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Who are Japanese Fathers?

What are the particular behavioral and attitudinal characteristics of Japanese fathers in households where both partners work? There is a stark contrast between Japanese fathers and mothers.

Despite living in the same household, when both partners work there is often a huge gulf between the attitudes and behavior of the father and mother.*
We believe that many people experience this firsthand on a daily basis.
At the Dentsu Papa Lab, which carries out research on fathers in households that are raising children while both parents work, we have undertaken a comparison of the characteristics of working mothers and fathers in households where both partners work. Until now, there has been relatively little research published focusing on this particular aspect. Based on our survey results, we analyzed the most striking characteristics of these fathers based on three main perspectives—values, participation in housework and childrearing, and consumption/purchasing.

* The fathers and mothers mentioned in this article refer to those in households where both partners work.

Who are Japanese Fathers?

Even If Both Partners Work, the Father Is Career-oriented, the Mother Private Life-oriented

Regarding the current work–life balance, a majority of fathers are career-focused, while approximately half the mothers are focused on private life.

Who are Japanese Fathers?

Looking at the results of the survey question regarding “the ideal self-image,” one notable characteristic is that fathers exhibit quite a strong bias toward career-related attributes, such as “good at my job,” “sincere,” “reliable,” “serious,” “intellectual” and “broad-minded.”
On a tangent, although mothers have a strong fashion consciousness, it seems that the workplace and the gaze of the opposite sex increase fathers’ consciousness regarding appearance. This is reflected in such comments as, “My only high-end purchases are work suits and wristwatches,” and “My choice of clothes is excessively influenced by the gaze of members of the opposite sex in the workplace.”

Fathers More Involved in Cleaning Than Doing the Laundry

On weekdays, fathers on average do housework and childrearing activities for 61 minutes. This is less than one quarter of the time spent on these activities by mothers.

Who are Japanese Fathers?

If we look at the breakdown of housework and childrearing duties, we see that mothers take on the principal role. In particular, nearly all mothers are involved in meal preparation/cooking, whereas less than 40% of fathers are involved in these activities. The only activity in which more fathers than mothers are active is putting out the garbage.

Who are Japanese Fathers?

Meanwhile, 60% of fathers are involved in such activities as “clearing up after a meal,” “washing up,” “cleaning the bathtub,” and “bathing the children.” Thus fathers’ activities can be said to include cleaning, rather than preparing meals or doing the laundry, and clearing away after a meal, rather than preparing it.

Fathers Are Willing to Spend Money on Their Children’s Education and Their Own Enjoyment

We found that, compared with mothers, there is a strong tendency among fathers to spend money on their children’s education and on things for their own enjoyment, even if related costs are relatively high, as long as the items are of high quality. In terms of product selection, fathers tend to place priority on performance and functionality. Further, if fathers get to like a particular brand, that preference tends to be sustained for a long time. We also observed that fathers tend to be predisposed to listening to the opinions of experts, consumers who appear to be connoisseurs, and major users of products.
Specific examples of product or service categories regarding which fathers usually take the lead in making purchasing decisions include automobiles, digital household appliances, insurance, liquor, watches, and video games.

Meanwhile, 60% of fathers are involved in such activities as “clearing up after a meal,” “washing up,” “cleaning the bathtub,” and “bathing the children.” Thus fathers’ activities can be said to include cleaning, rather than preparing meals or doing the laundry, and clearing away after a meal, rather than preparing it.

Fathers Are Willing to Spend Money on Their Children’s Education and Their Own Enjoyment

We found that, compared with mothers, there is a strong tendency among fathers to spend money on their children’s education and on things for their own enjoyment, even if related costs are relatively high, as long as the items are of high quality. In terms of product selection, fathers tend to place priority on performance and functionality. Further, if fathers get to like a particular brand, that preference tends to be sustained for a long time. We also observed that fathers tend to be predisposed to listening to the opinions of experts, consumers who appear to be connoisseurs, and major users of products.
Specific examples of product or service categories regarding which fathers usually take the lead in making purchasing decisions include automobiles, digital household appliances, insurance, liquor, watches, and video games.

Who are Japanese Fathers?

Finally, the top-five list of female celebrities liked by fathers is:

  1. Haruka Ayase
  2. Kyoko Fukada
  3. Yui Aragaki
  4. Satomi Ishihara
  5. Keiko Kitagawa

In the cases of Kyoko Fukada and Yui Aragaki, these celebrities were particularly popular with fathers rather than mothers. Hence, this information may be useful as a reference when designing ad campaigns for products targeting fathers.

Based on the particular characteristics of fathers outlined above, one may construct hypotheses such as those below.

  • Although housework and childrearing still remain the role of mothers, it is easy for fathers to get involved in—and to get fathers involved in—cleaning chores that they hear other fathers do.
  • Since many fathers are very career-focused, being praised by members of the opposite sex in the workplace is likely to become a factor motivating them to get involved in housework and childrearing activities.
  • By getting fathers (rather than only mothers) involved in decision-making related to consumption within the household, the possibility of high-priced purchases or repeat purchases increases.

Dentsu Papa Lab will continue to undertake activities that focus on fathers in households where both partners work—a promising target segment.

■ Overview of survey

Reference source:

Dentsu d-camp X survey

Coverage:

4,800 samples living within 50km of Tokyo

Survey methodology:

Visits were made to survey subjects and participationagreements received. Electronic survey forms were provided to survey subjects on a tablet device.

Qualifying criteria for inclusion in analysis:

Subjects aged 20–59 years; engaged in full-time employment; married; and have children of junior high school age or younger who live in the same household.

Fathers whose partner also works:

122 samples

Mothers whose partner also works:

71 samples

Period:

March 2016‒June 2016

Who are Japanese Fathers?

Kenji Koizumi

Dentsu Inc.

Who are Japanese Fathers?

Rei Hattori

Dentsu Inc.

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