by Kaho Nagao
Recently Japanese media such as TV and newspapers often mention the word “ikumen.” Ikumen means men who are taking care their children so much and spend more time than traditional Japanese father. Actually my father was non-Ikumen and we, my father and I, spent only 5 years together because of father’s job and my school life. He lived in the mountains and he came back home only once a month or once a week. I never felt sadness because it was natural for my family, and I could spend good time with my mother and friends. In addition I never envied friends who spent much time with their father. However, after he came back home, we did not know how to communicate with each other. Still it makes our relation little bit complicated. Therefore, when I heard the word Ikumen, I felt very uncomfortable. Are these good fathers real or are they just on the screen? This question is coming up my mind.
On the other hand, one of my professors in Ritsumeikan really helps his wife and is caring for his children. He often mentions about that in small talk before class starts. In addition, Takeshi Tsuruno, who is a TV star, is quite famous as Ikumen. He has four kids and he appears on some child caring programs. Moreover, he took child caring break for three month in 2010. When this news appeared, most people think that Japanese society is changing.
Of course, there are still many traditional Japanese fathers. According to News Post Seven, even though bosses think it is nonsense for men take child care breaks, and for them it seems selfish and spoils their wives. Moreover, they tend to question what man can do to babies.
For old generations, it has been difficult to change our minds toward child caring, but for young generations, it is not too late to change our minds. The reason why younger generations want to take care of their children is they may not get enough money as pension from government and seniority by length of service in company.
Before researching about this topic, I thought Ikumen was just Japanese men starting to have interests to take care of children and changing their minds, however, it is one of the reasons and they also have worry about their future. Needless to say, Japanese society is starting to change and Ikumen is a word, which shows the reality in Japan. Still this word and situation seems to be uncomfortable for some people. However, someday this word is going to be usual and it is really great to everyone who has children can enjoy child-caring.
News Post http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2013/11/17/037/
- “Recognizing” and “Understanding” Ikumen (japansociology.com)
- “Ikumen”: challenges and support of new generation of Japanese fathers (japansociology.com)
- “Ikumen” – The real situation in Japan and comparison to Sweden (japansociology.com)
- Japan reaches top rank – in gender inequality (japansociology.com)
- Immigration for children in Japan (japansociology.com)
- LGBT People In Japanese Mass Media (tujprejudice.wordpress.com)
In Germany we speak of “Helikopte-Mothers” – why not “Helikopter-Fathers” in Japan?
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