Good Husbands Club Japanese Men Band Together to Become Better Spouses日本大男人新婚姻观--学当好丈夫
Countless women around the world complain that their husbands don't pay them enough attention and won't help out around the house.
Yes, I know, but in Japan husbands have suddenly got a financial incentive to make sure their marriages stay strong. Kyung Lah reports it appears the new divorce law is having quite a domestic impact.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT
This may look like a meeting of the old boys club, but look again and listen.
"I can't win. I won't win. I don't want to win." This is their mantra to their women, married men trying to keep their wives from leaving them.
"Wife first, work second," members advise.
"I'm too Japanese," says this man. "Well, you're too old-fashioned. Change," says the group leader.
The club posts three golden rules of love-say thank you, I'm sorry, I love you-and gives ten ranks of good husbandry. The highest-saying I love you without embarrassment. The support group of 4,700 members nationwide grew when divorce spiked in Japan this year. A law changed that entitles a wife to walk with up to half her husband's company pension. These men took notice.
Which begs the question, are these men meeting to save their marriages or save their pensions?
For Yohe Takayama it's a little of both. After the wedding bliss faded, the domestic doldrums" followed.
"Both of us have jobs and we kept fighting about splitting domestic duties," says Yoshie Takayama. She also says there's nothing wrong with the change to Japan's law especially if it helps women in unhappy marriages. Unnerved by their fighting, Yohe signed up for the club, to the horror of his father who called it deplorable for a man to act this way.
It may seem silly, they say, but it's improved their relationship and they believe it's their guarantee against divorce.
"I can't say I love you very easily," says Takayama, "but I can say thank you and I'm sorry."
And he's working on more. At tonight's meeting, he's graduated to level four, meaning he's able to put ladies first.
As an American, it seems so easy. I mean, why is it so hard?
"Look at America. There are so many divorces there," says the club. "We're trying to really change ourselves, and that's not easy."
Takayama says he's still got a lot to learn. He still doesn't help as much as he could in the kitchen, but he's doing more of the cleaning and the shopping, and as he aims for the next level of husbandry, small signs of happily ever after.