Japanese Wife Decides to Charge for Services

July 28, 2009

It seems that a Japanese husband and wife, supposedly for the sake of being non-sexist and fair, have decided on prices for various things the wife does around the house. The man is a 48 year old company employee married to a 42 year old woman. They claim that since the husband has started paying for services, he’s begun complimenting his wife more and the whole household’s become more fun.

The story says that the man always comes home late to find his wife and kids sleeping, and a note on the dining room table asking him to circle yes or no for whether he needs a bento lunch the next day. The memo asks him to leave the 400 yen fee on the table as well.

The wife also demands 5000 yen each time the couple have sex.

Some thoughts:

OK, taking care of the kids and home is hard work for a woman even if she’s home all day, but if this couple really wants to be fair shouldn’t the whole thing be a big fun concerted effort at home? Why does it have to be about money? Why does the guy have to pay his wife? Maybe she should pay him, or if compensation is the point of it all, they can pay each other 5000 yen each and call it a day?

So sex one time is worth 12 bentos? I don’t really know what to do with this information. Maybe they can get away from money and start up a point system. Does food making go both ways? If he makes breakfast lunch and dinner for the family one Sunday does that add up to more than 12 meals and entitle him to a night of sex? Does she get to refuse his business at will or is she also bound to let him eat a bento or sleep with her as long as he makes with the cash?

Is 5000 yen cheap for sex with the wife? She’s competing with the “water business” and prostitution services in Japan, and although I don’t know how much they cost, it might be worth it for the man if the service is some how better or more appealing. People pay more for quality, skill, or style.

I’m not taking this story too seriously, but I’m pretty sure this will end badly, but we probably won’t get that news.

I wonder if the guy’s friends are also allowed to order a 400 yen bento or (ahem) other services from the woman. Actually, I don’t really care, but it’d be a shame if the kids grow up thinking about the world this way. What of love, family, community?!

Well, if making it all about the yen makes everybody happy, then who am I to say?


1 George Donnelly July 28, 2009 at 12:06 pm

This is funny. Maybe it’s their way of spicing up their relationship? Or she just has the guy whipped?

On a sidenote, everything boils down to value: money, love, family, etc.

2 jay July 29, 2009 at 2:07 am

True dat. Sometimes I think that the “overworked” businessman in Japan, who oftentimes is late coming home because of having to go to the bar and do “tsukiai” or hanging out with co-workers to “improve” relations. So they are not working, they are getting drunk and calling it work.

I don’t like the idea of dividing things up in half, the home, child, and financial duties are for the wife while the man’s job is just to work and get a salary. It becomes an excuse for the man not to have to discipline, teach, or deal with the kids.

I even think this kind of thing is one of the factors in the “sexless” marriages here, and the declining birthrate. People have to fight if they want to make their families a priority in their lives. I’ve have had to fight to make sure that I can keep my family a priority and have enough time to be a part of my children’s lives. It means refusing invitations from superiors at work sometimes. It also may mean working at home sometimes (a rare thing for the typical “salariman”).

A lot of men are totally content with things this way. They feel powerful at work, but at home feel less empowered, so they’d rather be at work… some of them don’t feel powerful at work, but it’s a comfort zone. One of my friends who used to stay at work late eating a bento for dinner and just hanging at the office until he could find people to go out drinking with him used to say that if he went home when the family was still awake, his wife and kids would just get on his case about things and bother him. Very sad.

I don’t think all marriages are like this in Japan, but it is definitely a common pattern.

As you said George. It’s all about your priorities and how you balance them. I don’t think a person can go wrong if the focus is the family, though.