or maybe you can check
this out. Or maybe I'm wrong because it's just a picture.
Reiko: (laughs) Oh.
Marvin: (laughs) Is that connected?
Reiko: Wait a minute. Oh, _____ is there.
Marvin: Oh, really?
Reiko: Yeah, in the third paragraph.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: [Time Stamp: 45:20:24]______________. Yeah, the--the kanji is correct.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Did it mention anything? I see--I can see some pie graphs and
pictures of women having headaches.

132

Reiko: Oh, yeah. Yes, yes. Yeah, that's _____. Yeah. [45:38:11]______ Yeah, yeah.
That's the symptom.
Marvin: Ah, headaches. That's the first one.
Reiko: (laughs)
Marvin: (laughs) Maybe.
Reiko: Yeah, this--yeah, this is. _____ is correct and the kanji was correct, too.
Marvin: Okay. And you scanned it, so what did you find out? Did you find out anything?
Reiko: Oh, the questionnaire.
Marvin: Oh, it's a questionnaire. Okay.
Reiko: Just below those pictures-Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: That's _____, questionnaire.
Marvin: Okay.
Reiko: And 593 wives answered and--"Are you unsatisfied with your wife?" Yes, 96%.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: That means, yeah, unsatisfactory to your husband.
Marvin: Ah.
Reiko: And, "If you are not worried about economically, are you going to divorce him?"
And yes, 63.8%.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And "Do you want to marry the same husband when you reborn in this world?"
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: No, 74.4% (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs) This is interesting. Yeah, it is.
Reiko: Yeah, it is great (laughs). So it's so fast, you found the right--right website.
Marvin: It's much easier to do it if you have the kanji or the hiragana. They bring you
automatically to Google Japan.
Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: So sometimes I do that. If a concept or idea is really quite difficult to
understand.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: I ask students to give me the kanji or hiragana.
Reiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: And then I give them--I look up some pictures and I try to, you know, pick up
the closest with the idea.
Reiko: Ah.
Marvin: Just like this one.
Reiko: Ah. Yeah, yeah. _______ was--I'm glad that the kanji was right (laughs). It says
______--oh, I see _____ in several--no, in few places.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: I'm glad.
Marvin: But I'm wondering how we could translate that kind of, quote-unquote, mental
disease, in English.
Reiko: ____, you mean?
Marvin: Yeah.
Reiko: Well, I don't know.

133

Marvin: Yeah. Maybe we can think about it next time.


Reiko: Yeah, it's the husband causing.
Marvin: So, mental disease caused by husband.
Reiko: Caused by husband.
Marvin: Or maybe we can say retired husbands.
Reiko: Oh, yes, yes.
Marvin: Yeah, maybe we should improve that (laughs).
Reiko: Yes.
Marvin: Maybe we could come up with a better term, since it's a kind of a new concept
for me.
Reiko: Oh.
Marvin: Never heard of it. I don't--I don't think there's a term for that in English.
Reiko: I don't think so.
Marvin: Yeah. As far as I know in the Western world, if they don't like their husbands
anymore, they go get a divorce no matter how long they've been married.
Reiko: Ah, yes.
Marvin: And I read an article a long time ago that--there's this couple who were married
for more than 50 years.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: They got a divorce.
Reiko: Yeah, women have money, they said they will in Japan, too.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Yeah, in the second question. Yeah. "If you have enough money to live by
yourself, are you going to divorce him?" And yes, 63.8; no,12.8; I don't know, 23.4, so.
Marvin: Wow, that's a very big difference.
Reiko: Yeah, and some really divorce--have a divorce (laughs).
Marvin: Wow. Hmm. Right. Interesting. Let's go to the last part.
Reiko: Okay.
Marvin: The last part of this article is all about using the Internet for women's rights or
we can say empowering women.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: Do you think it's quite effective in Japan? Because based on this article--it's
from the book "Japanese Cybercultures". It's a collection of different articles from
different conferences held in the US, I guess, about Japan particularly Japanese
cycberculture.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: It says that, on the first part of this section, it enables women--Internet enables
women to take part in the public discussion while preserving their privacy and
anonymity.
Reiko: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: They don't have to use appropriate language which has something to do with
hierarchy.
Reiko: Hmm.
Marvin: What do you think about that? Being, we can say, freer or more free in the
Internet.
Reiko: Well, I think it depends how old you are.

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Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: And at my age, I'm not so familiar with those discussions on the Internet.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: I usually talk with my friends face to face, and I prefer that much more. And I
don't use Internet to communicate like that.
So I think it depends on the age group you have.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So I wasn't very familiar with those gadgets, so when I read this--maybe young
people do, younger people do. But not me, I thought.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: But maybe it's true, but I don't know much about these things.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: I don't--I really don't try to look for those sites. I know there are some sites for
mothers to communicate with each other.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, yeah, to some people I think website help a lot--helps a lot.
Marvin: Hmm. And what about that one opinion from one housewife, from the first part
of the section. She says, "As a housewife, I was always treated as subordinate to my
husband... My opinion was often treated not as mine but my husbands wifes. The
only place I was treated as an individual was on the Net, probably because I didnt reveal
that I am someones wife."
Reiko: Well, maybe true to her, but, I don't know. Probably in prestigious circles or
societies, maybe it's true. But I'm--I'm just an ordinary person living in an ordinary world,
so. Maybe long time ago it was, yes. But I don't know. Wife was--wives were
subordinates to husbands.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: But I don't think--But I don't think so right now.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Yeah, when I stopped working, I felt that--I can't remember the concrete
examples, but because I was a woman--I'm a woman, *I was treated second-class.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: But being a full-time teacher, it's like a certificate to be treated a *full person, so.
Marvin: Ah.
Reiko: So I'm not sure about that this. But I have the feeling that this is over right now. I
don't think so.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Because women spend a lot of money in Japan now.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: Young people, old people, women--they have to treat women as a full woman,
because really--they really spend money on many things.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Reiko: So, I think the society has changed.
Marvin: Mmm. I see, I see. So before we close this class, do you have any last words
about our article for today?

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Reiko: Oh, it was very interesting and--especially the first page. I think they observed
very well (laughs) on Japanese society and real status and how we--how we think and
how we feel. This is I think is the social atmosphere (laughs) of the society.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. Nice to know that.
Reiko: Very accurate, I thought.
Marvin: Okay. Thank you. And it's nice to know that. So, Reiko, it was really great to
have you with me again. And I hope that when you have the time, we can talk again. Oh,
by the way, any plans? It's a Sunday. Are you going out still after the class?
Reiko: Oh, I have to go shopping for groceries
Marvin: Oh, really?
Reiko: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I leave it to the last minute, so.
Marvin: Well, I think it's a good way to spend the Sunday, or a Sunday, or any kind of
Sunday, for shopping for food, right?
Reiko: Yeah, but it's a kind of boring (laughs).
Marvin: (laughs) Do you do that every week?
Reiko: No, no. Today I just didn't feel like buying anything in the morning, so I just
leave it to the last minute. So I just--I'll just go and pick up something.
Marvin: Oh, I see. Okay, so I won't trouble you any longer. If you do have time, you
know, just send me a message and maybe we can talk again.
Reiko: Okay.
Marvin: And hopefully I could have you when my schedule is much freer than usual.
Reiko: Okay. Yeah, I realized that (laughs).
Marvin: And I'm really thankful for this time. And I can't express my gratitude, but yeah,
you can go shopping now.
Reiko: Okay.
Marvin: Yes. Enjoy the rest of the Sunday, Reiko.
Reiko: Okay. Thank you very much.
Marvin: Bye-bye.
Reiko: Bye!
Marvin: Thank you!

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APPENDIX E. TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDED SESSION

Participant: Kyoko
Date: October 19, 2014
Time: 7:05 PM
Duration: 1st Call [00:18:30], 2nd Call [00:39:00], 3rd Call [00:15:45]
4th Call [00:02:58]

Marvin: Hello
Kyoko: Hello
Marvin: Kyoko-san! -Kyoko: Good evening.
Marvin: Happy Sunday!
Kyoko: Ah-- Hello (almost inaudible)
Marvin: Hello? Yes, hi. Uhm, Kyoko-san.-Kyoko: Okay -- (inaudible)
Marvin: I can-- Yes, (typing on the Skype chat box) I can hear you but I think we should
turn off our-Kyoko: Okay. The camera?
Marvin: Yeah, I think we should turn off the camera. It's getting in the way of the
connection.
Kyoko: Y-yeah
Marvin: Is that okay?
Kyoko: I can see you. Yes, I can see your hand (laughs).
Marvin: What (laughs)?
Kyoko: But your face are very-- is not clear.
Marvin: Yeah, because of the lighting and-Kyoko: Okay. It's okay.
Marvin: Yeah. Do you want us to turn off the camera? Yeah, we have to turn off the
camera.
Kyoko: Hello?
Marvin: Yes? Kyoko-san, hello?
Kyoko: I can't hear you.
Marvin: Yeah. (typing) We should turn off our camera now.
Kyoko: Okay.
Marvin: Sorry about that. Okay so let's try. How about now is it clear?
Kyoko: Yeah the voice
Marvin: Nice, nice.
Kyoko: It got clear yes
Marvin: Its a Sunday and you just came from your trip a few days ago from Canada to
see the Northern Lights what about this weekend? How did you spend it?
Kyoko: This weekend I worked today half day
Marvin: Oh! You did work today? It's a Sunday.

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Kyoko: No, no. Yesterday and then but i went running, I ran for 30 minutes and after that
I took a bath at the gym and after that I went to an English club, 5 people gathered in the
room and we talked about something in English
Marvin: Nice.
Kyoko: Yes
Marvin: Sounds nice
Kyoko: Yes. We talked about travel, not only me and any others about travel yeah and I
cleaned my room and washed a lot of clothes
Marvin: (laughs) You did your laundry?
Kyoko: Yes. It was sunny. Beautiful day today so yes all of them are dry. kohaku. What
do i say?
Marvin: Yeah, that's correct. They're dry now
Kyoko: They're dry now. Yeah, I feel good (laughs).
Marvin: You finished the laundry, you went to a conversation school, cleaned your room
Kyoko: and I cleaned my house. Yeah. Busy day (laughs).
Marvin: It was a busy, busy day.
Kyoko: Yeah.
Marvin: Same here, same here.
Kyoko: and I checked your kind of homework.
Marvin: Uh-uh. Yes. The homework.
Kyoko: There are a lot of difficult words.
Marvin: Oh really? There are a lot of difficult words?
Kyoko: Words? Yes but I checked all of them. Yes. And, okay. Im ready.
Marvin: Okay. So there are different sections in this article. Let's have the first on the
top. All of them are about Japan and Japanese women especially Japanese housewives
and married Japanese women, okay?
Kyoko: Okay.
Marvin: For the first part, we have here some Japanese concepts or ideas, and I want you
to explain them to me, okay? And probably, you can tell me something about them based
on what you know, and what you experienced. For example, sanshoku hirunetsuki.
Kyoko: Sanshoku hirunetsuki. Okay.
Marvin: How would you explain it?
Kyoko: (laughs) explain. Sanshoku hirunetsuki.yeah. Japanese housemaker?
Homemaker?
Marvin: Homemaker, correct.
Kyoko: Homemaker, yeah. Some people said that they don't need to work. And sanshoku
hirunetsuki, yeah, they could eat good food and can sleep anytime (laughs).
Marvin: They can sleep any time?
Kyoko: Anytime,anywhere, in their house and that means sanshoku three meals**
:breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can eat food without working out.
Marvin: Without working outside the home?
Kyoko: Yes, yes. Without working hard. Without earning money. Is that okay? And
hirune means daily sleep - just take a nap. They can take a nap every day. Yeah. Yeah,
sometimes people say homemakers sanshoku hirunetsuki
Marvin: So do you think women get married because they just want to get three meals a
day and take naps.

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Kyoko: Aha. If they're husband are rich, if they're husband earn a lot of money every
month, that time the homemaker can do like that. But,yeah, nowadays a lot of
housemaker work outside only day time. So when their kids go to a school, they work
part-timer jobs.
Marvin: Part-time jobs.
Kyoko: Part-time jobs.
Marvin: They have part time jobs.
Kyoko: And for me actually, I was a housemaker. Yes. Professional housemaker.
Marvin: Homemaker.
Kyoko: Homemaker,yes. Whole more than ten years - when my kids were small, I was
always in the house take care of them. Yeah. But I never did daytime sleep.
Marvin: Oh, you never take naps during the day. You can say that (typing), I never take
naps during the day. Okay, in the chat box please.
Kyoko: Yes, I never take naps during the day.
Marvin: Or I never took naps during the day. Maybe we can use the past tense in that
case.
Kyoko: I never took naps during the day. I was always busy. I was always busy,yeah. So
for me, I was not sanshoku hirunetsuki homemaker(laughs),yes. And I always account,
and I had to always account my husband's salary (laughs), yes, because only his salary I
could do anything. No, no, no. I had to do using only his salary,yes. I had to deposit some
of them or keep for our future, yeah. It's not easy for us. I have to find cheap food in the
supermarket (laughs), yes. And I had to think about the menu using the cheap seasoning,
no? Cheap? What do I say?
Marvin: Yeah. Ingredients, seasoning.
Kyoko: Yeah, ingredients, yeah. But , some housemaker - actually I live in a big
apartment and a lot of housemakers live in the same apartment. Sometimes, she actually she didn't have any kids, and she had a lot of free time. But she doesn't - didn't have her
work. Maybe she go out. Sanshoku hirunetsuki housemaker.
Marvin: What do you think of that kind of woman? A woman who would only marry for
three meals and, you know, naps during the day? What do you think of them? Do you
think, yeah, you just don't care or you think low of them? You look down on them.
Kyoko: No. But if they are tired, if they can have daily sleep - nap.
Marvin: Yeah. Naps during the day
Kyoko: Naps during the day. But if they have baby - they have small baby, they can't
sleep at night. So, (laughs),yeah. Mothers job, how to say, mothers can take a rest
anytime, ** If the person works outside, Sunday or holiday, huh.
Marvin: What do you mean? What do you mean?
Kyoko: Yeah. Its Sunday today so I can relax in my house. It's holiday for me but
mothers can't take holiday, you know.
Marvin: Can't? You said can't?
Kyoko: Can't take a rest - mother's job are never rest.
Marvin: A mother's jobs never ends, is that what
Kyoko: Never ends, yeah. Mothers can't take a holiday. Yeah. Mothers have to take care
of their kids and their husbands, sometimes old people. Yeah. Mothers are always busy I
think. So it's okay they take a nap sometimes. Yes, I think it's okay (laughs).

139

Marvin: Uhm. Got it, got it. So let's now go to the second one: tamano koshi. But before
you explain that, hold on. Let me just go get hot water for my coffee. Just give me a few
seconds.
Kyoko: Tama no koshi. Yeah.
Marvin: Wait a minute, Kyoko-san. I'll just get some hot water.
Kyoko: Hot water, yeah.
Marvin: Yeah. For my coffee. Wait a minute.
Kyoko: Okay.
Marvin: Please wait.
Kyoko: Dozo.
Marvin: Hello?
Kyoko: Hello.
Marvin: I'm back. Im sorry. I just had to drink coffee. Alright. So now you are going to
explain to me tama no koshi. What is tama no koshi?
Kyoko: What is tama no koshi?
Marvin: Yeah.
Kyoko: Tama mo koshi is a person that married rich people, get married with rich people.
Marvin: Is this for both men and women?
Kyoko: Yes, both. We use both, for women, and sometimes for men, yeah. But we say
tama no koshi. Yeah. Only for women. And when we say about men, that time gyaku
tama no koshi (laughs), you know.
Marvin: Yaku?
Kyoko: Gyaku.
Marvin: Can you type it for me? Ah. Gyaku.
Kyoko: Gyaku, yeah. Gyaku means opposite word, reverse, or opposite, no?
Marvin: It's the other way around.
Kyoko: The other way, yeah.
Marvin: Yeah. The other way around.
Kyoko: But both of them tama no koshi almost same.
Marvin: Marrying a person who has more money, basically. Am I right? Hello? (Internet
problem) [00:17:29.10]
Marvin: There was a slight internet connection problem.
Kyoko: Uh-uh.
Marvin: Okay so going back to tama no koshi Kyoko: Yeah, yeah. Tama no koshi.
Marvin: It means marrying another person for money, or because he or she has more
money correct?
Kyoko: More money, yes. For money. Yes, for money.
Marvin: Yeah. For money. What do you think of that? Some people do it. Some people
think that it's okay to marry because of money.
Kyoko: Because of money? Oh, yes. I think it's okay. But, uhm, yeah, uhm, when young
people get married, that time, of course, they got each other. They work at their life
together. But nowadays, in Japan, uhm, there are a lot of young people. They don't have
boyfriend and girlfriend. They think - they don't think about wedding, marriage, I've
heard. And I have some friends - they are around 30 or around 40 - but they are single.
And, maybe when they are young, they got married. They are, but when they get older

140

they think about life, of course, they work now. So, they can use their salary - all of them,
for themselves now. And, they can go abroad sometimes. And, they can buy expensive
clothes or bag. But after getting married, of course, they dont- they can't- the money all
of them. So, sometimes they think they want a stable life. Yeah. But they need money for
their life. That time, they think about tama no koshi. Sometimes, when I see a program on
TV, sometimes the TV reporter asked some women about marriage. Sometimes, they say
first money. Second, yeah, maybe love or family - mother or father - the man's mother or
father. Or looks - good height. Sometimes, they say first money, yeah(laughs).
Marvin: I see. So money - that's for tama no koshi.
Kyoko: Uh.
Marvin: But did you ever think of that before you got married?
Kyoko: Money?
Marvin: Yeah. Like, Hmm. I think I'm gonna have a comfortable life if I marry a richer
man. Did you think about that, or no, you dont like that idea? Did you think about that
before?
Kyoko: No, I don't like the idea. I don't like the idea but my daughter married. But if they
were single, and, yeah, if they say, I want to get married with this man. But that man
not have stable work, yeah. That time maybe I don't allow their marriage. Yeah, yeah. He
does not need to be rich - doesn't need to be rich - but I hope the man has a work.
Marvin: Oh. I see.
Kyoko: Yeah, because, of course they need to eat every day. They need live in a house
even if the house is small - or an apartment , a small apartment. But if the man don't have
work , they can't do that . Yeah.
Marvin: I got it. You don't like the idea but of course you would still want your daughter
- well one of your daughters is married. If she had not married yet, and you would have to
choose a man for her, it would be someone with a stable job.
Kyoko: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: I got it. Okay, so let's now go to the next one. The last one in this section: rysai
kenbo.
Kyoko: Rysai kenbo, okay. Yes. I explain? Yes ?
Marvin: Yes please. What is rysai kenbo?
Kyoko: Rysai kenbo: good wife and good mother. Yes. Yeah. Japanese women have to
be good wife and good mother. Old people,yeah, said to me, said to us. Rysai kenbo it's very old word. I think it's a duty.
Marvin: A duty? Uhm.
Kyoko: Duty. Hmm rysai kenbo
Marvin: And you heard it from your mom a long time ago too? Yes? Have you heard
this from your mom? Have you heard her say anything about rysai kenbo? Did she teach
you anything about it?
Kyoko: Ah. My mother didn't need these word but she told me something. For example,
a wife don't complain about husband's salary. And wife I - my mother said you don't
complain about my husband's drinking.
Marvin: Hmm.
Kyoko: Andhmm.
Marvin: Anything else?
Kyoko: You always keep smilehmm.

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Marvin: Always keep smiling?


Kyoko: Yeah. Always keep smiling.
Marvin: When?
Kyoko: Always keep smiling. Yeah. Yeah, not complain about money, not complain
about the husband's parents, my mother said.
Marvin: Not complain about the in-laws. Not complain about the money.
Kyoko: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: Ah. Now, all of these are from books. The first one is from a book called New
Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater Inequality by Tachibanaki
Toshiaki. It's from the section called To Become a Full-Time Homemaker: A Womans
Dream of Yesteryear. Uhm, that section mainly talked about what people or what women
thought of when it comes to marrying, maybe after the World War or something. Or
maybe before the World War. Do you think they have change already?
Kyoko: Pardon?
Marvin: Do you think they have change already: sanshoku hirunetsuki, tama no koshi,
rysai kenbo. Do you think they have changed in the present time?
Kyoko: In the present time?
Marvin: Now. Do you think they have changed or they are still quite the same?
Kyoko: They are quite the same... Yes, they changed. I think they changed. But, of
course, it depends on the person. And yeah, I heard interesting thing. You know, now, a
lot of women work outside. But young people - young women - want to be a homemaker
now because they almost go the university. They are very - they have knowledge. They
have a lot of knowledge in their brain but - and after that, of course, they have to work
outside after university. And working is very strict. So, maybe they want to escape the
hole. Hole is that okay? So they need a rich man, and they want to be a homemaker.
Marvin: That is tama no koshi, isn't it?
Kyoko: But, tama no koshi, yeah. But not so rich (laughs).
Marvin: (Laughs)
Kyoko: Yeah but I have some ~~~ I think young women want to work outside. And I
thought they don't want to work - only inside. In my generation, taking care of my
husband and my kids at home,yes, it's normal thing. But nowadays, yeah, young men can
make food by themselves, you know. My husband , never make food. Yeah, yeah. So I
thought - I thought young people get married. After that, women can work outside and
they make a corporation. I'm sorry. What do i say? Man clean their room, and woman
clean the room. Housework?
Marvin: Oh I see. Or we can say both do housework .
Kyoko: Both do housework. Easy! Yeah.
Marvin: Household chores.
Kyoko: Both do housework.
Marvin: Or we can also say share housework. Thats also possible. So what about it?
Kyoko: Share the housework, yes. And share the raising children. Yes,yes. So I thought
women can work after their got married. Yeah. I thought. But,yeah, young women want
to be a homemaker (laughs). So, yeah, I think both of them changed now. Actually its~~~
Marvin: What about in your situation? Does your husband share housework with you? I
know that he is living far, and he lives in a different city. But soon you will be moving in
with him. Do you usually share housework?

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Kyoko: Ah. My husband wash the dishes, yes, because he likes clean place. His room is
always clean
Marvin: Wow.
Kyoko: Yes, and he never cooks. He never wash clothes. But if ask him maybe he do he does.
Marvin: He will do or he does. That's okay.
Kyoko: Yeah. I think, yeah, but my husband no, no- yes, friend's husband. Yeah, she
said he does nothing. When wants to drink - when he need a water-he always said to my
friend, you know, Give me water. Give me a drink. And she always complains about
that,yeah. He can drink a water by himself, of course. Yeah. Sometimes yeah the man is
~~ (laughs). How about your father?
Marvin: My father? Let's see. Of course, he works outside the home. He only comes
home on the weekends.
Kyoko: Ah. Even now?
Marvin: Until now. Uhm, since I was small, it's been like that. Yeah, he works as an
engineer in Manila, in the capital, and he comes home only on the weekends. So my mom
takes care of everything at home.
Kyoko: Everything. Yeah, I know because he didn't -Marvin: And I've never seen my dad wash the dishes, or do the laundry or clean the
house. I've only seen him cook one time. Once or twice? I dunno, not so many times. He
cooked our lunch and we didn't like it (chuckle).
Kyoko: (laughs) Didnt like it?
Marvin: It was not yummy at all! (laughs). I told my mom, "You should have let me
cook lunch instead of my dad. I'm a better cook than my dad!"
Kyoko: (laughs) Maybe you can do everything.
Marvin: I can do everything, yeah. I can do the laundry, clean...
Kyoko: You have to do everything now.
Marvin: Now, yes, by myself, because I live on my own.
Kyoko: Yeah. So, you will be a good husband (laughs) ...
Marvin: I've never tried raising children. I've never tried that.
Kyoko: Okay (laughs).
Marvin: So, I don't know if I'm going to be good at that.
Kyoko: (laughs) Do you have any secret (laughs)?
Marvin: What do you mean (laughs) ?
Kyoko: Do you have any kids?
Marvin: I don't think so (laughs). I don't know (laughs).
Kyoko: (laughs) Yeah. Watashi wa yakuni tachimashitaka? (In English, Was I helpful?)
Marvin: What's that?
Kyoko: Yeah, I said I help you.
Marvin: Raising children (laughs)?
Kyoko: No, no, no. I, yeah, I talk to you a lot of things. I help you (laughs). That's okay?
Marvin: That's fine. Alright. So, let's move on to the next one, the next part, okay? The
next part is about the power of women, and one perspective is about women. It's from a
book called From Bonsai to Levis When West Meets East: An Insiders Surprising
Account of How the Japanese Live by George Fields, who is an Australian who worked in
Japan for a long time. He observed a lot of things about Japanese housewives, Japanese

143

consumers or Japanese customers, and he found it interesting because he thinks people in


the Western world can learn something from Japan because it's in the East. And the first
part is asking the question, it's a Westerners question: How can any woman tolerate a
husband who returns late practically every night? Isnt that simply treating a woman as a
domestic servant? On the western scale, yes. However many Japanese women resent
(they dont like), the Western interpretation of their role as a wife of an oppressed
species. Just like what I learned, Japanese husbands usually come home late, true?
Kyoko: Come home late? Yeah.
Marvin: How do you feel about that?
Kyoko: (laughs)
Marvin: Are you okay with it? Or you sometimes feel there is something wrong?
Because for a Western housewife, according to this part, there's something wrong if it
happens every night or almost every night. It's like the woman is at home, and she's like a
slave. What about your opinion as a Japanese housewife?
Kyoko: Japanese housewife. Yeah,yeah. The husband come home late? That thing?
Okay. When I was younger, still now, he comes home late - late time. And when I was
younger, I stayed alone, alone? Alone? Is that okay? My children at home, my husband-Hello?
Marvin: I'm here, yes. I'm listening.
Kyoko: Okay, okay. Yeah. My husband is absent the whole day - whole early morning to
the night of course - and I dont have a time to talk to my husband about my life and my
kids. I only serve the meal to him, yeah. So that time, I felt alone. But yeah the same life
is continuing for a long time. I'm accustomed to that life. So, when my husband came
home early time, at that time - that day - I thought, "Why? (laughs) Is *** is it early
time." Actually at that time I didnt finish - I didn't prepare dinner, and I didn't prepare
the bath. So I asked him, "What happened today? Easy day? It's only 5:30." My husband
got home at late time, it becomes usual for me.
Marvin: Hmm... So it's unusual when he comes home early?
Kyoko: Unusual, yes. But now, my kids, my daughters are not kids anymore so we have
a lot of time. We talk each other in the evening. My husband is not in my house in
weekday but we can talk on weekends.
Marvin: Hmm...I got it.
Kyoko: But my friend always said to me, yeah, she envy me.
Marvin: Oh. Your friend envies you?
Kyoko: Yes. My friend envies me because my husband always outside. He's not here one
week or *** and well Japanese husbands ah...healthy and wasn't here.
Marvin: Healthy and absent, yes. That's in one part.
Kyoko: Healthy and absent, yes, right. My friend always said to me, "This is your word.
This is sentence for you. My friend sometimes say to me, yeah. She envy me, yes. But
you can imagine that when my kids are very small, he always wasn't in my house. I had
to do everything. I took a bath 3 times a day, EVERYDAY, (laughs) yeah: for my elder
daughter and my younger daughter-Marvin: You mean you give them baths?
Kyoko: I give them baths.
Marvin: Bath? B-A-T-H?
Kyoko: Baths? Yes.

144

Marvin: Baths? Your daughters?


Kyoko: Give baths but I took a bath with them.
Marvin: Oh. I see, I see. I'm sorry. Yes, yes.
Kyoko: I took a bath with them: one for my younger daughter and then, for my elder
daughter, and after they going to bed, I took a bath for myself. I wanted to wash my hair.
I took a bath 3 times a day, every day, because my husband always absent. Absent? -Marvin: Absent. Correct.
Kyoko: -- absent my house. But my friend, she said she envies me. No way. It's very
hard work for me.
Marvin: I see. So you basically like it when the husband is away, or absent? You like it
when the husband is away because you are used to it?
Kyoko: Yeah. Huh? No. When I was younger, I didn't like-Marvin: Long time ago?
Kyoko: Long time ago but -Marvin: What about now?
Kyoko: Now?
Marvin: Do you prefer that he's around?
Kyoko: Actually for a long time, he's always busy. He sometimes go somewhere, went
somewhere for one week. That life continued same life is continued until now. So,
actually I can't think about ...almost my life is same....What do I say.... uhm... absent and
healthy, a husband is absent and healthy. That thing is good for me now, you ask me. But
I can't think about that because my life are almost same.
Marvin: Mmm. Okay.
Kyoko: No?
Marvin: I got it now.
Kyoko: Yeah,yeah,yeah. But my friend, of course, almost married couples spend a life
together for a long time. Sometimes housewives think husband is absent is healthy and
absent are good because they spend their life together for a long time. Maybe they go to
change their life sometimes but my life is almost same for a long time (laughs), yeah. I'm
sorry I can't answer the thing.
Marvin: No. It's fine, it's fine. You basically answered the question. And the last one in
this part, it talks about women being the minister of finance or being the secretary to the
treasury. Is it true that wives usually take care of money stuff in the family?
Kyoko: Yeah. For me, I do it. Yeah, I think so too. But my friend, one my friends, she
said her husband-- I'm sorry--finance? What did you say?
Marvin: Uh, the minister of finance, like taking care of everything about money-Kyoko: Money? Money.
Marvin: Yes.
Kyoko: Yeah, her husband does, yeah, taking care of money. And yes, my daughter work
and her husband work and she said her husband pay for the apartment. And you know
annual-- water or electricity, gas
Marvin: You call them utilities.
Kyoko: Utilities.
Marvin: Yes.
Kyoko:...utilities he paid. And apartment and insurance. And my daughter paid for food,
for grocery -- grocery?

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Marvin: Yes, groceries are food.


Kyoko: --Groceries, yeah, she said. Hmmm..recently young people sometimes--young
people's lifestyle is like that. Yes, I read in a magazine. So, sometimes the young husband
don't know how much his wife's salary, and the wife sometimes don't know their
husband's salary, yes. But in my generation, wives are maybe minister of finance?
Marvin: Minister of finance
Kyoko: Yes, minister of finance. I'm minister of finance in the house. Is that okay?
Marvin: Yes, definitely. Ah. I see. So let's get to the next one. Hello?
Kyoko: Yeah?
Marvin: The next one is from a book called Japan Today, a collection of different
written outputs from different discussion groups, different conferences about Japan. And
there are one, two, three four, lines here. And the last one, you already mentioned, A
good husband is healthy and absent ", right?
Kyoko: Uh-huh. Healthy and absent (laughs).
Marvin: That's what you said earlier. What about the 2nd and the 3rd? The second one
says, "Marriage in Japan is like taking a tenured post Its like a permanent job.
Kyoko: Permanent job? Yeah?
Marvin: Marriage in Japan -- Can you see it? -- is like taking a tenured post. A tenured
post means a permanent job.
Kyoko: Permanent job...Okay... uh-huh.
Marvin: Or regular job (typing on the chat box)
Kyoko: Regular job? Ah okay. Ok, regular job... regular job.
Marvin: Marriage is like a permanent job it says. It's similar. Marriage and regular job,
they're similar. (Internet connection problem) [00:37:57.20]
Marvin: I'm sorry about that. I didn't know what happened. Can you hear me clearly
now?
Kyoko: Yes, very clearly.
Marvin: Good, good. Going back to marriage, marriage is like a tenured post. A tenured
post is a regular job. It says here that marriage is like a tenured post. It's similar to a
tenured post wherein the husband and the wife have the tendency to take the relationship
for granted. Do you understand that part?
Kyoko: Granted ?
Marvin: Take something for granted.
Kyoko: Take something for granted?
Marvin: Take something for granted means don't give enough importance. So, you don't
think it's important-Kyoko: Don't give important?
Marvin: Take something for granted - to think that something is not important (typing)
Kyoko: Important?
Marvin: This one. Can you see it on the chat box?
Kyoko: Yeah... to think something is not important...
Marvin: Yes, which means husbands and wives take relationship for granted. They don't
think relationship is very important.
Kyoko: It's really important.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Kyoko: I think...

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Marvin: So, go ahead. So for you, it's really important.


Kyoko: Uhm...They don't care their relationship?
Marvin: Not exactly not care but they don't give it too much importance - they don't give
it so much importance.
Kyoko: Ah.
Marvin: Like maybe they don't talk very much, or husbands don't spend much time with
their families and wives. So...that's taking relationship for granted
Kyoko: Uh-huh. Maybe. I check on my dictionary: They have become tired of their
married life" (laughs).
Marvin: Hmmm.
Kyoko: They have become tired of their married life? Maybe. Ah okay. Oh. And maybe
they just become family - What do i say? Maybe American or European couple, I heard
the wife will always want to say from their husband, "I love you" or "I miss you", yeah.
But Japanese wives don't need that exactly. That's right, I think. But I think it's very
important to talk each other
Marvin: But you don't have to say it all the time.
Kyoko: Ah. You dont need to... it's Japanese style. I don't know about young people or
another man but I dont need to ~~. But I like love story on movies. And I sometimes
think it's -- they are very romantic or I want to hear the words, I miss you" or I love
you." Hmmm... but maybe for married couples, maybe we don't need the words -yeah- I
think.
Marvin: I see, I see. And what about this one, "Communication between Japanese
couples, except for newlyweds, may be minimal."
Kyoko: Maybe minimal...ah, okay. Yeah, I sometimes think. But for me, I can talk to my
husband only weekend. So we talk a lot of things weekend.
Marvin: Talk about a lot of things on the weekend
Kyoko: Talk about a lot of things on the weekend
Marvin: Talk about a lot of things on weekends (typing)
Kyoko: Yeah. But maybe because we can see only weekends. But yes, my co-worker
sometimes say to me, "My husband talk about food" or "Yeah, I take a bath" or "Good
night" or sometimes their husbands don't say, "Good morning" (laughs) or good night,
yeah. Maybe that's right - minimal.
Marvin: I see, i see. Let's now go the last part of this article. Basically it talks about
using the Internet. The last part, it's about Japanese cybercultures. The main question here
is, Do you actually feel comfortable communicating using the Internet? Just like what
we do. We usually have classes. We talk about a lot of things. Do you feel comfortable
doing that?
Kyoko: Doing internet?
Marvin: Yes, yes. Internet classes like what we have in Syaberitai -- you feel
comfortable?
Kyoko: ** Internet? Yes, of course, yes. This is a phone? Ah...
Marvin: Actually, this is a kind of calling service using the Internet.
Kyoko: Okay, okay. Yeah, I like talking to you and other teachers, yeah. But at the same
time, I like talking directly with my friends, with my family, no? Yes. But when I read
this article -- actually, I printed out -Marvin: That's good.

147

Kyoko: -- Yes, your homework. So when i read this **. I thought maybe Facebook or
chat the wife doing that maybe ...uhm ...and they can talk a lot of things using Internet
and...okay...individual, an individual person. Not, for example, Sato-san wife,
Marvin: Ah. Who's Sato? Your husband?
Kyoko: No, no, no. Sato and Suzuki is very **. Alot of housename...no no no, there are a
lot of Sato-san in Japan. But in Japan, I use. So, I use Sato-san. Not Sato-san wife, not
Ken-chan's mother .
Marvin: Ah, okay. You are just you, just Kyoko. Aha.
Kyoko: I know their feeling. Yeah,yeah. Hmmm, so what?
Marvin: So, uhm, you like talking over the Internet like this one, on Skype?
Kyoko: Ah, yes.
Marvin: Do you think that you are more free?
Kyoko: More free?
Marvin: Freer, more free, free...
Kyoko: Ah, okay. But I think...ah okay that. I think, yes, I can talk a lot of things to the
others that I dont know. Uhm, who where they keep, no? Ah, yeah, do you understand?
Marvin: You mean you can to other people, even strangers?
Kyoko: No, not strangers. Yeah, for example in a Facebook,
Marvin: Uh-huh. Uh-huh
Kyoko: That I got request I can talk to person in Facebook. But not him.
Marvin: Ah yeah. That person. Yeah, okay. The person that I told you told to block.
Yeah (laughs).
Kyoko: Not him. So I took -- now I'm taking care of choosing friends, yeah. Uhm, but
when I talk to you I always speak in English, you know. So, I feel when I speak English,
that time I feel, of course, I talk a truth. I talk to you about my life or something-- it's
true. But it's not-- how should I say-- if when I talk to my friends in Japanese, and same
story, it sometimes became too sad.
Marvin: Ah. Really?
Kyoko: Too interesting. But when I talk to you in English, I sometimes feel not-so sad or
something. But it's good for me. I talk to you, yeah, uhm, with relax -- how do I say?
Marvin: Relaxed...
Kyoko: Relax...
Marvin: You feel more relaxed talking about those things in English, you mean?
Kyoko: In English, yeah. So, the most important thing is in English, not Japanese. So
maybe I can to talk to you in Japanese, uhm, maybe I find different feeling. Do you
understand?
Marvin: Yes, yes, yes.
Kyoko: Really?
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Kyoko: Yeah, and that's right. I'm just Kyoko-san. Individual. Kyoko-san. Yes, it's good
for me, yeah.
Marvin: You don't have to be anybody else except Kyoko-san.
Kyoko: Just Kyoko-san, yeah.
Marvin: I see. That's a nice way to end the class. Do you have any questions for me
before we say goodbye to each other?
Kyoko: Yeah

148

Marvin: You have any questions? Really?


Kyoko: Ah. No.
Marvin: Because you said, "yes". So I thought you have some questions.
Kyoko: I don't have any questions.
Marvin: And I think you have to go make dinner now. (Internet connection problem)
[00:15:31.18]
Marvin: Hello?
Kyoko: Hello.
Marvin: Yes. Okay, we're back.
Kyoko: Yeah.
Marvin: Okay. Alright. I just wanna say, "Thank you."
Kyoko: Thank you, yeah.
Marvin: Yeah. You are most welcome. The pleasure is mine. And I know that i took
more than an hour of your precious Sunday time. I'm sorry about that.
Kyoko: It's okay.
Marvin: I'm sorry about that.
Kyoko: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can talk a lot of things. Yes, thank you.
Marvin: What are you gonna do after this one, after this class? Are you going to watch a
movie or something?
Kyoko: On TV, yes. It's already 9:30. Of course, I don't go outside anymore. And I
checked a lot of words before this class. So when I took Laarni's class before, I always
had to do that. So, it's good for me then, yeah.
Marvin: And it's gonna be so much better if you can remember how to use them.
Kyoko: It's very important for me.
Marvin: Yes. And I think I'm gonna see you again tomorrow - Monday - tomorrow night
at, hold on, uhm, 11:00 Japan time. You are my last class tomorrow.
Kyoko: Okay. Is that okay?
Marvin: Yes. No problem, no problem. So, I'll talk to you again tomorrow.
Kyoko: With video...
Marvin: Yes, yes hopefully. I dunno what's wrong with the Internet but hopefully we can
use the video tomorrow.
Kyoko: I hope so. Thank you.
Marvin: My day is finally finished! I can go home now and have dinner (laughs). This is
my last class so (sigh) time to go home.
Kyoko: I talk to you a lot of things. So, I need water. I'm really talkative.
Marvin: It's fine. It's good practice. Till tomorrow, Kyoko-san. Good night!
Kyoko: Good night! Buh-bye!
Marvin: Buh-bye.

149

APPENDIX F. TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDED SESSION

Participant: Chie
Date: September 17, 2014
Time: 7:01 PM
Duration: 00:46:20
Chie: Hello? Hello, Marvin?
Marvin: Hello, Chie!
Chie: Hello!
Marvin: Good afternoon!
Chie: Good afternoon!
Marvin: Long time no talk.
Chie: How are you?
Marvin: Well, I'm doing great.
Chie: Oh.
Marvin: Thank you for asking.
Chie: Oh, great. Great.
Marvin: And I just got a little bit confused with the time on your Skype.
Chie: Yeah, yeah. My account-Marvin: It says AM, 3 AM.
Chie: Yeah. No, it's not true. So my account is telling that?
Marvin: Yes.
Chie: It's telling that? Oh, it's really weird. Weird. Strange.
Marvin: Ah.
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: So, it's not true.
Chie: 7
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah, 7 hours difference. Between Japan and France, and I think the Philippines, 7
hours, right?
Marvin: Ah, I think it's
Chie: It's 8 PM there.
Marvin: Oh, no, it's 7. It's 7:00 here.
Chie: 7? Oh, so 6 hours. 6 hours.
Marvin: 6 hours. Yeah, it's a 6-hour difference.
Chie: Yeah. Yeah.
Marvin: So, how has your day been so far?
Chie: Oh, you know, I feel just a little bit blue because despite of the badno, good
weather forecast, no normally, it will be fine today but it's not so fine here, but sunny.
Marvin: Oh. Oh, no.
Chie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that's okay. I think that this week will be kind of Indian
summer. I think that, yes, temperate, temperature
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

150

Chie: Temperature will rise up to 26 and -7, yeah, around that. Yeah. So I think I can
*feel the latest summer, anyway. *laughs* ****
Marvin: Ah, I see. Any plans after the class? Are you going out?
Chie: After the class? Yes, yes, yes. *I am going out to meet my friend just to go to the
new restaurant
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: of meat, specialty meat. Meat. How do you call and say? Animal. I cannot find
the words.
Marvin: Not exactly a steak restaurant? No?
Chie: Yeah, steak, of course, and pork. Beef and pork and chicken, and the animal we
can find in Australia example. Not koala.
Marvin: *laughs*
Chie: Oh, how canostrich. Ostrich? Ostrich?
Marvin: Wait. INAUDIBLE. I don't know exactly what that is called but let's say, umm,
so, a restaurant that specializes in meat?
Chie: Meat, yeah. Beef and-Marvin: What? Let's see.
Chie: I've seen-Marvin: What do you call that?
Chie: Yeah. Kangaroo! Kangaroo?
Marvin: Rotisserie?
Chie: Yeah. KaThe animal, kangaroo-Marvin: Oh, you can have-Chie: Yeah, zebra.
Marvin: --kangaroo meat?
Chie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes, yes. Kangaroo meat and zebra.
Marvin: Zebra meat?
Chie: And, yeah, I've never tasted, yeah, zebra, zebra meat. I've never tasted. I've never
heard that. But my friend wasmy friend is a journalist so she is invited and she has one
person, so, to attend this invitation. So, yeah, she invited me to go to this restaurant, so
we will discover for the first time.
Marvin: Wow, so you're the plus-one.
Chie: Yeah. Yeah, plus-one, yes.
Marvin: Yeah, you're the plus-one.
Chie: Yeah, I'm the plus-one. Yes, yeah.
Marvin: Nice. And these kinds of meats we can say are pretty exotic, right?
Chie: Yeah, we can say that, yeah.
Marvin: Because they don't usually eat those kinds of meat.
Chie: No.
Marvin: Well, I've tried deer meat.
Chie: *laughs*
Marvin: Deer meat is-Chie: I'm not-Marvin: --pretty tough.
Chie: Deer? Oh, yeah, yeah, I think so.
Marvin: It's really tough.

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Chie: The smell is very strong, yeah.


Marvin: Yes, yes. It has this very musty smell.
Chie: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: And-Chie: I couldn't eat it, anyway.
Marvin: Well, what I did with that was I poured brandy on it and I heat it on that brandy.
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: So the smell is gone. It got tender.
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: So it tasted similar to beef, actually.
Chie: Probably, yes. We cook deer, deer meat, here with red wine, with wine, and red
berries.
Marvin: Yeah, that sounds really good.
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: And what time do you have to meet your friend, by the way?
Chie: Ah, 7-no, 8, 8 PM.
Marvin: Oh, for dinner?
Chie: If we finishyeah, for dinner.
Marvin: For dinner. I see.
Chie: Yeah, yeah. Not for lunch.
Marvin: Okay. So, you received the article I sent you, right?
Chie: Yes, yes.
Marvin: This is the first time that we're gonna have something from books rather than
something from the Internet, which we usually do, right?
Chie: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: Okay?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: So the first part, well, it has one, I think, four different sources, if I'm not
mistaken.
Chie: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Marvin: And four different books. And the first part of it areI'm not sure if they're
sayings or concepts, but probably they're ideas. So I want you to explain each idea to me.
The first one says sanshoku hirunetsuki.
Chie: Yeah. Sanshoku that means three meals. Three meals ****, breakfast, lunch and
dinner. And hirune is taking nap.
Marvin: Taking a nap?
Chie: Yes, nap. Yes, taking a nap.
Marvin: So, what is-Chie: Siesta, yes, in the afternoon.
Marvin: What is this idea?
Chie: Well, the women, married, married women have the right to have three meals, not
for free, but, you know, to have always at home.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Chie: So they have three meals at home and after that, in addition, they have the time to
take a nap in the afternoon.
Marvin: Hmm.

152

Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: I see.
Chie: Yeah. That meanssanshoku, san means three, shoku, meals.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: So, yeah, three meals, and nap, the time to nap.
Marvin: It sounds like it's a very traditional idea.
Chie: Yes, I think so. It's a kind of a traditional idea. Yeah, yeah. As wives, yeah.
Marvin: But do you think it's still true now?
Chie: Oh, sometimes, yes; sometimes, not maybe. Because mymaybe in my parents'
generation, it's true. But my mom washas been very busy. Of course, she has sanshoku
and maybe hirune, taking naps.
Marvin: *laughs*
Chie: But she also go out. Yeah, just for herself maybe. She enjoyed, maybe, to attend
the class, cooking class, or artificial flower class, the ikebana.
Marvin: Ikebana.
Chie: Yeah, or something like that. She has justshe had the time, she had the time for
her to enjoy. So I think, yeah, my mom, the generation of my mom, I think, that's true,
sanshoku hirunetsuki, I think.
Marvin: So you could say she had time, she had time for herself-Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: --right?
Chie: Yes, yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Marvin: Rather than, you know, just preparing meals, taking care of the kids?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Or taking care of the husband, your father?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Chie: Apart from that, I think she had a time for herself. Not so much because we didn't,
we didn't have anyhow can I sayhousekeeper?
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Housekeeper, hired by the family. So she did all of the tasks for family. And after
that, I think, she had enough time to enjoy herself including taking nap. Yeah.
Marvin: I see. So no househelp, no maids to take care of the chores. Right?
Chie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Marvin: Okay. Thank you very much. Next. We go to the next one, tama no koshi.
Chie: Yeah, tama no koshi. That's some kind of something that we can use and we can
believe we want sometimes to be tama no koshi. Tama, that's some kind ofoh, I know
this word in English.
Marvin: Oh, really? What is it in English?
Chie: Yeah, yeah. Digger, digger. I think digger. No?
Marvin: A digger?
Chie: Digger, yeah. The girl, the girl who is lookinglooking forthe girl is looking for
the treasure, the treasure.
Marvin: Okay.
Chie: Yeah, she wants to get married with a rich man.
Marvin: Uh-huh. I see. I think you mean a gold digger.

153

Chie: Yeah, a god digger, yeah, a gold digger. Yes.


Marvin: A gold digger.
Chie: That's the exactthat's the exact word.
Marvin: Okay. In English it sounds negative. *laughs*
Chie: Yeah, sure, sure.
Marvin: It sounds negative.
Chie: In Japanese also.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Chie: Yeah, not legally but one of our aim or desire or dream is to be tama no koshi
because, yeah, because she havewe haveif she get married with a rich man, if we get
married with a rich man, I think we'll be happier maybe, because we will have enough
money to spend for clothing or shopping or whatever you want. So probably it's kind of
our aim, I think. That means our aim, of Japanese women, I think.
Marvin: Wow. So it's another very old-school idea of-Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: --what to get when you get married. But do you think it's changed now or
somehow it hasn't changed at all?
Chie: Oh, it doesn't changeit hasn't changed, I think.
Marvin: It hasn't changed.
Chie: Yeah. Probably everybody would be tama no koshi, I think. Tama means goal ,
sometimes treasure. I don't know but tama no koshi, yeah. I don't know exactly the
meaning of each word, but no, that means of. So goal of koshi. I don't know.
Marvin: Koshi.
Chie: Yeah. That means, not gold digger, but the dream we can reach if we were gold
digger, you know, the objective for gold digger. Yeah, tama no koshi. It's quite, yeah, a
little bit different, dfferent, the meaning of tama no koshi and gold digger. We hear a gold
digger, we would like to be tama no koshi. So, that's the goal for gold diggers.
Marvin: OK.
Chie: So that's the goal for gold diggers.
Marvin: But maybe in English it could begold digger could be a rough translation for
the term maybe.
Chie: Yeah, yeah, maybe.
Marvin: Okay. And the last one we have rysai kenbo.
Chie: Rysai kenbo. Rysai, rysai means good wife.
Marvin: Okay.
Chie: Nice wife. Kenbo, at the same time, mother.
Marvin: Okay.
Chie: Being a nice woman, a nice wife, and as well as, yeah, mother.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Nice mother, yeah, at the same time.
Marvin: Okay. Being an ideal mom and an ideal wife.
Chie: Yes, ideal mom and ideal wife. That's a kind of goal of maybe for all of the
Japanese guys, maybe.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah. And we would like to be maybe a rysai kenbo.. Yeah, for Japanese women,
or both, both sides, ideal situation, I think, rysai kenbo.

154

Marvin: I see. And those concepts, those ideas are, we can say, back in the old times,
right?
Chie: Yes.
Marvin: Maybe after, uh, before World War or maybe some parts of it, or many parts of
it, were still true until the end of the World War. But probably there has been some
changes, probably, right?
Chie: Yeah., probably, yes.
Marvin: So let's try to look at some of those statements from a different perspective.
This is from a book called From Bonsai to Levi's: When West Meets East, An Insider's
Surprising Account of how the Japanese Live by George Fields. Just to give you a
background on George Fields, he is an Australian and he lived in Japan for a long time.
He worked for a Japanese company.
Chie: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: And I think one of his Japanese bosses encouraged him to have a writing stint or
have a writing job and his book became, I think, a best-seller or, I'm not exactly sure but
it went well or it sold well.
Chie: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: So he talked about the Western perspective on the Japanese culture, okay?
Chie: Okay. Okay.
Marvin: But as far as he's concerned, he tried to be as objective as possible, okay?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: So this is what he found out. Let me read the first one.
Chie: Okay.
Marvin:
......, a typical question posed by a Westerner is, How can any woman
tolerate a husband who returns late practically every night? Isnt that
simply treating a woman as a domestic servant? On the western scale,
yes. However many Japanese women resent the Western interpretation of
their role as a wife of an oppressed species.
Oh, what do you think of that one?
Chie: Yeah-Marvin: It's an observation from him.
Chie: Yeah, partly I agree. Partly, I don't agree. I think, yes, these days have changed.
The situation has changed. Maybe it's true for the generation maybe before, but these
days, of course, partly I agree, because some wife kind of domestic servant or treating
woman as a domestic servant, not being a wife, just a *weak wife or something because
these days alone almost every night or with their kids at home instead of, you know,
instead of going out for example to the dinner with the husband if possible. For normally
in Japan, they don't have any habit or custom to bring their wiveshow can I saytheir
wives to the party-Marvin: Oh.
Chie: -- for example, official party, yeah. So that's the difference because in Western, I
think we have the habit to when we are invited to the party, for example, men bring,
normally bring their wives or girlfriends to the party officially. But it Japan, they don't
they don't do that. So-Marvin: Mm-hmm.

155

Chie: Yeah, so normally they wives, their wives stay at home and take care of their kids
inat home, yes. I think the kind ofit's true. It's true. Real situation now, even now.
But the situation has changed a little compared to the--what can I say--the old situation
before.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: So, yeah, partly I agree, yeah. Most of it, I agree. Yeah, yeah. I think women-women have changed also because of the bad economic situation, they maybe have to do
work also, women.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah, like in Western. For example in France, both of us, women and men, work,
because they have no choice, you know. With just only the salaries of men, we cannot
afford anything, for example. So that's why maybe, I mean, wives have to work to earn
money. So that's a situation quite different compared to Japan. But these days, for young
generation I think that's true, similar to the Western situation, like that. For example, they
don't have any choice because they have to work to earn money, much more money, for
the family.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah. so they became less rich maybe. Yeah, I think, nowadays. Yeah.
Marvin: So, the woman working outside the home actually depends on how much the
husbands earn or the husband earns, right?
Chie: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: I see, I see. Well, I find the second point more interesting. It says here ....the
Japanese housewife was virtually the minister of finance and had very wide discretionary
power over the husbands pay envelope that was in the great majority of cases, handed
over to her in its entirety. This happens to be a fact, not a conjecture, and has been
verified by repeated surveys by banks. The wife allocates funds, which includes handing
her husband his daily pocket money. While there may be protestations and pleadings in
some cases, on all accounts she tends to hold firm, like any good secretary to the treasury
or minister of finance.
Chie: *laughs* It's true.
Marvin: True? Really?
Chie: It's true. Yeah, it's true. It's true for my mom, for example. But I don't know if it's
true for our generation, for younger generation.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Ah, in my--yeah, in the generation of my mom, yes, yes, she gave--she used to
gave-give envelope for monthly pocket money for my--for my dad.
Marvin: So your dad-Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: --gave all his salary to your mom-Chie: Yeah, exactly.
Marvin: --and your mom gave him daily spending money?
Chie: Pocket money, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And my dad, well, for him it was normal
for him to do that, like that. My mom just control the their saving money and they're just
spending money. So my mom know everything about like, yeah, saving money or
spending money alone. But my dad, they didn't know at all, not at all. Yeah.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

156

Chie: So that's very strange for me, yeah.


Marvin: Okay.
Chie: But I've been-Marvin: *laughs*
Chie: Yeah, yeah. I think--yeah, I think, it's very strange for me. So I didn't want to do
like them in the future, so I don't do that exactly with my husband, for example, I don't do
that. I don't know exactly how much he has extra money in her--in his bank account. He
doesn't, either, about me. And yeah, we participate to do our life, for example, we just,
uh, how can I say? Because we live together, so we spend money when we have maybe-when we feel better because maybe we have much more salary than the others. So we can
manage that. We can manage like that, for my family, for my couple, because we don't
have any kids.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: But in France also, many couples have a mutual account, bank account.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah, yes. I don't agree. No, I don't--I don't say that I don't agree with that, of
course. It's very nice thing. It's a nice thing to have a mutual account, but in addition to
our respective account, you know, for example.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: That's okay. But I don't want to have just only mutual account. If not, I cannot
spend as I want, you know. So, in France, I think, they have a culture. They have a habit
to have a mutual account between couple, yeah, men and women. But we don't. We don't
do that.
Marvin: Hmm.
Chie: Yeah, yeah. But this situation is true, I think, even--yeah, yeah. My--some of my
friends, yes, talking about that. They're talking about that, to give in money or they
cannot give in money, much more money and sometimes pocket money is less than two
years ago or something. So they just--they do. They do like that, I think. I suppose, yeah.
Marvin: I see. But do you think it's much easier for the household--for the household
itself if the money is handled by the wife?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Or is it easier for the family if both spouses, the man and the woman, have their
own account or have their own money?
Chie: Yeah, it depends--it depends on the family, of course. Married man don't have
enough time to calculate it and accounting * task. So maybe the woman, wife, housewife,
have enough time to calculate and control the *gesture of the savings or the salary, how
to spend, you know, how to use this money. So it depends on the family, of the couple, of
course. So, luckily--no, not lucky for someone who can manage. Because sometimes they
don't work, for example. Some of my--some of my friends don't work so don't earn
money herself, themselves. They can afford--they can buy everything, you know,
everything they want, without asking their husband sometimes.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Chie: And they can enjoy. That's fine. But, yeah, lucky, lucky for her. But sometimes, it's
not the case, I think.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.

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Chie: The men, yeah, the husband, maybe control, cannot help leave their wives to spend
as they want, so they cannot stand that, they control. But sometimes, it's disturbing, right?
They disturb that situation, maybe. It will-Marvin: Or they intervene? We can say intervene?
Chie: Yeah, intervene. Intervene, yeah, intervene. So-Marvin: They get in the middle?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Okay.
Chie: So for those who stay at home and they don't work. They have the--enough time to
calculate and control the money, I think it's a nice thing because the task--how can I say?
Each person has an appropriate task.
Marvin: Like a role maybe?
Chie: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: A role to play? Or a role to fill?
Chie: Yeah, a role play. Yeah, I think. Husband works outside and, yeah, wife works
inside, yeah, in this case. It is very clearly separate, so I think that is okay, yeah. But,
both are working-Marvin: Both working, okay. Okay, okay.
Chie: If both are working, this situation, it could be complicated, maybe. It depends on
the situation. I don't know.
Marvin: I see, I see. Okay. So now let's go to the next part. Now, the next. A few--one,
two, three, four lines are from "THE JAPANESE TODAY: CHANGING LIFEPATTERNS". It's--the chapter's name is "The Feminine Perspective in Japan Today".
That is the title of the article itself. It's from JAPAN TODAY. It's a book.
Chie: Mm-hmm.
Marvin: I think it was first published in the 1970s or early 80s. And the first point, it
says here," Many women do engage in such activities as part-time jobs, sports, consumer
movements, and arts and crafts, but only as long as they do not interfere with the care of
the family."
Chie: Oh, yes, that's the case of my mom at that time.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. As long as they do not interfere with the care of the family, yes,
she doesn't--yeah, I think she did well. She managed well at that time, yes. She had parttime activities. Not part-time jobs but--yeah, however, yeah.
Marvin: Hobbies. Like you mentioned earlier she was into ikebana, right?
Chie: Yes.
Marvin: Flower arrangement?
Chie: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: I see. So this is true. What about now? Do you think it's still true, now? Or-Chie: Yeah, I think so.
Marvin: --has it changed?
Chie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It' true. Yeah, my generation, yes. Some of my friends do the
same thing. Not as a part-time job, because they don't work. And they do sports, they go
to they gym and consumer movements, of course, and arts and crafts, cooking. Yeah,
yeah. Maybe they try to not interfere with the care of the family, yes. So, yeah.

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Marvin: All right. I see. So, that one, that idea has not changed yet. Now let's go to the
second one. It says "Marriage in Japan," I find this interesting, "...is like taking a tenured
post." I think you know what a tenured post is, right?
Chie: Tenured post? Tenured post, yes, yes, yes. Guaranteed.
Marvin: Or a regular job. A regular job where you are a permanent employee. That is a
tenured post. "...in the sense that both husband and wife have a tendency to take the
relationship for granted."
Chie: (laughs)
Marvin: Do you agree with this one?
Chie: Well, tenured post. Yeah, kind of, yes.
Marvin: All right. Like when you--when you have already a regular job and you don't
have to impress your boss anymore. You're just, "Nah, I'll just go to work every day."
Chie: *laughs*
Marvin: Or I don't have to do my best because I'm already a regular employee-Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: --or my tenureship is-Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: --is already sure, right? I wouldn't be fired-Chie: Yes, but, but-Marvin: --for any reason. Go ahead.
Chie: But this situation, I don't like that. Because when there is a divorce, you know.
Who knows? Who knows, breaking the relationship, the marriage. Maybe the women
never worked before, they don't know--they can't--they cannot start working, you know.
As we get older it could be very difficult to find jobs. And their habit, of course, their
routine, is not--it was not for her the same thing. So I think it could be very difficult for
someone, those who have never experienced working independently, I think.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah, yeah. But why not for them, yeah. Although, or those accept this. Because-no, no, no. It's true. It's true, this sentence, it is true. I think in Japan, yes.
Marvin: And I guess the third one is connected to the second one. "Communication
between Japanese couples, except for newlyweds, may be minimal."
Chie: *laughs* Yeah, maybe. Maybe, yeah, Yeah, again, it depends on the couple, of
course, in the family, yeah. Maybe except for newlyweds. But, yes, of course, we tend to-in Japan, we tend to be--to be--how can I say--dry in the relationship.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. What do you mean by that?
Chie: Once we get married--once we get married, between the relationship--the
relationship between the wife and the husband, it becomes sometimes dry especially
when they have kids. And compared to that, for example in France, I find it very, very,
very romantic, for example, with kids, if they have kids. They continue to have
relationships kind of between man and woman. But in Japan it's kind of--how can I say-as we have a kid--we have kids--when they have the kids between them, so the
relationship is not so close compared to before, I think. They have maybe a profound,
deep relationship maybe like a woman and man, man and woman, but as they have child,
I think the relationship between them change, get to change. And, yeah, of course, we
tend to be minimal, maybe, to avoid--to avoid any conflict, maybe, between them.
Marvin: Ah.

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Chie: And because this is kind of a tenured post, the marriage, so I think each of them,
all of them, both sides, try to be minimal, not to cause troubles--trouble, between--yeah,
something--something can--something can break the marriage, I think.
Marvin: Hmm. Okay. Let's try to illustrate that "minimal" communication between
Japanese couples. How would you, you know, describe it in a situation at home? What
does that mean? They don't talk? Does it mean that they don't eat together? What does
that mean?
Chie: Yeah, first of all, they don't talk--no, they don't--they don't eat together because
the husband come--go--comes home--the husband comes home very later--late.
Marvin: Very late.
Chie: Very late in the evening. And they, maybe, talk about the education of their kids or
they don't have enough time. So probably the wife is taking care of the child, their child,
their kids. And--and maybe they don't go out for dinner because of the time, the late time
of his arrival to the home, so they don't have enough time, for example, on weekday, to
go out to a restaurant, go out for dinner or something. They don't go out together. Maybe
on the weekend with their kids. It's not the same thing. So minimal, yeah. And the
husband works very hard and I don't know if it's true or not.
Marvin: *laughs*
Chie: He is tired, so, you know...
Marvin: Okay.
Chie: If he comes--comes home, he's normally tired. So he didn't--he doesn't say--he
doesn't say anything, I think, yeah, I'm tired. I'm tired and I'm hungry. Yeah, something
like that. It's really simple. So, yes, I think they don't talk with each other. They don't
have a time, yes.
Marvin: Mm-hmm. I see. But the fourth idea, I'm not sure if it's connected to the third,
but it sounds like it. The common expression, "A good husband is healthy and absent'
accurately reflects the attitude of many Japanese women toward their husbands."
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Do you agree? This is how Japanese-Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: --wives tell or think of their husbands?
Chie: Yes, yes, yes. I totally agree. I totally agree. Because my mom is saying that. Of
course, she is kidding.
Marvin: *laughs*
Chie: But at that time, long time ago, there is an advertisement--advertisement campaign
in the TV--TV, yes. Of course, it is the sentence, yeah. A good husband is healthy and
absent.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah, this is the slogan, I think, for--I don't know which is--what is the product of
the advertising. But I remember, I do remember this sentence. A good husband is healthy
and absent.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: So my mom was totally agree with this advertising campaign on the TV. And now,
my friends are saying the same thing, I think.
Marvin: Hmm.

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Chie: Because husbands bring salary, money to the home, to the house and for
everything, for every life--for all of the members of the family. And when he stays, for
example, for two or three days, one of my friends, yes, she told me that she was tired
because she has to prepare the three meals-Marvin: Three meals a day. Okay.
Chie: Yeah, and apart from that, of course, she has to take care of him and she's not used
to have her husband stay during the day time, for example, at home. So she was
embarrassed. *laughs*
Marvin: *laughs*
Chie: Yeah, so a good husband is healthy and absent. Yeah.
Marvin: I see. Okay. So, just to refresh my memory, how long have you been in France
again, Chie?
Chie: 23, 23.
Marvin: 23 years?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Wow.
Chie: So I'm not really, really a Japanese, I think.
Marvin: Yeah, but how long did you stay in Japan? How long did you live in Japan?
Chie: You know, 20 years. Yeah.
Marvin: So you are more French than Japanese?
Chie: Yeah, I think so.
Marvin: We can say that?
Chie: Yeah, in my mind, yes. Yes, yes. But I'm in between, yeah, in between.
Marvin: Yes. Wow, interesting. Very, very interesting. Okay, so now let's go to the last
part of our article for tonight. It's all about Internet and using Internet as a way to
express--a way for housewives or women to express themselves. Okay?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: It says here, "Communication on the Internet, however enables women to take
part in the public discussion while preserving their privacy and anonymity; that is, they
have no need to engage in face-to-face debate or to use language, quote/unquote,
appropriate to hierarchically-ordered direct discourse. Thus the anonymous character of
the Internet has provided space or a variety of new interactive forums for women. For
example, one housewife relates that: As a housewife, I was always treated as subordinate
to my husband...My opinion was often treated not as mine but my husbands wifes.
The only place I was treated as an individual was on the Net, probably because I didnt
reveal that I am someones wife."
Chie: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I understand. I understand this, yeah, this idea.
Marvin: Yes.
Chie: That's--that's all it takes, I think, for everyone. They are very sad, I think. They are
happy maybe, but they are very sad because always "huband's wife, yeah. Because they
don't have any existence for themselves. For example, for this woman, she--if she has
something for her, for example, as a hobby or she express herself, and it should--to show
that she could do something, you know, on her own. If not, I think, she doesn't feel--it's
very difficult for her to feel she does exist, you know, in the society. So that's why we are
probably--yes, she is very sad and unhappy to be called husband's wife, yeah, not her
name, no. Yeah, that's, yeah, that's very sad for me. That's the most, yeah, the most--

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Marvin: The saddest?


Chie: Yeah, the saddest thing for me. If this is the case. I'm not, so that's okay, but I try to
avoid this situation, yeah. I want to exist myself on my own.
Marvin: You as Chie, as Chie, right?
Chie: Yes, yes.
Marvin: Ah, yes. I suddenly remembered an animation. It's all about, you know, giving
importance to your name.
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Anyway, I think you know Sen to no Chihiro, right?
Chie: Yes, Sen to no Chihiro, yes.
Marvin: Right. The animation of--I'm not sure if it's Haku--anyway, somebody told-Chie: Yes, Haku, Haku.
Marvin: Somebody told the girl that the most important thing in this place is your name.
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Right?
Chie: That's right. That's right.
Marvin: So, she should always remember her name. And I thinks it's having a sense of
identity. But anyway, let's go to the next one. It says here on Websites for Japanese
Women--so, Matsuura Satoko is a Japanese researcher, on women, feminism to be exact.
And she analyzed different websites for women in Japan. So she said, " I was astonished
to see that various womens voices are heard and visible on the Internet. These are very
different from ordinary conversations among women, which usually have to be modest,
self-effacing, and settled privately...Their voices are lively. They are trying to build real
communication and relationships on the Internet, leaving behind secure and soothing
conversations... Women who were confined at home to private issues such as childrearing, care of the elderly, domestic violence, sexual harassment and other
discrimination, are now stepping out. Its as if Pandoras Box has been opened in
Japanese society."
Chie: *laughs* It's true, it's true, I think. I found that the reality, for example, on
Facebook, for example.
Marvin: Okay. Go ahead.
Chie: Yeah, yeah. So for example, not only in Japan, for example, a Japanese--Japanese
lady, Japanese woman married to a Japanese guy and they live in France for a long time,
like me. So, she's Japanese, but she doesn't work, never worked, but her husband works
as a designer, car designer, for Toyota--not Toyota--Nissan, I think. So he's very famous.
So she never had to--how can I say--never had to do--had to work for her--for herself.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: So she has enough time and she's very--they're very rich. But I feel because she's
always, always on Facebook. I'm not always on Facebook but every time I log in and
she's there, and she's uploading the photos and she's uploading what she's thinking about.
Wow, she's really, really lonely, I think. And she's very difficult--different, I think.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: I thought that she was not like that. She's maybe--tend to be--pretend--pretend to
be very happy and she, I don't know--yeah, she's very satisfied with her situation now in
France. But sometimes it's not--it's not true, because she's very lonely. She maybe wanted
to work and to earn money maybe for her, on her own, independently. But she doesn't

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have to, but, you know, she is very lonely and she is very far from Japan. And maybe she
would have wanted to go back to Japan, maybe, you know. Because she's on Facebook
always. She's speaking--she's talking to her friends on Facebook in Japanese, not in
French, in English. So, yeah, she's kind of very lonely and she's quite different. When I
saw--when I see her in real life and when I see her in Facebook-Marvin: Wow.
Chie: --totally different. Yes, really, really different. I'm very, very surprised, yes, by
that.
Marvin: Uh-huh.
Chie: Yes.
Marvin: So this anonymity or being unknown or being anonymous in the Internet, does
that give you comfort in sharing more about yourself rather than, you know.
Chie: I think so. It's easier. It's easier, yeah.
Marvin: Hmm.
Chie: Easier to exchange. And you can say what you want if it's anonymous.
Anonymous? Anony?
Marvin: Yeah, anonymous.
Chie: Anonymous., yeah.
Marvin: When you are anoymous. Uh-huh.
Chie: Yeah, I feel better to express myself, what I want. Maybe it could not be fear, you
know. It could be said clearly when I--when I'm anonymous, I can say on the Internet. I
don't want to show myself. I don't want to introduce myself to say something, maybe, not
acceptable for someone. So, yeah, it's clearly easier, I think, for someone to say--to want
to say anonymous and to say something, to want to say something, yeah, on the Internet.
Yes.
Marvin: Okay. So do you think that this is all about just for--is it just for housewives or,
you know, kind of having-Chie: Oh.
Marvin: --a hard time to express themselves or express their opininons?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Or is it for everybody?
Chie: Everybody, yes. Yes, the last--the last sentence, I think, is true, for everybody, I
think. Yeah. Even for men, I think.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah, they have something to say, maybe, in public but they don't just--but they
have a chance--they have some chance to say something. I think they say that, something
very clear and--or something very strong, maybe, not acceptable but it's difficult, some
topics about some--difficult topics, I think they can talk about.
Marvin: Mm-hmm.
Chie: Yeah, it's easier on the Internet.
Marvin: I see, I see. How long have you been using the Internet to learn English again?
Chie: Learn English, I started last November or December, something like that. Yeah,
yeah. But I'm using Internet more than, I don't know--wow, it's been a long time. It's been
a long time, yeah. I cannot count. Wow. Yeah.
Marvin: I see, I see.
Chie: More than 17 years.

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Marvin: 17 years?
Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: Wow. So we can say that you've used the Internet--what do you call that--as a
learning tool for quite some time now?
Chie: Actually, actually, learning tool, yes, learning tool and researching. And I can find
many, many information I want. And to stay in touch with--stay?
Marvin: Yes, stay in touch, keep in touch, yes.
Chie: Yeah, keep in touch with my friends, real friends, because they're living so far, in
Japan, or in the world. And yeah, actually yes, I have to communicate with potential
clients, for example, living in Japan, or living in the States, in the world. So the Internet is
indispensible for me, for my job, and my daily life also. Yeah.
Marvin: Same goes for me.
Chie: Yeah, learning English I *lately realized because I've never thought that I--I regret
that. Why I didn't start earlier to learn English on the Internet? Just for one year, just for
almost one year, less than one year, but I wanted to learn English but I hesitated. Oh,
online English is not so good and something. I've never tried that but I felt it's a necessity
for my job because I have to--I have to communicate in English now. So I decided, I
made up my mind to learn seriously English communication. So, yeah, that's a nice tool
to learn English for me because it's not easy for my daily life. Because in France, we
don't speak English in daily life. But I have to speak English for my job and I have to be
good at communicating in English. So I think it helps a lot, learning English on the
Internet with you, for example. Yeah.
Marvin: Well, thank you very much. Okay. So Chie, do you have any last words before
we wrap up the class?
Chie: Oh, no. Nothing special. It's very interesting topic. Yeah. I always talk--think about
these topics, yes, topic, topics-Marvin: Yes.
Chie: --for housewives in Japan.
Marvin: Topics, yes, matters like these, well, it's not a very usual-Chie: Yeah.
Marvin: --topic for classes, but yeah, it's sometimes nice to try something new.
Chie: Yeah, really nice. Really, really interesting, yeah.
Marvin: Yes. And I'm really happy that you have the time to participate in today's class
and I do hope that I'll talk to you again in the future if you're not very busy.
Chie: Okay.
Marvin: All right?
Chie: Okay. Thank you. Thank you.
Marvin: So, Chie, you go have a really great day.
Chie: Thank you very much. You too. You're really tired, maybe.
Marvin: Not exactly. It's just 8:00 here.
Chie: Okay.
Marvin: And I still have a few more to go. So, talk to you again next time, Chie.
Chie: Okay. Talk to you again. Thank you very much, Marvin!
Marvin: Bye!
Chie: Bye-bye!

164

APPENDIX G. TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDED SESSION

Participant: Eiko
Date: September 17, 2014
Time: 9:00 PM
Duration: 00:56:56
Eiko: Hello!
Marvin: Yes. Good evening, Eiko-san!
Eiko: Good evening.
Marvin: How have you been? When was the last time we talked?
Eiko: Yeah. Last...
Marvin: Two weeks ago, maybe?
Eiko: No. Last week.
Marvin: Last week. Okay.
Eiko: Friday or Thursday. I forgot. Okay (laughs).
Marvin: Hmm. Right. Probably Friday. How was your weekend? We had a typhoon last
weekend.
Eiko: Uh-huh.
Marvin: And the, yeah, uhm, the Internet was down.
Eiko: ho-hum. I see the last time that we talked was September 13.
Marvin: (laughs) You remembered!
Eiko: This Skype chat box said that.
Marvin: Yeah. I forgot that we actually have Skype chat box. So how was your day?
Eiko: Today? Ah. Wow. Yes, uhm , it was a kind of unusual day for our shop. Yes. We
had good customers.
Marvin: Wow!
Eiko: Yes. And in the morning, yes, a little bit busy. But in the afternoon, a few
customers as usual (laughs).
Marvin: Well, I think that's good for the business itself. But maybe not so good for you
because you got tired a bit, maybe.
Eiko: Ah. Not so much. You know being busy, ah, is good. Yeah. Because the time flies.
So it's okay
Marvin: So you don't have any idle time, right?
Eiko: (laughs)
Marvin: Cause you keep moving. So, uhm, speaking of unusual, we are going to have
something unusual tonight. You know, we usually have the vignettes that you send me,
right? But today I was the one who sent the article. Its not exactly a vignette but more of
like excerpts from different books about Japan and Japanese women. So, let's see. The
first one - well Ill just give you an overview. There are one, two, three, four different
kinds of books that I used for this article. I just lifted them directly from the books. And
all I want you to do is explain what they mean, and in some ideas or concepts I might ask
you if you agree or disagree with the concepts and how has it changed or has it affected
you to some extent, okay?
Eiko: Yeah.

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Marvin: So first
Eiko: It's interesting.
Marvin: Let's have this one: To Become a Full-Time Homemaker: A Womans Dream of
Yesteryear, The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater Inequality.
Thats the title of the book from Tachibanaki Toshiaki. He's a man. In his book, there are
a lot of data about Japanese women, family marriage - a lot of stuff. And what struck me
the most were these concepts: first one is sanshoku hirunetsuki. How would you explain
that?
Eiko: (laughs) Sanshoku hirunetsuki - sanshoku means the, you know, breakfast, lunch
and supper; and hirune is the nap. So, the sanshoku hirunetsuki describes the typical fulltime housemakers daily life. Ah. But it is maybe the old good days. So, sanshoku
hirunetsuki not work in the society. Sanshoku hirunetsuki just, you know, the housewives
status - having breakfast lunch , supper and even taking nap, and using the husbands
salary,wage , salary. But ah, yes, but they are working as a housemaker. So, uhm ,
sanshoku hirunetsuki, well, maybe my mother been, had this kind of days a little bit when
I was a kid. Yes, my mother has been a stay-at-home about 20 years. And well, you know
she sometimes complained about her status because lack of the ties with the society being at home and, you know, make breakfast, lunch, and supper. And a kind of boring
for her. So I clearly remembered when I was a junior high student, she told me that she
envied that working woman (laughs), you know. But later on, when i was a sophomore at
the college, my father lost new business and had a new company and he asked to help
him out. And ten years, she worked as a full-time. And then, what she said, she
complained that she has lot of things, you know, how to ____ it, housework, jobs. So
grass is always greener Marvin: The grass is greener on the other side. Do you think it's still true or is this idea
still true among the younger generation, sanshoku hirunetsuki?
Eiko: ah. No. Sanshoku hiruntsuki, but you know, this is the title: A Womans Dream
of Yesteryear, The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater Choice, Greater
Inequality. Yeah. The latest statistics show that, I dunno how many percent, but a lot of
young women want to be stay-at-home mom, yes, full-time housemaker - housewife.
Marvin: Homemaker.
Eiko: Homemaker, yes. But I know their reason. Yeah. In today's economic climate, in
Japan, the full-time homemaker husband are the first class companies work for - working
for the first class companies or doctors - medical doctors. They have a lot of income. So,
to be a, you know, a full-time homemaker means to get married to with a high-income
husband (laughs). Thats what it I think.
Marvin: So they choose - if they choose a life of sanshoku hirunetsuki, they must mean
that their husband or the husband is a highly-paid professional, or maybe in a big
company.
Eiko: Yes, and the housewife dont need to work for the daily life for the bread, yeah,
their life.
Marvin: I see. Interesting. Now, let's go to the second one: tama no koshi.
Eiko: Tama no koshi? Yeah. Also means to get married with a wealthy man, and I
checked the dictionary it says, Cinderella story. Yeah. Tama no koshi. Yeah. To get
rich man- to get married with rich man. Yeah. That is tama no koshi.
Marvin: It's literally being like Cinderella, being married to a prince.

166

Eiko: Yeah. Cinderella and had to be become a full-time homemaker (laughs).


Marvin: Very traditional indeed. Now we go to the last one: rysai kenbo.
Eiko: This is also a traditional, you know. Rysai means good wife, and kenbo means the
good mother; to be a good wife and a good mother. Yeah. Not working at the company.
Marvin: So, have any of these ideas affected you to some extent when you entered your
married life? I want to be this; I want to be that kind of Eiko: As I said before, my mother often complained - being a full-time homemaker. And
so, I had a bad, you know, false images of working. Well I got married with a man with,
who runs a little shop. And I have to help him out. And the so wow since I got
married, Ive been working and doing household chores. And I got really get tired of it
now (laughs). Huh-hum. It's hard to juggling with both household and jobs. Yes. And
traditional concept of the gender role never changed especially in my husband's
generation. I think that engrained in his body. Maybe, yeah, his mother is traditional
Japanese, you know, old. Yes. The traditional mother, and, yes, theres a saying, you
know, Men should not be at the kitchen. Yeah. The kitchen is not men's place.
Marvin: Which means it's the wife's place?
Eiko: Yes. So, the cooking, is the woman's, you know, work, not or man. And he wasnt
taught how to cook, how to clean the house nothing by his mother because his mother has
such kind of, you know, traditional idea man should be (inaudible)
Marvin: As far as I know, you raised a son. Did you teach your son how to do stuff in
the kitchen?
Eiko: Yes! (Laughs) So, well, it's hard to change something.
Marvin: Like those concepts and ideas.
Eiko: Yeah.
Marvin: Let's now go to the second part of the article. This is from From Bonsai to
Levis When West Meets East: An Insiders Surprising Account of How the Japanese Live
by George Fields. He is an Australian author. He stayed in Japan, worked in Japan, for I
dunno how many years but he worked for a big company. And his boss encouraged him
to have a writing career; write about different cultural stuff - things about Japan. I think
he was pretty curious about how Japanese consumers think, and in these two paragraphs,
the excerpts that I chose he talked about women being good at financing. And how
women resent, they dont like, or resent, the idea of being seen as a domestic servant. So
let me read the first one:
, a typical question posed by a Westerner is, How can any woman
tolerate a husband who returns late practically every night? Isnt that
simply treating a woman as a domestic servant? On the western scale,
yes. However many Japanese women resent the Western interpretation of
their role as a wife of an oppressed species.
Do you have any words from that part?
Eiko: Ah. I checked the dictionary. So, oppressed species (laughs).
Marvin: So, oppressed species, so what is your take on this one? What is your opinion?
Eiko: Uhm (laughs). Well, I think the Japanese, uhm, how can i say that, the women's
house - traditionally, husbands and wives are not equal in the house. And, husband is the
master of the house. And housewives is a kind of servant. Yeah, that's a fact. When - the
name of the husband just, you know, when I talk to my friends, Hows your husband?"
recently, yeah, if I say that, I have to choose the word.

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Marvin: What do you mean by that?


Eiko: In Japan now, the situation has changed a little bit but you know if Anata no How's your husband in Japan - goshujinwa? Goshujin in Japanese means master or lord.
Marvin: Oh so the Japanese word for husband does not exactly mean husband, the male
partner, but rather a master.
Eiko: But we have Japanese translation: otto. Otto in Japanese, yeah, is husband. But
most people use goshujin or Watashi no shujin. But I didnt want to use shujin. When I
got married with my husband, the shujin, master, and shujin itself means the housewife is
subordinate to the husband. So I didnt use the word shujin. When I talk to my friend,
Otto ga - at that time, it's, well, strange, it was a little bit strange. But now many women
started to use otto instead of shujin to call their husbands. So, goshujin means master. I
hate that word, yeah (laughs). But I think it symbolizes the situation of the husband and
wife in Japan (laughs).
Marvin: And the second paragraph says that:
The Japanese housewife is virtually the minister of finance and had
wide discretionary power over the husband's pay envelope and that was in
the great majority of cases handed over to her in its entirety. This happens
to be a fact not a conjecture and has been verified by repeated surveys by
banks. The wife allocates funds which includes handing over her husband
his daily pocket money. While there may be protestations and pleadings in
some cases, on all accounts she tends to hold firm, like any good secretary
to the treasury or minister of finance.
True?
Eiko: True! (laughs)
Marvin: So, you are the minister of finance"?
Eiko: It depends on each family. And, I, well, yes, in my case - in our case - I am the
minister of the finance of daily expenses. And as far as big ticket items is concerned, of
course, we talk a lot. And, but yes, wow, yes and no. But I dunno. That is, I am proud of.
I have been working for over 30 years and yes, I can have my own money. Thats a fact.
But my, and i know the exact you know, the numbers of incomes of my husband, of
course, and mine. But my mother didnt know. Yes. My father, every month, handed the
monthly expenses for money, how can say that. And we within the ranges she managed
to do, go shopping, to buy groceries or
Marvin: So, your father set a budget and then mom has to work around that budget.
Eiko: Yes. Thats right. But if she, but in the case, sometimes she lacks the money, she
asked my father. And my father handed the extra, yes, so she, she has no problem.
Marvin: So, you are the minister of finance.
Eiko: Sanshoku hirunetsuki's women's enjoy the lunchtime with friends while the
husband is working hard (laughs). So in my place and anywhere in Japan, lunchtime
restaurants are full of women (laughs), enjoying their lunch (laughs)
Marvin: Nice, nice, nice. So, those are life patterns and lifestyles. So now we go to the
third which is one from Japan Today. That's the book, not the newspaper. It says here the
Changing Life-patterns, The Feminine Perspective in Japan Today, from Japan Today.
And the first one says, Women do engage in such activities such part time job, sports,
consumer movement, and arts and crafts but only as long as they do not interfere with the
care of the family. You agree with that?

168

Eiko: Yes, and no.


Marvin: Yes, and no. okay. Interesting.
Eiko: Ah. Yes and no. Oh. I envy such women yes who can engage in activities:
playing golf , playing tennis, swimming and arts and crafts yeah - go to gyms, athletic
gyms. Yes, of course. Part-time jobs. Ah. Well, the, now the, yeah, uhm, except the, you
know, high-salaried husband, you know, the wife of high salaried salary man or husband,
yes, I think the majority of the wives have to work for their life or their kids for the
educating.
Marvin: Education.
Eiko: Education, yeah, childrens education - for the cram schools; or yes, a lot of things.
So, yes, and no, I think.
Marvin: How would classify learning English? Isnt this an activity that we can consider
different from household chores, different from having a full-time job?
Eiko: Ah. English. Well, now, you know, thanks to the Internet, I could have a lot of
choices to study or learn or enjoy English. So, it's good for me. Yeah. If theres no
Internet, and I know , if I want to speak out or speak English, I have to go out go to the
English school on the downtown. Its kinda hard for me, yeah, because Im a full-time
worker. And housewife, and no, clubs, English class open at this time of the day. So, Im
so happy that that, you know, the Internet provides this style of class.
Marvin: Could you remind me when you started learning English? You already told me
that last year but that was a long time ago. So, when did you start learning English as a
second language, and what got you interested?
Eiko: Ah. Second language. Yes, as a required subject at the junior high school and all
Japanese students studied at least six years in junior high and senior high. And plus I
majored in English at college so ten years at school. So, wow, such a poor English, huh?
Yeah. And so, about the question, I started learning English as a required subject.
Marvin: As a required subject at school, and did you stop after high school or did you
keep on learning?
Eiko: I kept on learning. So, just like I said I majored in English in college, and ten years
i studied English. I, when I was a senior at college, I thought I didnt have anything to be
proud of - when I learned, or what I liked to do. I think one thing maybe English, my
major. And I fortunately passed STEP - Society for Testing English Proficiency - in
Japanese, not TOEIC. But I passed the first grade when i was a senior. At that time, the
first grade must be advanced.
Marvin: Well, I saw a sample test of first grade EIKEN, and i know it can be tough for
some learners.
Eiko: Yeah. Its a long time ago. So, when i got married my job had nothing to do with
English. And I thought if I had children and someday he or she asked, what did you
study, mom, at college? And I thought, Can I say proudly I majored in English? I
thought something like that. And well, if he or she says, Such a poor at English. I
didnt want to avoid such kind of situations
Marvin: Oh. You wanted to avoid such kind of situations.
Eiko: So, I tried to keep (inaudible) in English.
Marvin: Uhm.

169

Eiko: Yes. But I just start this kind of Internet class, I just listened to English radio
conversation programs everyday - 10 minutes or 15 minutes. So, I wonder, Have much
English improved or not. I dont have any ideas. Yeah. (Laughs). But I'm so happy.
Marvin: By the way, does your husband learn English as well?
Eiko: Yes, at school. College. Yes.
Marvin: What about now?
Eiko: Ah. He had been an elite for passing exams (laughs).
Marvin: What do you mean by that?
Eiko: He graduated from one the prestigious college/ universities. And so he studied hard
for the entrance exam and English is an entrance exam subject. So sometimes, he knows
difficult terms. But, no, he doesnt study English now.
Marvin: Does he speak English as well as you can?
Eiko: A little bit (laughs). Well, what did i want to say? Whenever we, you know, watch
DVD of American movies, yes, we had a quarrels. Yes, yes. The English version or the
Japanese voice version.
Marvin: So you had to choose between the English dubbed or the Japanese subtitled?
Eiko: So, I never watch movie with him. He choose the Japanese dubbed, so it's too bad.
Marvin: But what does he think of you still continuing to learn English despite a long
time learning the language?
Eiko: He almost (inaudible) just, you know, according to him, I'm easy to quit
everything. Just start some new hobby but I quit. But English, wow, You never quit.
So,wow. It's okay now, he said.
Marvin: So what do you think of that? Uhm. He said that, Wow! You did not quit
studying English. How did you feel?
Eiko: I, maybe, that is the reason why my English doesnt improve a lot because I dont
have a sense of studying English. So that's the problem maybe.
Marvin: You mean no encouragement? No inspiration? No motivation?
Eiko: No. Ah. Motivation? Yes. But if the necessity to use English is much more and
more, maybe my English improve a lot. So I'm just enjoying. So maybe it's a problem I
think. So, necessity is the mother of improvement
Marvin: (Laughs) thats a new one. Necessity is the mother or improvement. I thought
that was supposed to be invention, right?
Eiko: Invention but (laughs).
Marvin: That's a nice one. Nice one. So let's go to the next three concepts. and they're
interrelated: one is, Marriage in japan is like a tenured post in the sense that both
husband and wife have a tendency to take their relationship for granted By the way,
tenured post there means a regular job, a permanent job. Next, Communication between
Japanese couples, except for newlyweds, maybe minimal And the last one is, The
common expression , A good husband is healthy and absent, commonly reflects the
attitude of housewives toward their husbands. (Laughs). Theyre kind of interrelated,
right? So, being married is a regular job, communication among married / bet married
couples very minimal except newlyweds Eiko: Yes. Newlywed couples - I can easily tell if couples are married or not. Because if
they talk a lot, theyre not married yet. At restaurants, it's easy to tell the couples,
(laughs). And, A good a husband is healthy and absent -

170

Marvin: I mean, what does that mean? Can you give a better example? Maybe from your
experience if you can? Healthy and absent...
Eiko: Healthy and absent. The salarymen have to work for the long distance places.
Yeah. They - if they were asked to move to another city leaving Tokyo and going to
Osaka, and at if the newlyweds couples maybe housewife, is moving with him. Ten years
or 15 years marriage and with children, in that case, it's often, only the father will move
to Osaka. So, the Tokyo family there's no husband, only in Osaka, (laughs), so healthy
and absent (laughs).
Marvin: Got it, got it. But is it the same in your case?
Eiko: No. Good husband is absent and ,uhm, well, it's a, you know, my immediate boss
is my husband.
Marvin: Mr. Micromanager. I'm sorry.
Eiko: Yes. So, sometimes he's absent, I feel happy. Yeah. That's a fact I can't deny.
(Laughs). But I think same can be said for him about maybe the meals is his problem.
Marvin: So that is from Japan Today under the title Changing Life Patterns. Its main
title is The Feminine Perspective from Japan Today. Now we go to the last part, which is
all about the Internet - using the internet for education and a medium or expressing one's
self. So let me read:
Communication on the Internet however enables women to take part in the
public discussion while preserving their privacy and anonymity; that is,
they have no need to engage in face-to-face debate or to use language
appropriate to hierarchically ordered direct discourse. Thus, the
anonymous character of the Internet has provided space or a variety of
new interactive forums for women... For example, one housewife relates
that
Could you read for me?
Eiko: Ah, yes.
As a housewife, I was always treated as subordinate to my husbandMy
opinion was often treated not as mine but my husbands wifes. The
only place I was treated as an individual was on the Net, probably because
I didnt reveal that I am someones wife.
Marvin: So, what do you think of this housewife's experience or this comment from this
housewife? Using the Internet to express her ideas or opinions.
Eiko: Uhm.Ah. Wow. I think its good. Hmm. Well, uhm, she is a little old-fashioned.
(laughs) Why? I dunno. (Laughs). Her husband wives? Treated not mine but my
husband's wife?
Marvin: She said, uh, she was always treated as a subordinate. But on the Internet, in
virtual reality she is her own self. Yes.
Eiko: I wonder what kind of life she lives. Wow.
Marvin: Thats a difficult question.
Eiko: Well, it happened you know. When the, uhm, something as a family to send a gift
to a friend, the sender's name is only the husbands name. Yeah. It happens.
Marvin: Hold on. If a family sends a gift to another friend, only the husband's name...
Eiko: Yeah. Only the husbands name represent the family.
Marvin: I see.

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Eiko: Yes. So, the (inaudible) Well,yes. Maybe I am little bit different when I got
married. Yes. When I got married, and yes, I had to, you know, open the bank account for
the public electricity
Marvin: For utilities, you mean, water bill
Eiko: Yes. That is right, yes. I have to open the bank account. And I made a bank
account on my own name (laughs). Wow. I was surprised by a lot of people. Why wasnt
the name your husband's?
Marvin: So, you mean a lot of people sur no, no, no- you surprised a lot of people.
Eiko: Yeah. Usually you know, such utility bills Marvin: Utilities
Eiko: Utilities, yes, for the bank accounts, were the husbands name, (laughs). So is that
so? I didnt have any ideas. Why my husbands name? (Laughs). So, uhm, and yes, I
dunno but a lot of families, husbands and wives call each other otosan , okaasan , not by
their names. Ah. I dont like that. I have my name. So, call me my name.
Marvin: I see. What about in the situation like this: you are sharing your ideas, your
opinions on the Internet. We cant technically see each other. Do you feel more
comfortable? Expressing such kinds of ideas like what you have just shared a few
minutes ago? Or it's pretty much the same when you are going to tell this to a friend, or to
an acquaintance, or a co-worker?
Eiko: Well, uhm, this part,you know, as a housewife. Well, I like the anonymity. How to
pronounce?
Marvin: Anonymity.
Eiko: Anonymity Marvin: There you go. Very good.
Eiko: - anonymity. The opinions of the anonymity - basically, I dont like that. There's
no responsibility. So, uhm, there are (inaudible) they are not, yes, serious, no serious. So
in this part, I can get clearly what this wanted to say. Yeah. But I understand that. So this
housewife, just as i said - what kind of wife (laughs) is she? So, oppressed or treated
unequal? I dont know (laughs).
Marvin: And the last part. Let me read it: As early as 1996, Matsuura Satoko - she
maybe she? Eiko: She.
-

found that a diverse range of womens voices on Web sites for


Japanese women:

I was astonished to see that various womens voices are heard and visible
on the Internet. These are very different from ordinary conversations
among women, which usually have to be modest, self-effacing, and settled
privatelyTheir voices are lively. They are trying to build real
communication and relationships on the Internet, leaving behind secure
and soothing conversations Women, who were confined at home to
private issues such as child-rearing, care of the elderly, domestic
violence, sexual harassment and other discrimination, are now stepping
out. Its as if Pandoras Box has been opened in Japanese society.
So, what do you think of that? Are Japanese women now especially, uhm, housewives
more open on the Internet?

172

Eiko: Well I dont Im not a member of any SNS or, ah, Facebook so I dunno this kind of
real voices. So how long are they talking...I have no idea....uhm. Well, but I understand
that ..as early as 1996. But now, the smart phones are prevail, and everyone has
smartphone. And yes, a close friend of mine asked me to have the smart phone because if
she sends an email to my PC, there is possibility that my husband might read it. So she
said she cant write what she wants (laughs). Thats all. That was mean. I dunno. I agree
that (laughs).
Marvin: So you wouldnt want to have a smartphone?
Eiko: Yes. I'm still thinking to buy to getting one but you know it is now...yen a
month...a little more too expensive for me.
Marvin: Well maybe there are cheaper plans right? Depending how much data you can ----Eiko: But you know, at night I open the PC and you know, watch big screen. So
smartphones' screen are too small for me... (laughs)
Marvin: Well, iPhone 6 has a really big screen. Have you ever seen iPhone 6, or those
Samsung phones? They really have big screens...So my last question for tonights session
or tonight class is this one: what is your opinion on housewives learning English as a
second language?
Eiko: Oh. What? Opinions on
Marvin: Opinions on Japanese housewives learning English as second language online.
Eiko: Well my opinion? The everyday, you know, the TV commercials, the media, the
Japanese are poor at communicating in English. And, but I, the Syaberitai is a private
lesson. But before that, I joined the group lessons and I met a lot of, you know, fluent
English speakers housewives. So, I think they should have a chance to use their English
in a society (laughs). I dunno (laughs). Well, sometimes I feel so sad that the young
generations are so poor at, you know, English- speaking English, and hearing and
writing. Also so, uhm, as well as international language. Uhm, I honestly - speaking the
pronunciation - I think Japanese pronunciation or accent, yeah, is okay if they can, uhm,
express their opinion in English. Yes, the French speaks their own English; Germans
speak English. And Chinese, yeah, they have but most important thing is how to express,
yes what we think and there are - I met a lot of good speakers of English housewives.
But all they said is that they have no opportunities except on the Net, their daily life? So,
maybe, yes, (laughs).
Marvin: So, more opportunities to use their English for housewives, right?
Eiko: Housewives. (Laughs). I dunno (laughs). Yeah, my dream is to welcome foreign
students or free guests to my house. Yes. And problem is how to persuade my husband.
Marvin: (Laughs) maybe that is something that you have to, you know, talk about for a
very long time.
Eiko: (Laughs)
Marvin: I really appreciate your time for tonight. It's already quite late And I know
that you have to wake up early tomorrow.
Eiko: Not-so early. So, don't worry.
Marvin: I dunno that. I really appreciate your time Im really thankful for this one and
I hope (Session cut due to Internet connection problem. Chatted Eiko)

173

APPENDIX H. TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDED SESSION

Participant: Yoshino
Date: October 19, 2014
Time: 3:07 PM
Duration: 00:57:28
Marvin: Let me try to turn on my camera. Hi! Hey Kei! Waddup? You're not going out?
Kei?
Kei: No.
Yoshino: She was just watching TV.
Kei: Yeah.
Marvin: So just go watch TV. Me and your mom - we're going to talk.
Kei: Because Mom says to not to watch the tel - TV.
Yoshino: Because (inaudible) turn it off (laughs).
Marvin: Maybe you're watching too much TV.
Kei: No, I'm not.
Marvin: You're not? Okay, go watch some more (laughs).
Kei: (Says something incomprehensible to Yoshino)
Yoshino: Okay. Its okay.
Marvin: Okay.So, uhm, you can go watch TV I guess.
Yoshino: (Says something incomprehensible) a little - I mean lower voice,okay
volume.
Marvin: Yeah. Okay. Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it. I think this is
our real first time to talk because Dai is my student.
Yoshino: Right.
Marvin: And Kei sometimes. So we never really get to talk. I think the only chances that
we have to talk is when I need some books from you (laughs).
Yoshino: Yeah. Thats right (says something incomprehensible).
Marvin: When Dai asks you to come over, and look at something. Coz you are always
busy in the kitchen.
Yoshino: I know. Because, you know, you only open that time range. So, yeah if its more
earlier time, maybe its, you know, I will be different way.
Marvin: What do you mean? Earlier classes?
Yoshino: If you open your class more early like three or four. But, you know, you
usually open late, right? Your schedule, or when I find it is already, you know, someone
take it. So Marvin: I think there four or five different kids rotating in that schedule.
Yoshino: I know. And you are really popular among them. So. Mom is very competitive.
Marvin: Not exactly.
Yoshino: As soon as you open your new schedule, I have to, you know, book with you as
soon as you open the schedule so...
Marvin: Ive seen one time how you do it. Like, you wait and wait for a teacher to open
a schedule. And then, you book it. I think that's how it goes. Its kind of bothersome,
actually, for me.

174

Yoshino: Yeah. It's okay. Im so get used to it.


Marvin: Sorry about that. So, I sent you an article. It's a Microsoft document from, ah, these are all from different books. I put them all together. Just like what I told you in the
e-mail, I would to know your opinions about them.
Yoshino: Okay.
Marvin: Let's start with the first section. There are three concepts in Japanese. They are
in rmaji: sanshoku hirunetsuki Yoshino: Ah. This one. Yeah. Sashoku hirunetsuki Marvin: - tama no koshi and rysai kenbo.
Yoshino: --Marvin: I got them from a book called The New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater
Choice, Greater Inequality by Tachibanaki Toshiaki, and this one is under the section
that says To Become a Full-Time Homemaker: A Womans Dream of Yesteryear. What I
want you to do for this part is to try to explain to me what they mean.
Yoshino: The meaning.But you know basically the meaning of them, right?
Marvin: Uhm barely. I just know the translation. Yes. But I think that is not enough.
Yoshino: Sanshoku hirunetsuki means, like, if you are a full-time housewife, of course,
you can eat three times a day because you have to cook, right? And maybe you could
have a nap. You can sleep. I mean you can take a nap in your free time. So, this means,
basically, housewives, people, uhm, most of the time their husband may think that their
wives always have a free time. If they cook for them or the family. This one has got a not
good meaning.
Marvin: Ah. Really?
Yoshino: Yeah. Its not good meaning.
Marvin: But do you think this is true?
Yoshino: For me, no. Im so busy - not only cooking but also other housekeeping works,
right? And then aActually kids come earlier than we expected. And you do a lot of
housekeeping work. When I finish all my work in my house, kids - it's already the time
when kids come home.
Marvin: Ah, I see.
Yoshino: So I dont have many free time. Just doing the, you know, washing the dishes,
washing their clothing and then Ill, we dont,want to use the drier for clothing,
Marvin: Oh, you dont?
Yoshino: No.
Marvin: Why not? I mean that's pretty convenient.
Yoshino: Convenient but it's not good for the clothing. The t-shirt, you know, ---make it
look bad or --so it's not good for the clothes...the drier use the high temperature to dry it
up, so we more most of us or the laundry we hang dry outside of the house. We have a
big long pole and we hang it, or clothing pin, we pinch to let it dry. But the drier, is
sometimes good, when we have rainy season ...it's more convenient. We only use that
much...for me I dont use it but it depends on the wife auhm...she has a job she doesnt
much time to do a lot of house working...sometimes they have to use it....yeah
Marvin: So going back to your schedule, by the time that Dai and Kei come home, you
have just finished preparing the meals but you still have to do other stuff aside from that.
Yoshino: Yeah. For the grocery shopping and, yeah Marvin: Only a daily basis? Thats on a daily basis?

175

Yoshino: Yeah.
Marvin: And you have to pick up Dai from his soccer practice?
Yoshino: No. I have to drop him off.
Marvin: Oh.
Yoshino: Drop him off and pick him up because he cannot go by himself because it's too
far
Kei: It takes around 40 minutes.
Yoshino: I drive him
Marvin: 40 minutes by car - that's already far.
Yoshino: Yeah, and when it's traffic, it's more than that. Almost one hour for one way.
So thats kinda very, you know - and when I drop him off, I have to pick him up. But the
practice is around one and a half hours - mostly two hours practice. I dont wanna sit
there and watch them practice. I dont wanna do it because I have to get prepare for the
meal. And then, of course Dai, after I drop him off, I usually come home ...driving one
hour again. Then, you know, preparing meal - then, Oh! Its time to pick him up Then
just go.
Kei: One time, I stayed home.
Yoshino: Most of the time, Kei doesnt wanna come with me. So, she's staying and
relaxing, watching TV.
Marvin: Maybe Kei should start helping in the kitchen.
Kei: I do sometimes.
Yoshino: Sometimes but I have to monitor her.
Marvin: You need to know how to chop vegetables properly, and not chop off your
fingers. Yes. (Laughs)
Kei: But Ive never chopped off my fingers.
Marvin: I was just kidding.
Yoshino: Kei is basically good at - on the stove, of course.
Kei: But I made cup noodles by myself before.
Yoshino: Yeah. Thats one big improvement.
Marvin: You just have to add hot water to that, Kei.
Yoshino: (Laughs)
Kei: I dont have to _____ because I have my own kids knife.
Yoshino: Yeah, smaller one. Not the sharp. Usually I have a big knife with a sharp head.
Kei: But I used the big one before.
Yoshino: You could but it's more safe. I could feel if you used the kid's one.
Marvin: You heard your mom, Kei. I think she needs more help, right?
Kei: Yes!
Marvin: Yes.
Yoshino: Sometimes she wash the bathtub for the yeah. Thats good!
Marvin: Okay.
Yoshino: Yeah. Thats good. Yeah, if she's in good mood, she would help me. If not, I
have to -Kei: -Marvin: Sanshoku hirunetsuki So let's now go to the second one: tama no koshi.
Yoshino: Tama no koshi is, if you get married with a very rich man so your whole life
will be secured. Its not just the husband's job, like he's a lawyer. Uhm, how can I say,

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more high prestige - it means like his whole family, his parents usually, are very rich.
And, if you get married with him, he can also get much more support from his family.
And also some woman may think if she can get tama no koshi, she will be happy, or her
whole life --------. She doesnt need to work coz he and his family or his parents are
really rich. So, sometimes the woman - some woman will think she doesnt want to work.
Marvin: I see. Is this a very old concept or is it still popular among women who want to
get married?
Yoshino: Yeah. Still some. But nowadays - in old days, tama no koshi is only for men --his parents are rich. If sometimes the woman is rich, it's the opposite.
Marvin: It's the other way around.
Yoshino: Yeah, other way. Sometimes happen nowadays.
Marvin: I see. So, let's get back to before you got married. Did you have that kind of
thinking before you got married? Or never really cared? You just wanted to get married.
Yoshino: Actually, I didnt care but my parents ...did. Most of the parents in my age
maybe---especially their daughters - they wanna be - they make them happy without any
problem, or any happening in their life, you know.
Marvin: Did you like that kind of thinking by your parents?
Yoshino: No, no. I thought it was very old-fashioned way of thinking. So, I didnt care.
Have you heard about omiai? Like a blind date - blind date.
Marvin: Oh, blind dating in Japan?
Yoshino: Not blind dating. But you know the parents wanna make their daughter marry
good men the parents want.
Marvin: I think we call them arranged marriages.
Yoshino: Yeah, yeah. Arranged marriage, yeah. So, uhm, my parents also wanted me to
do that but i said no.
Marvin: You said no?
Yoshino: I said no.
Marvin: Wow. So if that happened, maybe now there would be no Dai or Kei but you
said no.
Yoshino: I said no. But my parents really wanted to make me arranged marriage
somebody
Marvin: Marry somebody.
Yoshino: As long as someone knows the guy, you know, it's more secure for them - for
parents to send their daughter to the guy. So, I didnt agree with my parents' thinking.
And I wanted to find someone or myself. So, yeah.
Marvin: I see. What about the last one for this section: rysai kenbo?
Yoshino: Rysai kenbo. The wife is supposed to be really patient, and be a good wife. Its
rysai kenbo. But sometime wife has to be patient for a lot of things. Maybe you know,
they have to give up on what they wanna do for her spare time like hobby (interrupted by
Keis behavior) or (talking to Kei) What are you doing ? So, sometimes she give up on
her work for taking her of her family.
Marvin: So before you have Dai and Kei, did you work before?
Yoshino: Yeah. Yeah, I did.
Kei: Actually, that's where my mom and dad met.
Yoshino: Oh. We used to be working at the same office but I left the office. Same office.
Marvin: What was your job in that office? What did you do in that office?

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Yoshino: I was working for a trading company.


Marvin: Trading company.
Yoshino: As an assistant.
Marvin: To the president?
Yoshino: No. For purchasing. I was working for the purchasing Marvin: Purchasing department.
Yoshino: Yeah. Purchasing department. So, I was helping ----making document
quotation or auditing communicate with branch office in America or other companies,
arrange shipment or those kind of things.
Marvin: And that's where you met just like what Kei said?
Yoshino: Yeah. I met my husband there.
Marvin: Cool, cool, cool.
Yoshino: But I left my office. And I was working for another company for the importing
liquors, the company, like wines.
Marvin: Sounds great! You can get free wine every now and then.
Yoshino: Yeah I know. We had only four ladies and all the others are men. Because the
customers mostly is bars or liquor shop. And then every night, most workers went to the
bars or restaurant to have wines or tequila or that's our (Yoshino and Kei talking in
Japanese) imported stuff - stuff we sell. And then, most of them got drunk sleep at the
bar.
Marvin: I see. I see.
Yoshino: All of the co-workers told me the story and Marvin: Trading company that imports wine. Great!
Yoshino: Yeah.
Marvin: So, going back to rysai kenbo, you said something about being a good wife.
What is a good wife? How would you define that?
Yoshino: As a mother Kei: Care about your kids.
Yoshino: - first of all, you have to be very patient, you know. And you dont need to
complain about anything - what you cannot get. So first of all, you have to be very
careful, no, very patient.
Kei: Care about Yoshino: Of course, care about family, that one. I am - I dont think I can do it but obey
the husband.
Marvin: To what extent? I mean up to what extent?
Yoshino: Like, rysai kenbo is basically the man is strong. Man is the best, not the wife.
So, woman, usually, should obey their husband.
Kei: But for us, it's the opposite.
Yoshino: No. I dont think so. Im not rysai kenbo but wife should be supportive for the
family, of course. That is the concept of rysai kenbo.
Marvin: Basic ideals of being a good wife and a good mother.
Yoshino: Yeah, yeah.
Marvin: So, do you think all of these three concepts: sanshoku hirunetsuki, tama no
koshi, rysai kenbo - do you think they have changed through time, or they still stay the
same?

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Yoshino: I think it's changing. Coz the economy in is not good in Japan now and all of
the woman have to work. So instead, most of my friend who use to be housewives now
they have to, you know, have a job or no more sanshoku for them ... I guess it's changing
for them but sometimes still some ....maybe more older, the generation maybe some
housewives, Im so lucky I dont have to work for my living because my husband has
money, yeah, they, I think, are like that.
Marvin: But as for the younger generation, they starting to change.
Yoshino: They dont expect that actually.
Marvin: Before we go to the next part, how did you learn how to speak English. Was it
from the company you worked for before?
Kei: She went to Bible classes.
Yoshino: I couldnt get the last part coz Kei was Marvin: How did learn how to speak English?
Yoshino: Me?
Kei: She went to Bible lessons.
Yoshino: (Hushes Kei). Before that, when I was in college Kei: She went to Hawaii.
Yoshino: Yeah. For two years. I went to school there.
Kei: It's not English.
Yoshino: It's English. People speak English there.
Marvin: A lot of people look like me in Hawaii: brown skinned Kei: Like me.
Marvin: You're whiter than me.
Yoshino: (Laughs) you used to be dark but you are getting whiter.
Kei: -Yoshino: I went to school - basically I went to the university, American university in
Japan. So I was a transfer student to Hawaii. Then I was there for two years. And after
that I got married. And my husband have to transfer to branch office to United States, in
California. And we had to stay five years there. That makes me helpful but i am losing
my English skill now. So, like, Dai always teasing me - my pronunciation or the way of
building my sentence - is not good as it used to be.
Marvin: You dont have to care much about what Dai says, you know. Just - just ignore
him. He likes teasing you. You know that.
Yoshino: Yeah. But I thought it was true in some ways. I have to admit it sometimes.
Marvin: And I think it happens in languages - in any language. If you dont use it, you
lose it.
Yoshino: Yeah. I know.
Marvin: I spoke better Korean before.
Yoshino: I really envy you. How come you speak English other than other languages.
Tagalog? No?
Marvin: Tagalog or Filipino. I speak that, and, of course, I speak English especially for
work. I write in English. I had to write in English. I watch a lot of English shows. Let's
say 95% of TV shows I watch are American.
Yoshino: Oh really?
Marvin: Yes.
Yoshino: What about Filipino shows?

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Marvin: Around 5% Filipino shows.


Yoshino: Oh.
Marvin: I am not very fond of TV shows from my country. It's embarrassing but I just
dont like how they're made.
Yoshino: I know. Oh yeah (laughs). She (referring to Kei) really likes English TV, like
cartoon. She always watching the cartoon in English .... So the people in Filipino.. Most
of them can speak English...like you?
Marvin: Many but we don't all sound the same.We dont all sound the same. Yes, they
speak English. But, of course, with a different accent. So, we dont all sound the same.
Yoshino: And how did you guys learn English?
Marvin: I learned my English from TV.
Yoshino: Oh really?
Marvin: Yeah.
Yoshino: In school?
Marvin: No. Ah, yes. We did learn English in school coz it's mandatory.
Yoshino: Ah right. Since when?
Marvin: Since I was young. Kindergarten?
Yoshino: Ooh. Really? Every day?
Marvin: Every day, we learned how to count in English. We learned how to read words
in English. We learned how to translate words from our native language Filipino to
English.
Yoshino: The teacher was a native speaker?
Marvin: Just a Filipino.
Yoshino: Oh I see. Yeah. All of my friends can speak English. Well, my Filipino friends,
not a lot, I have some in California. But of course they live in California. So they have to
speak English.
Marvin: There are a lot of Filipinos in California.
Yoshino: Yeah.
Marvin: One teacher from here used to be from Cali.
Yoshino: Really? The ---guy? The white guy I mean.
Marvin: No, no, no. She's not white. She's a Filipina. She's a woman.
Yoshino: Oh, Filipina. Oh.
Marvin: She lived in California. She moved to another state after a few years. Then, she
came back to the Philippines. Im not sure how long she stayed there but i guess she
stayed there until she was 13 or 14. ------Let's try to go the second part. Uhm. The second
part is from a book called From Bonsai to Levis When West Meets East: An Insiders
Surprising Account of How the Japanese Live by George Fields. George Fields was an
Australian who had a business in Japan a long time ago. And he made a lot of
observations about Japanese consumers, even Japanese housewives. And he wrote them
down in a book and got printed. And the first part is
, a typical question posed by a Westerner is, How can any woman
tolerate a husband who returns late practically every night? Isnt that
simply treating a woman as a domestic servant? On the western scale,
yes. However many Japanese women resent the Western interpretation of
their role as a wife of an oppressed species.
Do you think the same?

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Yoshino: No.
Marvin: You dont think that you are oppressed?
Yoshino: No, no. And - but it's just that cultural background is so different - that Japan
and America. And then, American husbands is more like they're helpful, right?
Marvin: Not sure.
Yoshino: Well, helpful I think. Uhm. But Japanese guys, more like, uhm, he's more,
uhm, he - most important work for men is working.
Marvin: Work outside the home?
Yoshino: Outside the home. Not inside the home. So, the work inside the home is not
their job. Japanese men tend to think about that - think like that. Like my husband is the
case. Yeah. But, uhm, we lived in America for five years, right? So, pretty long. And
then, he is a little bit Americanized. So now, he helps me sometimes - like the washing
dishes, yeah.
(Kei's phone rings) Kei: Sorry.
Marvin: Take the call. It's fine.
Yoshino: And little stuff he can do ---- But that not what he really wanna do. He dont
wanna do it - he doesnt wanna do it - he doesnt wanna do it. ---Kei: (Talks in Japanese)
Yoshino: Hold on a bit (talks in Japanese on the phone). Sorry about that. His idea is a
rysai kenbo. Wife has to be his (inaudible)----- So if possible, he doesnt wanna do it.
But he has to. So he'll do it. Thats kind of idea he has. So, of course, he help me but he
have to complain something by doing that. So for me, if you complain, don't do that,
right? So you dont need to do that if you say something. But,yeah, that's my opinion.
Yeah.
Marvin: Back in California, I think you had married friends as well.
Yoshino: Many.
Marvin: What do you think is the major difference between your husband, and their
husbands who lived or stayed there or was raised there? Major difference.
Yoshino: Because a lot of the woman - wives in America - they usually have a work,
right? So they dont stay at home whole day, right? That means their husbands have to
share the household work. So, that's a big difference. Like me. I sometimes have a parttime job. But these days, I am only staying at home, right? So, my husband may think,
Oh. Maybe you have a lot of free time because you don't go to work. Then, so, you
should do it. You could do it, right? And then, uhm, so, uhm, I think the situation is
different. So, that makes him that way.
Marvin: Was it by choice that you decided not to work anymore? Or your husband said
that, Oh. Just stay at home, take care of the kids?
Yoshino: My husband wants me to work because for the living. But, uhm, it's kind of - if
i go to work, I have to give up a lot of things - like the kids have activity after school,
right? About -like Dai. Dai has soccer practice, and those kinds of things. I let them give
up if I go to work.
Marvin: If you go look for a job Yoshino: Yeah. Coz they cannot go by themselves. So someone should drop off and
pick them up, right? Then, if I work full-time, its very difficult to do that. So, maybe Kei
is 4th grader and Dai is 6th grader now. If they go to middle school or high school, the

181

things will be different. So, I think they can do more by themselves without my help.
Then, maybe I can go to work.
Marvin: When that time comes, they turn junior high or senior high, do you think it
would be easy for you to go back to work?
Yoshino: Aah. I dunno. Theres a long blank, right?
Marvin: There's gonna be a really long employment gap.
Yoshino: A really long time. So it's not that easy. Maybe I can do, like, very easy job like
only typing or I dunno, punching in the numbers Marvin: Clerical jobs.
Yoshino: Yeah, yeah. Not the difficult, or di---- work, ---- I think, and
Marvin: I see. I see.
Yoshino: But I - something I wanna - something I wanna connect to the society, you
know, by doing job. So that's why I sometimes have part-time job. Oh, like only spotting
(?) - like a one day or two days or several days in a month, I work. Yeah. How do I say?
If I register to this company, they can send me to another company for a job.
Marvin: Like a job agency?
Yoshino: Like that. Yeah, yeah. Like a job agency, yeah.
Marvin: Ah. So they contact you?
Yoshino: Yeah. Only when they need the people or need the, you know, the job.
Marvin: I think there are a lot of these kinds of companies in Japan.
Yoshino: Yeah. A lot.
Marvin: They give you a job for a few days or a few months; they contact you. Then,
after that they give you another one.
Yoshino: No, it's not stable. So ...it's not secure. But for me, when - I think I am
comfortable with that situation.
Marvin: I see. Let's try the second one. This section - it says something about the
minister of finance. I mean housewives being the minister of finance at home: You hold
the money, you give the allowance to your husband. You think it's true? You take care of
it?
Yoshino: I guess depends on the family. Some family, yeah, the wife is more in-charge
of the money - the husband's salary. And they - she manages everything, and that's a lot
thing. But that's not my family, in my case. In my case, uhm, on the payday, he withdrew
the money from his bank and he gives that to me. So this is the money for this month and,
of course, it's not enough. So, I have a credit card, which is my card - the name is mine
but the money is deducted from his account. So, uhm, or the grocery shopping, if I can
use the credit card, I pay with the credit card.
Marvin: So it's like a - he is exactly the minister. He provides the budget, you allocate
the money Yoshino: Yeah.
Marvin: Then you ask more if you want, if you need more?
Yoshino: Right, right. That's right
Marvin: In other words, he has his own - your husband has his own. He gives you what
you need, and you get more if you need more.
Yoshino: Yes, yes.
Marvin: So you are like the assistant minister of finance. Just the assistant.

182

Yoshino: Because my husband doesnt know what how much money will be deducted
from his account for the insurance. Or you, you know, the other - the school lunch. He
doesnt know anything about that, right?
Marvin: You know that.
Yoshino: I know that. So, I have to allocate the money in his account, right?
Marvin: Ah. So you are still the minister of finance, not the assistant. You are the
minister of finance.
Yoshino: Uh-huh (laughs). But that means that I can use all his money, right? I have to
keep some. I have to let him know this account is shortage, or will be short. So, we put
the money on this account. So I just give him a warning. Yeah. I will check the balance.
Marvin: In-house accountant.
Yoshino: Yeah. Right.
Marvin: I see. I see. That is ---minister of finance, secretary to the treasury, oversee what
comes in and comes out.
Yoshino: But that is my case. That's not always true, you know - like my friends. Her
husband managed everything - every money, everything. She just ask him, Oh Please.
Can I have this amount of money because I have to send it to school And then she
doesnt know the balance of his account or - yeah. So it's not always true. It depends on
the families. Yeah.
Marvin: Interesting. Interesting. Okay. So, let's go to the next part, the third part.
Yoshino: Excuse me. (Talks to Kei) Kei, let me get the phone. Sorry about that.
Marvin: By the way ma'am, what time do you have to go? Do you have to go now?
Yoshino: No, no. It's okay. I don't have to go out.
Marvin: Okay. So let's continue then. On the third part - this has something do with
changing life patterns. It's from Japan Today, and it's mostly about couples, housewives.
Uhm, first one: Many women do engage in such activities as part-time jobs, sports ,
consumer movements, and arts and crafts , but only as long as they do not interfere with
the care of the family. Its about changes that happened or has happened since the
Second World War, you know - women engaging in more part time jobs, more consumer
activities, movements.
Yoshino: What is consumer activity, movement?
Marvin: Consumer movement...Basically, they have something to do with shopping.
Yoshino: Ah. I love that.
Marvin: It just has a very technical-sounding term. But it just means shopping and
buying something.
Yoshino: Okay, okay. I love shopping.
Marvin: Oh you do?
Yoshino: Yeah. Even though I dont have to buy stuff, if I go to shopping, I will buy
something.
Marvin: I see.
Yoshino: Yeah.
Marvin: But it says here as long as they do not interfere with the care of the family
You can do whatever you want as long as you do not interfere with the care of the family.
True?
Yoshino: Yeah. For me. Yeah

183

Marvin: Yeah. You are a very good example of that. Oh. How about the second one,
Marriage in Japan is like a tenured post It's like a full-time job.
Yoshino: Oh. Yeah, yeah. Right. Because wife always has to take care of her husband,
right?
Marvin: But look at the next part, in the sense that both husband and wife have a
tendency to take the relationship for granted.
Yoshino: (Laughs)
Marvin: If you are a regular employee in a company, youre very comfortable already. It
seems like you dont really care because you are a regular employee, right? It happens
most of the time.
Yoshino: Right.
Marvin: Is it the same with marriage in Japan, according to this one?
Yoshino: Uhm. Even though it's not comfortable, you have to be. So, that's the patience.
Patience is a big word for marriage.
Marvin: I see.
Yoshino: Yeah.
Marvin: What about the taking the relationship for granted part, what do you think of
that? We're married so it's okay that we dont, you know, usually see each other or we
dont talk to each other.
Yoshino: Oh. That's kinda true in my case. Yeah. Uhm. My husband is basically quiet
guy and then he doesnt talk much. Uhm. Before marriage, of course, he talks. But after
we get married, I found he's very quiet. He doesnt talk much. He does only if he
complains something to me. So, uhm, like anniversary stuff, you know - the birthday, or
Christmas - we used to have a Christmas gift exchange. But after the marriage, nothing.
Because, you know, Why should I - after we got married - why should I?, he thought I
think.
Marvin: I see, I see. And what about the last two sentences from this section? The third
one is, Communication between Japanese couples, except for newlyweds, is minimal Yoshino: Like us.
Marvin: - and, An expression A good husband is healthy and husband actively reflects
the attitude of many Japanese women toward their husbands.
Yoshino: Uhm. Thats kinda - it really depends. Yeah. For me, I think my husband is
always complaining to me. But he is a good daddy for kids .
Marvin: Complaining to you? Or about you?
Yoshino: About? No? Both. About me and what I do, right? He's such kind of character.
Complaining. The person who has to complain something. He finds something to
complaining, right? In his heart, he doesnt think that well - he doesnt think that much.
But he just - comes out from his mouth. Even though he doesnt think from his heart he's kind of - he's such kind of person. If he finds something, he has to complain about it.
Marvin: What do you do in that kind of situation?
Yoshino: I just ignore.
Marvin: Ah.
Yoshino: If I listen to it, Ill go mad. So I just ignore. Or I just pretend I didnt hear it
(laughs). (Yoshino's husband and Dai arrived)[00:51:05.29] Speaker Name: My husband
and Dai come home. (Greets husband and Dai) Okaeri! (English translation: Welcome
back! / Welcome home!) (Speaking to Dai) Come here. Say hello to your teacher.

184

Marvin: Hey Dai! What's that?


Dai: (Shows a pack of rice on camera) Komen!
Yoshino: Rice. He got rice. Japanese rice
Marvin: (Talking to Dai) Did you get it from the supermarket?
Dai: What?
Marvin: Did you get it from the supermarket?
Dai: No.
Yoshino: Rice shop.
Marvin: Ah. A rice shop.
Yoshino: They sell only rice.
Marvin: Sounds good. Makes me hungry (laughs)
Yoshino: (Laughs)
Marvin: We are now on the last part. Dont worry. The last part is about using the
Internet. Its from the book Japanese Cyberculture. And it's about women, or housewives
- married women - using the Internet to express themselves more freely, as compared to
face-to-face communication. Do you think that housewives - women in general - are
more free?
Yoshino: Yoshino: I think in a way, yeah. Its more easy to express their real feeling on
the Internet than by face-to-face. In a way, that's true. Its more easier. It's not only for the
woman, right? For everybody. By using the internet, they are more easy to express what
they really think, right? Don't you think?
Marvin: I think it depends on the situation. I still prefer face-to-face communication.
Yoshino: Oh really?
Marvin: Yeah. Because I can see everything that I cannot read in words: actions, facial
expressions and body language. I sometimes need those to really understand what the
person wants to say.
Yoshino: Uhm. Yeah, yeah. Thats a good point. I think that's true. and some people just
like to communicate with only through the Internet coz they get scared. I dunno. Some
people willing communicate by Internet or the texting or Line.
Marvin: But on the first part of this section, it says here that this housewife feels freer on
the Internet because she did not have to say that she is somebody else's wife. She could
just be herself whoever she is. We dont know who she is but, yeah.
Yoshino: I dunno about that concept. I dont feel that way. So I'm not sure. Yes.
Marvin: I see. But you still find it much easier to communicate online rather than face to
face?
Yoshino: Uhm. If I have the time, I prefer to communicate face-to-face. But we are kinda
busy. So we cannot arrange the time to meet. So we prefer to use MSN, the Line or the
texting. Usually we use Line. You know Line?
Marvin: Uh-huh. But I did not install it on my phone.
Yoshino: Really? Why not? It's very fun.
Marvin: Wi-Fi here at the office is very limited. I dunno the password. So I only use the
cabled Internet for my laptop. Yeah.
Yoshino: Oh I see.
Marvin: And at home, I don't have any Internet connection.
Yoshino: Aah. So you cannot use it, huh. Wow.
Marvin: Yeah.

185

Yoshino: What about the texting?


Marvin: Yeah. I do use texting services, and of course, calling services. That's it.
Yoshino: Oh. I see.
Marvin: Dai and his dad just came home. Its already 5 PM. Yeah. I already took too
much of your time, you know. Im sorry about that.
Yoshino: That's okay. Was I helpful? Im so sorry.
Marvin: You're very, very helpful.
Yoshino: Really? You could get some idea from me?
Marvin: Definitely. Definitely.
Yoshino: Okay.
Marvin: And Im really, really thankful for that. Think of it as our first time to talk.
Yoshino: (Laughs) that was very fun, yeah.
Marvin: I can see more than just your hand, or this part (points at the left side of the
face) of your face (laughs). I can see ~
Yoshino: Yeah. It's good opportunity to have that.
Marvin: My pleasure. But for now we have to say goodbye. and Ill see Dai in our next
lesson.
Yoshino: Okay, okay. Thank you!
Marvin: You go take care. And yeah, again, thank you. I think it's time for you to go
back to the kitchen. Sorry about that.
Yoshino: It's okay. Thank you so much. Take care now.
Marvin: Yes, you too. Buh-bye. Enjoy the rest of the Sunday!
Yoshino: Okay. Thank you. You too. Bye!

186

APPENDIX I. TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDED SESSION

Participant: Kimiko
Date: September 22, 2014
Time: 2:00 PM
Duration: 1:08:53
Marvin: Hello. Yes, good afternoon, Kimiko-san!
Kimiko: Good afternoon.
Marvin: How are you doing?
Kimiko: Im doing well.
Marvin: And hows the weather? I heard that there's a typhoon on the way to Japan. Are
you guys fine?
Kimiko: Typhoon goes very slowly so maybe it will affect our land this Sunday or
Friday. So, now it's fine.
Marvin: Well, as you know we've just passed typhoon, or a typhoon has just passed.
Uhm - it was last weekend and I was actually trapped last Friday.
Kimiko: I was worried about maybe you went home and had a hard time.
Marvin: I didnt go back to my hometown this weekend because I was supposed to work
the whole weekend. Supposed to. But last Saturday, we didnt have internet connection.
Thats why the work was cancelled.
Kimiko: Ah yeah.
Marvin: And then luckily, the internet connection recovered, and I was finally able to
work,and I was alone
Kimiko: Are you are alone? Nobody there?
Marvin: Yeah. Nobody was here yesterday. Even until now, I am alone. Yes. Nobody's
here.
Kimiko: Today? Today is Monday. Nobody work?
Marvin: Yes. Nobodys here it's just me. Well, I really have to work today because i am
going on a short vacation on the 25th.
Kimiko: Oh I see. This time, where are you going to?
Marvin: Uhm - Im just going to Manila.
Kimiko: But Manila is now flooded.
Marvin: Yeah. Parts of it. But I do know some places which are not flooded, and I am
going to those places.
Kimiko: So, maybe you are going to see many remains by typhoon.
Marvin: Probably. A lot of things destroyed by the typhoon, or maybe what's left of the
flood. But the weather is fine. It's actually great. So, I think the flood already dried up
now.
Kimiko: I hope so. If there were flood is still remain, you will help them you want
volunteer.
Marvin: Uhm Ill think about it. But that's a good idea. Any plans for - well, what did
you do last weekend? Were you able to go out or do something? Ah! You went to the
museum you chatted me.
Kimiko: A bonsai museum.

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Marvin: A bonsai museum.


Kimiko: Do you know bonsai museum?
Marvin: Yes. They are miniature trees.
Kimiko: Yes, yes. One of my friends asked me to go there, and there are newly opened
restaurant in front of bonsai museum. And owner of the restaurant used to be a member
of our English speaking group.
Marvin: Oh really?
Kimiko: Ah yes. So we want to see restaurant, and what kind of food do they serve us.
Marvin: So, what do they serve?
Kimiko: Ah lunch meal set.
Marvin: Uhm - Japanese lunch meals?
Kimiko: Uh - lunch meals. Uh yes.
Marvin: Or fusion food?
Kimiko: Uh fusion ...I forgot what I ordered. But maybe some Japanese seafood bowl,
and udon or buckwheat noodles - maybe I ordered such kind of food.
Marvin: Do you think the prices are reasonable?
Kimiko: I think so.
Marvin: I see. But here's the more important question: Do you think his restaurant will
last?
Kimiko: Uhm so
Marvin: Location -wise, prices of the food, taste of the food, the ambiance of the place.
Do you think the restaurant will last?
Kimiko: Uhm - but why the reason why he opened the restaurant in front of the bonsai
museum is he want to invite customers in bonsai museum. Uh, customers mean foreign
customers. so, often he goes to Europe or America and sell bonsai to many customers.
And his customers often visit bonsai museum. So, he wants them to visit his restaurant,
too.
Marvin: I see. Does he also own the museum?
Kimiko: No. Museum is public museum.
Marvin: Hmm. That sounds like a good strategy.
Kimiko: I think so.
Marvin: He knows a lot about bonsai, and can invite foreigners to visit the museum.
And, at the same time foreigners would most likely go to a restaurant and order
something
Kimiko: And sometimes, he has a party for his customers. So, staff in the restaurant. And
also, he speaks English very well. Its very cool.
Marvin: So, I think you had a great time.
Kimiko: Yeah. I think so
Marvin: Oh. By the way, how's your mom? Did you visit your mom this weekend?
Kimiko: Ah. Today, I took her to the hospital in the morning. But her condition is same
as usual. She is fine except her mind or brain. But physically she is very fine.
Marvin: So you just had to take to the hospital for regular check-up maybe.
Kimiko: Yes, yes.
Marvin: I see. So, for today, instead of having an article from the Internet, we are going
to have some excerpts from different books on Japan and Japanese women. I found these
books in the library

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Kimiko: Oh.
Marvin: Yes, library at school. And some of them are kinda - pretty old. But I think that
some of the ideas are still true and even for the younger generation or the surviving
generation of Japanese housewives. Lets go to the first one. This is from a book called
New Paradox for Japanese Women: Greater choice, Greater Inequality, and the title of
the article from that book or that section of that book: To Become a Full-time
Homemaker: A Woman's Dream of Yesteryear. Now, we have here some, probably
concepts - Japanese concepts, Japanese ideas. The first one is sanshoku hirunetsuki. How
would you explain this, and Kimiko: It really means that the housewife's jobs come with 3 meals and benefit of
afternoon tea er -nap. But it's, I think it's absolutely man's viewpoint because
housewifes job is multi-task. We have to do whole house job and taking care of our
children. So -- it's we are usually busy if we have children
Marvin: So, for you it's not exactly a privilege but more of a bigger responsibility?
Kimiko: Yes, I think so.
Marvin: I see. And is this connected to tama no koshi?
Kimiko: Ah. tama no koshi is a woman get married to the rich people.
Marvin: a rich man?
Kimiko: a rich man yes, but it think tama no koshi the term of tama no koshi is used both
man and woman and I -- we use this term for men, we put gyaku, opposite tama no koshi
, gyaku tama no koshi, so we can use this term both man and woman in the case of both
man and woman, yes,
Marvin: But literally it means marrying a richer person
Kimiko: Yes, yes
Marvin: For the benefit, of course, having a maybe a more luxurious lifestyle?
Kimiko: Ah, yes I think so.
Marvin: Aha. I see. But did you think of it when you were about to get married. Like,
If, oh, Im gonna marry, Im gonna have a more comfortable life than what I have right
now. Or my lifestyle would change for the better
Kimiko: Hummmmm some girls think so uhm but I didnt think so when i got married
so. Im not so - - money is not so important for me. So -- but some girls think money is
very important so some girls try to get married to rich men.
Marvin: uhm I see. So, tama no koshi literally means marrying a rich person.
Kimiko: Uh. Yes.
Marvin: And, the last one: ryosai kenbo.
Kimiko: Ah. Ryosai kenbo.
Marvin: yes
Kimiko: Ah. Ryosai kenbo.
Marvin: Yes.
Kimiko: Ah ryosai kenbo literally means a good wife and good mother. But I think there
is no such person among Japanese women. Its ideal, ideal image for, of Japanese men.
Japanese men created this word i think because its beneficial or men she is clever mother
and also she is good wife for him it's very idealistic woman, but there's is no such person.
Marvin: I see so this is the ideal image based from a man's perspective or the husband's
perspective. What they think is the ideal image of a good wife or a good mother.

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Kimiko: I think all wives are good mothers. Clever mothers. But i dont think all of them
are good wives for their husband because if we focus on our children we treat our
husbands not well
Marvin: (laughs)
Kimiko: (laughs) uh because we always concerned about children and Japanese husband
usually work outside and they are helpful for their wives and they dont have enough
time to play with their kids so I think we (Nandaro na? lit. means Whats that?) full-time
housewife always stay with their children and try to do household jobs perfectly. So, it's it cannot be helped if we cant treat our husbands not so well.
Marvin: So you really have to choose, or you have to balance it. Thats how I understand
it correct?
Kimiko: Uh-uh.
Marvin: Interesting. So, we now go to the second source: From Bonsai to Levis: When
West Meets East. This is from an author, George Fields. He's an Australian. He worked
for a Japanese company in the past. So, he looked into how Japanese consumers think, or
the consumer patterns, purchasing patterns and behaviour of Japanese people. And there
was a portion in his book that talks about how women actually have the power when it
comes to purchasing things. So he - I only chose some quotations or ~~ Can you read the
first one?
Kimiko: Yes.
a typical question posed by a Westerner is, How can any woman
tolerate a husband who returns late practically every night? Isnt that
simply treating a woman as a domestic servant? On the western scale,
yes. However many Japanese women resent the Western interpretation of
their role as a wife of an oppressed species.
Marvin: do you resent that Western interpretation of a wife's role as a domestic servant?
or do you agree with it that yes the husband comes home practically late every night and i
am treated like a domestic servant
Kimiko: Oh. I dont resent his thought. But I dont agree his ideas because it's very -- it's
wrong. He just saw surface of Japanese housewives life. (What shall I say?) We -- after
we got married -- just right after we got married we feel sometimes lonely if our husband
return late very night but after we have children we usually glad husband to return late.
Because Japanese husband usually dont help their housewife. So we think if husband
return early, uh, we have to take care of him and our children so we feel Japanese
husband are just like the children. So we feel children will increase one more. So we
think husband return late every night is welcome situation.
Marvin: I see.
Kimiko: Not we dont feel, we dont think he treat us servant
Marvin: So let's look back before you have your daughter, how do you usually spend
your day? Before you had your daughter, how did you spend your day?
Kimiko: Ah. i was working. my husband working and i was working both are working so
we are busy so we usually come home late so we just have enough time to talk on
weekend only weekends.
Marvin: And did that change when you already have your daughter?

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Kimiko: After had my daughter, I quit my job. So, I did whole housejob and took care of
our daughter so but at that time I thought i was busy taking care of my daughter and
doing some school/attending PTA.
Marvin: PTA meetings
Kimiko: Yes and I worked as one of PTA member so often I had to go to school often
for school events so I remembered I was very busy.
Marvin: Ah. I see and now let's fast forward how do you now spend your day?
Kimiko: How? I basically I do housejob everyday cooking washing and cleaning and
until last year I lived with my mother-in-law , so i have to cook lunch for her I don't I
didnt take care of her but I have to cook meals or her sometimes I ---errand for her.
Marvin: I can still remember that. Those were the first months that we were having
classes and after a few months finally she went back to her home.
Kimiko: Eeeeto (Japanese filler) we lived for more than 20 years together and now she
decided to go to her real daughters home.
Marvin: I mean, the time when were first having classes, you - she has been there for
quite a long time, right?
Kimiko: Yes.
Marvin: So let's now go to purchasing power of housewives. It says here:
.the Japanese housewife was virtually the minister of finance and had
very wide discretionary power over the husbands pay envelope that was
in the great majority of cases, handed over to her in its entirety. This
happens to be a fact, not a conjecture, and has been verified by repeated
surveys by banks. The wife allocates funds, which includes handing her
husband his daily pocket money. While there may be protestations and
pleadings in some cases, on all accounts she tends to hold firm, like any
good secretary to the treasury or minister of finance.
True or not true?
Kimiko: It's true.
Marvin: Okay. Tell me about it.
Kimiko: But maybe I feel there is something wrong.
Marvin: What do you mean by that?
Kimiko: Because we have whole his salary every month. but we have to pay for
supporting our family and we have responsibility to spending our money we have I
housewife usually have responsibility for spending money. I think Japanese husband lead
a very easy life. He just have his monthly pocket money. And he just think of his life but
housewife have to think about many things in present time and in the future how much
money we need if our husband will be sick or how much money i have to save for our
daughter's school. Everything housewife's responsibility
Marvin: But does the husband check where the money goes all the time? Or he trusts his
wife?
Kimiko: It's a good one. Trust. Yes. He usually doesnt check I dont know whether he
trust me or not but usually husband trust, i hope trust his wife, but recently the situation
has changed.
Marvin: In what way?

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Kimiko: My - for example, my daughter and her husband; they both work. And, they
divided their income into - (What shall I say?) - it's very difficult to explain. My daughter
is not good at making budget.
Marvin: Okay.
Kimiko: But her husband is very good at making budget and spending money. So,
usually he make plans and my daughter only spends her personal things and maybe food
but other for example, --- (inaudible).
Marvin: House rent.
Kimiko: House rent, yes. or other, their savings is her husband responsibility. So they
talk a lot about their monthly spending and discuss and then decide how to spend their
money or how much money her husband gives my daughter for supporting family
Marvin: so in her situation or in your daughter's situation do you that there's a role
switching or there's collaboration?
Kimiko: collaboration, yes
Marvin: Okay. Do you think that's better?
Kimiko: Yes, I think so. Her husband helps my daughter a lot. uhm so it's I think it's
much much better situation compared to our situation
Marvin: Uhm, I see so there have been changes with some couples.
Kimiko: Oh yes, I think so.
Marvin: So let's now go to the third book that we have here. It's called Japan Today. It's
not the newspaper. It's the book. It's a compilation of different discussion groups and
discussions done about the Japanese culture and lifestyle. This is under the section: The
Japanese Today: Changing Life-Patterns, The Feminine Perspective in Japan Today.
Now, we have one, two, three four sentences. And I guess they are all inter-related. The
first one is: Many women do engage in such activities as part-time jobs, sports ,
consumer movements, and arts and crafts , but only as long as they do not interfere with
the care of the family. So women, here is pertaining to Japanese housewives basically,
or married women. Do you agree with this?
Kimiko: Yes. I agree. I totally agree with this.
Marvin: But Im wondering you mentioned earlier that a wife already got a kid or
children, everything changes, everything becomes busier, how do you find time to have
other activities or probably a hobby?
Kimiko: When our children grew up , when after they went to elementary school we
have some free time when our children go to school during that time we can do some
other things so some people as a part time , some people play tennis , some people belong
to some ` or some ' clubs
Marvin: Was it the same with you?
Kimiko: Uh
Marvin: When it comes to studying English?
Kimiko: Ah, yes, yes. But we have to return home in the evening, until the evening.
Marvin: Like around what time?
Kimiko: Around four
Marvin: 4 pm? Thats still in the afternoon
Kimiko: Uh. Maybe but children usually come home at around 4. So, we have to stay
home and meet our children so we have to return until 4, 4 or 5. But gradually, it is
getting long because our children are busy with their studying. When they go to junior

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high or high school, so - they dont return after 6. and also they, but, they have to go to
cram school so many mother have to prepare their early dinner for them, so maybe we
have to go back around 5 or 6.
Marvin: So lets see, I think it's only about, you know, making use of your free time but
do you think it also has something to do with improving themselves , or housewives
improving themselves, because they dont want to be confined with just doing household
chores or raising their kids.
Kimiko: Uhm
Marvin: Because if it's just killing time it's easy to just watch TV, or just take a nap
Kimiko: Uhm. We need some friends. We want to get to know other people. So we want
to belong to some community we prefer to be together with someone. We dont want to
watch TV at home or we dont want to do ourselves at home. We need to talk with
somebody and recently women have some enthusiasm to learn something. And we are
not satisfied with just talking with somebody. We want to learn something and also, talk
with somebody. So many people join some English club or art club. We want to do
something - something to (What shall I say?) something to make us improve I think
recent women think that way.
Marvin: So do you think learning English as a second language is now, we can say the
most popular, let's say hobby or maybe or a group where or that Japanese housewives
join to improve themselves,
Kimiko: Uhm, kind of. One of their hobbies but nowadays many people do many things
so I dont think not only English but also many other artistic or some something more
productive. Maybe we have enough time to think about ourselves much more than before.
My mother's generation were very busy with household chores, electric rice cooker, so
they always, their time always ruined by house job.
Marvin: Household chores or housework.
Kimiko: So and our generation - I think we receive better education than older
generation so want to do many things. We are interested in many things and our life is
long so we think we can do something after getting married
Marvin: I see. So, speaking of marriage, the last three sentences on this section actually
talk about marriage. Can you read them for me?
Kimiko: Three sentences?
Marvin: Yes. The last three sentences.
Kimiko: Marriage in Japan is like taking a tenured post, in the sense that both husband
and wife have a tendency to take the relationship for granted.
Communication between Japanese couples, except for newlyweds, may be minimal.
The common expression A good husband is healthy and absent accurately reflects the
attitude of many Japanese women toward their husbands.
Marvin: So I think those three sentences are quite related to each other. First one talks
about marriage as a job, a tenured post, a permanent job. The second one talks about
minimal communication between couples. And the third one, A good husband is healthy
and absent. So, how would you relate these sentences to the common Japanese husband
and wife relationship. Are they true or not exactly?
Kimiko: In my generation, it's true. But maybe our daughter's generation , its not true.
Communication between couples are more deep. And they talk a lot but all housewives
THINK A good husband is healthy and absent

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Marvin: Can you try to explain that some more? I have an idea but it would be better if
you could give me some examples
Kimiko: Husband. We think husband is in good health - is quite good and and if he
transferred to other place by himself our house in our house, our children and me is quite
good condition because housewife just take care of their children and so , what shall i
say, i think it's same, almost the same idea, husband it is good for husband to return home
late. husband is kind of burden for housewife so . so family , eh , family the situation of
family is very peaceful condition without husband so one of my member of English
group he was transferred to Germany for a long time, his retirement , he returned to jap
homein japan, and lived with his wife but his wife was , his wife has a lot o complaints
abt being his staying , his husband's staying,
Marvin: Oh. You mean to say that the wife had a lot of complaints.
Kimiko: About her husband living together.
Marvin: Or her husband staying at home.
Kimiko: Because she has got used to spending her time freely by herself because her
husband was transferred to other country for a long time so she has already created her
own life and returning husband makes her life destroyed or ruined (laughs), yes.
Marvin: ~~~ (interruption) it is connected to the part that says, Marriage in Japan is like
a tenured post It says that both husband and wife have a tendency to take the
relationship for granted.
Kimiko: Usually, we think so. But it's a - the idea is same with western. When they get
married, they thought this marriage continues forever.
Marvin: I see. Okay. So let's now go to the last one. The last section is from a book
called Japanese Cyberculture. Its under the section called Challenging ~~, I mean the
article or the excerpt is from Challenging Society Through the Information Grid:
Japanese Womens Activism on the Net, Japanese Cyberculture. This talks about the
power of the Internet and how it gives "voice" to women. I mean, it serving as a platform
for women to express their opinions, to express themselves and have a sense of identity.
Let me read the first one:
Communication on the Internet, however, enables women to take part in the
public discussion while preserving their privacy and anonymity; that is, they have
no need to engage in face-to-face debate or to use language appropriate to
hierarchically-ordered direct discourse. Thus the anonymous character of the
Internet has provided space or a variety of new interactive forums for women. For
example, one housewife relates that:
As a housewife, I was always treated as subordinate to my
husbandMy opinion was often treated not as mine but my
husbands wifes. The only place I was treated as an individual
was on the Net, probably because I didnt reveal that I am
someones wife. What is your take on this part?
Kimiko: Uhm. Its just ordinary complaint. We now - they use PC but we usually do the
same thing as - what shall i say - chatting about housewife. But maybe Internet, through
Internet, they dont see each other. So it's easy to express their complaints. I dont think
it's true - true intention, true idea of women. It's just complaint. But I think if it's not
face-to-face, communication ,sometimes - it's more exciting. So I dont think really tell

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the truth. They sometimes exaggerate their thinking; or they make themselves more sad
or happier or - so i dont like Internet communication.
Marvin: (laughs) What about in this situation? We always talk on Skype. We use Skype
basically. We are anonymous to each other. We know each other's names, our Skype
address, e-mail address. Is there a certain kind of comfort? Or you sometimes feel kind of
uncomfortable when you are talking in this medium?
Kimiko: I feel comfortable because we dont see each other. So we dont care about our
age, or maybe appearance. So, I like Skype but I dont like SNS or social networking. But
even if we face-to-face meeting, as long as we speak English, we usually ask a lot of
things and get many answers from different generations. We can easily get to know
different people in different generations. So, it's interesting to learn English or speak in
English.
Marvin: I see. Can you say that you kind of have a different identity when you are
speaking in English? Identity - I mean you have your own thoughts in Japanese, of
course. But when you are speaking in English, you kind of change a little bit from your
usual Japanese identity.
Kimiko: Uhm - I dont think so. But I try to be more cheerful or more clearly when I
speak Japanese.
Marvin: Clearly means more precise? More detailed?
Kimiko: More say something clearly.
Marvin: Oh. You mean specific?
Kimiko: Specific yes. Because Japanese is a kind of vague.
Marvin: It's a vague language.
Kimiko: Vague, vague words. We usually dont say clear conclusion or clear decision
but when we speak English we have to say our idea clearly.
Marvin: I see so let's now go to the last one. This is on website on Japanese women. Can
you read that for me?
Kimiko: Last ...last...
Marvin: The one that says, As early as
Kimiko: As early as 1996, Matsuura Satoko found that a diverse range of womens
voices on Web sites for Japanese women:
I was astonished to see that various womens voices are heard and visible on the
Internet. These are very different from ordinary conversations among women,
which usually have to be modest, self-effacing, and settled privatelyTheir
voices are lively. They are trying to build real communication and relationships
on the Internet, leaving behind secure and soothing conversations Women
who were confined at home to private issues such as child-rearing, care of the
elderly, domestic violence, sexual harassment and other discrimination, are now
stepping out. Its as if Pandoras Box has been opened in Japanese society.
Marvin: I think we have some new words here. Efface. Self-effacing is kind of reserved
or it could also mean that you do forget yourself. Forgettable conversations.
Kimiko: I see.
Marvin: Because it says here ordinary conversations among women are supposed to be
modest, not bragging about something, self-effacing, - easily forgettable, and very
private. Those are according to her, the usual conversations among women. But when
they're using the Internet, their livelier and it says here, they leave behind secure and

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soothing conversations with other people. And aside from that, they are able to talk about
issues concerning women unlike before.
Kimiko: Because we dont know each other and we dont see face. So, it's easy to
express. I dont think it's true. Their mind uhmmaybe they nowadays, young people
speak, talk a lot through Internet. But if we meet in person, they are not so talkative. So I
dont think it'snot-so good situation. WhenIn my generation, when we are student, we
discuss a lot with our friends and classmates. But sometimes, we quarrelled. But recently
young people avoid to quarrel with other people and discuss deeply with other people. I
dont think it's not-so good they usually have a FB. So their information comes from
Facebook. I dont think it's very weird because they dont meet often or sometimes still
they get a lot of information. They get a lot of information because they read Facebook.
So, their meeting is very rare. But they know very much. They feel they know each other
very much .
Marvin: And you don't think it's good.
Kimiko: It's veryit's not real communication. And it's not real relationship. Kind of
virtual.
Marvin: Yeah it is. It is a virtual relationship. Uhm, I do believe that the person you are
on the Internet is not the same person as you are in real life
Kimiko: Yes, yes.
Marvin: or however would define reality. But yes. I do believe in that.
Kimiko: So it's not good situation now. We live in a not-so good situation.
Marvin: I see, I see. Any last words before we say goodbye to each other?
Kimiko: Uh, I dont think so. But I hope will use more vocabulary that I prepared but
when I start speaking I forgot prepared vocab or sentences so it's very regrettable.
Marvin: Thats fine, thats fine. You did well. As for those that you prepared, Im not
exactly sure what they are, but Im pretty sure they couldve been put to better use. But I
really want to thank you for this time, and I hope to talk to you again next month when I
come back from my vacation, alright?
Kimiko: Yes, yes. Have a nice trip.
Marvin: Thank you very much, Kimiko-san you go have a great day.
Kimiko: Thank you very much.
Marvin: Buh-bye.
Kimiko: Buh-bye. Thank you.