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Thursday, November 17, 2016

In Defense Of New Japanese Dads

I recently read an article about “Why Japanese Dads Just Won’t Leave Work” in reference to their baby-momma just giving birth. See article HERE.

Unlike the Unites States of America and Papua New Guinea, Japan DOES provide parental leave for dads to stand around while the wife takes care of the newborn.

As a father myself, I can honestly say that I was as useful as a third-nipple on a man. My wife did yeoman’s (yeowoman’s?) work in handling our newborn son, as I continued to go to work and bring home the bacon—something that newborns don’t seem to want to eat.

For the Japanese man, work will provide up to 60 percent of the income while they are able to be a pain in their wife’s butt for up to 52 weeks… one of the best policies in the world.

The United States and Papaua New Guinea have zero.

To be honest, I didn’t even know we had such a thing in Canada.

So… the Ozy article notes that in 2015, only two percent of all eligible new Japanese fathers took any paternity leave. The average rate of paid maternity leave for the dads was 30.4 weeks.



In South Korea where they offer 52.5 weeks for dads, they took an average of 16 weeks off.

Portugal offered 21.3 weeks, taking off 11.5 weeks for dads.

Sweden offering 10 weeks, with the dad’s taking an average of 8.7 weeks… and the good old U.S. of A and Papua New Guinea offering ZERO, taking ZERO.

The only reason I can see why those two percent took the dad leave is that they are either loving and caring men who are better than me, or that both he and his wife no longer have their own parents alive or healthy to help look after the newborn.

Japan still takes the whole “family” thing pretty seriously… the father goes out and works to provide for the family. The wife takes the money earned and looks after the family.

The oldest son now adult dad looks after his parental units… sometimes even her parents if there is no other option.

If my mom was alive, she would have been over every day or stayed for however long we needed her, to help my wife look after her grandson. My dad… not an offer.

My wife’s mom… she stayed with us for about a month after the birth to help out. Her dad… well, he wasn’t well and died a month after the birth of our son, but he was never going to be a help to anyone. Please… one family, plus the mistress he had for 30 years, and before the current family, two secret families with kids. We only know of one other family in The Netherlands, and only a brief mention there was another in the UK.

No… just like in Japan, and a multitude of countries around the world, one of the mom’s would come and stay and help out the new mother…. just to look after the baby while the new mom got a few hours of sleep.

Perhaps the Swedes are better dads. Perhaps there shouldn’t be such a high rate of suicide there also.

But Japan… there’s no reason for the Ozy article to attempt to shame the Japanese man for not taking time off. Or only 2 percent of them taking time off.

If you want to slam the Japanese dad, maybe do so over the fact that they spend so much time at work that they do NOT spend as much time with their offspring as say the US dad’s do.

Holy crap… for 2017, I’m coaching my son’s baseball team and taking coaching clinics to ensure I do a good job; plus I’m assistant coaching his hockey team. I’ve previous coached his soccer team, play video games and tossed the baseball around and taken shots on him in hockey. We built LEGO together, though that’s not longer his thing… but we did and do plenty of stuff together nearly every single day.

Japanese dad’s often come home late at night after a stupidly long dad of “working” without overtime pay, and pretty much miss their kids growing up.  

So… even though the Japanese mom doesn’t require the help of the Japanese dad because he’s as useless as a Canadian writer dad or an American or a Papua New Guinea dad… at least she has help (more than likely).

Look... I did come home as quickly as possible after work and would lend what help I could... laundry and other home work... but I sure as heck wasn't breast feeding. I was close to useless. Most men on this planet are... er, when it comes to helping out with a newborn. All we can do is provide a bit of relief... do all the chores around the house, and keep out of the wife's way.

Is that sexist? Yes, it is.

I can swaddle... burp... heat up a formula... do laundry, dishes, and even cook—but nothing that humans would want to eat. I can also sit and watch while the baby sleeps to allow the mom to get some sleep. It's not even half of being a parent, but it was also the safest path for all involved. In my case.  

Why would a Japanese dad who’s going to spend so much time at work over the next 30 years need to spend 52 weeks at home trying to help look after a newborn?

MOST (not all) Japanese men have no concept of how to cook a meal for the family (I know they can cook at a restaurant)… of how to change a diaper, prepare a formula. Swaddle a baby. Burp it. Anything… so just what the heck is he supposed to do besides be an additional burden to the newborn’s mom?

Parents and in-laws are the new Japanese mom’s best hope.

Besides… if I was a Japanese man and took 52 weeks off to support my wife and try to bond with my son… earning 60 percent of my income would negatively impact the financial well-being of my family.

I couldn’t do that! There’s an extra mouth to feed that doesn’t like bacon. Yet.

Andrew Joseph


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