International Marriage

2011-10-23 05:37:05

 The number of international marriages has been steadily growing in Japan, which is slowly becoming a multi-ethnic society. The trend has been particularly strong in the major urban areas, making the cities quite diverse, and also extends deep into the heart of the Japanese countryside where such unions are welcomed and seen as a way of revitalizing local communities.
 In most of these marriages, the husband is Japanese. Chinese women are the most popular foreign brides. In 1980s and 1990s, some Chinese girls were involved in marriages of convenience where matrimony either eased the visa process for overseas studies or made it possible for them to migrate. But, since the turn of the century, such marriages were more likely to be based on love.
 However, international marriage scams are escalating, as brokers offering marriage deals cash in on people willing to pay to reside and work in foreign countries. Some self-claimed "legal services" arranged scam international marriages after which Chinese women were illegally working at adult entertainment and other businesses.
 Every international marriage is challenged by cultural and language differences. Whether it succeeds or not depends on to what extent the bride and groom are ready to handle these differences.
 I have heard of some cases of excellent international marriage. A piano and violin concert given by Sheng Zhongguo, a renowned Chinese violinist and Seta Hiroko, Sheng's Japanese wife, a pianist, has always been popular among Chinese. The couple showed a tacit mutual understanding when making ensembles. The perfect cooperation on stage reminded audiences of a sweet international marriage off stage. Though Sheng and his wife seldom talked about their love story in public, Sheng once told a reporter that he believed true love must be based on equality and respect.
 Interestingly, movie star Jackie Chan also talked about international marriage as he hit on a novel way to allow Chinese culture to take over the world - by encouraging marriages between foreign men and Shanghai women. But Chan gave no suggestions on how to implement his grand matchmaking scheme, nor did he say why women from other parts of the Chinese mainland might be unsuitable. Shanghai women are widely regarded as the most sophisticated on the Chinese mainland, but are often criticized for worshipping Western things and bullying their husbands. In fact, lots of foreigners already marry or date local girls.
 Chan aired his idea days after Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky backed a bill envisaging severe penalties for Russian women marrying foreigners. Chan also said he wanted to see Chinese-style sesame seed cake shops open next to McDonald's restaurants to compete with the fast-food giant. He also wanted more teahouses to open next to Starbucks coffee shops.
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张力平,IT行业资深分析师。Zhang Liping, aka Sevencastles,a senior analyst in IT industry and the owner of Seven Castles,'a Shanghai blog featuring news and views of great interest'.