Japan Data

Wives Do Seven Times As Much Housework As Husbands in Japan

Society Lifestyle Work

While women are increasingly joining the workforce in Japan, wives still do much more housework than husbands.

In Japan, wives spend an average of seven times as much time doing housework as their husbands. A national survey on household changes, conducted every five years by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, has once again made clear that, while the number of working women is increasing, wives still have the greater burden when it comes to housework.

In the latest survey, while husbands spent 37 minutes on average doing cleaning, cooking, and other housework on weekdays, wives spent 4 hours 23 minutes. Even on holidays, in comparison to husbands spending 1 hour 6 minutes on housework, wives spent four times that with 4 hours 44 minutes.

The overall average for women includes part-time workers and full-time housewives. Women who work usual full-time hours spent 3 hours 7 minutes on housework, or five times that of their husbands. The government has positioned enabling women to become more active in society as an important issue, but with such a one-sided burden of housework, there are limits to how much they can participate.

The survey also asked about how couples split the burden of “invisible housework,” chores that require time and thought, but are not typically included when talking about housework. Keeping track of food and daily necessities and planning meals fell to 90% of wives, and while husbands were good at putting out trash on the way to work, the time-consuming work of separating burnable, non-burnable, and recyclable trash was mostly done by wives too. Husbands only showed their strengths in selecting electronic goods.

When wives were asked who they relied on emotionally, the majority went to their parents for advice about birth and childcare rather than their husband, and with each survey over the years, the percentage for husbands has declined. Many did seek advice from their husbands regarding children’s education and career choices; however even here the number has gradually decreased. Husbands who rely too much on wives may find their overall role in the household diminishes.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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