Interview with Yuri Kageyama3

Q: Did you find any dilemma to support your family financially? Did you ever want to change the way you worked? Did you rather pursue your career?


A: If I could be a full-time person, or if we could find a way that we both worked part-time, that would’ve been ideal. But then if you do that, you’re not going to be making good money, don’t you think? It’s better that one person is full-time. By the time we wanted to send Isaku to an international school, the tuition was outrageous. So it gets harder and harder. And the more my husband stayed out of the job market, the harder it got. It’s the same problem with women. He was teaching English at home. This is the total reversal of rolls. We needed him to teach English at home to supplement the income because I wasn’t making that much money in the beginning. I think we just did best we could. We made a choice that he was going to be bilingual. That’s like a commitment you have to come up with some way to make the tuition. These are choices you have to make. Teaching English was also pretty good money back then so that helped. But then I don’t think he liked it. And he really really disliked being the only man. He was thought he was really weird. He didn’t want to be there but I assumed he wants to be there so it was a very uncomfortable situation. When Isaku went to an International School, everybody was really rich there. All the mothers were full-time housewives usually there because they had rich people. So they were really involved with all the school events I couldn’t be.


Q: I’m actually facing the opposite problem. I’m taking an easy this year. I was actually going to work full-time but until we found out that my husband got another position when his previous contract ended.



A: Even if you send your kid to go to an International School, many of them aren’t working. They are privileged. Most of them don’t work. Period. I think it’s changing but if they are having a kid, usually they have good options. There aren’t many women working. There are some, but think about it, most of them don’t have babies, right? That’s just a way it is. That’s why if you have a baby and you want to stimulate your mind or do something other than being a mom, it is your way of living. Especially 20 years ago I was hoping it’d be different but I think Japan is still really behind. I think if you were in the United States, you’d be different. You would find a lot of networking you could do with moms as a brain, but unfortunately that’s not the case. That’s why there is no children in Japan. People find it it’s very very difficult to have a child. It’s not only just the money. Extended family is not as available as before. Also the workaholic hours. Unfortunately the media in the US continues to have the workaholic hours so maybe for being in the media, it doesn’t matter what country you are in. But in Japan, even if you are not in the media, the commuting tends to be usually long so if you have a child, it’s very difficult to have a child. You would need to change the structure. You would have to be in more Scandinavian country or have an innovative project. Open up the market for creative daycare or childcare. Sharing parenting. Change the law so that companies must allow for parenting. But it’s not. Right now if you are served in your motherhood and corporate environment, you are really coming causing a lot of trouble for other coworkers. There is going to be resentment. I don’t think it’s going to work. You have to be professional. They don’t care. They want the work done. One of my bosses told me “never talk about your child.” When you have a meeting, men don’t talk about their child. They talk about business. When they look at you and they see you are a woman, they start asking. Cut that conversation immediately and stare at them back to the business at hand because you are wasting all this time that could be for your work talking about your kid. That’s already discrimination. I think it’s a good advice because it’s real. I would recommend to keep it separate. Even though it’s not socially correct, it’s a reality and you got to deal with the reality. You should enjoy that privilege to see the world through this innocent person and have all the possibilities for this child. That’s another example. If you teach the kid on an extensive language program from birth to get to master two or even three languages, if you do it right, the kid will become like a native speaker. It’s rarely done with Japanese, but in Europe, it’s not a big deal. People speak in German and French. My parents did it for me. It’s very natural and painless. You don’t have to “study.” We started our child doing music very early. His father was a musician and he had friends who played music. Actually he was in a jazz band and the drummer was also studying taiko in Japan. So Isaku started to play taiko with my husband’s friend. His name was Kenny Endo. He is a very famous taiko drummer now active in Hawaii. Isaku was only six when he started taiko. Also to develop a perfect pitch, you have to give them music lessons from about five. It’s too late if you start them at ten. Maybe you get a dancer with the kid. That’s real fun. Live music helps too. The kid can enjoy real drumming. Another thing we did was we didn’t let him watch TV. Now it’s difficult because I need to watch Japanese TV for work, but until he was way into Elementary School, I relied on radio and didn’t have any TV. If he had TV on, the kid is not going to be as receptive to real music or theater because he would just watch that. We would take him to real symphonies, jazz concerts or kabuki. He became best friends at International School with another kid whose parents didn’t let him watch TV. We also always read him books. Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, Winnie thePooh…all the great books. That’s all. All this takes so much time so you need somebody who can concentrate with the kid.


Q: 家族を養うことに対して板挟みになったことはありましたか?自分の仕事の仕方を変えたいと思ったことは?それよりも、キャリアを優先させたいと思ったんですか?


A: 夫婦両方がパートタイムで仕事をしていたなら、それが理想的だったのかもしれません。でもそうすると、お金は稼げませんよね。1人がフルタイムの仕事をした方がいいでしょう。インターナショナルスクールには学費がとてもかかります。それに夫が仕事をしていない期間が長くなればなるほど、仕事を見つけるのが難しくなりました。女性と同じ問題ですね。夫は自宅で英語を教えていたりもしました。男女の役割が反対に入れ替わっていました。収入を増やすために、夫には自宅で英語を教えてもらいました。最初、わたしの給料はそんなに良くなかったので。 わたしたちができる最善をしたんだと思います。息子にはバイリンガルになって欲しいという選択をし、そのため、学費を支払う責任が生じました。こういうことは、自分が選択しなければならないことです。当時、英語を教える仕事も結構いいお金になったので、それも助かりました。でも夫はその仕事が好きではなかったと思います。それに、主夫でいることを本当に嫌がっていました。とても変わり者だと思われていました。あれは彼が望んだことではなかったのですが、わたしは、彼はそうしたいからしていると思っていたのです。インターナショナルスクールでは他の生徒はとても裕福なので母親は全員専業主婦でした。わたしは学校行事の多くを欠席しなければなりませんでした。



Q: わたしは反対の問題に直面しています。今年、わたしは仕事を減らしています。最初わたしがフルタイムで働く予定でしたが、夫は新しいポジションでの仕事が見つかったため、わたしが子育てをしつつできる時間で仕事をすることにしました。 A: インターナショナルスクールに子どもを通わせた場合、多くの母親は働きません。特権階級の人たちですから。ほとんどの母親は、仕事をしません。今では状況は変わってきているとは思うけれど、ああいうことろでは子どもがいる場合、選べる選択肢がたくさんあるんです。多くの女性は働いていませんね。働いている人もいるけれど、その場合、子どもがいない場合じゃないですか?そういうものなんです。だから、子どもがいて、何か刺激のあることをしたいとか、母親である以外の役割が欲しいと思うんです。20年前、わたしも同じことを思いました。でも日本はまだまだ遅れています。アメリカにいれば違うと思います。多くのネットワークを見つけ、ブレインとして一緒に何かをする他の母親を見つけられるでしょうが、日本はそういう状況ではありません。だから、日本は少子化なんです。 日本の人は、子どもを産むことがとても難しいと思っています。金銭的な問題だけじゃありません。親戚の繋がりは以前ほどにはありません。長時間労働もあります。アメリカでも残念ながらマスコミは長時間労働の業界ですね。マスコミで働くということは、どの国にいようが関係ないのかもしれません。でも日本では、マスコミで働いていなくても通勤時間は長いし、子どもを持つのは大変ですよね。その構造を変えなければならないんです。北欧の国に住んだり、革新的なプロジェクトをやる必要になってくる。クリエイティブな保育園や保育施設のための市場を作る。親としての役割を分担する。会社が働く親の働く在り方を許容するために法改正する、そういったことが必要になります。でも、現在はそういう状況ではありません。 今は、母親業と仕事を両立させようとすると、同僚にたくさん迷惑を掛けてしまうでしょう。恨まれます。うまくいかないと思います。仕事ではプロフェッショナルでいなければなりません。会社にしてみれば、仕事をして欲しいだけです。わたしの上司は「子どもの話はしないように」と言いました。会議の時、男性は子どもの話をしません。仕事の話だけをします。そういう場に女性がいると、人は子どものことを訊いてきます。そんな時は、その話をすぐに遮り、彼らを見つめ、仕事の話に戻りなさい。子どもの話をするのは仕事の時間を無駄にしていることになるからです。 これは、すでに差別です。その上司のアドバイスは的を得ていると思います。だって、それが現実なのだから。仕事と子どもは別々にしておくべきです。たとえそれが社会的にただしくなくてもそれが現実で、わたしたちは現実に生きているのだから。