The Myth of the Oppressed Japanese Women

David Thomas, in Not Guilty — In Defence of the Modern Man, dispels the myth of the oppressed Japanese Women.

Not Guilty

…although [British] men have marginally more influence in six out of the eleven categories, in none of them do they have the dominance enjoyed by women in their most influential areas.  The overall average works out at a marginal advantage for the female partner by 51 to 49.  It is also worth noting that the two strongest areas  for men – motor and health insurance – have to be considered in the  light of the fact that, for white-collar workers at least, both may well be  included as part of a man’s professional remuneration.  So the women’s  lack of influence should not be taken to imply male power: it’s just that  he’s abandoned his wife’s decision-making in favour of his boss’s.  Either way, he’s the junior partner.

    This phenomenon is by no means confined to British society.  In fact, it might even be true to say that the more that a society appears to be financially biased in favour of men, the more the reverse is actually the case.  In Japan, for example, men still hold the vast majority of positions of executive and political power; feminism has made nothing like the strides there that it has in the West.  Japanese wives are seen by their Occidental sisters as hapless servants, waiting hand and foot on their male masters, like geisha girls ready to provide everything that their man might require.  The truth, however, appears to be rather different.

    As a Japanese salary man slaves away at the absurdly long hours that can, as we have seen, induce premature death, or karoshi, his wife is out enjoying the fruits of his labours.  A Japanese woman has the same lock on the family finances as her Western counterparts, a privilege that merely adds to the traditional power that she enjoys as the matriarchal ruler of the family home.  For the purposes of public


This Working Life

consumption, she may play the dutiful helpmeet.  But in private, she’s the boss.

    The Japanese name for a domineering, dictatorial wife is obatalian.  So common is the species that in 1992 Fuji Television launched a series called Obatalian Watching.  In the words of Joanna Pitman, reporting from Tokyo for The Times: ‘A group of scowling harridans were unwittingly filmed on one of their power-shopping sprees, swarming through sales like locusts, dolling themselves up in Chanel suits and Italian shoes.  The cameras then followed them onto a crowded underground train where they were seen doing battle for seats armed with designer handbags and umbrellas.  The obatalian gets what she wants.

    ‘The comedy of the series depends on the gap between social pretension and reality.  Everyone knows that if the cameras were to arrive at her home, the obatalian would slip into her public role as the simpering wife who selflessly tends to the needs of her husband.’

    Social attitudes towards the family’s supposed patriarch can be guessed from the title of a popular Japanese comic book series (the Japanese consume manga, or adult comic books, with a voracity and seriousness unknown in the West).  It is called Stupid Dad.  Its hero – if that is the right word – is eerily reminiscent of the hopelessly inadequate male to be found in so many British TV commercials (and Japanese ones, come to that).  After a hard day of ritual humiliation at the workplace, he comes home for more of the same at the hands of his wife and daughters: virulent shrews who would give Regan and Goneril a thoroughly good run for their money.  Bossed at work and bullied at home … no wonder the poor old Japanese male spends so much time getting drunk in karaoke bars….


Book details at

The editorial review shown at pertains, correctly, to David Thomas’ book, but the book description shown there has nothing to do with the book.  Is that another manifestation of the feminist plot to downplay and diminish the importance of David Thomas’ book?  After all, the feminists managed to make the book almost disappear.
(Update 2017 07 24: amazon apparently got around to correct the book review it had shown at that link, but the reviews shown in the following are a bit more heart-warming.)

Commentaries that do better justice to Not Guilty

David Thomas makes it clear, although it is not the focal point of Not Guilty, that the myth of the oppressed Japanese women is nothing more than a propaganda tactic invented, to be leaned on as if on a crutch, to derogate and vilify men in the war against men and families.

David Thomas, in his book “Not Guilty – In Defence of the Modern Man” (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1993, p.63) writes: “It is not often that a dominant class legislates its own downfall with quite as much thoroughness as the parliaments of the Western World, filled as they are with men passing equal opportunities legislation in favour of women, have done.”

In fact men have not only shot themselves in the foot but blown their leg off as well, apparently without feeling a thing! But men are suffering. They die earlier, form the bulk of the unemployed and the homeless, often receive a raw deal in the family court, are under-represented at our tertiary institutions, yet barely a squeak from men. Hence the problem with no name.

In contrast [to “the somewhat negative, repetitive, even whingeing tone of the [The Myth of Male Power, by Warren Farrell], there is David Thomas, author of Not Guilty. Unlike the American basis of Farrell’s book, Thomas adopts a British-based, but much more holistic perspective — and where Farrell’s background in academia and politics involves speaking to captive audiences who do not have the freedom to leave the room, Thomas is a product of the competitive and slick world of British glossy magazine journalism; (an industry which he notes, is one of the few that is dominated by women). Unlike Farrell’s lacklustre style, here is someone who is used to having to entertain as well as to inform, who is used to fighting to keep an audience. Not Guilty is therefore a far superior book, combining rhetorical style with statistical argument. Thomas also uses personal anecdotes and interviews, thus adding a strongly human dimension to his raw figures and studies. Far from weakening the force of the book, this actually adds to the argument, making it much easier for the audience to relate to the book.

Several years ago David Thomas wrote an excellent book, “Not Guilty: In Defence of the Modern Man.” One of his chapters is called “The Myth of the Bad Man.” Thomas shows that today’s intellectual elite is creating a myth that men are violent and violence is male. A huge cottage industry has grown up to demonstrate that within families, men are a bad influence — a necessary evil at best. “Meanwhile,” asks Thomas, “why won’t anyone have the courage and the honesty to confront and deal with abuse carried out by women?”

There is no balance, says Thomas, who writes of a “pattern of prejudice” in social science itself. Thomas argues that today’s accepted orthodoxy holds “that all abusers are male. …” This is especially true in the area of sexual harassment.

The organization of hatred along sexual lines is, in my view, the most troubling intellectual trend in modern thought today. The next time you hear somebody say that men are pigs — or some similar comment — you might want to object….

Right! The cover of Not Guilty successfully sums up the spirit of the book in an adaptation of Michel Angelo’s Creation of Adam:

Adaptation of Michael Angelo's The Creation of Adam

Men are okay!

Forget the myth of the oppressed Japanese women.  Forget the myth of women being oppressed anywhere, especially the assertions that they are being oppressed in any of the developed nations, where women live much longer and more comfortable lives than their male counterparts there or anywhere else. Men are okay!  Enough already with the tarring and feathering of men.

I found Not Guilty to be considerably more positive and informative than Warren Farrell’s books, such as The Myth of Male Power.  After all, Warren Farrell is a power-feminist who declared that he wants to empower women, apparently through normalizing men down to women’s level and through portraying men as victims of neglect and vilification.
Originally posted 2000 05 23, at the website of Fathers for Life.

See also Marty Nemko’s statement, “In Defense of Men.”

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