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China Japan Relations
Special> China Japan Relations
UPDATED: April 6, 2007 NO.15 APR. 12, 2007
Two Cultures Unite in a Family
While some deep-rooted antagonism between the Japanese and Chinese cultures exists, one couple has bridged the divide with love

Not letting 'politics' intrude

Sometimes they talked about the painful history between China and Japan. Both regret the deep-rooted distrust and dislike between the two countries. If their marriage could be an example, it was clear that people of the two countries would get along if they knew each other better.

But that's politics, the couple said. The real issues of life are daily and mundane, not politics and history lessons. Their life in Japan settled into a quiet and happy existence with the typical occasional matrimonial quarrels.

Unlike many other 25-year-old Chinese women who might rush off for fancy dinners with friends after work, go shopping, travel or enjoy karaoke on the weekends or holidays, Dong spent much less time hanging out with friends and more time at home. Perhaps her life was a little unexciting in her friends' eyes, but she was happy.

She attended courses at a university, did housework and prepared food for the family while Hirata went to work. He would leave around 7:00 in the morning and would return home at 10:00 or 11:00 at night.

Men typically work hard in Japan, Dong said.

"It's considered a good thing in Japan for a man who comes back home very late at night, because it shows that this man is very capable," Dong laughed, adding, "That's very different from how it is viewed in China."

She also pointed out that the Japanese have a different attitude or view toward life and family than the Chinese. The Japanese may show much less emotion and affection to their families, but they do love the families very much.

Dong said she acclimated herself well to Japanese society and culture. Despite this, it may have come as a surprise even to her that Hirata found that she had many similarities to a traditional Japanese bride, unlike many modern young women in Japan.

"In that aspect, she still keeps the [traditional] personality which I expected [in a wife]," Hirata said.

Now living in New York City, where Hirata is expected to finished a one-year master's degree program in computer science at New York University, Dong and Hirata said they are spending more hours together and enjoying richer social lives.

They will return to Japan after Hirata finishes the program, and after a couple of years there, the future is wide open.

(Reporting from New York) 

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