Tuesday, February 06, 2007

National Chauvinistic Husbands Association

This sounds like something I would have gotten from Pandagon, but didn't. It is an item from Women's eNews on a Japanese husband-improvement organization.

The purpose of the group is to help men learn to be better husbands and to stave off divorce. Divorce rates in Japan have skyrocketed in recent years, and many younger women are either delaying or foregoing marriage all together.

The NCHA hopes to help rigidly traditional Japanese men become more "modern." And what is a modern man?

In September, they gathered in suits and ties outside a busy train station in Tokyo and chanted their Three Principles of Love: saying "sorry" without fear, saying "thank you" without hesitation and saying "I love you" without shame.

Shuichi Amano founded the group after discovering his marriage was on the rocks.
"It happened when I came home late one evening from work and asked my wife if she thought it was strange that suddenly all the middle-aged men around me were getting divorced," he said. "My wife said, 'Well, I think you will be next.'"

Amano said he was shocked, he broke out in a cold sweat and his heart "stopped" because he knew his wife was serious. After that initial jolt, he reflected on his past relationship with his wife and daughters. He realized as a busy writer and editor for a publishing company, he was a typical chauvinist and, furthermore, he took pride in it.

"I realized I had only communicated three things to my wife: 'furo,' 'meshi' and 'neru,' which mean 'bath,' 'dinner' and 'sleep,'" he said. "It is the typical way for a strong husband to communicate with his family."

Amano began a program of "self-improvement." He washed dishes, took out the garbage, cleaned the bathtub and paid attention to his wife.

His wife even started smiling at him, which she never did before.

I can't imagine never smiling at my husband, but then I can't imagine him being so insensitive and unfeeling. Our Western emphasis on emotion, however, has been ridiculed by other cultures as a sign of "weakness." Evidently, if you can't get enough women to marry and make babies, being strong can lead to cultural decline.

Here's one of the funnier things about this group:
The main activity of the group is to measure how well the members are getting along with their wives by ranking them in a 10-tier system. Amano and other senior members rank the new members, who report on their own progress.

So, you can level up in this group just like in Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh!? Are they going to put out a card game soon?