Thursday, September 12, 2019

Etiquette and Japan’s “Bride’s Schools”

In post-WWII Japan, the Red Cross ran popular “brides’ schools” to help ease with the transition from being young, Japanese women to GI brides, before marrying and moving away from their home country. The women were taught not only American etiquette, but Canadian, and any other etiquette, if needed. The Red Cross gave instruction on how to make beds, bake cakes, deal with American in-laws, how to wear makeup and the art of walking in high heels. According to writer, Kathryn Tolbert, the daughter of a Japanese bride and U.S. serviceman, her mother was one of many in Japan, who wanted something more from their lives after WWII. Said Tolbert, in a 2016 article, that after meeting her future husband on a streetcar, a relationship began: “She told him she worked at the PX. He started showing up there to talk to her and ask her out. She turned him down, but he kept asking. Japanese men, the war brides recount, rarely pressed their luck after being rebuffed. American men? Extremely persistent. These ardent Americans also brought presents the Japanese could not afford or had never seen before — chocolate, dresses from Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward and even Spam, a culinary oddity... American chivalry, the notion of ‘ladies first,’ also enchanted Japanese women. War brides almost universally say ‘he was such a gentleman’ to describe their American suitors.”  
Photo source, Stars and

In-Law Problem and Table Etiquette 
Aired by Gl Wife 

TOKYO, Dec. 14—INS—Thirty months in the United States have given the Japanese wife of an American marine some new notions about mothers-in-law. “Don't be afraid of them.” she says. “Talk back to them.” That’s the advice of Mrs. Tatsuko Chambers after spending two-and-one-half years in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Marine Sgt. Cleo M. Chambers. Mrs. Chambers told a group of Japanese girls married to American servicemen and attending the Yokosuka Brides’ School near Tokyo: 
“In Japan a woman cannot talk back to her husband’s mother, even if the mother-in-law is wrong. But in America, the Japanese bride must learn not to be afraid to talk back to her mother-in-law.” Mrs. Chambers also offered the brides a tip on how not to go hungry at American dinner tables : “In Japan, it is considered polite to refuse an offer of food at the dining table at least once. If you refuse food when an American offers it, it won’t be offered again.” – Shin Nichibei, 1957

Canadian Red Cross Women Head for Japan to Educate Brides of Canada Life

VANCOUVER. — Five social workers of the Canadian Red Cross left Vancouver last week for Tokyo where they take on the task of educating 13 Japanese brides of Canadian servicemen who are expected to come to Canada soon. As part of their work with the Canadian armed forces in Japan, the five women will teach the brides “the Canadian attitude to life, etiquette, dress and humor” in preparation for life in Canada.   
Their visit to Japan for the next year is being undertaken to fill in the need for “something Canadian” as requested by Canadian troops in Korea. Knowing that Japan will consider Canadians the ambassadors of goodwill, one of them said: “None of us speaks Japanese yet. We have little need of it because most of our work will be with our own forces and with young brides and their Canadian husbands. But we will probably have a stab at it, anyway.” – Shin Nichibei, 1952 

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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