Do you know that a large percentage of the Japanese population is comprised of housewives? Housewives in Japan are expected to do a lot of cooking and cleaning, which becomes even more taxing when their children and husbands are at home. To give them the much-needed rest they deserve, Sankei Living Shimbun (サンケイリビング新聞), an internet portal and magazine, proposed an annual holiday called Housewives’ Day Off (主婦の休みの日). Taking place every January 25th, housewives are given the chance to relax and take a day off from housework.
In some parts of the world, being a stay-at-home mom is often regarded as an old-fashioned role. However, in Japan, it is still a popular option for many women. When asking Japanese women about their futures, it is a common response for Japanese girls to say that they would like to become a beautiful bride or a housewife.
Although all Japanese housewives lead a different way of life, I will give you a general idea of the routine they follow in their daily lives. Mornings are usually spent on housework such as cleaning, shopping, doing the laundry and preparing lunch. Afternoons are spent on leisurely activities such as watching television, reading books and preparing supper. Evenings are for walking outside, eating supper with the family, washing the dishes and other leisurely activities. If they have children, childcare is included in their daily routine.
Although housewives enjoy a higher form of respect than those in Western society, many younger Japanese women are starting to perceive staying at home as a form of laziness. Most couples these days earn a joint income to make ends meet. This prevents dependence on their partner and the feeling that they are being looked down on. Many younger women are also choosing to live out their dreams before settling down into the inevitable life of a housewife.
The proposal of Housewives’ Day Off on January 25 is based on 3 major principles. This is a day for housewives to relax from all the hard work they’re doing on a daily basis, including child-rearing. It is also a day to make families and the whole nation of Japan happy. Since housewives are requested to relax, their husbands and children will be challenged to do the housework on that day. The last principle is refutable when Housewives’ Day Off falls on a weekday. If children are at school and husbands are at work, these unavoidable responsibilities make it hard for them to help out. As a solution, another proposal has been made to move the day so that it falls on a Saturday or Sunday every year.
The Housewives’ Day Off is yet to catch mainstream media attention in Japan, although the proposal was started in 2009 and the idea is being continuously pushed. Sankei Living Shimbun believes that there should, in fact, be three days off for housewives over the year in January, May and September. So, if you’re a housewife and would like to get on board with this idea, you still have two chances to catch in the coming months of 2017!
Housewives’ Day Off Website *Japanese only