Have you ever heard that Christmas Cake joke: Japanese women are like Christmas cakes, if they surpass the 25th (Christmas day or their birthday), they’ll be difficult to dispose of…
This joke makes me think Japanese women are bred to be wives. Some of the festivals, like the Hina Matsuri (also called Girl’s Day) are celebrated so daughters will grow to be healthy and find good husbands. A few friends have told me that as parents they worry that their daughters won’t marry. One of my older lady friends announced her daughter’s engagement, and let out a big sigh of relief. She said her daughter will finally be married at 24. She is one of the fortunate ones, it seems.
Others who aren’t as lucky, like one of my close friends, was telling me she’s turning 33 soon and must find someone suitable or suffer going through an omiai (お見合い, a type of matchmaking meeting）. Another, who is 28, told me she will marry at 34 (an age considered the last chance to get married by most Japanese people).
Whichever female type a Japanese girl is, she seems to want to be married by a certain age, either by her own choice or her parents’ or even by the society’s. Basically, there are four female types in Japan. According to this Time Magazine editorial comic, they are the Career Girls, the Little Princesses, the Desperate Housewives, and the Bad Girls. A common thread is the need to find husbands (maybe except for the Bad Girl…). While more and more women are starting to become more liberated and choose to be single, a lot of women still want to find a partner, settle down and build families. In a developed nation like Japan, it’s quite nice to see that women still prefer to keep to traditional roles (remember the words of a certain Japanese minister?).