Known to be big fans of Japanese people and culture, people in Taiwan seem to be very interested in their lifestyle. That is why the Taiwanese staff of LIVE JAPAN gathered "rumors and impressions about Japanese women that the Taiwanese want to ask" - which we directly asked a panel of Japanese women!
The respondents were Japanese women in their 20s to 40s. We took out a few excerpts from these questions and the respondents’ answers to them. While it's important to note that these are individual responses and may not reflect a wider view, it's interesting to see that most of the results we got were a complete departure from the impression of Taiwanese people!
Rumor One: Do you really put on makeup since elementary or junior high school?
The answers may differ according to the respondents' age. Let’s see the results.
“Yes. We used eyeshadow and mascara when were in elementary school, but this was only during events. This was also the case during junior high school. I started applying real base makeup during high school.” (Editor, 29)
“I’ve been using eye makeup since junior high school, and I started applying base makeup during high school.” (Vocational student, 22)
“I started putting on a little makeup when I was in junior high.” (Service employee, 36)
“I never used makeup when I was in elementary and junior high. The closest thing I did was fix my eyebrows and wear perfume.” (Marketing employee, 34)
“I started using lipstick during junior high.” (Homemaker, 44)
“I started using makeup in high school.” (Office worker, 41)
Some Japanese women in their 20s seem to have started in junior high school, while those in their 30s and 40s were split in their answers. However, no one wore makeup on a daily basis during their elementary and junior high school days.
Rumor Two: Do you always wear makeup when going out? Even when going to a nearby convenience store?
This next question is also related to makeup. The question does mention the word “always” so their opinions might vary.
“Yes. I put on some sort of makeup even when going to the convenience store.” (University student, 21)
“I put on the least possible makeup, like eyebrows.” (Temporary employee, 24)
“Yes. I use eyelash extensions, so I only put on eyebrows and eye makeup.” (Dentist assistant, 32)
There were certainly women who wear make up even when going to the convenience store, but in reality, those who spoke in contrast were greater in number!
“No. I just wear a hat.” (Manager, 39)
“I usually do...but I don’t put on makeup during nighttime, or if I’m going to the convenience store and if it’s within walking distance (within 5 minutes).” (Homemaker, 34)
“If it’s nearby, I only put on BB cream (sunblock).” (Bridal-related, 43)
“I put on makeup when I commute to work, but I don’t apply any during my day off to let my skin rest.” (Homemaker, 34)
Those in their early 20s to 30s put on makeup while those in their 30s to 40s do not. There are also those who avoid putting on makeup to protect their skin. In the end, both sides do what they do for beauty.
Rumor Three: Do all Japanese women know how to cook?
This might also be a difficult question since it mentions the word “all”, but let’s see.
“No. I have a friend who lives with her parents and don’t (can’t) cook.” (Bridal-related, 43)
“No. People who live with their parents don’t have much chance to cook, so I don’t think everyone can cook.” (University student, 22)
You don’t get to cook that much when you’re living with your parents since your mother always does the kitchen work, right? Let’s see if most Japanese women agree to this.
“I cooked since elementary school, so I’m good at it, but I have a lot of friends who are kind of bad at it.” (Temporary employee, 24)
“I can cook, but I guess that depends on the person.” (Manager, 39)
“No. I don’t usually cook.” (Part-timer, 32)
“I think my cooking skills are at par with men.” (Designer, 24)
Looking at the answers of women in their 20s, there were surprisingly a lot of those who don’t know how to cook. Even those who said they can cook mostly believe that there are Japanese women who can’t.
Rumor Four: Is it okay to wear a miniskirt in winter? Isn’t it cold?
“I don’t wear miniskirts in winter!” (Homemaker, 30)
“It’s cold, so I wear tights.” (Vocational student, 22)
“I can't bear the cold weather now, so I don't wear miniskirts save for special occasions. When I was in high school, I used to commute to school while wearing my miniskirt uniform.” (Editor, 29)
“It’s impossible. It’s cold and I can’t wear it considering my age and physique. Although in high school, I could walk barefoot on snow.” (Homemaker, 32 years old)
“ I don’t wear miniskirts. I can’t bear the cold at my age.” (Customer center employee, 39)
As expected, everyone answered “No!”. However, it's a wonder why women can walk barefoot on snow in high school but are unable to bear the cold weather once they go beyond 20.
Rumor Five: I heard that women have to get married before 30. Is that true?
“That’s not really true. My sister is 41 and still not married. In reality, a lot of women are like this.” (Dentist assistant, 32)
“There’s no such thing as that. There are people who are happily unmarried. (Service employee, 36)
“No. It depends on the person. But for me, I want to get married before 30.” (University student, 22)
“That’s not true. That trend is currently decreasing. (Designer, 24)
“What era are we talking about here?” (Homemaker, 34)
“No. However, you do often hear the same thing when you’re in rural areas.” (Part-timer, 32)
As expected, everyone answered with a clear “no”. With late marriages on the rise, there may be fewer people who get married before 30.
Rumor Six: Are there a lot of women who want to get married and become a homemaker?
The rumors about marriage continues. Let’s see their response.
“I think there are a few women who aim to become homemakers, but there are several who want to get married and build a family.” (Editor, 29)
“I think a lot of women wanted to become a homemaker in the past. With husbands being the sole financial provider, families that do not have the economic capacity to send their children to university is increasing.” (Temporary employee, 24)
“I know a lot of women who want to live independently.” (Customer center employee, 39)
“These days, there are very few women who think like that, but I think there are a lot of women who want to marry a rich man and become a full time homemaker.” (Vocational student, 22)
“Even if they don't say it in the open, I think that there are women who want to be housewives if they don't have to work. Nowadays, it's important to have work (not only for financial reasons). Especially for those who don't have children.” (Homemaker, 34 years old)
“I want to try being a homemaker, but for some reason, I’m still working.” (Manager, 39)
We received a lot of enthusiastic answers than any of the earlier rumors, but at the end, it all boils down to this: Whether they want to become a homemaker or to continue working hard, Japanese women desire a fulfilling life.
Rumor Seven: “Have you ever been discriminated in the workplace because you were a woman?
The last rumor is a hard question, but let’s see how they would respond to this.
“I don’t experience it that much.” (Homemaker, 30)
“I haven’t experienced any.” (Dentist assistant, 32)
“I was never discriminated because I was in a pleasant work environment.” (Temporary worker, 24)
“I don’t experience discrimination since I work with a lot of women.” (Vocational student, 22)
“I’ve never experienced it since my workplace has a lot of women.” (Bridal-related, 43)
There were many women who answered “no”. It seems like gender discrimination is a rare sight in workplaces that employ a lot of women, especially since women tend to help each other.
“I experienced discrimination 20 years ago.” (Homemaker, 44)
“Yes, I have. Although it wasn't direct, the company as a whole viewed women as weak and difficult-to-handle, which is why they hired more men.” (Editor, 29)
"I experienced this in my previous company. I was made to participate in an unrelated drinking party just because I am a woman. I was also made to accompany male clients. In retrospect, it was humiliating." (Marketing employee, 34)
Although public opinion has turned against sexual harassment and power-tripping, it seems that women still face preconceived notions based on the characteristics of their bodies. We're hoping that the day will come where women in their 40s would speak of discrimination as a thing of the past.
This rounds up the seven rumors surrounding Japanese women. Based on the answers we got, none of the rumors were confirmed to be “completely true”. So, did this article change your impression of Japanese women?
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