(español, English, 日本語)
Para el observador ingenuo que se queda en la anécdota –casi siempre viajeros de tour, mochileros de youth hostel, o Sánchez Dragó en Kyoto-, la fémina japonesa es un ser sumiso, callado, obediente, y sin mucha personalidad pero con grandes dosis de exotismo y/o erotismo. Nada más lejos de la verdad, al menos la primera parte de la afirmación. Tras detalles como los silencios en público, la mirada perdida, los morritos inocentes, o caminar unos pasitos detrás del varón, etc., se esconde un alma inquieta pero centrada, inteligente, con objetivos claros y estrategias definidas. En las parejas, el hombre parece llevar la voz cantante, pero es ella, en la retaguardia, el verdadero artífice de sus palabras, cuan ventrílocuo experimentado. Para exponerlo con un símil adecuado a la historia española, la mujer japonesa sería el valido; y el hombre, el rey. ¿Quién manda? ¿Quién decide? ¿Álvaro de Luna o Juan II de Castilla? ¿El Conde-Duque de Olivares o Felipe IV? Está claro, es ella. En las generaciones más maduras, ser ama de casa no quita el administrar la economía de la familia, llegando al punto en algunos casos de pasarle ella el estipendio del almuerzo a diario al marido, apenas unos 1000 yenes para un plato combinado y una cerveza. Las decisiones importantes sobre compra de casa, número de hijos, colegios, cuidado de los padres, vacaciones, etc. también recaen en ella. When it comes to younger generations, the power exerted by the woman-wife-girl friend, is even more obvious, and already stripped of all the theatre around the relationship. If not, take a look at college-student couples: first steps, decisions, testosterone control, etc. Although the writer Natsuo Kirino likes to depict abusive husbands, the opposite is also true. Today, having lunch at my favourite Japanese-food-only all-you-can-eat restaurant near Oike street, a young couple both in their 30’s entered the restaurant, and from the very beginning I realized something was wrong when the woman answered roughly to the always nice and extremely polite obasan cook and owner, and rushed to the table by herself, leaving the husband-boyfriend behind. They were two tables from me but I could still feel the negative aura of the disgusting “lady” (to call her something). It seemed she was upset at the world and the husband was to blame for everything. Her voice was very a little bit loud for a Japanese person, her husband’s was much lower; he hardly spoke while she kept scolding him for insignificant things. I glanced at them a couple of times to let them know that I haven’t come to Japan to see scenes while I’m eating outside, but that encouraged her even more in her frustration-aggression performance. Finally, they left the restaurant and I could read again. Five or ten minutes later, I left the place myself too and was quite surprised to see them still outside on the street, a few meters from the restaurant having a serious argument –indeed, she was shouting at him-. At one point, she started to hit him in the face with her fists, and the husband just protected himself passively waiting for the hormonal hurricane to decrease. ¡Ver para creerlo! Passer-byes pretended nothing happened but I just remained there enjoying the show –first time in Japan-. This time she didn’t like having audience and they left. -Poor guy- I thought to myself- I wonder if she was also like that before they got married. Antes de venir a Japón un amigo me advirtió: “Ten cuidado: las japonesas son muy atractivas y cariñosas; pero después de casarse se cortan el pelo y se vuelven mandonas”. Bueno, en este caso, el tío lo clavó.
日本人女性だからといって 、従順な人だとは限らない。カップルでは男が全てにおいて決定権を持つと言われるようだが、実際は女の方だ。人の前では、女性は少し黙り、シャイなふりをするけれど、結局女は好き放題するのである。桐野夏生作家は乱暴する男をよく見せるけど、反対の事件も起こる可能性がある。今日、御池通りにある美味しい和食バイキングのレストランでランチをしていたとき店内にいた30代のカップルに気が付いた。女の人はご主人に対してちょっと荒っぽい言葉を使い始めた。ランチとともに、可愛そうなご主人はこらえながら店内にいる全てのお客様の前で奥さんに大声で叱られながら黙っていた。僕は本人たちのテーブルの方を何回目かにらんだ。食事をしている時に口げんかを見たくも聞きたくないですから。しかし、女の人は続いた。結局、カップルは食事を終えた後で店を出る。僕も5分後に店を出た時、道でまだ口論をしている男性と奥さんの鬼を見つかる。その時、女性がご主人の顔にパンチをくらわせ始めた。男性は恐がっている子犬のように受身のままであった。鬼のパンチが終わった後、夫婦は帰っていった。結婚する前にもそんな鬼だったのか、奥さん?

空気人形, the last Japanese woman

When her husband comes back home from work, she waits, motionless, listens to his talk and lets him dress her in his favourite costume, accepting his caresses and having sex with him without emitting a word: she is an air doll, a 空気人形.
In the morning, when he leaves, she becomes a 心を持ってしまいました person and wanders aimlessly through the city in search of life. The first scenes of this recent Japanese movie can’t be more disturbing and promising at the same time. What’s the mystery of such a transformation? Who might be the strange and beautiful air doll who becomes a flesh-and-bone person in the day time?
She meets people, finds a part-time job, experiences the world and falls in love, only to go back home at night and wait for her 変な husband-and-wife routine. All the male characters she finds, want something from her; and she gives it to them, somehow: that’s the way she is, that’s the way she is been taught. But she just wants to be a real person, with a heart and flesh and bones, not a latex figure of air and desire. One night, she hides from the “husband” to find out that he has bought another air doll. When he realizes that she is actually a real person, he asks her to go back to her previous doll state: he prefers her passive, mute, life-less, like a tabula rasa that can adapt herself to her master’s deepest and secret desires. The shop owner, the shop assistant, the otaku young man, even the elderly man, they all need some feminine part of her, but do they really care about her, about what she really wants, about her as a person? This is a movie about sex, loneliness and age, about selfishness, about lack of communication, about forgiveness, about the search for love, about air dolls, and about Japanese women.
My friend “Ani in Japolandia” used to tell me about her view of Japanese women’s personality and style, adapting themselves to men like a pair of gloves. I am not sure there is that kind of woman anymore, but 空気人形 women instead, with a different face for every male figure they meet in their lives, whether it’s a husband, lover, boyfriend, boss, co-worker, friend, children… but also with a proper need to live themselves.
空気人形, the perfect metaphor of Japanese female society.

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