Wants day of rest to be observed three times a year.
While Japanese schools and companies are notorious for making grueling demands of their pupils and employees, there are at least several national holidays throughout the year which provide periodic breathers. However, the same can’t be said for housewives.
Traditionally, Japanese men did very little housework, and while that’s gradually changing, societal habits die hard. And to this day, the priority Japan places on child education means that many kids don’t do much of anything in the way of chores.
As such, in some households where the wife doesn’t work outside the home, she’s expected to do all of the cooking and cleaning, and those responsibilities only become all the more taxing if her husband and children have the day off and are hanging around the house eating and making messes all day long. So to give housewives a much-needed chance to rest and recharge, women’s interest Internet portal and magazine Living Shimbun proposes that January 25 be a Housewives’ Day Off, in which they’re not required or requested to do any housework.
Living Shimbun points to three major principles behind the proposal, calling it
● A day on which housewives, who spend every day working so hard to handle the housework and childrearing, can relax.”
● day to make families, and Japan, happy.
● A day for husbands and children to challenge themselves and do housework.
Some will no doubt notice a potential problem with that last point, though, in that this year, January 25 falls on Wednesday, a weekday, meaning that working husbands and school-age children may have professional or scholastic responsibilities filling their schedule that day. With only so many hours in the day, they may not be able to handle the necessary cooking and cleaning duties. In that case, Housewives’ Day Off proponents propose postponing the homemaker’s day of rest to the following Saturday or Sunday.
As admirable as Living Shimbun’s sentiments are, though, Housewives’ Day Off is yet to really catch on in mainstream Japan. Although the organization has been pushing the idea since 2009, most related Internet comments made on January 25 were to the effect of “So it seems like today is supposed to be Housewives’ Day Off” or “Apparently there’s a day off for housewives.” Actually, though, Living Shimbun says there should be three Housewives’ Days Off a year, on the 25th of January, May, and September, so if it’s a custom you want to get on board with, you’ve got another chance coming up in four months.