Asian men forced to marry foreign brides

August 3rd, 2010

I was at my local Black Canyon today enjoying a cappuccino sponsored by a very nice reader (thanks John!). The coffee is ok at Black Canyon, not as good as Starbucks but they closed my local Starbucks. The thing I don’t like is they don’t have free newspapers to read at Black Canyon. I keep suggesting they should but they don’t seem to care. So I have to buy a newspaper to read while I have my coffee.

Anyway, I am reading the paper and see a story titled “More and more Asian men forced to marry foreigners”. Sounds like mail order brides but in the reverse direction. The story says that since the 1990’s the trend has been for more and more East Asian men looking for foreign brides. They said that in 2009 in Taiwan that 15 percent of wives were from foreign countries. In South Korea it was eight percent and Japan five percent. In all three countries the largest group of immigrants was foreign brides. Those are some really big numbers. I had no idea the phenomenon was that big in Asia.

The story says the reason for it is that fewer East Asian women want to be traditional housewives. They instead want to keep their careers and stay single. For the men staying single is less of an option because they have family duty to marry, have a son, and look after aging parents.

It’s interesting because last week I read another story that so many men in South Korea are ending up as new bachelors due to economic downturn. The Korean ladies expect the men to provide a home for them, usually an apartment in the city, and so many have lost their jobs or took cuts in pay so can’t afford it anymore. So the ladies dump them, preferring to be single rather than having the stigma of a “homeless” boyfriend whom they couldn’t consider marrying.

So the ladies are getting really picky and demanding, and as a result the men are finding wives elsewhere. Is this not exactly what has been happening in west for many years? Although the percentages in Asia are really high, way more than in the west. In this case the foreign brides are mostly coming from China and Vietnam.

It seems to me that a very big result is going to show up in the next 10 years – a huge number of unmarried women in those countries with no prospects for getting married. They wanted to be single career women and passed the chance to get married when they were young. In most places a woman doesn’t have much chance for marriage once she gets a little older, especially where the men want families. The men imported young brides who gave them children so the older local women are left with no prospects at all. I think there will be a big shift in those societies with this group of middle aged single women that is growing and becoming more powerful, and probably growing more bitter. Watch out Asian men.



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11 Responses to “Asian men forced to marry foreign brides”

  1. PinkSamantha Says:

    During my time in Japan, this has been a problem Japanese government was trying to stop. Some women are too busy they don’t even care about dating or sex. Even until now, most East Asian women don’t care about marriage. Women only want to go to work, get ample salary and hang out with their friends. I guess Cindy Lauper has to be blamed because of this trend.

    Most of these women are ones came from liberated family or are liberated persons themselves, and also are afraid of their lover/spouse (men, assuming they’re not like me, tee-hee) will use their hard-earned money without their permission or losing control over their own money, since many men like to control everything in the marriage, including financial matters.

    I am agree with financial freedom a woman should have in marriage, but nevertheless I pity these women. They need to open their eyes before it’s too late for them to get married, because I think no men will marry an old woman, however rich she is. Right, boys?

    Or maybe they decided to marry another woman instead of a man? If yes, then I am going to have tight competition. X(

  2. John Says:

    Sorry about the loss of your local Starbucks.
    I’m a little confused – more men are choosing to marry foreigners because the local woman are less content to be housewives? But aren’t the foreign women even less likely to be content to be homemakers? And “forced” seems a bit dramatic. I’m afraid I’m missing something here.
    I do understand the delayed marriages due to the economic situation and unemployment. The increasing global economy is impacting societal structure everywhere, in different ways.

  3. AsianSweetheart Says:

    The way I understand it is that the women they are marrying from China and Vietnam are happy to be housewives, which is why they are importing them. I guess they really aren’t forced but the men feel like they are forced mostly by pressure from family to get married and have kids. Since no local choices they get a foreign bride. They pay lots of money too – matchmaking agencies are very busy in those countries.

  4. Mysk Says:

    You are missing some of the relevant information. Part of the problem is the skewed ratio of men to women in many Asian countries. For example, in China there are nearly 25 million more men than women in the 15-64 age bracket. For the 0-14 bracket, it’s roughly 19 million more men.

    In India there are roughly 22 million more boys than girls in the 0-14 group, and roughly 25 million more in the 15-64 group.

    It’s not as bad in S. Korea, with a much smaller population, but there are still nearly 1 million more men than women in the 25-64 range.

    This really started becoming an issue when you married technology like ultrasound determination of a fetus’ sex with the focus in many Asian families on having a son to continue the family name and care for the parents. In China with the one-child policy, it let the extreme differences above. But there are traces of this even in countries like Japan and Korea where sex-selection become possible.

    You may not see this, as the SE Asian nations like Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam are one the few areas of Asia where the skewing does not occur, and where the are usually more girls than boys.

  5. AsianSweetheart Says:

    Interesting. The news article did not include any of that information which is an important part of the whole story. The pressure is to have a son, so they end up with more men than women. Then on top of that many of the women no longer want to be housewives, so there is an even bigger shortage of potential wives.

    Seems like the problem will get worse and worse as the countries with the biggest populations like China and India will continue creating a larger and larger shortage of women. It’s the technology that has lead to this, isn’t it.

  6. Mysk Says:

    It’s a combination of the availability of technology like ultrasound; the massive social pressure to have a son (especially in China and India) which has to do with not just carrying on the family name, but a son also serves as the parents “retirement savings” in many cases; and the growing desire of many young women to not be stuck as house-wives in the traditional Asian sense.

    Add in that as there are more middle-class people in these countries and better education, and the number of children per set of parents tends to fall anyway, and the pressure to have a son can be quite staggering.

    Then take those factors and add in that in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines all tend to have slight more women than men, and that most of those countries are less-well developed than a possible location like S. Korea, Japan, Taiwan, or even parts of China, and you can see the attraction for a woman from those countries to think about becoming a foreign bride. They go from having to compete for me, to having a great selection (in theory); and the chance to better not only their life but that of any children.

    Unfortunately, what you hear less about in the newspaper is the fact that many of these foreign brides can be very abused. Their new husbands feel that they “own” them, take their passports, and physical abuse is somewhat common. And then there are the opposite situations where the girls marry a nice guy only to clean out his and his families savings while they flee back to their home country.

    It’s a problem that is only likely to get worse. A side effect many don’t talk about is that in societies with a significantly higher proportion of men than women, the rate of violent crime and social disturbances goes up quite a bit. Those countries also tend to become likely to go to war, as they need something to distract those large amounts of men who may never have the chance at a bride. You also a significantly higher amount of violent crime towards women. China already has a fairly significant problem of young women and girls being kidnapped to be forced brides for someone’s son.

  7. Paul Says:

    I’m inclined to think it’s more about convenience. Most asian girls only socialise within the family group so I would think it was difficult for an asian male to meet someone unlesss it has been arranged. And then you have the meet the family, be approved, dowry etc. Probably easier just to buy a wife, at least you don’t get all the emotional aggravation.

  8. AsianSweetheart Says:

    This is very interesting discussion to me. I compare it to Thai culture where we don’t have that same pressure to have a son. Also here it is the oldest daughter who traditionally is most responsible for taking care of parents.

    But when a Thai girl marries a Thai-Chinese man a lot of this same stuff happens in Thailand. Many Thai girls want to marry a Thai-Chinese man because they usually have money but then she is treated like a servant by the family. And she must have a son or the man will quickly find another wife or mia noi to have one.

  9. An Asian Says:

    It just goes to show that men are getting incapable! And that women are getting more capable that they would not like to be a “possession” of men.

  10. Al Says:

    Its whatever to me. They probably are in the minority.
    Give it another 20 years and no man can probably get someone that actually wants to be a housewife.

  11. PinkSamantha Says:

    “But when a Thai girl marries a Thai-Chinese man a lot of this same stuff happens in Thailand. Many Thai girls want to marry a Thai-Chinese man because they usually have money but then she is treated like a servant by the family. And she must have a son or the man will quickly find another wife or mia noi to have one.”

    Typical. See, one of so many reasons why I prefer women to men. I think I am glad that I’m into girls. I don’t wanna get divorced by a stupid man blinded by stupid ambition to carry on the family name at any risk just because we don’t have any son. Ugh… X(

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