Did you know? One of Japan's most traditional customs is that a woman determines how much her husband can spend.
Do you know that image of the demure and submissive Japanese woman? Forget. Although the Japanese society is known for machismo, at home the boss is the wife. The clearest evidence of this is that the housewife, after marriage, takes control of her husband's finances. In other words, it is she who manages household expenses and still sets aside a little for his personal expenses.
As contradictory as it may seem, it is the woman who gives the “allowance”, called “okozukai”To her husband. Okozukai (お小遣い) literally means “allowance”, “allowance” or “money for personal expenses. It is believed that 50% of families, follows the tradition in which women are responsible for financing.
The amount for lunch, snack, in addition to any moments of entertainment such as the beer after work, are controlled by the housewife. The standard is adopted by most families and comes from an old tradition. One explanation for this is the expedients that a Japanese worker is often forced to undergo. The level of tiredness and stress would be so much that, in theory, they would not have the time or willingness to take care of the family's finances.
Even when the woman works full-time, she is still responsible for the money, pays rent, financing and household expenses. In Japan, women are at the forefront of domestic accounting.
Men who receive okozukai, avoid spending as much as they can on lunch or snacks, they take obento from home to eat at work. Much of the money that men receive is spent on energy and nightlife. They get paid enough to go out and have fun once a week.
What is the value of the okozukai?
According to a survey by the credit company GE Money, the standard percentage of okozukai is 10% of husbands' wages. Generally, the amount is determined in the first months after the wedding, according to calculations made on expenses with food, bills, children's education and home and car payments.
A Brazilian, a restaurant employee in Tokyo, married to a Japanese woman for 8 years, receives about 30,000 yen a month from okozukai, which means just over 10% of his salary, ”The rest of the money is used mainly for education of the only daughter, in addition to basic expenses to maintain the house and also for savings ”. Regarding the value of his okozukai, he says "I wish I could use more, but I have friends who receive less, I can't complain".
Others, however, do not view the financial power of housewives with good eyes. A business consultant says "the okozukai system obliges the Japanese worker to justify himself with his superior in his professional life and with his wife in his private life, it is not uncommon that the second case ends up becoming more stressful than the first".
Wives also tend to keep secret money called hesokuri (臍繰り), the woman hides a reserve money, to cover unexpected or occasional expenses, buy gifts, help with trips, etc.
Is that you? What do you think about the tradition of women taking care of finances? They can't just get out of control and spend everything.
This article was written by SouzaJpop based on issue 137 of the JBC publisher madeinjapan magazine.