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旧文重发|《经济学人》:日本社会的婚姻问题,映照独身时代的来临

2016-11-18 从余启 我与我们的世界 我与我们的世界

欢迎打开“我与我们的世界”,从此,让我们一起“纵览世界之风云变幻、洞察社会之脉搏律动、感受个体之生活命运、挖掘自然之点滴奥妙”。

我与我们的世界,既是一个“奋斗”的世界,也是一个“思考”的世界。奋而不思则罔,思而不奋则殆。这个世界,你大,它就大;你小,它就小。

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本期导读:本期文章聚焦日本社会的婚姻问题,通过日本社会的婚姻问题这个“小小”视角,试图窥见日本社会正在发生的某些“宏大”动态和趋势
 

某种程度上讲,日本的今天,就是中国的明天,因为,日本和中国是近邻,这不仅体现于地理方位方面更体现于社会、经济、文化等无形的方方面面
 

婚姻问题,往小里说,它是个人的事、家庭的事,往大里说,它则会成为社会的事、国家的事,甚至也会是整个人类的事。



结婚场景在日本越来越少 


Marriage in Japan

日本社会的婚姻问题

I don’t

我不婚


Most Japanese want to be married, but are finding it hard

日本人大多想结婚,但却发现结婚很难


SEIKO, a 35-year-old journalist in Tokyo, is what the Japanese refer to as “New Year Noodles”. The year ends on December 31st, and, by analogy, the period when a Japanese woman is deemed a desirable marriage prospect ends after 31. It could have been worse: the slang term used to be “Christmas cake” because a woman’s best-before date was considered to be 25.

圣子,35岁,东京一名记者,是典型的“新年剩面”。每年的最后一天是12月的31日,依照日本社会观念,女性结婚的最佳年龄是在31岁之前,因此过了31岁还没结婚的女性,就被称为“新年剩面”,这已算是好很多了,放在以前,女性结婚的最佳年龄,被认为是在25岁之前,而圣诞节在12月的25日,因此过了25岁还没结婚的女性,当时会被称为“圣诞剩糕”


1.analogy [ə'nælədʒɪ]   n. 类比;类推;类似

2.deem [diːm]   vt. 认为,视作;相信;vi. 认为,持某种看法;作某种评价


Soon a new expression may be needed: men and women in Japan are marrying later, or sometimes not at all. Since 1970 the average age of first marriage has risen by 4.2 and 5.2 years for men and women respectively, to 31.1 and 29.4. The proportion of Japanese who had never married by the age of 50 rose from 5% in 1970 to 16% in 2010 (see chart).

很快,或许就需要再创造一个新词儿了,因为,日本的男男女女越来越晚婚,有些甚至根本就不结婚。1970年以来,日本男性和女性首婚的平均年龄,分别提高4.2岁和5.2岁,攀升至31.1岁和29.4岁。到50岁从未结过婚的日本人的比例,也从1970年的5%上升至2010年的16%(见下图)。



Something similar is happening in other rich countries, but Japan leads the way in Asia. (The proportion of South Koreans who have never married by 50 is 4%, for example.) And whereas, in the West, the decline of marriage has been accompanied by a big rise in the number of unmarried couples living together, only around 1.6% of Japanese couples cohabit in this way. So in Japan fewer marriages means fewer babies—a calamity for a country with a shrinking and ageing population. Only 2% of Japanese children are born outside marriage, compared with over 40% in Britain and America.

其他发达国家也有类似现象,不过,在亚洲,这种现象在日本最严重,比如,在韩国,到50岁从未结过婚的比例只有4%。比较来看,在西方国家,结婚率降低的同时,未婚同居的人却在大幅增多,而反观日本,未婚同居的配偶则只有1.6%左右。因此,在日本,结婚率的降低,就意味着出生率降低,对人口正在萎缩且老龄化日趋严重的日本来说,这简直就是灾难。在日本,非婚生育的孩子的比例只有2%,而在英美,该比例已过40%


1.cohabit [kəʊ'hæbɪt]   vi. 同居(尤指未婚而同居者)

2.calamity [kə'læmɪtɪ]   n. 灾难;不幸事件


Some of the reasons for the flight from marriage in Japan are the same as in other rich countries. Women are better educated, pursue careers, can support themselves financially and don’t see the traditional family as the only way to lead a fulfilling life. Some of the details are different in Japan, however. Couples are expected to have children shortly after getting married, so women who want to delay childbearing have a strong incentive to delay marriage. Even so, a large majority of Japanese still want to get married eventually: 86% of men and 89% of women, according to a survey published in 2010 by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, a government agency.

在日本,不结婚的人之所以越来越多,很多原因与其他发达国家是相似的。女性的教育水平提高了,都在追求职业发展,经济独立能养活自己,不再认为组建家庭这种传统方式,是通向幸福人生的唯一途径。不过,与其他发达国家相比,日本的情况也有所不同。在日本,结婚之后都想要尽快要小孩,因此,想要推迟生育的女性,就倾向于更晚结婚。即使这样,大多数日本人最终仍想要结婚,根据日本政府机构国家人口问题和社会保障研究所2010年发布的调查数据,86%的男性和89%的女性都最终想要结婚。


1.flight [flaɪt]   n. 飞行;班机;逃走;vt. 射击;使惊飞;vi. 迁徙

2.fulfill [ful'fil]   vt. 履行;实现;满足;使结束(等于fulfil)


Economics is a big part of the problem. Women seek men with financial security. Men want to be able to provide it. This is hard, however, when more and more young ones are stuck in temporary or part-time jobs. “I don’t want my wife and children to miss out on experiences because we can’t afford them,” says Junki Igata, a 24-year-old trainee at an international hotel chain, who says he will put off marriage until his mid- or late thirties. Men in part-time jobs are less likely to be married than full-timers.

经济因素是导致晚婚问题产生的重要因素之一。女性都想找有经济保障的男性结婚,同时,男性也希望能有一定的经济能力后再结婚。不过,就当前情况来看,拥有一定的经济能力变得很难,因为越来越多的年轻人都做着临时或兼职性的工作。某国际连锁酒店24岁的培训生武上井形就表示:“将来我不想因为没有钱,而让我的妻子孩子失去体验某些东西的机会,我准备在35岁或之后再结婚。”做兼职性工作的男性比做全职性工作的男性更倾向于不婚


1.afford [ə'fɔːd]   vt. 给予,提供;买得起


The opposite holds for women: there are more unmarried women among full-time professionals than part-time ones. The problem for them is the persistence of a traditional view of marital responsibilities, which makes it especially hard for a Japanese woman to juggle a full-time career with children. Her husband will often want her to give up work. (Seiko’s boyfriend asked her to do so after only three months together; she refused.) Also, domestic chores are unevenly shared in Japanese marriages: men do only an hour and seven minutes of housework and child care a day, compared with around three hours in America and two-and-a-half hours in France.

不过,对女性来说,情况刚好相反,全职工作的女性比兼职工作的女性更倾向于不婚。对女性来说,传统婚姻观念的影响,使得日本女性更难于在全职工作与孩子之间进行取舍,丈夫一般都希望妻子放弃工作。圣子与男友处了仅三个月就被男友要求辞掉工作,但圣子拒绝了男友的要求。还有,家务事在夫妇双方之间的分担也有问题。在日本,男性每天做家务以及照看孩子的时间,平均只有67分钟,而在美国,则约有3个小时,在法国,也有2.5个小时


1.persistence [pə'sɪst(ə)ns] n. 持续;固执;存留;坚持不懈;毅力

2.juggle ['dʒʌg(ə)l]  vi. 玩杂耍;欺骗;歪曲;vt. 歪曲;欺骗;n. 玩戏法;欺骗


People are finding it harder to meet, too. The days of omiai, or arranged marriage, are more or less gone. University students spend their free time joining clubs to bolster their CVs as good jobs become scarcer. Workers toil for long hours. Some reckon men in particular have become shyer (or lazier) about approaching prospective mates.

而且,人们也发现,要遇到合适的结婚对象也越来越难。以前由父母安排婚姻的时代已然远去,现在,大学生们都是利用自己的时间参加各种俱乐部,来增加自己的经历,以期在求职时能把简历做的好看些,不过好工作已变得越来越少。工作一族则总有干不完的活儿。有分析认为,特别是男性已在主动寻找结婚对象方面变得越来越腼腆,抑或说懒得去主动。


1.toil [tɒɪl]  n. 辛苦;苦工;网;圈套;vi. 辛苦工作;艰难地行进;vt. 费力地做;使…过度劳累

2.reckon ['rek(ə)n]  vt. 测算,估计;认为;计算;vi. 估计;计算;猜想,料想

3.prospective [prə'spektɪv]  adj. 未来的;预期的;n. 预期;展望

4.mate [meɪt]  n. 助手,大副;配偶;同事;配对物;vt. 使配对;使一致;结伴;vi. 交配;成配偶;紧密配合


High expectations pose another barrier. Takako Okiie, a “concierge” at Partner Agent, a sleek matchmaking agency manned by perfectly made-up women, says clients are often all “me, me, me”. They want a dream partner (Ms Okiie says it takes 18 months to knock this out of them) or, at the very least, what Japan refers to as the “three averages”: average income, average looks, average education.

期望太高也是一个问题。兴家香子,一家婚姻中介机构的“掌门人”,就表示,来征婚的总是说“我、我、我”,都是想找个完美型的结婚对象,有些征婚客户,要让他们摆脱那种不切实际的幻想,有时需要和他们沟通一年半的时间才行,或者至少,他们也会要求日本社会流行的“三个还可以”:收入还可以、长相还可以、学历还可以


1.pose [pəʊz]  vt. 造成,形成;摆姿势;装模作样;提出…讨论;vi. 摆姿势;佯装;矫揉造作;n. 姿势,姿态;装模作样

2.concierge ['kɒnsɪeəʒ]  n. 门房;看门人

3.sleek [sliːk]  adj. 圆滑的;井然有序的;vt. 使…光滑;掩盖;vi. 打扮整洁;滑动


The difficulty young Japanese have in pairing up is one reason why the fertility rate has plunged. The number of children a Japanese woman can expect to have in her lifetime is now 1.42, down from 2.13 in 1970. Little wonder the population is shrinking.

日本年轻人结婚越来越难,也是造成日本生育率下降的原因之一。日本女性生育孩子的平均数量,已从1970年的2.13个下降到目前的1.42个,这也难怪日本人口急剧萎缩。


1.fertility [fə'tɪlɪtɪ]  n. 多产;肥沃;[农经] 生产力;丰饶

2.plunge [plʌn(d)ʒ]  n. 投入;跳进;vi. 突然地下降;投入;陷入;跳进;vt. 使陷入;使投入;使插入


Some fret about a rise in the number of isolated people and “parasite singles”: people who live with and depend on their parents well into adulthood. The state can provide economic support, but the sort of civic groups and community associations that help people feel integrated into society have weakened in Japan as elsewhere. The once-tight connection between workers and their company has loosened too with the decline of jobs for life. “I worry about what will happen when these people’s parents die,” says Masahiro Yamada, a sociologist at Chuo University who coined the term “parasite single”.

独居人口的数量在增长,“啃老单身虫”的规模也在膨胀,这都是值得关注的问题。尽管政府会提供一定经济补助,但能帮人们融入社会的各类民间组织和社区机构已有所萎缩,不过,其他国家也有类似现象。随着铁饭碗数量的减少,以往公司与员工之间那种曾经紧密的关系也早已松动。发明“啃老单身虫”这个名词的中央大学社会学教授山田正弘就表示:“我对啃老单身虫这个现象很是担心,等这些人的父母过世了,他们到时该怎么办呢?


1.fret [fret]  vt. 使烦恼;焦急;使磨损;vi. 烦恼;焦急;磨损;n. 烦躁;焦急;磨损

2.parasite ['pærəsaɪt]  n. 寄生虫;食客


Not many singletons have boyfriends or girlfriends, even if they are neither otaku (men who are obsessed with anime or computer games) nor hikikomori (those who lock themselves away in their rooms). Mr Yamada reckons that if people aren’t marrying and aren’t dating, they must be doing something to satisfy their need for intimacy. He is researching whether they are opting for sexual and romantic alternatives such as prostitutes, romantic video games, celebrity obsessions, pornography or pets.

而且,单身一族中,也没有多少人有男朋友或女朋友,即使这些单身一族既不沉溺于动漫或网游,也不一直宅在家里。山田教授认为,这些人既不结婚,也不约会,那他们肯定通过特定的途径来满足自己在亲密关系方面的需求。山田教授正在研究,这些人是不是在利用其他什么方式来解决这方面的问题,如购买性服务、 玩浪漫视频游戏、痴迷于名人、观看成人视频,抑或豢养宠物等。


1.singleton ['sɪŋg(ə)lt(ə)n]  n. 一个;独身

2.intimacy ['ɪntɪməsɪ]  n. 性行为;亲密;亲昵行为;隐私

3.celebrity [sɪ'lebrɪtɪ] n. 名人;名声

4.obsession [əb'seʃ(ə)n]  n. 痴迷;困扰;[内科][心理] 强迫观念


Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, is concerned. His government wants women to have more babies. It would also like marriage to remain the basis of family life. It has paid subsidies to towns that organise dating events, tried to create more nursery places and this week announced a bid to scrap a spousal tax break that discourages married women from earning more than 1.03m yen ($10,000) a year.

日本首相安倍晋三对此问题也比较担心。日本政府想要日本女性生育更多孩子,同时也希望看到,婚姻依然能成为家庭生活的基石。日本政府已出台政策,给予组织相亲大会的城镇一定补贴,努力建设更多的托儿所,并在本周宣布,准备取消一项不鼓励已婚女性每年挣钱超过103万日元(1万美元)的婚税减免政策。


1.nursery ['nɜːs(ə)rɪ]  n. 苗圃;托儿所;温床

2.scrap [skræp] n. 碎片;残余物;打架;少量;vt. 废弃;使解体;拆毁;adj. 废弃的;零碎的;vi. 吵架

3.spousal ['spaʊz(ə)l]  n. 婚礼;结婚仪式;adj. 结婚的


Such tinkering may help at the margins. So too would shorter working hours and—more important—an acceptance by Japanese men that they can’t get married on the terms their fathers did. Governments are mostly powerless to direct such cultural change, however. Japanese men and women will either have to figure out ways to live together—or remain alone.

这样的小修小补可能会起到些许作用,同时,缩短工作时间也能带来类似效果,不过,更为重要问题是,日本的男性不再认为他们能像父辈那样容易地走入婚姻。而且,政府对这种社会文化的变迁是无能为力的。日本的男男女女,将来具体是找到合适的伴侣搭伙一起生活,抑或是依然一人独过,则都由他们自己全权做主决定


1.tinker ['tɪŋkə]  n. 补锅匠;修补匠;焊锅;(美)小鲭鱼;vi. 做焊锅匠;焊补;笨手笨脚地做事;vt. 修补;粗修

2.margin ['mɑːdʒɪn]  n. 边缘;利润,余裕;页边的空白;vt. 加边于;加旁注于


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