Japan’s falling birthrate is a cause of concern for many. In recent years we’ve seen government initiatives to teach schoolgirls to have children while they’re still young, politicians advising against abortion, and floods of studies showing that the problem is just not getting any better.
Now, an enterprising Osaka school principal has taken matters into his own hands by giving students an instructive assembly about the joys of motherhood. Sadly, his comments to the teenagers that a woman should see raising kids as more important than a career has not gone down well with parents. Thanks to an anonymous phone call, the principal may now face disciplinary measures.
2ch netizens don’t think that the principal has done anything blameworthy, although some did point out that men can also raise children. Mothers on popular mom community site Mamastar were split over the principal’s comments. While there were those who agreed that having children was a woman’s greatest joy, others were concerned that the principal had ignored issues of infertility and the reality of bringing up a child in Japan today.
What do you think? Is the principal right? Or does he have the principle all wrong?
From Sankei News:
Principal At Osaka Municipal Middle School Tells School Assembly: “The Most Important Thing For A Woman Is To Give Birth To At Least Two Children”, Education Committee Reviewing Disciplinary Action
On March 11 it was revealed that the 61-year old principal of Osaka Municipal Middle School had remarked to a full-school assembly on February 29 that: “The most important thing for a woman is to give birth to at least two children, and this is much more valuable than building up a career at work. You can always go to university once you’ve brought up the children”. The city’s education committee is reviewing disciplinary measure for the “hasty remark” which may include reprimanding the principal concerned.
On March 2, there had been an anonymous phone call complaining about the problematic remark, and the education committee spoke with the person concerned. The principal did not acknowledge that he had said anything wrong, and apparently stated that “I will tell the students the gist of my words properly at the next assembly”.
Having admitted to the remark, the principal further claimed on March 11 that: “The greatest happiness for a woman is bringing up children”. The principal went on: “At the assembly, I had started speaking about the dangers of population decline and the pensions problem. To the boys, I said that they should try to work together in a couple to bring up children. I just wanted them to make a society where people can relax and have children”.
The principal started working at the school in April 2013.
Comments from 2ch.net:
Did he say something wrong?
Is there anything really strange about what he said?
I have no idea why this is even an issue.
The principal is right, isn’t he?
Kids are really cute. They make you think you wouldn’t care even if you had to die for them.
I didn’t realise this until pretty late — when I had my first kid in my 30s.
I mean if you really want to do something about the falling birthrate, then you have to start teaching kids extreme things like this.
Yeeeey! Let’s start makin’ babies in our schooldays!
Come on, he was perfectly aware that if he said something like that in a public place it would be a problem.
Would have been better off saying it on 2ch or to his own daughter.
The greatest joy for women is to bring up children, and the greatest joy for men is to make those children with a woman and put food on the table for the woman and his children.
This is how it should be, and how it has been for thousands of years.
If he was just talking about giving birth then fine, but when it comes to bringing up kids, guys can do that just as well.
Comments from Mamastar:
I think he’s said the right thing.
I work, but I also think that to get married and to have children is a woman’s happiness.
But it’s not inevitable that a woman would be able to have more than two healthy babies. Don’t make that mistake.
I understand what he’s getting at, but more than two? Going to college after having kids? I’m not so sure about that.
Better to go to college, get married, then have children so you’re in a better position to find work after having them.
Respect the opinions of those who don’t have children. And I wish that we lived in a world where people who wanted children could have them.
I wish there were loads of children everywhere. But of course, in reality the reason people only have two children is an economic one.
Was this really something he might have to get punished for? I don’t think this is quite discrimination against women…
I see what he means, but for me this is out.
Of course I want two kids! But have you seen the waiting list for kindergartens in Tsurumi ward?!
First of all we have to make the right environment.
For me this is unforgivable.
How dare he when I was only able to be blessed with one child despite having treatment and despite wanting more.
Also we don’t exactly live in a world where you can go to college after giving birth and then find a job.
Sorry Mr. Principal, I got me 4 kids. Twice as happy, I can tell ya.