In Part 1 of this interview, we discussed how the Japanese economy has downshifted, but that assumptions about family structure and job security appear to not yet have adapted. Here, we explore what specific challenges married couples face now, and what are the implications for manhood in Japan. Please read to the end of this brief article for reflection exercises you can try.
How economic changes can influence gender roles (Jun, Part 1)
I recently interviewed a Japanese man, Jun, who lives and works in Tokyo, about his observations on Japanese culture and shifting gender roles. If you live in the US and are wondering how his perspective could be at all relevant to your own life, then read on. He has a unique perspective in that he went to college in the US (only about 1% of Japanese college students do this), then returned to Japan to work for a multi-national company. One of his hobbies is reading and reflecting on current events and Japan’s history. In this first installment, we explore how economic, political, and cultural factors can influence gender roles at home and work. If you’ve ever felt alienated from or confused by the way your parents raised you, then read on for some fruitful discussion questions that can help deepen your understanding of yourself, your parents, and your own particular social and historical context.
Advice for men from a successful, happily-married man (Rob Jones)
Here’s a man we need to hear more about: happily married for forty years, still engaged in his kids’ lives, and able to balance work with exercise, family, and community. In our interview, he shares how he and his wife overcame a marital crisis, how he learned to cultivate balance and time for reflection, and how he transformed a potential career disaster into the mentoring opportunity of a lifetime. Rob is sixty years old and lives in Colorado. He and his wife Martha have three adult sons. Please read to the end for a summary of life lessons based on the interview, and resources for further learning and practice you can try yourself. Please leave us a comment and share this with your friends.
Insights for modern men from a stay-at-home Dad (Bryan Hansen)
I'm excited to kick off a series of articles about fathers who generally feel good about life. Yes, they do exist! We’ll hear how they dance between their long-term relationships, being a parent, working, staying healthy, and other aspects of life. Bryan is a stay-at-home father in San Francisco. Today only 1% of husbands in married-couple families stay at home full-time (US Census 2012). But many Dads face the same challenges as stay-at-home fathers when it comes to parenting young children, and they are touched on below: how to renew yourself, reflect, find parenting mentors, deal with social isolation, and find meaning. When I spoke with him in person, Bryan exuded self-confidence, poise, thoughtfulness, physical and mental strength, and what some psychologists have described as a “mature masculine” focus on nurturing and coaching. We hope you enjoy this interview.