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Training to be a ‘super dad’ in Japan

Can women save Japan's economy?

Reading to immature children is a critical affair: Holding their courtesy requires an charcterised delivery, an enchanting book choice, and even sound effects that compare a plot.

In Numazu, a strand city on a easterly seashore of Japan, organisation are training these consultant reading skills as partial of a giveaway procedure promoted by a supervision that is designed to spin them into “super dads.”

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It’s a stage that is being replicated opposite Japan, a nation where normal gender roles browbeat and a thought of organisation holding an active purpose in childcare is usually starting to locate on.

“The priority of normal Japanese fathers is work … they don’t know what to do even when they come home early,” pronounced Tetsuya Ando, owner of Fathering Japan, a non-profit organisation that orderly a Numazu class.

japanese super dad

Ando’s thought for a category came from his possess adore of reading: he ran an eccentric bookstore and review an estimated 6,000 books to his eldest child by a time she was 6 years old.

It was so many fun that he wanted to learn others.

But scarcely dual decades ago he found there was small interest. Raising children was deliberate a woman’s pursuit — people would assume his mother had dumped him if he was seen pulling a baby stroller.

Now, attitudes are starting to shift. These days, Ando’s classification has grown to embody 10 branches, and he travels all over Japan giving talks to everybody from supervision officials to salarymen about active fatherhood.

There’s even a word for this new kind of male — “iku-men,” that is a play on a Japanese word for “child-rearing” and a English word “men.” The supervision is spending $500,000 a year to foster a idea.

Masako Ishii-Kuntz, executive of Ochonomizu University’s Institute for Gender Studies, pronounced that some-more Japanese organisation are display an seductiveness in apropos ‘ikumen.’ ”

“But if we demeanour during a suit of dads holding childcare leave, it’s really minimal,” she said.

ikumen tetsuya ando
Tetsuya Ando, a deputy of Fathering Japan, leads a convention for fathers on reading design books.

Japan has one of a some-more inexhaustible orthodox parental leave policies in Asia during 52 weeks, though usually 2.7% of organisation take advantage of a time off, according to supervision data. Of those, many are divided from a bureau for reduction than dual weeks. Meanwhile, roughly 80% of Japanese moms take childcare leave.

Japanese “salarymen” are scandalous for operative heartless hours — deliberate a pointer of faithfulness and joining to a job. Many worry that holding leave might cost them a promotion, or supplement to their co-workers’ workload.

To inspire some-more organisation take time away, Japan should cruise full-pay orthodox leave, pronounced Ishii-Kuntz. Right now, workers are paid 67% of their income for a initial 6 months, and that drops to 50% for a second half of a year.

Paternity leave is also personal as a duration of unemployment, that can lead to snags when perplexing to buy a home or take out a loan in a future.

These policies alone are “problematic,” pronounced Ishii-Kuntz. “The mercantile impact on any particular family is huge.”

Experts contend Japan should also cruise a top on operative hours, like a 48-hour per week extent in a European Union.

In a prolonged run, immature organisation unprotected to a “iku-men” thought now might turn destiny managers instrumental in changing a work culture, Ando said. But for now, Japanese dads will have to get artistic with work-life balance.

Takahiro Akiyama, 43, was one of a fathers who chose to attend a Numazu reading class. During a week, he works prolonged hours during a application company, and infrequently even overnight.

“On a weekends, as many as possible, we wish to spend time with my son,” he said.

ikumen family photo
Takahiro Akiyama attended a Fathering Japan convention in Numazu with his wife, Megumi, and son, Shota.

— Chie Kobayashi contributed reporting.

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