Violent Women on the Increase in Japan

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"Growing numbers of Japanese women are punching their spouses, lovers and male co-workers, according to Yomiuri Weekly (12/31).

Mitsuko, a woman in her late 30s, freely admits to being just such a case.

"I punch guys for the same reasons people 'discipline' their children. I've got expectations in love and I want them to improve. I never do it to relieve stress," she tells Yomiuri Weekly.

Mitsuko says she'll give a guy three chances to mess up on something she's told him about -- and if he errs again, she'll take a swing at him.

Mitsuko's violent streak developed during her marriage to a no-good bum, who lazed at home playing games all day while she slaved away at an office job and moonlit as a hostess at nights. The husband also left Mitsuko to look after the kids and do the housework.

After a few months of this, Mitsuko cracked; and instead of dinner one night, she served her deadbeat spouse a knuckle sandwich.

Another hubby on the receiving end is Nobuo, a freelance writer, whose wife was in an accident that left her dependent on drugs whose side-effects have affected her mental capabilities. When Nobuo tried to stop her from jumping off an apartment building, she slugged him in the face.

"It was so hard going home, but I just couldn't dump my wife when she was going through such mental trauma," Nobuo says.

Nobuo is one of the increasing number of Japanese men who are owning up to getting knocked around by their wives.

"There was always that element around, but things have really changed in the past two or three years, when I've seen more and more men coming to me for help," marriage counselor Atsuko Okano says.

And the figures back her up. A 2005 Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare study on violence between men and women found that among married couples, 26.7 percent of women and 13.8 percent of men had been beaten at least once by their spouse.

Non-fiction writer Miya Erino, who has been covering the issue of violent women for years now, says the problem really became pronounced from around 2004. She adds that women are also attacking each other, especially as the gap between the haves and the have-nots continues to grow, just as it is broadening through the wider society, too.

"As more work styles and lifestyles become available, people start to worry more about their own futures and everybody has something that makes them worried, anxious or unpleasant," Erino tells Yomiuri Weekly. "Violent women are really sending out a cry for help that has pushed them into a situation where they feel compelled to be violent." (By Ryann Connell)"
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