How do the Japanese feel about children? Like so many
things in Japan, there is an abundance of contradictory evidence. Japanese
children seem to be coddled one hand, while on the other hand they endure a
great deal of pressure in Japan's intensely competitive society.
Interestingly, many Japanese feel that Americans dote too much on their
children. As one Japanese commentator said:
Amerikajin wa kodomo ni yowai.
"Americans have a weakness for children."
Historically, Japanese viewed child-rearing as a duty. However, this can
probably be said of American and European society as well. In any event, you
may find the following Japanese proverbs about children to be interesting:
Ko wa sangai no kubi-kase
"Children are a burden."
Kodomo no kenka ni oya ga deru
"Parents meddling in their children's quarrels" = "It is unwise to become
involved in others' affairs."
Roo wa ko ni shitagae
"When you are old, listen to your children."
Mitsugo no tamashi hyaku made
"The child's spirit lives in the old man."
Kodomo no nedoi
"Children are inquisitive."
Kodomo wa kaze no ko
"Children are as free as the wind."
Kodomo wa oshie korose uma wa kai korose
"Children and horses must be thoroughly disciplined."
Kodomo zuki ni ko nashi
"Those who are fond of children have no children."
It seems that Japanese, like others, are a bundle of ambivalent attitudes
when it comes to children and child-rearing. If you discuss these topics
with Japanese, you may find a use for the following vocabulary:
oya-baka 親ばか "excessive parental doting on a child"
oka-gakari 親がかり "sponging off one's parents"
Taroo-kun wa nijuu-roku-sai no kuse ni mada oya-gakari de iru.
"Taro is still sponging off his parents even though he's 26 years old."
yoochi na 幼稚な "childish"
kodomo demo dekiru hodo yasashii shigoto 子供でもできるほどやさしい仕事 "a
job so easy that a child could do it"
gaki 餓鬼 "a brat"; "an urchin"
gakippoi 餓鬼っぽい "bratty"
Komakai koto made setsumei sureba ii 'n desu ga, yoochi na oshiekata wa
"It's good to explain the fine details, but you needn't teach as if we were