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为什么越来越多的日本女性选择不结婚?

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Craving Freedom, Japan's Women Opt Out ofMarriage

为什么越来越多的日本女性选择不结婚?

TOKYO — The bride wore a birthday cake of a dress, with a scalloped-edge bodice and a large hoop skirt. A veil sprouted from her black bob. Moments beforethe wedding began, she stood quietly on astaircase, waiting to descend to the ceremony.

东京——新娘穿着一件生日蛋糕般的婚纱,扇贝形边缘的上身,下面是大箍衬裙。婚礼开始前,她静静地站在楼梯上,等着下楼步入会场。

"Wow," she thought. "I'm really doing this."

“哇,”她想,“我真的要做这件事了。”

This was no conventional wedding to join two people in matrimony. Instead, a group of nearly30 friends gathered in a banquet room in one of Tokyo's most fashionable districts last yearto witness Sanae Hanaoka, 31, as she performed a public declaration of her love — for hersingle self.

这不是一场庆祝两人共结连理的传统婚礼。相反,去年在位于东京一处时尚地区的这个宴会厅里,近30位朋友聚在一起,见证了31岁的花冈早苗(Sanae Hanaoka,音)的独身宣言——公开表达对她自己的爱。

"I wanted to figure out how to live on my own," Hanaoka told the group, standing alone on astage as she thanked them for attending her solo wedding. "I want to rely on my ownstrength."

“我想弄清楚怎么靠自己生活,”她独自一人站在台上,在感谢朋友们来参加她的单身婚礼时对他们说,“我想靠我自己的力量。”

Not so long ago, Japanese women who remained unmarried after age 25 were referred to as"Christmas cake," a slur comparing them to old holiday pastries that cannot be sold afterDecember 25.

就在不久前,年满25岁仍未结婚的日本女性会被称为“圣诞蛋糕”,被贬低成那些在12月25日后就无法再被售出的过时节日甜点。

Today, such outright insults have faded as a growing number of Japanese women arepostponing or forgoing marriage, rejecting the traditional path that leads to what many nowregard as a life of domestic drudgery.

今天,随着越来越多的日本女性开始推迟或放弃结婚,拒绝走上一条如今被许多人视为一种家庭苦役的道路,这种公然的侮辱已经逐渐消失。

The percentage of women who work in Japan is higher than ever, yet cultural norms have notcaught up: Japanese wives and mothers are still typically expected to bear the brunt of thehousework, child care and help for their aging relatives, a factor that stymies many of theircareers.

日本工作女性的比例比过去任何时候都要高,然而文化规范却没有跟上:日本的妻子和母亲通常仍然仍被认为要承担家务、照顾小孩和帮助年迈长辈的重任,这是阻碍她们许多职业发展的一个因素。

Fed up with the double standard, Japanese women are increasingly opting out of marriagealtogether, focusing on their work and newfound freedoms, but also alarming politicianspreoccupied with trying to reverse Japan's declining population.

不满于这样的双重标准,越来越多的日本女性干脆选择不结婚,转而专注于自己的工作和新获得的自由,但这也让那些一心想要扭转日本人口下降趋势的政治人士感到担忧。

As recently as the mid-1990s, only 1 in 20 women in Japan had never been married by the timethey turned 50, according to government census figures. But by 2015, the most recent yearfor which statistics are available, that had changed drastically, with 1 in 7 women remainingunmarried by that age.

日本政府的人口普查数据显示,就在1990年代中期,日本在50岁之前未结过婚的女性还只有二十分之一。但到了2015年,也就是最近一次有统计数据的年份,情况已经发生巨变,有七分之一的女性在那个年龄段仍然未婚。

And for women ages 35 to 39, the percentage was even higher: Nearly a quarter had neverbeen married, compared with only about 10% two decades earlier.

而对35岁至39岁的女性,这一比例甚至更高:将近四分之一从未结婚,相比之下,二十年前这一数字只有10%左右。

The change is so striking that a growing number of businesses now cater to singles, and tosingle women in particular. There are single karaoke salons featuring women-only zones, restaurants designed for solo diners, and apartment complexes that target women looking tobuy or rent homes on their own. Travel companies book tours for single women, and photostudios offer sessions in which women can don wedding dresses and pose for solo bridalportraits.

这种变化如此突出,以至于越来越多的商家如今开始迎合单身人士、特别是单身女性的需求。有设女士专区的单身卡拉OK厅、专为单身食客设计的餐馆,还有专门针对女性自己购买或租住情形的公寓楼群。旅游公司会给单身女性订购行程,摄影工作室会为女性提供披戴婚纱、拍摄单身婚纱照的机会。

"I thought, 'If I get married, I will just have to do more housework,'" said Kayoko Masuda, 49, a single cartoonist who stopped by to croon in private at a One Kara solo karaoke salon inTokyo. A separate section is cordoned off for women, behind sliding doors marked "LadiesOnly."

“我想,‘要是结婚了,我就不得不干更多家务活,’”益田嘉代子(Kayoko Masuda,音)说,这位现年49岁的漫画师来到东京一家单身卡拉OK厅“一卡拉”(One Kara),独自在里面低声吟唱。在写着“仅限女士”字样的推拉门后面,有专为女性隔出的一片单独区域。

"I loved my job, and I wanted to be free to do it," Masuda said of her unmarried status.

“我那时很爱我的工作,也希望能自由地去做这份工作,”益田谈起她至今未婚时说。

Last year, the number of couples getting married hit the lowest level since the end of World WarII, according to government estimates. It was the sixth straight year of decline in the nation'smarriage rate, which is falling at a much faster clip than the drop in Japan's populationoverall.

据政府估计,去年,结婚人数降至第二次世界大战结束以来的最低水平。这是这个国家的结婚率连续六年呈下降趋势,下降速度超过了日本总人口的降幅。

Not surprisingly, the number of births in Japan — a country where few people have children outof wedlock — is also tumbling. Last year, the number of babies born in the country fell to thelowest level since at least 1899, when record-keeping began.

不意外的是,在日本这个少有人选择婚外生育的国家,生育率也在大幅下降。去年,日本出生的婴儿数量降到了1899年开始有这项记录以来的最低点。

Local governments, eager to encourage marriage and raise fertility, have started campaignsto bring couples together. "We are working on fostering a mind for marriage," reads an ad formatchmaking tours and seminars for singles sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

地方政府迫切想要鼓励婚姻、提高生育率,开始发起促使情侣结合到一起的活动。“我们致力于培养婚姻的观念,”东京都政府赞助的单身人士婚介之旅及研讨会的一则广告上写道。

But for more and more Japanese women — who have traditionally been circumscribed by theirrelationships with men, children and other family members — singlehood represents a form ofliberation.

但对于越来越多的日本女性,单身代表着获得解放的一种形式——传统上,她们一直被限制在与丈夫、子女及其他家庭成员的关系中。

"When they marry, they have to give up so many things," said Mari Miura, a professor ofpolitical science at Sophia University in Tokyo, "so many freedoms and so muchindependence."

“结婚时,她们得放弃太多,”东京上智大学(Sophia University)政治学教授三浦麻里(Mari Miura,音)说,“太多的自由和太多的独立。”

The shift is tied to the changing Japanese workforce. Close to 70% of women ages 15 to 64 now have jobs — a record. But their careers are often held back by a relentless tide ofdomestic burdens, like filling out the meticulous daily logs required by their children's daycare centers, preparing the intricate meals often expected of Japanese women, supervisingand signing off on homework from school and after-school tutoring sessions, or hanging roundsof laundry — because few households have electric dryers.

这种转变关联到日本不断变化的劳动力。如今,15岁至64岁的女性就业比例接近70%,这是一项纪录。但她们的职业生涯往往受困于一波波无休止的家务负担,像按子女日托中心的要求填写划分细致的日志,准备大家都觉得日本女性应该会做的精致餐食,指导并签署学校和校外辅导课程布置的家庭作业,或者晾晒一堆堆洗好的衣服——因为有烘干机的家庭很少。

While some men say they want to pitch in more and the government has urged businesses toreform the crushing work culture, employees are still expected to devote most of their wakinghours to the company, making it difficult for many husbands to participate much on the homefront.

尽管一些男性表示,他们想多投入家庭事务,政府也敦促企业改革压迫性的职场文化,但对员工的期待仍然是把大部分醒着的时间奉献给公司,这使得很多丈夫很难多参与家庭事务。

"It's so obvious for a lot of women who have jobs that it's very difficult to find a man who isavailable to be a caretaker in the family," said Kumiko Nemoto, a professor of sociology atKyoto University of Foreign Studies.

“对很多在职女性而言,显然很难找到一个能分担家庭事务的男性,”京都外国语大学(Kyoto University ofForeign Studies)社会学教授根本宫美子(Kumiko Nemoto)说。

Japan's consumption-oriented culture also means that single women with careers and moneyhave a wide range of activities and emotional outlets that their mothers or grandmothers didnot, Nemoto added. And, notably, Japanese women no longer need husbands to ensure theireconomic security.

根本宫美子还说,日本的消费导向文化也意味着,有事业、有钱的单身女性有母亲或祖母一辈所没有的多种活动和情感宣泄渠道可供选择。此外很显然,日本女性不再需要丈夫提供经济保障。

"One reason to get married for a woman is to have a stable financial life," said Miki Matsui, 49, a director at a Tokyo publishing house. "I don't have any worries about being alone withmyself or any financial worries. So I did not have to chase myself into a corner and choosemarriage for financial reasons."

“女性结婚的一个原因在于可以有稳定的经济生活,”东京一家出版社社长、49岁的松井美纪(Miki Matsui,音)说。“我对独自生活没什么担忧,也没有经济上的顾虑。所以不需要把自己逼到墙角,出于经济原因而选择婚姻。”

Women who are not interested in having children often see little point in marriage. Thoughsingle motherhood is on the rise in Japan, it is largely due to divorce rather than womenchoosing to have children on their own.

对生儿育女不感兴趣的女性常常觉得结婚没太大意义。虽然日本单身母亲数量在上升,但很大程度上是由于离婚,而非女性选择独自生育孩子。

"It's not too much of an exaggeration to say that people in Japan get married because theywant to have kids," said Mary C. Brinton, a professor of sociology at Harvard University whofocuses on contemporary Japan. "If you're not going to have kids, there are fewer reasons toget married in Japan."

“说日本人是为生孩子而结婚并不是很夸张,”哈佛大学专门研究当代日本的社会学教授玛丽·C·布林顿(MaryC. Brinton)说。“在日本,如果你不打算生孩子,那么结婚的理由就不多了。”

Being single comes with trade-offs, too. Hanaoka, the woman who held a solo wedding lastyear, shares a ramshackle house on the outskirts of Tokyo with two roommates. Whenloneliness creeps in, she pulls up the video of her ceremony to remind her of the people whosupport and love her.

单身也是需要付出代价的。去年举办单身婚礼的花冈在东京郊外和两名室友合租着一所破败的房子。孤独来袭的时候,她会点开单身仪式的视频,回想一下那些支持她、疼爱她的人。

Hanaoka also recalls that, when she was growing up, her mother often seemed unhappy. Then, after college, she taught kindergarten, giving her a firsthand look at how many mothersseemed to be "trying too hard to take care of their own children, but not taking care ofthemselves."

花冈还记得,小时候母亲常常看上去闷闷不乐。后来大学毕业后在幼儿园教书期间,她亲身目睹了有多少母亲似乎“太过努力要照顾自己孩子,却没有照顾好她们自己。”

"If I become a mother," Hanaoka said, "I am afraid that I will be expected to act in the motherrole that is demanded by Japanese society, rather than being myself."

“如果我当了母亲,”花冈说,“我担心我会被期望按照母亲的角色行事,而不是做我自己。”

She has dated on and off, lives frugally and, relishing her freedom, took a trip to Mexico lastfall.

她断断续续有些约会,生活节俭,也尽情享受着自由,去年秋天体验了一次墨西哥之旅。

"I would rather do what I want to do right now," she said.

“我宁愿现在就去做我想做的事,”她说。

来源:纽约时报

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