African Husband & Japanese Wife

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    Here’s a 19 minute news segment from a while back about a Japanese woman and her African husband struggling to make a living in Japan:

    A brief summary:

    He came to Japan from Mali when he was 19-years-old. He started out working at a hip hop clothing store in Harajuku, but now that he’s 37-year-olds and have a family to support, he’s working for a construction company. He wakes up at 5AM and works all day from Monday to Saturday each week.

    He met his wife 13 years ago. When asked what she liked about her husband, the wife says she likes black men, citing their style and musical ability as good points. She even says that she sometimes wishes she had been black instead of Japanese. Her parents opposed their marriage, apparently due to a belief that “foreigner equals criminal.” It would seem that despite the husband’s efforts to be friendly with her folks, the marriage is still frowned upon. Because of this their household exists in isolation of any extended family.

    Having 5 sons and 1 daughter along with a house loan to pay off forces them to live on a tight budget. Even with so many small children, the wife must work a part-time job. Everyone in the household helps in the preparation of dinner, which often includes imported meats considered permissible under Islam. The family also eats a variety of African-style dishes prepared by the husband, such as the catfish stew shown in the video.

    One of their children, Mohammed, is actually the son of the husband’s brother, whom they adopted when the child’s father died. Mohammed has only been in Japan one year, but he is quickly learning Japanese and trying his best to adapt to life outside of Mali. Mohammed spends each day at school being tutored in the Japanese language by a volunteer teacher. He’s also working hard at mathematics and karate, which he can do relatively well regardless of language difficulties.

    The report ends with a celebration of the 11th anniversary of their marriage. The husband gives his wife a present: wedding rings. Up until that point, they had been married without any rings.

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