Japan: Retired Husband Syndrome
BBC News, Monday, 13 November 2006, 16:14 GMT
In Japan it is estimated that 60% of older women have a common problem – their husbands. Having spent years “married to their jobs”, retired men are having an extraordinary effect on the health of their partners….
…. change in Japanese divorce law (giving wives a share of their husband’s pension) is scheduled for early 2007...more…
The favorite term Japanese wives have for retired husbands sodaigomi (粗大ごみ) “big trash you have to pay to get rid of” and nureochiba” (濡れ落ち葉) fallen wet leaves sticky and hard to get rid of. However, I think the the feminist term for ex-salaryman husband, “industrial waste” (産業廃棄物), is the best description. These guys were nearly useless for their last years in their companies because of lack of computer skills and upon retirement they find themselves more than useless and unwanted in their own homes. Sad to say, the sodaigomi spouse syndrome in Japan is universal and very understandable.
Actually, it’s too “understandable”—even the English language press has been reporting this for years now. It’s not “news” but the BBC brought it up again because the divorce-bonanza law is coming into effect soon (2007).
Last year I was out mushroom hunting with Japanese housewives in my local forest and EVERYONE got real quiet when I started telling stories of husband killing with poisonous mushrooms in ethnic communities back in the States. Nobody wanted to talk about poison mushroom deaths even though Japan has plenty of poisonous mushrooms. Hmmm, now the only mystery is: Why there are so few murders of retired husbands in the fall mushroom season?
Sick of Their Husbands in Graying Japan
Stress Disorder Diagnosed in Many Women After Spouses Retire