Japan’s chauvinist husbands attempt reform

// 12 February 2007

consignment store for menA group of self-confessed chauvanist husbands in Japan is forging ahead with a plan to stop their wives divorcing them by doing the dishes, listening to their partners and saying “I love you” unashamedly.

Over on AlterNet today, Catherine Makino explores the work of the National Chauvinistic Husband’s Association. The group was founded by 54-year-old Shuichi Amano, after his wife threatened to divorce him. Apparently it hadn’t occurred to him prior to this that anything was wrong.

Rather like Alcoholics Anonymous, clueless husbands can progress through a 10 step programme to marital happiness. Step two involves helping their wives with the housework. But the women concerned will have to wait until step five before their husbands will manage going for a walk with them and holding their hands. And the final step – which only one member of the association has managed to reach – involves saying “I love you” without hesitation.

While some of these tips must be benefiting the poor women in these chauvinists’ lives, I can’t help but wonder at Amano putting himself forward as an expert on relationships, given his own somewhat muted marriage:

“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 cannot fully forgive him for his past actions, but I’m trying to accept him little by little,” Amano’s wife, Keiko Amano, said.

Photo by homernoh, shared under a Creative Commons license

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